Archive for the ‘week3_industrial’ Category

Week3- Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, Robotics- Gindy Nagabayashi

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s topic really resonated with me because of the history presented. The industrial revolution changed the way people lived and perceived life with the effects of Taylorism and Fordism that introduced mass production fine tuned to be as efficient as possible illustrated in class by the clip of Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.

The transition from the industrial age to modern times is the modern cubicle. 

The cubicle removes the worker from one another with the high paneled walls to keep workers from wasting company time. The isolation of the cubicle is supposed to keep workers efficient similar to idea of Taylorism when workers were reduced to repeating one motion over and over.

The introduction of new technology influences the way we perceive life in turn affecting artistic expression. Art is evolving with technology, and although technology has allowed art to be mass produced, as Douglas Davis put it, “it is the repetitive copy that is dead, not the original. The one and the other are not separate.” The advances of technology have allowed the development of new mediums of art including robotics.

Although this is not technically art, there are people building robofish, which are robotic fish that are able to sense and interact with real fish. I think it’s amazing that we are able to use technology to imitate nature. Scientists study movements of fish and lizards using robots. In my opinion, this is both art and science coming together.



-Gindy Nagabayashi

Week 3: From humans to robots in the theater By: Claudia Zapien

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Theater has been a performing art from the dawn of time. It has been a way for humans to tell stories from generation to generation. The theater was first performed as an art as early as 2000 B.C. by the ancient Egyptians. Like the beginning of time it was told to continue the story of the Passion. The beginning of storytelling was a way to inform people of past events and to spread religious believes. As time has passed by the theater has evolved into many different branches. The beginning theater was very simple and usually just needed characters and a few props to tell the story, as technology has evolved theater has become highly technical and it is slowly moving away from people having to be the characters.    

I feel like the beginning of this movement from theater getting away from people as characters was the introduction of puppet theater which we really do not know where it originated or when, but it is speculated that it began in China with the introduction of shadow puppets. But even when the puppets are used as characters in the theaters, human are the ones that control the puppets whether they are on the stage with them moving the puppets or when they are hidden from the audience and only the puppets are visible to the audience. The use of puppets is still very closely related to real people because puppets are made to resemble humans and they are being controlled by human.

I think when it comes to the theater one of the first attempts to use technology and incorporate it in the more artistic part of theater production instead of it being used predominantly back stage was the use of marionettes. Marionettes are puppets that are controlled by a person that is out of the audiences’ view and this is accomplished by using string to manipulate the puppet. The puppet manipulators were judged by their ability to manipulate the puppets and make them seem the most realistic as possible.  

Now we have a relatively new type of theater where the robots are the main characters in the play. This use of robots has been used for many years in the movies and so on. As a child I remember the wizard of Oz and the character Tim Woodman who was part human part metal. For me it was the very first time that I had seen a human who was not completely human but was made or inorganic parts. After that there began a string of movies where people would dress up as robots and as time passed by and technology progressed we have reached a time where robots are no longer too advance of a specie and we are not able to make real robots and not just interpretations of them. Now robots are used to represent human in plays. They are no longer just these characters from the future, but they are portrayed as humanlike. The further we advance in technology the better and more realistic that these robots have become. Now the artist is praised on their creation of these lifelike machines. It is ironic that the artistic part of theater is not more focused on the technology more than just the aesthetic part. I find it nice that technology and art can come together because it is ridiculous to feel that one is separate from the other.

-Claudia Zapien






Week 3/ An Industrialized World/Tammy Le

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The stigma associated with an Industrialized society, as conveyed through media and art, is monotonous and uniform.  Classic cinematic works such as “Metropolis” predicted a gray and repetitive future even before technology became such a prevalent necessity in our lives.  As dependence on technology and industrial structure of work and living have become more prominent, a loss of individualism and a human element is progressively increasing, or so artists depict. What I find most interesting is the two different views in which art illustrates the future: one as drab and dark as humans are increasingly restricted by systems and processes, the other as vibrant and colorful with endless possibilities for creativity and imagination.

The juxtaposition between work such as Disney’s computer-animated movie “Meet the Robinsons” and the cult classic, The Matrix illustrates the contrasting view between perceptions of the future.  For those who have seen “Meet the Robinsons,” they connect with and are intrigued by the distinctively free spiritedcharacters who utilize the technology of the future to act on their skills and individuality, while the characters in the matrix are confined by laws and  are controlled by technology. Instead of giving them more freedom, they are ruled by techonoligcal advancement and much like other movies such as I-Robot and the like, it is a common fear that the human race will one day be run over by the robots and technology we so depend on now.

