For my final event, I decided to attend the on campus symposium that centered around the unveiling of Art + Brain and Nano two catalogs and book signing that Professor Vesna created as a collaboration between scientists and artists. The event was not only eye-opening and informative, but also a beautiful tribute to William S. Klug, whose work with mechanical engineering greatly influenced many of Professor Vesna’s colleagues who were in attendance that night. The event focused on the special relationship between art and science, highlighting that works of art can connect the general public to scientific ideas and reveal new ways of thinking about science as a whole. The presentation began with each of Professor Vesna’s colleagues speaking about their backgrounds, how they aided in the collaboration of the catalog, and science or art has shifted their view on their own background in either.
(Dr. Mark Coen and a picture of the digital version of the catalog. The original was also available to look through with a pair of gloves, and we were told copies would be available on Amazon shortly.)
One of my favorite speakers who was introduced was neuroscientist Dr. Mark Coen. His main point centered on the idea that the average person is slowly losing interest in science or is unable to understand the technicality behind scientist’s work. This is why he believes this collaboration between artists and scientists is so important: artists will be able to express the ideas behind scientific discoveries in a completely unique way that will be more accessible to the general public. This idea struck me on a unique level because I believe that we are conditioned as North campus majors to interact, watch, and listen to learn. The idea that art can continue this learning for right-brained students to delve more into the scientific realm is fascinating.
(Professor Vesna, I, and another DESMA 9 student speaking to her about how she is using art to showcase scientific discoveries)
Professor Vesna explained my favorite portion of the catalog to me as she flipped through a copy and answered my questions. In this specific art piece featured, titled Blue Morph, scientists modeled, measured, and recorded the vibrations of a caterpillar as it went through metamorphosis with the help of nanotechnology. Then, Professor Vesna created an installation that allows humans to sit and experience this transform into a butterfly through Nano scale images and sounds. I believe this installation would be an incredible way to introduce younger students to the animal world and get them interested in science. Even I would love to try it out someday! This piece is symbolic of the culmination of art and nanotechnology, both influence the other, and art is able to showcase the scientific process to the general public. It was also interesting to hear about this project from the perspective of the artist and the scientist and see firsthand how their collaboration was able to create such a fascinating art piece bursting with science. I found a video on the installation, which you can watch below.