Monday, June 6, 2016

Event 3: X-Men Apocalypse

Keeping up with my unorthodox approach of going to events/places that are not necessarily recommended, I went to see the movie X-men: Apocalypse. You might ask, what exactly is so special about another typical action movie? Simple. The whole concept of X-men is based on biotechnology (genetic mutation) and medical technology (enhancements to the X-men's powers). How does the art factor in? Well, film itself is an art and the imagination of genetic mutations leading to superpowers is also attributed to a form of artistic expression.
To start, we can start with the biotechnology that was used to enhance Apocalypse's powers. In addition to amplifying his powers, Apocalypse's acquired biotechnology allowed him to transfer his "consciousness" between bodies. While it is not necessarily an "artistic" process, but I thought that concept of how this technology was conceived and portrayed film was quite intriguing as an artistic outlet. 
Mid-transfer Apocalypse
Consequently, medical technologies such as Cyclops's glasses allow him to see and not laser everything he looks at. Again, the actually technology is not particularly artistic to me, but as with the previous statement, I find the expression of the "idea" in film is rather artistic. 
Those are Ray-Bans too.
Since this is not a movie review or a synopsis, I will not get too much into the details regarding the movie. However, if students want to observe the imaginations of biotechnology or medical technology at its finest, then look no further. However, I do struggle quite a bit in terms of finding an additional artistic aspect of such a science-based film. For my peers that are just as science-y as I am, I would recommend you to watch this movie to see the connection between an artistic outlet and some of the best scientific concepts I have seen to date. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Event 2: UCLA Sculpture Garden

As in my last event post, I once again visited a location where artistic displays were free to access. This time around, I visited our own backyard, UCLA's sculpture garden. While not often visited by a majority of students, the sculptures in the garden are all important artistic pieces in their own right. In fact, the sculpture garden is an extension of Hammer museum, indicating the significance of the works displayed there.
Since my last post regarding my visit to LACMA's Urban Lights, I have been consistently intrigued by the mathematics behind my art. Since I didn't exactly iterate this last time, I must confess that I have always thought art to be "abstract" and perhaps even "formless". However, with concepts of ratios and calculations that were explained by Dr. Vesna, I can now only focus on the mathematical angles and lines in the artwork that I see.

For this particular artwork, T.E. UCLA, the way the steel pieces are bent seems almost as complex and beautiful as a calculus parabolic graph. Not only is the shape intriguingly beautiful, but the choice of material (weathered steel) shows the depth of artistic thought placed into the making of this project.

What makes this sculpture truly worthwhile is the "open space" that people can enter. When you are in the middle of the sculpture, it is as if you can feel the metallic embrace of the structure. Perhaps, I can even say I feel "at peace" or "protected".
Therefore, I feel like for students who haven't visited this particular structure, I highly encourage them to do so. It is an unique experience that all UCLA student should enjoy at least once. Perhaps after finals week or even during the hectic chaos of finals, students can come here to feel the same "peace" I felt. This sculpture definitely allowed me to enjoy the math behind art and I wish my peers could feel the same way as well.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9 "Space+ Art"

Space, the final frontier, has always been considered as a destination shrouded in mystery. With mystery comes the prospect of inspiration and creativity. In fact, images and topics relating to space have often been related with the concept of "art". From futuristic "space-age" drawings to the designs of space "invaders" such as the Alien (from Alien film series), space provides artists with an abundant source of niches in which to project their creativity and thoughts.
H.R. Giger's artistic concept of the "Space Jockeys" for the Alien film series
While artistic space-related drawings have often been definitive of the "art" associated with space, some actually consider images of space as rather artistic as well. For example, images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA-related images have been deemed as artistic, if not, art.
Nebulas such as this would seem like a creative piece from a modern artist
Of course, art itself is an age-old craft. Despite never having seen the stars with the clarity we do today, famous painters from the past have also used the cosmos as their inspiration to produce some of the most important paintings of this century.
Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is the paramount of space-inspried art from the past
Therefore, it can said that space/cosmos has been intertwined since long ago. Even without modern technologies such as the Hubble Space Telescope, artists have been using the stars as their inspiration for many years. Of course, now that we do have telescopes that can take high resolution images of the stars and beyond, we have started to appreciate the beauty of space.