The negative connotation that may exist toward the future may be reflectant of the attitudes and views toward Taylorism and Fordism, mechanisms that aim to find the most efficient means of producing the most output at the fastest rate possible, deleting the human element out of production.  Humans become merely part of machinery and lose their personal and sentimental value in creating products and going about daily activities as a whole.  Capitalism and Industrialism has driven society in a direction focused on production, consumerism, and efficiency which overshadows the beauty of the human spirit as it is constrained and limited.  Thus, the vibrancy that exists within humans is jaded and our depictions of the future ,which we see as driven by processes such as Fordism and Taylorism, is dismal and boring.  I feel we shoud be excited toward the future and the opportunities it has to offer.  If more artists used color and projected messages of optimism toward the growth and preservation of individuality and creativity in future generations, the stigma towards future industrialism will change.

Week 3 Impact of Social Critics by Marie De Austria

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

There always seem to be two sides to everything. When we talked about corporations as “institutions of great wealth,” because it brings economy to the country and provides work opportunities, we also learned how it could lead to “enormous horrors,” especially during economic panics and when the market is going down the drain. When it was mentioned that robots and tools are being created left and right to make our lives easier, such as a refrigerator and a laundry machine, another wouldn’t fail to mention how machines “reduce the need for making decisions.” When Ford shared to the world his innovative assembly line technique which made production exponentially more effective, movies such as “Metropolis” and books such as Brave New World, 1984, Frankenstein, come from another vantage point and poke holes in it. I would have to say that these movies and books would never become a complete reality but the ideas they provoke in the minds of their audience can, if they have not already.

First of all, the mechanism idea of an assembly line, although a complete success for production and capitalism, is quite detrimental to human creativity. The assembly line forces a person to do a single task over and over again until it becomes a routine – or practically an involuntary action. The workers need not “imagine the final product,” or sometimes, they cannot imagine the final product at all. This idea is explored and exaggerated by the movie, “Metropolis,” where a group of people are marching gravely into and out of their work shifts. Even the mood of the scene and the special effects remind the audience of Jewish concentration camps. All of these just to warn society about the dangers of having machines control human action as well as the use of uniformity as a way to exert control.

Speaking of control, in “Brazil,” a wife received a “receipt” for her husband as if he was a commodity. Many countries are centered on the idea of capitalism. People are seen as pawns in the marketplace that can easily be retailed to advertisers. People have to “sell” themselves to companies and jobs.

Another possibility that future technology affords us is the regeneration of lost limbs and even the creation of a whole new being – robotic or flesh. The ideas of human-like machines and androids are exciting but for Shelley’s Frankenstein, it is filled with ethical dilemmas. Following the creations of these machines, who will be responsible for malfunctions that could accidentally take place and hurt or destroy important social systems? This same dilemma is found in a recent movie by Will Smith, called “I-Robot.”

Questions like these and much more will inevitably arise at the same time technology advances. They may be exaggerated and pessimistic but I wouldn’t have them in any other way. Their works provide vantage points that could easily go unnoticed. It is because of the works of these social critics that we have not yet plunged into the depths of their fictitious works.

Week 3/ Taylorism and Robotic Art/ Patrick Morales

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Desma Blog Week 3

As I understand it, Taylorism (or scientific management) is when you take “hand-crafted” or “eye-measured” processes, analyze them, and create a standard of measuring to improve productivity. Taylorism was first implemented in factories when skilled workers knew more about the work processes than the managers.  Taylorism was created to shift the power from the workers back to the managers.   Conceptual work should be separated from the execution of tasks. Complex tasks are broken into smaller simpler subtasks, thus reducing their reliance on skilled labor.  Taylorism is a perfect supplement to the assembly line production of Fordism.  Increased production and decreased wage spending: the birth of the modern working class.

If the combined forces of Taylorism and Fordism make a society of measured standards and interchangeable parts how does the human body/experience factor into such a society?  We could see biological organisms (the human body, plants, etc.) as machines, with inputs and outputs, usefully managing the product and discarding waste.  But, biological organisms are bound to their environment, thus the organisms connection with its system is pivotal.  Research into and the creation of robot leads to and organism that no longer is bound by a biological system, but instead is plugged into a manufactured one.  The inputs become algorithms and electricity, the outputs are up to its creator.

