Week 1/Cultural Unification/Kelly Tseng

“The further art advances the closer it approaches science, the further science advances the closer it approaches art.” – Buckminster Fuller

I have never really considered this notion until learning about it in lecture. I have always believed that art and science were two completely separate entities, two different cultures that were divided and had very little, if anything, in common. I have always perceived art as something with a recreational aspect to it, whereas the sciences (the natural and physical sciences) were considered the “work” and serious conundrums of daily schooling and life. As a child, I did not have a predilection for the arts because I found coloring and drawing cumbersome tasks. However, I found the sciences to be more interesting and more worthy of my time. It does not help, today, that I attend a school that is separated by its academic endeavors. When I speak to my friends back home and refer to the cultural divide that exists on our campus, in other words—the north and south campuses, I assume that they would understand this categorization because their universities would be subject to it as well. The sad truth is that, so far to my knowledge, only UCLA is subject to this academic/cultural divide.

This phenomenon brings me back to the quote by Fuller; the reality is that science and art are really an integration of one field of study, one culture. This idea may not be as simple to grasp as it is to write on paper because of the early split in society seen in Snow’s “The Two Cultures.” In his work, he mentioned the tug over which class of people deserved the honorary title of “the intellectual” and he also discussed the differences in the literary intellectuals and the natural scientists, a problem which can be attributed to the core curricula or academic institutions at the time. This problem has persisted even until this very day, as students at UCLA classify themselves as either north or south campus majors.

Before enrolling into this class, I had thought that we would strictly learn about design and media arts. I never would have imagined that we would discuss the reasons as to how art became distinct from science. I now believe that art is science and science is art, in a way. Take, for example, the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. It is a beautiful structure that combines the work of art and science. I do not believe that that amazing structure could have been constructed without the knowledge of science or the knowledge of art. Its detailed craftsmanship and aesthetic qualities require the integration of both.


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