Saturday, April 23, 2016

Event Blog 2: LASER

Last Thursday Night I attended an event at the UCLA Art-Science center. It was called LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous), and it was co-sponsored by the California NanoSystems Institute and Leonardo/ISAST, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology. This event covered the idea of the "third culture" as the intersection between art and science, and what it means in our culture today. All the panelists had their own unique interpretations of how they experienced the "third culture."

In the lectures of week 1, Professor Vesna discussed the idea of a "third culture" - she mentioned how CP Snow first coined the term "Two Cultures" in reference to the gap between humanities and the sciences, and how this exacerbates a divide between the rich and the poor. CP Snow argues, however, that a third culture will emerge in the form of technological advancements. These new technologies will enable art and science to work together, and this idea was very evident in the LASER event.

For example, one of the speakers at the panel presented his dissertation, in which he focused on object permanence (the ability to now that an object exists even when it is occluded from our sight). His research was conducted using artistic techniques and videos, even though the subject he was presenting is highly scientific. This is a perfect demonstration of how technology serves as a bridge between science and art. Additionally, another panelist discussed how technology has allowed her to express art forms that mirror the emotions she feels. Because she is physically distant from her daughter and they live in different parts of the country, she feels emotionally torn and expresses this through video and sound montages that reflect her feelings in the passage of time. With so many new technologies and softwares, we are able to express our emotional experiences in new ways and perhaps understand the experiences of others on a deeper level. LASER forced me to look at art through a different perspective. I realized that as mediums of art and science continue to evolve, through technological advancements, so will the expressions of artists evolve.


"LASER [Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous]." Home Page. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

LASER Event, UCLA. Personal photograph by author. 2016.

LASER Event Selfie, UCLA. Personal photograph by author. 2016.

Snow, C. P. “Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” Reading. 1959. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.

Vesna, Victoria. “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between.” Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-25. Web.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 4: Medicine, Technology and Art

This week’s topic was very eye-opening to me in that helped me understand just how much of a strong influence artwork has had on the medical world. Professor Vesna discussed how artwork was used for medical uses from the very beginning. It all began with diagrams of the human body - even though I have been familiarized with these diagrams from a young age, studying anatomy in school, I never thought of it as art; however, it takes a very talented artist to represent the human body correctly!

Additionally, I have attended Body World, and experienced the artwork there with my own eyes. I distinctly remember one of the exhibits where the only part of the body that was displayed were blood vessels. It was amazing to have a real visual of just how many blood vessels our body has! The ability to deconstruct our human tissues and display them gives us a completely new understanding of our bodies’ functions and just how complex they are.

I also never thought of plastic surgery as an art form. I had always thought of it as a medical procedure for people to want to alter their appearance, but I never thought that someone would want to reconstruct their image at multiple times in their life. Orlan takes this idea of plastic surgery as art to an extreme level, and it makes me wonder if her body suffers or doesn’t function as well as it normally would. I can imagine her work would stir up controversy about how we are each created uniquely and beautifully in our own way, and that we should not be altered based on societal conceptions of aesthetic “beauty.”

My favorite reading from this week regarded the Hippocratic Oath. This is something I was previously unfamiliar with, but I love the idea that those in the medical field should have this oath in order to uphold ethical standards while they treat their patients, for they are in a profession of service and have the opportunity to contribute to a healthier society, by aiding one person at a time. This is something that appeals to me, I would love to be in a profession of service, knowing that I am helping to improve the quality of another’s life.


"Doctors Aren't Bound by the Hippocratic Oath." Today I Found Out. 2013. Web. Photograph. 20 Apr. 2016.

"Spider in the Bathtub." : Body Worlds. Web. Photograph. 20 Apr. 2016.

"Squeeze Page – Figure — My Drawing Tutorials - Art Made Simple!" My Drawing Tutorials Art Made Simple. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Tyson, Peter. "The Hippocratic Oath Today." PBS. PBS, 2001. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. “Medicine and Art: Part 2.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 20 April, 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. “Medicine and Art: Part 1.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 20 April, 2016.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Event Blog 1: Black Mountain College

On Thursday, April 14th, I attended a poetry reading at the Hammer Museum. It was called “The Kinetics” and was part of a series of events that the Hammer has been putting on called Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College.

