Sunday, May 29, 2016

Space and Art

One of my very first family memories dates back to a camping trip in which my parents, sister, and I all looked up at the night stars, naming constellations and just gazing at its vastness.  We always had glow in the dark stars on our bedroom ceilings and constantly berated my parents with questions about what else is “out there” in space.  Space has always represented both a fascination with the unknown and a sea of possibilities.  This, in turn, closely relates space to art because artists continually focus on spaces, like space, that are yet to be explored.
The Soviet Union launch of Sputnik in 1956 kicked off the Space Age and took the world down a intertwined path of exploration and discovery that interests people of all ages to this day.  Yet, public portrayal of this exploration of possibilities, such as TV shows like The Jetsons and Star Trek, were all conceived just before or after this launch.  These influential pieces of media not only impacted world culture, but also planted the question of “What is out in space?” in the minds of people of all ages.  These shows placed pressure on scientists to make these fiction stories an actual nonfiction success.  People dreamed, hoped, and pleaded for civilizations in space, the discovery of other creatures, and other human activities in this vast unknown. 
Recently, the movie Gravity focused on astronauts floating in the blackness of space, highlighting the fact that mankind still has no control or true knowledge of how to survive outside our planet.  Although Sandra Bullock eventually made it home safely, the movie just shows how powerful space can be.  It is my prediction, however, that based on past trends of scientific and artistic discovery that space will become more naturalized and a part of human life in the near future. 

Barber, Steve. "History Home." NASA. Web. N.p.,n.d. 29 May 2016. <>
"Gravity."Imdb. N.p., n.d. Web 29 May 2016. <>
Launius, Roger D. “Sputnik and the Origins of the space Age.” History of NASA. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2016. <>.
"Leonardo Space Art Project Visioneers." Leonardo Space Art Project Visioneers. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <>.
Vensa, Victoria. Space Exploration + Art Lectures I-VI. UCOnline. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2016.
Sputnick. Digital image. <>
Camping. Digital Image. <>

Gravity. Digitial Image. Film.  <>

Sunday, May 22, 2016

NanoTech + Art

Nanotechnology is a topic that is attractive to both scientists and artists, as it explores a new field not yet touched in history.  It can be defined as a science that is concerned with control of matter at the smallest scale imaginable- atoms and molecules.  It has the ability to create new innovation and technology for a variety of fields such as electronics, medicine, and even art.   As we have so much room to learn at the nano level, this type of science could have the ability to transform the world.

Nanotechnology is also applicable to everyday life. For example, the Lotus Leaf Effect explains the phenomena in which droplets of water appear to be spherical because water doesn’t “like” the lotus lead surface.  This technology can be seen in the self-cleaning glass on BMW’s so dirt does not stick to the window.  As soon as a dirt particle lodges onto the window, sunlight will react with the nanoparticles and clean the window itself.  This technology can also be transferred to fabrics, concrete, etc. 
In this lecture, however, I found the use of nanotechnology in medicine to be the most interesting.  Nanoshells can recognize cancer cells and apply near infrared light in order to kill of cancerous tumors.  This is revolutionizing the future of cancer treatment, as it may reduce the effects of chemotherapy, which are often severe.  For example, Abraxane is a nanodrug that can be used to treat breast cancer. I hope that the use of this technology will aid in transforming the medical scene in a way that past drugs and treatments are not able to. 
Before this lecture, I was ignorant on the massive impact nanotechnology is playing in our everyday lives.  I believe that a major aspect of art is to describe the world or a portion of life that is difficult to comprehend.  Nanotechnology reveals a complete field that is not viewable by the naked eye, and thus a mystery to the majority of the population.  By merely describing and showing what is not viewable without a microscope, such as a scanning tunneling microscope, nanotechnology is an art form. 

“Art in the Age of Nanotechnology.” Artabase. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May. 2016. <>.

Gimzewski, Jim. Lecture. “Nanotech for Artists (Part 1).” 21 May 2012. 

Gimzewski, Jim. Lecture. “Nanotech for Artists (Part 3).” 21 May 2012.

Vespa, Victoria, and Jim Gimzewski. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science." UCLA (n.d.): n. pag. Web. <>.

"What Is Nanotechnology?" Nano., n.d. Web.  22 May. 2016. <>.

Digital Image. Web. Lotus Effect. May 22 2016. <>

Digital Image. Web. Nanotechnology in Medicine. May 22 2016. <>

Digital Image. Web. Scanning tunneling Microscope. Stock image. May 22 2016. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016


As the most complex part of the human body, the brain has always fascinated and intrigued me.  This unit on consciousness and the mind truly enabled me to delve further into this complicated topic and explore how art and neuroscience relates.  Both lean on each other to not only exist, but also expand and flourish. 
“Brainbows” were developed in 2007 and utilize fluorescent proteins to flag neurons and distinguish them from their neighbors.  The final product is not just a piece of science, but artwork that can aid both scientists and aid the general population in gaining interest and understanding about neuroscience.  Thus, artwork helps spread knowledge about the brain, and the brain was used to both create and perceive the art. 
Another source example I found fascinating was the trailer of the 1983 film Brainstorm.  The film follows a team of scientists who have created a machine that can record sensations, emotions, and experiences from a subject’s brain, allowing anyone else to experience the same moments. Yet, this movie proposes the question of whether we are becoming slaves to machines and if they expand our consciousness.  I believe that such technology would prove to be more destructive to our world than beneficial, however it might prove inevitable.   