"Space and Art." - NASA Watch. Web. 29 May 2016.
Foust, Jeff. "When Space and Art Intersect." The Space Review:. Web. 29 May 2016.
"Vincent Van Gogh Gallery." Vincent Van Gogh Gallery. Web. 29 May 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 8 "Nanotech + Art"

Before we focus on the "bigger" things such as space, we can also find artistic inspirations in the microscopic field. With nanotechnology going on the rise, not only are we able to observe microscopic images to great detail, we can also express our artistic creativity by engineering projects through nanotechnology.
Microscopic images such as these are often confused with contemporary designs 
By observing these microscopic structures, we can further apply these artistic concepts into normal scale designs,. Whether it's furniture or for understanding how to make better materials, microscopy such as the STM or TEM have served as an inspiration for many designers.

In addition to just viewing these images and getting inspiration, artists have also engineered their art into a microscopic form. With the advent of nanotechnology, it is without a doubt that engineers have tried to "nano-ize" daily items. For example, engineers have constructed a fully operational microscopic violin that is only a couple of microns long. Music itself is considered as an art form, and with that, engineers have crafted a micron length tool of art.
But who can play it?
Other than real-world application of nanotechnology, the term and concept of  "nanotechnology" have often been a hot topic for films. For example, the film GI Joe uses the concept of nanobots as a potential weapon of mass destruction. While the concept of how nanotechnology was used is not necessarily artistic, the use of "nanotechnology" as a futuristic tool was portrayed in an art form: film.

Based on this week's material, I would say that NOVA's videos and the lecture slides were the most useful in establishing the connection between art and nanotechnology. While the website were useful for understanding "nanotechnology", the lack of a connection with the artistic side did not help too much.

" ." STM Image Gallery. Web. 23 May 2016.
"'Nano Violin String' Made of Vibrating Carbon Nanotube (w/ Video)." 'Nano Violin String' Made of Vibrating Carbon Nanotube (w/ Video). Web. 23 May 2016.
"''Nano Violin String'' by Delft Researchers in Science." Delft University of Technology. Web. 23 May 2016.
Person, and Alasdair Wilkins. "Nano-violin Has Strings a Millionth of an Inch Thick...but You Can Hear It Play." Io9. 2010. Web. 23 May 2016.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 7 "Neuroscience + Art"

Over this week's lecture, it was clear that the focus of the material was on the consciousness of an individual. In the discussion of consciousness, several points such as drug use, psyche, and biological basis. While consciousness can be interpreted as an amalgamation of non-computable components, the biological basis (chemicals, neurons, etc) all come together to form the single "entity" that is us. However, this consciousness, as discussed in the lectures, is shown to be a rather delicate process. For example, an irregular psyche can lead to destabilizing your consciousness, or even going as far as taking recreational drugs.
Extremely easy to affect the conscious
Of course, as the UCLA study (Luders) shows other activity that are not deemed detrimental may possibly enhance the biological matter that comprises our "consciousness". While different actions we perform may alter the way we think, it is undeniable that "exploring" recreational drugs such as cocaine may have a profound effect on the way humans think. For example, in the lecture, it is mentioned that Freud was an avid user of cocaine; however, Freud is primarily known for his theories of the id, ego, superego. So does that mean we should all do drugs and become famous thinkers? No.
While it is known that many thinkers have had their fair share of substance abuse, there are also ways to "expand your mind"- such as meditation
Picasso's Femme Au Cafe 
Just as many great thinkers have used drugs, there are also many famous painters who've turned to substances to expand their creative mind. Painters such as Van Gogh and Picasso were all avid users of absinthe, a strong alcoholic drink known for its peculiar effects. While substance abuse is usually not glorified, but in the painting above, it is noted by Picasso that the woman is actually enjoying a glass of absinthe. This goes to show how there can be a connection between neurological processes and how if we try to alter it, it can be related to arts.
TRIP HARD (not advertising getting high)
Overall, I feel like this week's material, despite supposedly being centered around neuroscience and art, it was actually best shown as a discussion regarding "what is consciousness" and also how substances have had profound effects on famous thinkers and even those who analyze the mind (Freud, Jung, and etc). To really understand this week's material, I'd have to say the lectures were the best sources. The readings included felt a little irrelevant (in regards to the lecture), but were informative nonetheless.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 "Biotech + Art"