Black Mountain College was a liberal arts college founded in 1933 in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The school was unique in that it placed its main educational emphasis on the study of art itself as part of a liberal arts education - students were required to study the arts upon attending this college. It ended up closing due to a lack of funding in 1957. The writers and artists that made up its faculty had great influences on the arts, and many of them are America’s leading visual artists, composers, poets, and designers. 

At the event, four of the college’s literary descendants spoke of their experience at the college and then shared some of their colleagues’ poetry. The speakers included Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Duncan McNaughton, Michael Davidson, and Michael Palmer. The discussions of these four literary descendants touched on many of the ideas we are learning in class. For example, Black Mountain College itself exemplifies the idea of Two Cultures: the school was shut down simply because the study of arts is not as emphasized in our culture that is more and more dependent on science. Additionally, one of them mentioned that the poetry read at the reading is “poetry of place” - how you are in relation to those around you - this is poetics of the body. This relates to how our bodies are used to create art. Upon speaking about one of his colleagues, another speaker mentioned that their relationship was “of another dimension” - this reminded me of the “fourth dimension” discussed in our unit of mathematics and art.

Overall, I am glad I went to this event and listened to some poetry that I otherwise would not have been exposed to. I would recommend this event to anyone who wants to take a break from their busy schedule, slow down a bit, and contemplate the different meanings of words as others share their personal experiences. 


Black Mountain College. 2008. North Carolina. Wikipedia. Photograph. 18 Apr. 2016.

"Black Mountain College." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Tan, Kamila. Hammer Pamphlets. Photograph, 2016. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Tan, Kamila. Thumbs Up with the Hammer Guy. Photograph, 2016. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Vesna,Victoria. “Lecture Part 2.” Math + Art. 12 Oct. 2012. Lecture.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Week 3 - Mechanization and Art

In this week’s discussion of mechanization and art, Professor Vesna discussed the idea that mechanization and the constant process of reproduction puts an end to the idea of uniqueness and authenticity. For example, photographs are no longer unique because millions of the same copies can be produced. Walter Benjamin discusses this issue in his essay. He claims that reproducibility of art creates a dependence on ritual, and art is reproduced or altered in order to reach a level of aesthetic perfection.

This idea reminds me of the movie Gattaca. This film is set in a futuristic world in which humans are no longer conceived by natural means - the optimal genes from both the mother and the father are combined to form the “best” child possible, with the longest life span and the most desirable physical traits. Those humans who are conceived naturally, without genetic alterations, are forced to the lowest echelons of society and take up jobs that require physical labor (such as a janitorial position) even though they may be just as smart or capable as those who have received genetic enhancements. Gattaca ties into the idea that mechanization kills uniqueness and originality. By constantly altering or “enhancing” our artwork in order to make it perfect, we lose its original depth and meaning. In Gattaca, through the process of each child receiving genetic treatment to be the best possible combination of its parents, the spontaneity of that person’s unique combination of genetics is lost.

One could say, as humans, that each one of us is a work of art. We are all genetically unique - no two people (unless they are identical twins) are made up of the exact same genetic material. Our combination of both physical and mental traits, what we look like and who we are, is original. We should embrace this part of our human nature, and allow ourselves to continue creating novel artworks, embracing each person’s unique impact to society and the world.


Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Marxists. N.p.. Web. 18 Oct 2012. "Campbell's Soup Cans." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Photograph. 15 Apr. 2016. "Gattaca: Humanizing Research and Evolving." Splice. 2015. Photograph. 15 Apr. 2016. "Gattaca Synopsis." IMDb. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. "Healthy Children" United Way Nashua. Photograph. 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. Vesna,Victoria. “Lecutre Part 2.” Math + Art. 12 Oct. 2012. Lecture.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 2 - Mathematics, Art and Science

In this week’s “Math + Art” lecture by professor Vesna, I gained several insights into how mathematics has influenced art and science. For example, I have taken art classes when I was younger in which I learned how to use Brunelleschi’s “vanishing point” technique as a so-called “trick” to draw pictures with accurate depth. Professor Vesna explains that the vanishing point is actually geometrical, and an artist can control the length of the object and picture to create a certain image and experience for the viewer. I was also very interested in Da Vinci’s use of the Golden Ratio, used to create proportions in art using mathematical relationships that make the art aesthetically appealing. It is probably Da Vinci’s expert use of the Golden Ratio that makes his depictions of people seem so realistic. Additionally, under the resource entitled “Music and Computers,” I realized the process of music composition is entirely mathematical because composers take into account rhythms and intervals that all have to do with numbers. Using the resource “Mathematical Origami,” I realized that this art form is created entirely by geometrical shapes caused by the folding of a paper over and over again!