Relating these concepts back to art raises many questions.  Is art also just an input-output system?  Is there some human input that transcends our point-of-view and paintbrushes?  Would you react differently to an art piece if you knew a robot had created it instead of a human? Is the Mona Lisa still as beautiful if Leonardo had use a robot to create it?  I think all these questions tie back to the artistic revolution that Professor mentioned in a previous lecture.  The process will become more important if not more interesting as scientific principles are increasingly used to create art.

I personally love the ideas, processes, and products of Leonel Moura’s works.  I especially appreciate the Swarm Paintings because they are essentially mapping the behavioral routes that captivate little kids from an earl age while playing on the playground.  This is a piece of art that could not be possible without the use of computers and robotics.  I can’t remember his name, but the TA that was interested in the falling trajectory of the leaf was doing much the same thing.  Analyzing a biological process or movement, recording and displaying and subsequently creating something beautiful.

Interesting connection to Taylorism and Fordism:  In the rock opera, REPO, human body parts have become standardized and interchangeable (or Taylorized and Fordisized, if those are even words).

Week3/Robotics/James Martin

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s lecture consisted of the Industrial Age, Kinetics and Robotics and how these things are changing our society. I was very intrigued by the robotics discussion since I am a little familiar with it and I hope to gain much more knowledge about it as I progress my education. All the different examples the Professor Vesna showed everyone during lecture made me want to pursue robotics and find some of my own examples. Rather than going with the given links, I decided to search for other projects.

I found several projects involving exoskeleton suits that allow for superhuman performance in many areas. The exoskeletons are suits that a human puts on and enhances human strength far beyond one could imagine. The evolution of the robotics within the suit, has allowed for advancements within the suit. These advancements are going to create more and more breakthroughs within the suit and robotics. The exoskeleton uses censors attached to the user through the suit and takes data from brain censors and analyses how the human is going to move. Once the signals come in, the robotics assist the human and allow for much more force to be used and superhuman strength. One example of the strength was tested in the army and allowed for a man to lift 200 pounds with ease and did not even come close to getting tired. He was actually bored of it so he stopped! This could obviously not be done with this exoskeleton. This project reminds me of several movies. Whether its Ironman or Starwars, there are several movie clips of this but it is actually coming into society and is now real! Also, since I am an engineering major, this project is even more interesting to me since a very well established engineering company is leading the way in this technology. Raytheon is a defense company that is making amazing strides within engineering. This a great company in my opinion and I would love to work there someday.

The lecture on robotics also got me thinking about the future of robotics and what are all of the possibilities. On my recent trip home, I noticed that a movie entitled “I, Robot” was on. I tuned in and saw how the advancement of robotics nearly ruined an entire city and could have been a lot worse than it actually was. The robots eventually developed and started a revolution in order to gain control. Luckily, humanity was able to fend off the robots. However, this led me to think if this could actually happen. As technology grows and grows, are robots will become more humanlike. Is it even possible for robots to gain human emotion? I sure hope not because I do not see any good coming out of it. Sure I think technology needs to consistently advance but is there a point in which we will go to far and create our own demise? I believe there is.

The exoskeleton is only the beginning. I am all for robotics in helping out humanity but I think that there is a point in which robotics will not help out humanity and will actually help destroy it.