This week's topic, biotechnology and art was something that I never really thought could be connected. However, on the last segment of the lectures, I finally grasped the concept of how they can be hand-in-hand. For most life science majors, the majority of the students have known about genetic crossovers and how genetic technologies can be used to create  "hybrids" of certain flowers. In fact, flower color and species crossovers are the textbook examples of the various kinds of effects genetic engineering can have on flowers. On the other hand, these flowers can be viewed as a form of art, or perhaps, the mixing of genetics of the flowers to create the desired colors in a flower could be similar to mixing paint to create the perfect painting.
Gregor Mendel,  the father of genetics and the person who showed me how genetics can affect the color of flowers if you crossbreed them. 
While the genetic crossing over of flowers is the textbook example, there are also other cases where biotechnology can be used to create "art". I have to emphasize the word "art" because art comes in many forms and its appeal affects people differently. With flowers, most people can understand it's a romantic or sweet gesture, or even an beautiful orchard can be an artistic masterpiece. However, with genetic crossovers, hybrids of particular species, such as butterflies can create an incredibly beautiful hybrid butterfly.
See link:
As shown in the lectures, a completely 'unnatural" product of animal genetic engineering can result in fluorescent animals. While this might be considered bizarre by some individuals, others may perceive it as art. Inevitably, different expressions of science, through biotechnology, can show that science can be perceived as art.
As for the sources that best helped me understand the concept of biotechnology and art, I felt like movies such as Jurassic World and The Fly. Unfortunately, I'm may not be as artistic as my peers, so I found these sources as either scientifically interesting or weird. However, I can understand how some might find these sources as artistic in their own way. As I have said at the start of the post, I do feel that the true topic that made the connection of biotechnology and art was the concept of genetic engineering of flowers. 

  • "Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Is a Hybrid of Two Other Swallowtails, Scientists Find." Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Is a Hybrid of Two Other Swallowtails, Scientists Find. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • "Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Is a Hybrid of Two Other Swallowtails, Scientists Find." Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Is a Hybrid of Two Other Swallowtails, Scientists Find. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • D.L. ParsellNational Geographic News January 11, 2002. "Fluorescent Mice Herald Gene-Transfer Breakthrough." National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • "Generating Green Fluorescent Mice by Germline Transmission of Green Fluorescent ES Cells." Generating Green Fluorescent Mice by Germline Transmission of Green Fluorescent ES Cells. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • "GLOWING ANIMALS: Pictures of Beasts Shining for Science." National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Web. 09 May 2016.
  • Hansen, Lauren. "7 Genetically Modified Animals That Glow in the Dark." 7 Genetically Modified Animals That Glow in the Dark. 2013. Web. 09 May 2016.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Event 1: A trip to LACMA

While LACMA is not a particular "event" that is recommended, the museum itself is quite worthy of a visit. As most student and LA residents would attest, the Urban Light exhibit is the most iconic feature at LACMA. Since the Urban Light exhibit is out in the open, no tickets or admission fees were needed to access this exhibit, making sure that the public could freely enjoying this artistic masterpiece.

When I first visited LACMA to experience the Urban Light, I attempted to see the lights during the evening. After all, the piece is titled "Urban Light", thus observing the light produced from this lighting array at night would seem like the most logical way to fully experience the vibe. However, the Urban Light array was undergoing maintenance at the time and thus the lights were off during the evening. On my consequent visit, I decided to grab a snapshot of the array anyways.

As seen above, the Urban Array does not seem incredibly special or noticeable since it is in broad daylight. However, as other photographers would show, the Urban Lights are truly magnificent in the evening.
The purpose of visting LACMA was to understand and grasp the concept of mathematics and art. Sure, in the lectures, Dr. Vesna mentioned points such as the golden ratio, but I felt like I had to see something more concrete. In this case, the Urban Lights showed an understanding of geometry, symmetry, and even concepts in physics to create such an artistic masterpiece. Not only were the poles perfectly aligned, but the wavelength of the light used and the different pole heights created an unique lighting effect that made the Urban Lights an iconic LA tourist attraction. 
The cascade of pole heights produces an unique "layered" effect in the evening
Thus, for those of you who haven't yet visited LACMA, I highly encourage you to check out the Urban Lights! Aside from amazing Instagram photos, students can also enjoy/appreciate the utilization of mathematics to create such a perfect artistic piece. 


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week 4 "Medicine + Art"

In relation to the artist projects I have seen, it can said that medicine does have a correlation with art. Not just in the traditional sense of art, as in paintings, but for example, BodyWorlds, is art based on the human form. Surely, there are different methods of portraying the body's form as art- contemporary dancing, but the tie-in with medicine is undeniable.
The positioning of the body's form is incredibly artistic; not to mention the medical aspect of viewing all the muscles and fibers

However, in my own opinion, the first thing that comes to mind is plastic surgery when I think about medicine and art. By combining medical procedures with the "ideal of beauty", doctors are able to craft their own masterpieces. While I would agree that "plastic surgery" as an image of beauty and art is a highly controversial topic, I have heard many times that plastic surgeons view their patients as "works of art".
The face is the "canvas"

Before plastic surgery, medicine for me was always viewed as something that is "hard science". Even with a possible career as a plastic surgeon, I don't think of myself as an artist. However, after reading several sources online, I do feel like that it is highly possible to perhaps craft my own masterpiece. Like I mentioned earlier, I do think that this perspective is relatively controversial, thus I feel like it will take quite a while for the general public to come to a conclusion about this topic.
Redefining beauty, redefining art. Is that morally correct, though?