The mind is extremely malleable, and should thus be protected.  For instance, UCLA researchers have proven that meditation increases areas of the brain that respond to emotions.  As an avid meditator, I found this article extremely fascinating.  I was told it aided health and well being, but the fact that a simple activity involving not thinking can “build a bigger brain” is revolutionary.  If this type of activity can induce a significant change, though, I can only imagine how future technology could begin to alter and shape the brain. 
Art and neuroscience are inevitably interconnected.  From the brain reacting to art, to art helping the world learn more about the brain, both topics have leaned upon one another in the last 100 years of study. 

BreadCrustCouncil. "Brainstorm Trailer." YouTube. YouTube, 2011. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Gardner, Howard. Art, Mind, and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity. New York: Basic, 1982. Print.

Vensa, Victoria. Neuroscience + Art Lecture I. UCOnline. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2016.

Vensa, Victoria. Neuroscience + Art Lecture II. UCOnline. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2016.

Wheeler, Mark. "How to Build a Bigger Brain." UCLA Newsroom. N.p., 12 May 2009. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Adl, Carol. Meditation Can Literally Rebuild Your Brain. Digital image. Your News Wire. N.p., 7 May 2015. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Brainbow. Digital image. Center For Brain Science. Harvard, 2007. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

BreadCrustCouncil. "Brainstorm Trailer." YouTube. YouTube, 2011. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

BioTech + Art

Coined by Joe Davis, BioArt is an art practice in which humans work with live tissue, cells, and living organisms to synthesize DNA to insert it into living cells.  Animal biotechnology includes practices such as artificial insemination, cloning, and genetic engineering.
Davis aided the collaboration between molecular biologists and himself. His inventive ideas were extremely controversial because they tested the limits on what was considered feasible and ethical.  However, without him, we would not have transgenic art.  Eduardo Kac also explored with this type of art, which is the “transfer of natural or synthetic genes to create a unique organism.”  This idea eventually led to the creation of SymbioticA in 2008, a permanent space for both artists and scientists to work together and experiment in labs.  This is an extreme jump from the glowing mice and luminescent jellyfish experiments of the past.
Biotechnology is one of the most divisive issues our units have covered to this point.  As it takes art to design a cellular structure, and science in order to complete the process, biotechnology is the epitome of this class.  However, this does alter what would occur in the natural environment.  Thus, there is a major divide on whether it is beneficial for society due to its scientific and artistic exploration, or whether it is unethical because it transforms the natural world.  I believe that this can only be decided on a personal basis, as each individual may interpret nature differently.  In my opinion, however, it should not be used if it harms any organism or is merely for aesthetical purposes.   Yet, it may be necessary for scientific advancement or artistic purposes.

Davis, Joe. "Genetics and Culture." Design|Media Arts 98T, n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. <>.

Kac, Eduardo. "Bio Art." KAC. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. <>.

“SymbioticA.” The University of Western Australia. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.

UCtelevision. "Animal Biotechnology." YouTube. YouTube, 25 July 2008. Web. 08 May 2016.

Vensa, Victoria. BioTech + Art Lectures I-V. UCOnline. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.

George Dvorsky. Digital Image. BioArt Bunny. 2003. N.p. <>.

SymbioticA. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. <SymbioticA. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2016>. 

BioArt. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. <BioArt. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2016.>

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Event #1: Leap Before You Look at The Hammer Museum

At the Hammer Museum, the exhibition that stood out to me the most was the Leap Before You Look exhibit showcasing the individual pieces of more than 90 students from the Black Mountain College.  While I had never been exposed to this experimental school before, it became very easy to draw a connection between science and art in this exhibition.  The Black Mountain College was founded in 1933 in North Carolina and placed extreme emphasis on the study of art and an interdisciplinary approach. 

It is obvious that both science and math were a huge influence upon these students’ art.  Without the use of both, the pieces would not possess the same level of experimentation that enabled this school to produce alumni that would go on to revolutionize the art and science fields. 

I thought the best comparisons in the exhibit lied between math and art, with many similar points that we discovered in Unit 2. For example, throughout the exhibit, music was playing that reflected what was taught and heard at the college.  Music is extremely influenced by mathematical concepts due to the idea of sound, which can be defined as relationship between physics and perception.  I have included a picture below that was on the wall and listed some of the tracks playing at the Hammer.
Another art piece that combines mathematics is R. Buckminster Fuller’s “Great Circle Sphere Model” made of aluminum and steel.  These seemingly perfect spheres actually illustrates the basic ideas of geodesic design, showcasing a series complex mathematical calculations to ensure the angles and shapes mimic an atom and support themselves. 

I highly recommend this exhibit to any of my fellow students! There was incredible artwork that showcased many of the principles we have learned about in class that put into perspective how connected art and science truly is.