Friday, June 3, 2016

Event 4

In the fourth event that I attended, Dr. María Antonia González Valerio, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, held a lecture on combining humanities, arts, and sciences to help educate the world and create a third culture. In her lecture there was two parts, the philosophical part (which is her favorite subject) and then the part where she explains what projects her and her team have done.
Philosophically she proses a lot of questions about how can we use biotechnology and art to raise awareness in the world. Specifically her and her team looked at the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in agriculture. GMOs are genetically engineered plants or animals that have been altered at the gene level. They are used to create a bigger and better plant or animal but usually at the organisms’ own expense. Such as chickens who are genetically modified with bigger breasts, which are so big that they cannot walk around. In Mexico María is concerned abut the use of GMOs in corn. The project called “Bioartefactos: Desgranar lentamente un maíz”, brings awareness that genetically engineering corns is not natural with the culture. According to the projects GMOs “forget that food is also identity and memory. Some say that the country is a matter of smells and tastes, and thinking about it, homogenize corn is oblations and subjects” (GASTV).
Her work with biotechnology + art has become a success in reading awareness for an unjust cause. With her group she will be able to educate people thus making the world a better place. I would recommend looking into her other projects because it is interesting to see how she was able to create a third culture. 
from my iPhone
Cruz, Gustavo. "Bioartefactos. Desgranar Lentamente Un Maíz." GAS TV. 2014. Web. 03 June 2016.
"Building the Platform for Interdisciplinary Projects at the National Autonomous University of Mexico." UCLA Design Media Arts. 26 May 2016. Web. 03 June 2016.
BIOARTEFACTOS. Bioartefactos: Desgranar Lentamente Un Maíz, Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca.
Mateljan, George. "What Does GMO Mean?" The World's Healthiest Foods. George Mateljan Foundation, 30 May 2016. Web. 3 June 2016.

Uconlineprogram. "5 Bioart Pt1 1280x720." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 04 May 2016.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Event 3

For Event 3, I attended a live event in the Broad Art Center presented by Sam Wolk on “A Lecture on Synthetic Life” where he used biotechnology to create an electronic living environment.  With coding he create strips of DNA which could be considered a flower (prey) or creature (predator). The computer would create random species of the flowers and creature than let them live in his technological environment. He could also electronically alter the DNA traits of the flowers and creatures to create environmental situations. 
The artistic part was when he applied color, size, and symbols to the flowers’ and creatures’ DNA. For example one trait had a certain color and then the visibility of the the color depended on how much prevalence the trait had in the flower’s or creature’s DNA. The creature’s also were given symbols for the type of sex they become. Altogether the creatures visual effects plus how the react with each other and the environment was very cool to watch.

I particularly thought the coding for this project was amazing. This year I had to take two math classes where I needed to code for my lab assignment. We only make simple graphs and calculations but even then I have had a very hard time with the lab. So to see how his codes could create something as complex and beautiful as this is truly amazing. I have much respect for Sam’s ability to code. 
Unfortunately he mentioned his project did not end in a success, however, he did not mention why. Nonetheless I though it was a very cool project and by changing DNA traits Sam could make really unique pieces of art. In relation to the lectures, this live event correlates with Week 6 Biotechnology + Art due to how he was able to manipulate biotechnology to create art. I would definitely recommend this to other students.

Wolk, Sam. "A Lecture on Synthetic Life." Replica Praesens. UCLA, Los Angeles. 26 May 2016. Lecture.
Vesna, Victoria, narr. “BioTech Art Lectures I”. Web. 31 May 2016.
Vesna, Victoria, narr. “BioTech Art Lectures II”. Web. 31 May 2016.
Vesna, Victoria, narr. “BioTech Art Lectures IV”. Web. 31 May 2016.

Percy, Ingrid Mary. 2005. Kelowna Art Gallery, Victoria. Humanist Perspective. Web. 31 May 2016.