  • Choi, Jeongho. "Cosmetic Surgery: Is It Science or Art?" Archives of Plastic Surgery. The Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  • Cotter, Holland. "Artist’s Life: Cut, Nip and Tuck." The New York Times. The New York Times, 2009. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  • "Mission of the Exhibitions." Exhibitions. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  • Jeffries, Stuart. "Orlan's Art of Sex and Surgery." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2009. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  • "Making Faces: The Artists Who've Used Plastic Surgery in Their Work | VICE | United States." VICE. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  • "Artist's Plastic Surgeries Defy Beauty Standards." 2004. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Week 3 "Robotics + Art"

In this week's unit, the topic is based on Robotics and Art. With robotics in mind, it is important to understand that robotics will soon become industrialized for human consumers. In addition, as robotics technology grows, eventually the tech giants will also focus on "art" and how the presentation of their technology is.

For this specific topic, I would like to touch on a movie from quite a while back, i, Robot. This specifically refers to the industrialization of robotics and art. The premise of the movie is based on how a "new" model of robot is replacing previously outdated ones. The new ones not only are shown to be more "efficient" at completing tasks, but present a much more "artistic" aesthetic. While this covers the "art" aspect of the movie's premise, there is also another much more important aspect: society's reaction to the industrialization of robotics.

At first, the main character is against the industrialization of robotics as he thinks they lack the true "moral" judgment of humans and despises how robotics are present in humans' everyday lives. Meanwhile, a majority of the other characters show appreciation and gladly welcome these new robots as personal servants. However, as the plot goes, the robotics eventually revolt and turn on their human owners. While I'm not about to spoil the details of the movie, it is important to note that humans will most likely "accept" the industrialization of a massive "servant force" of robots. Not only do these robots have no right nor are considered living, people will nevertheless gladly welcome that prospect. However, it is important to know that, with the development of robotics and artificial intelligence, it would seem that the robots are likely to act out on their own: looking for their own right or turning on their owners.
Would this be alright if the robot was a real person? No wages, no rights?
With robots being presented as potential "slaves", society will also have people who will stand firm against the use of robots and their industrialization for consumers. As movies such as Blade Runner would suggest, it also seems very possible that robots will turn on humanity as well. Just like the character that Harrison Ford portrays, there will also be eventual supporters of robots.

Think about pollution...

Other than possible ethical concerns, society also has to consider the environmental responsibilities of robotics industrialization. With robots being produced en-mass, it would seem very possible that there would be an enormous amount of pollution emitted in order to power these robots. With the environment as a concern, it could very well elicit a response from society towards robotics and its industrialization. However, if this effect is revered, it could call for an even higher increase of robotics industrialization.

  • "Crimes of the Hot." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
  • Ulanoff, Lance. "Big Study Predicts the Winners and Losers of the Robot Revolution." Mashable. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
  • "Morals and the Machine." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
  • Nield, David. "This New Robot Eats Water Pollution and Produces Electricity as It Swims." ScienceAlert. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
  • "I, Robot (film)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 2 "Math + Art"

In this week's lesson, the focus of the class was how math and art are correlated. Aspects such as computer graphics or ratios in paintings were explored. Before joining this class, I was well aware that mathematics, as Prof. Vesna has stated in the lecture, was intertwined with the fabric of our reality. With that in mind, it was clear that art, or what we deem to be art, consists of hidden mathematics proportions that creates a "perfect image". Monuments such as the Parthenon and priceless artworks such as the Mona Lisa are all examples of how mathematics were used to create something we consider to be "perfect". Links for these insights are included in the citations.
Parthenon's "perfect rectangles"

To talk about the marriage of mathematics and art, the first "artist" that comes to mind is the great Leonaro Da Vinci. Before this week's lecture, I had no idea about how the Mona Lisa was an painting that was not only famous for being Da Vinci's masterpiece, but also a work of perfect mathematical proportions. Previously, Da Vinci's artwork on the Vitruvian Man was one of the few that I could think of that had to do with mathematics and art. However, after reading a few articles and watching a few videos, I was convinced that there was more than just rudimentary math. In fact, the the Vitruvian Man's precise angles replicated the human anatomy and the orientation of the Man's limbs were based on basic geometry. These principles alone are completely mind-boggling as I thought the mathematics behind the art would not be so complex and have more than just simple mathematical implications.
Vitruvian Man