In this picture of an origami blackbird, one can see how the shapes of its head, beak, body, and feet are all put together by geometrical shapes. The smaller the shapes, the more "rounded" the edges seem, and the larger the shapes, the straighter the edges.

This week's readings have an overarching theme that both artists and scientists apply mathematics through use of computers. Henderson mentions that artists Banchoff and Strauss manipulated four-dimensional figures on computer screens - this corroborates the idea that computers are the "bridge" between art and science. Additionally, I noticed that the idea of a fourth dimension has been especially relevant in recent movies. For example, the movie "Interstellar" plays on the idea that people could be sent to another world by traveling through a wormhole, calculated using a mathematical equation. Even though it is a fictional story, the producers maintained that it's based on scientific findings - I find this to be a perfect example of how mathematics is used as both an art form (the movie-making process) and science.


Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. “The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion.” Leonardo. 17.3 (1984): 205-210. Print.

Interstellar Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Red-Winged Blackbird, Opus 668. Photograph, 2004-2016. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

"Robert J. Lang Origami." Robert J. Lang Origami. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Time Signatures. Photograph, 2011. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. “” Cole UC online. Youtube, 9 April 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <>

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 1 - Two Cultures

The idea of “Two Cultures” is not new to me, but until now I hadn’t read anything that so eloquently articulated the concept. C.P. Snow maintained that his colleagues from each of the two cultures were comparable in intelligence, race, and social origin, but continuously misunderstood each other. Additionally, professor Vesna
mentions how the two cultures have been generalized into stereotypes – each has an over-simplified view of the other. I have seen the effects of these misunderstandings and stereotypes in my own family life. On my mother’s side of the family, art is highly valued – my grandfather was an architect and regularly painted beautiful watercolor pieces. On my father’s side of the family, science is highly valued - my grandfather has contributed a significant amount of research to autoimmune diseases and my father works in the realm of biological sciences. Both sides of my family are equally smart and talented, yet their emphasis on what is important is opposite, sometimes causing misunderstandings, division, and stereotypical commentary. Growing up, I have often felt like the two sides of my family are different worlds, and have struggled to find balance between two equally valuable aspects of my life and heritage. (Pictured above: my grandfather painting as I watch at a young age).

As discussed in the video “Changing Education Paradigms,” two cultures are deeply engrained in our educational system. The humanities and sciences are separate and specialized, which causes a division among students who choose to go one route or the other. This is plainly visible at UCLA, where there is a culture of scientific and technological “elite” among south-campus majors and an emphasis on aesthetic experience among north-campus majors. I wish there was a major that encompassed both!

One stereotype that I have personal experience with is the “athlete” stereotype. At UCLA, I see the idea of Two Cultures in the division between intercollegiate athletes and the regular student body. Among the athletic population, we have discussed feeling judged as lazy or nonchalant in our academics, even though many of us have well above a 3.0 GPA on top of having to spend 3-5 hours a day (often more) for our athletic obligations. Conversely, I have heard accusations that regular students would never be able to “do what athletes do,” but I would disagree that the regular student body puts their time and energy into other activities, and may have equally busy schedules. The misunderstandings between these two cultures are apparent, but as I have grown in friendships with fellow athletes and non-athletes alike, I see and appreciate both sides.

Changing Education Paradigms. Perf. Sir Ken Robinson. YouTube. Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. <>.

Dong, Han Q. Kamila Tan Beach Volleyball. 2016. Los Angeles. Facebook. Web. 3 Apr. 2016. Photograph.
Kamila and Grandfather, Pine Valley, CA. Personal photograph by author. 1998.

North vs. South Campus. 2011. Deviant Art. Web. 3 Apr. 2016. Photograph.

Snow, C. P. “Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” Reading. 1959. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.