Event 2

For Event 2, I went to the Hammer Museum to visit the Hammer Contemporary Collection. The museum was bigger than expected since there is not much space to work with. The graffiti in the main lobby and the spinning was the first thing I noticed about the museum. The graffiti and chairs provided a more relaxed vibe because I believe people, like me, get intimidated by going to an art museum.
The Hammer Contemporary Collection was the exhibit I picked my photo from. I really enjoyed that part of the exhibit where they displayed Andy Warhol photographs because I had never seen those before. Another artist in the collection is Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011) from California. He “has employed all available methods: writing, action, performance, video, film, photography, and installation (with and without sound or monologue). He has used mechanical and industrial elements, fireworks, common objects and traditional materials, materials of the earth, his own or another's body. He has created works for interior, exterior and public spaces” (dennis-oppenheim). Even with all this variety, his work at the Hammer is film stills of a gingerbread man being digested. Inspired by imprinting his own form or placing his body in relationship to the Earth, the original film explores scale, ritual, and humankind’s relationship to the land.
In relation to the lectures, the digestion of the ginger bread goes closely ties with Week 6 Biotechnology + Art. This week we learned about how biology can be manipulated in order to create art. Though Oppenheim did not manipulate the chemicals in the digestive system he did artistically document it to symbolize that anything created or morphed by the body can be art. 

In conclusion I would recommend other students to visit the Hammer Museum. It is not far from campus and there were other collections that were very interesting. Also the brown spinning chairs were pretty fun.

Scharf, Kenny. Lobby of Hammer Museum. 2016. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
"Dennis Oppenheim Biography." Dennis Oppenheim Biography. 2015. Web. 31 May 2016.
Oppenheim, Dennis. Stills from Gingerbread Man. 1967. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
VALNEXTDOOR. Chairs. 2015. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Vesna, Victoria. "BioTech Art Lecture: Part 1." 31 May 2016. Lecture.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9

Space, the final frontier, is something that I will never understand. The size of the universe alone is unimaginable to me and I would not be surprised if there was another planet like ours. Yet NASA still has to invent much bigger telescopes in order to find the deepest parts of space. With all the unknown, film and literature have been inspired by space and its limitless possibilities. As in the most famous, Star Wars, which could actually be a realistic possibility in “some galaxy far, far, far away”.
With the improvement in technology, artists have been able to manipulate space to create art. For example, the Basic Plasma Facility at UCLA “generates unique images that illustrate our findings” (BAPSF). With the Large Plasma Device, physicists input formulas which the machine then interprets and creates really cool works of art. These formulas can be manipulated to effect the space thus making many different works. Another way a of manipulation is the effects of gravity. For example there is a plane that can recreate the loss of gravity like in space. The company is called Zero G and some photographers have used it’s facility to take photos with the effects of zero gravity. For example, the band OK Go, known for their fun music videos, used zero gravity in their 2016 music video “Upside Down & Inside Out”. They used props and cool dance moves to create a very artistic video. It is interesting because gravity is such a normal part of everyday life so seeing antigravity is not what you expect thus making the video very amusing.

In conclusion, space is a limitless, unknown entity. We have a whole program dedicated to it where every new discovery is extraordinary. From my point of view, I have seen photos of nebulas and stars exploding showing that space is truly a sight to see.
"Basic Plasma Science Facility." BaPSF. UCLA, 2014. Web. 30 May 2016.
"Zero G." Zero Gravity Corporation. 2008. Web. 30 May 2016.
OK Go. "Upside Down & Inside Out." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 30 May 2016.
Eagle Nebula Pillars. 2015. NASA. This Is Colossal. Web. 29 May 2016.
Star Wars. 1977. CNet. Web. 29 May 2016.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 8

Nanotechnology is defined as the technology that is studied on an atomic and molecular level. With nanotechnology researchers are examining the tiniest forms of existence to have a better understanding of the bigger picture. For example, companies in China have tried to recreate the liver’s efficient manufacturing process but quickly abandoned the project when realizing how many more factories would be needed. Showing that much more goes on at a molecular level.
In the third culture atoms can be manipulated and recorded to create a work of art. In the readings this week from art.base artists created the Nanomandala. The Nanomandala is inspired by the Hindu and Buddhist culture where a mandala is their representation of the universe. The nanomandala is video projected on sand and when visitors touch the sand the mandala transforms into the molecular structure of a grain of sand via a scanning electron microscope (Art.Base) .
Another example of nanotechnology and art is when IBM made a huge breakthrough in accessing huge amounts of data storage. In 2012, they created the world’s smallest magnetic memory bit which could potentially give our devices unlimited amounts of data storage. Resulting in the manipulation of 12 atoms, IBM researchers created the short film “A Boy and His Atom”. It is a simple little film where a boy shaped out of atoms interacts with a single atom. They made the movie by moving the atoms every frame to make a stop-motion film. It has been verified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “The World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film”.

In conclusion, nanotechnology is really mind blowing when you discover how much atoms and molecules effect the world. They can create life, photosynthesis, or they can destroy it, atomic bomb. We owe a lot of our evolving world to the understanding of these simple life forms and hopefully we will continue too.