After this week's lesson, I felt like I learned that there was more to "art" than I had previously thought. I always viewed art as something that people thought was just "pretty" or simply "good to look at". After understanding how much planning goes into the art, I have gained a new respect and understanding of how artists use mathematics in their work. For scientists; however, I feel like as opposed to using "science" to advance technology, scientists now also care about the form they present their inventions. This correlates with last week's lesson as how there is a merging between the two culture of science and art. A perfect example of that would be in my last week's post featuring the BMW 100 Vision concept model. 

Based on what I have learned this week (in addition to what I have learned last week), the juxtaposition between mathematics, art, and science is simple. Science is based off of mathematics, so there really is no difference in that aspect. However, mathematics/science was never not associated with art. From Renaissance times' paintings or ancient Greek monuments to modern day inventions, art has always been hand-in-hand with mathematics. Despite people may view mathematics and art as two distinct principles, it is clear that, with so many examples, that mathematics and art coexist together.

The paramount of art and mathematics in one painting

Citations / Links:

  • Earle, James. "Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man of Math - James Earle." TED-Ed. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  • "TITLE." Golden Section in Art and Architecture. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  • Meisner, Gary. "Divine Proportion/Golden Ratio in the Art of Da Vinci." The Golden Ratio Phi 1618. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  • Parveen, Nikhat. "MATHEMATICS AND ART." MATHEMATICS AND ART. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  • "Proportion: DaVinci's 'Vitruvian Man'" Proportion: DaVinci's 'Vitruvian Man'Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  • "Does the 'Earlier Version' Display Leonardo's Mathematical Principles? - The Mona Lisa Foundation." The Mona Lisa Foundation. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 1 "Two Cultures"

In this week's unit, we covered the concept of "two cultures" introduced by C.P Snow. The perspective behind Snow's reasoning of the two cultures is the gradual separation of humanities (arts) and natural science (technology). Aside from just explicitly pointing out the separation, Snow suggest that a unity of the two, especially in university curricula, can help unite these "two cultures" and provide growth in many fields.

BMW's Vision Next 100 - a marriage of art and technology
Likewise in Victoria Vesna's paper regarding a third culture, Vesna supports Snow's designation that there are two distinct cultures. However, unlike Snow, Vesna believes in a "third culture" that coexists with the current two cultures; the middle ground between the two cultures. The difference between Vesna and Snow is that the latter believes the two cultures should be together as one, while Vesna agrees with the two culture concept, but thinks that there should be a third culture that is the amalgamation of the two cultures (coexisting).

A schism between North and South Campus
At UCLA, there are 2 cultures that can be immediately observed. The apparent difference between North and South campus (humanities and sciences, respectively) implies different meanings for each other. While South campus majors think North campus students have an easy time at school or study "pseudo-science", conversely, North campus majors think South campus students are pompous or "nerds".

Not only is there an apparent difference between North and South Campus students, but there is also a difference in fraternities. At UCLA, there are both social and professional fraternities, While fraternities are just known to be a group of like-minded individuals, the differences between the connotations of a social frat being "party-based" and a professional frat as being "nerdy" makes a clear distinction as two cultures.

Art can be also be a product of science
The current meta of the two cultures being still somewhat separate deviates from perhaps the marriage it once had during the Renaissance. My thinking has not particularly changed despite becoming more aware of this situation. However, I do feel that I may have already been well aware of the "two culture" phenomenon even when I was back in high school; hence this seems almost as a certainty.

These ideas can possibly benefit me by increasing my perspective of how others perceive each other. While I feel as though I am already completely immersed in the "two culture" ideal, I believe that a deeper understanding will allow me to better understand my peers and respect others. This applies as a lifelong benefit, and not just as a student.


  • Gluckman, David. "BMW's Vision Next 100 Concept Celebrates Past, Predicts Future." Autoblog. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.
  • "Arts and Science." AllAboutRenaissanceFaires. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.
  • Eason, Ryan. "Why North And South Campus Majors Need To Shut Up." Odyssey. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.
  • Meyer, Madeline. "Social versus Professional Fraternities." The TimesDelphic. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.
  • Sandler, Rachel. "Teen's Take: High School Stereotypes Explained." Lorton, VA Patch. 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.