James Martin

Week 3/technology advances=the lost generation/Yu Hsiao

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

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This week we talked a lot about how the industrial age has changed our world, and how we cannot live without the technology breakthroughs from the industrial revolution. It’s ironic how scientific, our subject of matter was. It seemed to me that talking about robotics and assembly lines had nothing to do with the culture of art. After watching all the movie clips on Thursday, I was still confused about why we were talking so much about the scientific advances and influences on society and almost none about the advance of art. Today I finally realized that the advances in industrial world affect the art world greatly. After reading Davis’ “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (An Evolving Thesis: 1991-1995)“, I realized what professor Vesna had been saying. Starting with Ford’s assembly line, individual craftsmanship and skill was no longer needed. Before, each car was handmade by individual skilled craftsman who knew how to make every parts of the car. It certainly took a long time, but in Davis’ word, those cars were original works of art, not the reproduction version of cars in Ford’s assembly line. The cars that came out of Ford’s factory are merely identical objects, produced by machines, and men and women who had no knowledge of the car as a whole but the small part of the assembling that he/she had to perform, repeatedly until the work hour’s over. Now that the society has advanced in a way that craftsmanship is no longer needed, it’s ironic in a sense the society has also taken a step back. People nowadays have little knowledge of the things they use. In the old days, many things had to be made by the people who used them themselves. Craftsmen were abundant, and the skill could be passed for generations. People HAD the knowledge of making things and they held their skills. But now, people rely on factories to make things for them. Even in the art world, people might rely on computer programs like CAD to make a simple perspective drawing, rather than making it from scratch, and making each measurement on their own. This also reminded a bike project that I completed this summer. This summer I was very crazy about fixed gear bicycles. Because each fixed gear is made the rider him/herself, each bike is unique, and each bike required individual craftsmanship from the person who made it. This is a webpage,, where many different fixed gear bicycles are made and posted weekly. Each bike has its own personality embedded by the person who made it. Each little detail represents the uniqueness of the rider. In contrast to most bikes being made today, they come out of factories, in massive numbers, all looking alike, (at least within a model), and all of them lack the unique vibe that would have come if the bikes were made by the riders themselves. Here are some pictures of the bike that I made this summer:
I also thought about the possibility of reproduction of humans in an industrial level—cloning. This is a frightening thing to think about, because all uniqueness, creativity would be gone. It might sound like science fiction, but the technology might come any day.

The ability for industries to effectively reproduce a product doesn’t just stop at cars; it spans everywhere, even with art. Works of art could now be digitalized, and with that, art itself is having its own evolution in the aftermath of the breakthroughs of the industrial revolution. Since “original” works of art could now be copied almost perfectly, there’s almost no distinction between the original/real and the imposter/fake. The notion of real and original now can’t really exist either, because everything is based on the reproduced pieces of work that could have been modified probably countless times, and what you thought was real might be something that was modified and the modification might never have been revealed and known. I disagree with Davis’ point that many works of art today, are copies and modifications of the original works of art from the old times, like the Renaissance. I think many of those works are also influenced by art that came before them, such as the sculptures in Greece. Even the sculptures in Greece might have had influences and imitated other sculptures from other geographical regions. Davis argues that the world wide web allows faster communication that makes access of information faster and so we are exposed to a lot more information. That is not true, in the ancient times, communication paths definitely existed, but they were just slower. Each region traded with each other, and by trading a lot of cultures were shared and interacted together. However, I agree with Davis that the ease of access of information nowadays does accelerate the process of imitation, modification, and destroying the true originals, making this problem more prolific. It’s hard in modern times to come up with something truly original, because we are influenced by so many things, and those things are probably already modifications and imitations of other original works of art.

I guess we come back to the topic that art and science are intertwined together. The advances of technologies greatly affect the art world. Art now, could be digitalized, and the sharing of art work is much easier, and the ease to change those works is a lot easier as well. Now, with the abundance of the process of reproduction, it might not be about being creative, and unique, and having craftsman, but it might be only about producing and being good at copying and making those copies really fast.

Week 3/ Stupid Robot/ Kelly Tseng

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s topics were rather interesting and familiar because I found that some of them were interrelated with the topics that I am currently learning about in my other class. In my psychology class this past week, we discussed the different aspects of the nervous system as well as the senses that it controls. Therefore I found it quite cool when I came across the same biorobotic machine that functions in vision in this class. The way the machine works is by taking pictures of the world around the blind individual with the two cameras that are worn on the eyes. Then, when an image is captured by the camera, the computer processes the image and transmits the signal to the individual’s cerebral cortices by way of the wires connected to the scalp. The information is then understood and processed by the occipital lobe and thus, the individual can “see” what is before him. The creation of such an amazing machine, that is the means of vision for the blind, is a phenomenal technological innovation for mankind. I cannot even imagine the type of imagination and brains it took to create such a masterpiece. Amazed by these inventions and robotics, I found a “Stupid Robot” created by Simon Penny in 1985. ( Imitating the ways of a legless beggar, it is designed to annoy by shaking a can when approached. When you first think about that idea, you may agree that indeed it is a stupid robot. But, upon further consideration, you start to realize that this is not a stupid robot, nor is the invention itself stupid at all. A lot of thought and work must be invested into the creation and dynamics of the machine to get it to even notice when someone is approaching, let alone to shake a can. Therefore the mechanism behind this machine is not only an outstanding one, it is very difficult!

week3/robots/ akhil rangaraj

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s topic was really interesting because I enjoyed the many clips that were shown that portrayed the future. The clip of Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times was applicable even today. The average white collar job is now essentially the same; the worker has no view of the overall organization and is reduced to a mere cog in the machine. The very idea that allows us to mass produce things (specialization) reduces the workers creativity.I found the ideals of Taylorism and Fordism and their history very interesting. Taylorism basically espoused treating man as no more than a part of a machine. The clip shown from Metropolis illustrated the logical progression of Taylorism in the work force; workers moved in step, and their only purpose was to service whatever machine the giant mega corporation instructed them to. The ideals of Henry Ford have mutated over the years. I think they now provide the backbone to all corporate rationale today.