Vesna, Victoria. "Nano Mandala." YouTube. 26 Sept. 2008. Web. 22 May 2016.
"A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie." IBM Research. International Business Machines, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 22 May 2016.
"What Is Nanotechnology?" Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. 2008. Web. 22 May 2016.
Picture of the Liver. 2014. WebMD. WebMD. Web. 22 May 2016.
Curtin, John. "Art in the Age of Nanotechnology." Art.Base. 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 23 May 2016.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week 7

The brain is the control center for our entire body. It regulates breathing, understands pain, and can comprehend the impossible. The science to start understanding the brain started with Franz Gall who founded the idea of Phrenology. According to The Victorian Web, “In the nineteenth-century, it was believed that by examining the shape and unevenness of a head or skull, one could discover the development of the particular cerebral "organs" responsible for different intellectual aptitudes and character traits” (The History of Phrenology). The theory was the start in examining he different parts of the brain. However since then many advances in technology has allowed neuroscientists to really research the brain eventually disprove Phrenology.
In art, many artists have pushed the boundaries of “expanding the mind” to create their work. It was popular among many writers and artists in the 60s, such as Ken Kesey who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Most recently a French artist drew self portraits of herself under the effects of LSD. LSD is a drug that causes hallucinations and turns off the part of the brain that constrains consciousness, allowing free flow of thought (Medical Daily). Looking at her self portraits it is interesting to see the mental effects of LSD on the brain transferred to paper. The mind seems more fluid and colorful under the influence. The US government also partook in experiments whereas drugs affect the mind. For example, in the late 1950s an artist was given a tab of LSD with pencil and paper to draw the medic. In the beginning his drawings were more straight lines and were able to see a face. Soon the drugs started to take effect and at around 2 hours and 45 minutes his drawings were much more abstract until the come down, 8 hours later. 


In conclusion, the brain is a very complex organ and with the advancements in technology it has taught us many new things about the brain. When under the influence of drugs, the brain is able to open up more to believe the illogical is logical.  Otherwise it is the center of our creativity and processing, together the brain gives us the ability to survive.\
Van Wyhe, John. "The History of Phrenology." The History of Phrenology. 2000. Web. 13 May 2016.
Olson, Samantha. "How LSD Really Affects Your Mind And Body." Medical Daily. IBT Media Inc, 2014. Web. 13 May 2016.
Vesna, Victoria. Lecture. “Conscious / Memory (Part 2).” 13 May 2016.
"Watch What Happens When a Portrait Artist Takes LSD." YouTube. Google, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 13 May 2016.
Emner. Phrenology. 2006. Mind Games. Skeptic Report. Web. 13 May 2016.

Vermeleun, Christiaan. Neuroscience. 2016. Association for Talent Development. Web. 13 May 2016.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Week 6

This week I learned how artists are able to manipulate biotechnology to create art. It is very interesting to see how much of living organisms make-ups can be seen as art or manipulated into art.

I believe that regardless if the project is being used for science or for art, both projects should have the same restrictions. I believe anything unethical or harmful to people should be restricted. Especially since the improvement and accessibility to technology has improved the combination of scientists and artists can create amazing things. Although it is hard to put restrictions on an artist’s creative process when they involve laboratories there are ethical standards that need to be upheld.

As stated above an artist who is manipulating any sort of living organism or and semi-living organism needs ethical standards. However there are exceptions, like the “Harlequin coat” created by ORLAN. She was able to take skin cells, “semi-living”, grow them in a petrie dish, and then design them into a colorful coat. She was able to take semi-living organisms with out hurting living people.

Yes I believe there should be limits to human creativity. Especially when it turns into inhumane projects or not natural. For example, the ability to genetically modify what your baby looks like is technology that we have today. In my opinion, being able to genetically modify your baby is unnatural and could create a uniformity of human characteristics. However there are benefits to the science of gene manipulation, as in the ability to prevent the passing down of genetic diseases. Scientists could remove the gene that causes cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, or tay-sachs disease (Clark). This could definitely improve the longevity and ultimately rid the human race of these horrible diseases.

ORLAN. "Still, Living." SymboticA. Web. 07 May 2016.
Clark, Heather. "Types of Genetic Diseases." University of Rochester Medical Center. 5 July 2016. Web. 08 May 2016.
Harlequin Coat. 2008. Sk-interfaces. Fact. Web. 7 May 2016.
The Experiment. 2015. Independent. Web. 7 May 2016.

Underhill, Joannah. Molecular Regeneration. When Science Is Art. The University of Queensland. Web. 7 May 2016.