Although the concepts talked about don’t seem to affect art that much, they actually do. Can the cold, spartan ideals of Taylorsim be applied to the art world? My answer is, yes they can. If we take the final art work as the final product of the artists’ intentions, why should the artist bother drawing, painting, or sculpting the final work. These forms could ultimately be generated much more quickly and precisely by a machine than by the frail form of a human. The final product would be the same, and the artist would be able to produce more “art”.

A stunning example of art created by machine are the works by artist Leonel Moura. In this case, the art is not only the final product, but the process itself. This is the new form of art talked about in class. I think it is amazing. Even if some of the final results seem to be something a kindergardener would paint during free-play, the reasoning behind it is almost beautiful.

Week 2/ Math and Art/ Ariel Alter

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Sorry this is a bit late, my hands get all clammy and I start to have a panic attack when I start to think about math. The only way to mitigate my anxiety is to break out into a feigned, hypnotic trance-dance and sing this, essentially:

Think of a number,
divide it by two,
something is nothing,
nothing is nothing.
Open a box,
tear off the lid,
then think of a number,
don’t think of an answer.
Open your eyes,
think of a number,
don’t get swept under,
a number’s a number
A chance encounter you
want to avoid,
the inevitable, so you
do, oh yes you do the
Now you ain’t got a number,
you just want to rhumba,
and there ain’t no way
you’re gonna go under
Go under

Listen to the math/art anthem here.

Click here for a discursive examination on art and math

week3 \ assignment \ Alberto Pepe

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This week’s topic is Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, Robotics. On the class page, you can find plenty of links to art works and projects in this domain. Discuss one of them in relation to the theories presented in class (taylorism, capitalism, mechanism). Alternatively, discuss one of the assigned readings.

Please post your blog entries by Monday morning so that I can review and present them during class on Tuesday.

NOTE. If you are interested in taking photos of garbage around campus (I can give you a GPS-enabled phone or you can use yours, if you have it), please send me an email to participate in garbagewatch. If you bike around campus, and are willing to take part in another urban sensing project, please also let me know (email: apepe at ucla dot edu). Blogging about these activities will count as extra credit.

Week 3: Reality and Robots/Jasmine Huynh

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This week’s lectures were very interesting, as we shifted from discussing the very broad topic of the relationship between art and science to the more specific robotic and kinetic art age. Thursday’s lecture especially stood out in my mind. It was very cool to see the different movie clips, and see how not only the technological aspects evolved over time, but also the creativity.

In Douglas Davis’ article, he starts out with a general overview of the current state of art. He says that the distinction between the different types of media has now been blurred beyond rescue. Davis mentions “Here in this realm, often mislabeled’ ‘virtual” (it is actually a realer reality, or RR), both originality and traditional truth (symbolized by the unadorned photographic “fact’” are being enhanced, not betrayed.” I think this statement was best exemplified by the movie, The Matrix. The protagonist in this movie is constantly trying to distinguish between a virtual reality and actual reality.  It is only in the “virtual reality,” or actually, the “realer reality” that he sees things for what they really are. This goes hand-in-hand with Davis’ statement of how in the realer reality, ” ‘fact’ [is] being enhanced, not betrayed.” In the movie clip shown in class, the protagonist has a conversation with a program and finds out that even programs have this emotion called love.

The robotic aspect of this week’s lectures pushed me to try to find out more about the topic. I searched the internet for more on this topic. I particularly like the artwork of Carl Pisaturo, who creates his masterpieces based on anything from robots to scientific instruments. Below is a link to a picture of one of his robotic pieces, called the “Serpentine Arm.”

I like how the robotic piece still manages to look like realistic, with a touch of functionality. I also like how below the piece, there is a long description of how the project came about and the mechanics behind the construction of the project. The “Nervous system” description is particularly interesting because it states that the machine can even detect collisions and mechanical malfunctions.