Art, Science + Technology

DMA9 Fall 2007, Section B

Archive for December, 2007

W10: Finals

Certainly one of the less stressful examinations, it was also by far the most interesting one. To be surrounded by individuals with so many innovative and exceptionally brilliant ideas and proposals was quite humbling. I think that the incorporation of the elements was also quite clever since, I believe, it helped many of us focus.

I noticed that there was a large number of people who chose to use water as their elemental theme. Water, in particular the lack of clean, drinkable water, is humanity’s second most prominent problem. As such, I felt the large number of water projects was quite significant since it seems to reflect upon our society and what we’re most worried about.

The fact that each presentation was at most 2 minutes also made this examination quite enjoyable. People were forced to present their projects quickly and concisely. This prevented the audience from getting bored from tedious, minute details. In general, I feel that this style of examination was a successful venture.


W9: Nanotechnology – NanoBots

Nanotechnology involves working with matter of the ultra-small scale. E.g. molecules, atoms, etc. Like advances in space exploration, it is one of the most innovative and science-fiction-like fields. The aspect of nanotech that interests me the most is the concept of nanobots. There are a variety of authors/visionaries/sci-fi shows whom have made the first tentative steps into exploring this concept. Some of which include “I, Robot”, “Stargate SG1”, etc.

Stargate SG1

To clarify what nanobots are, nanorobotics refers to “the technology of creating machines or robotsnanometres (10-9 meters). More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the still largely hypothetical nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots. As no artificial non-biological nanorobots have so far been created, they remain a hypothetical concept at this time.”

There have been some primitive nanobots that have been created. One such bot is a sensorthat has a switch of about 1.5 nanometers across which has the function of counting specific molecules in a chemical sample. It is most likely that the first successful application of nanotechnology will be in the medical field. Nanobots may be used to identify and destroy cancer cells, and other pathogens. As such, I feel that nanotech is by-far one of the most promising fields of the future.



Kinetic and Robotic Art

What is kinetic art?

Kinetic Art is a type of art which includes parts that are in motion. The moving parts can be operated by a person, wind, air, water, electricity or a motor. In 1913, Marcel Duchamp created the “Bicycle Wheel,” which is recognized as the first piece of kinetic art. Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo were the first to use the term kinetic art in their 1920 publication, Realist Manifesto. Perhaps the most familiar and famous kinetic sculpture is the mobile, which was created by Alexander Calder
during the 1930’s. The 1950’s through the 1960’s stand out as the most prominent time period of kinetic art. Some front runners kinetic artists at this time were Yaacov Agam, Arthur Ganson, Len Lye, George Rickey, Bridget Riley, and Jean Tingley. Jean Tingly created a very interesting and elaborate self-destructing kinetic sculpture in 1960. Titled “Homage
to New York,” the fascinating piece of art, which was composed of junk found in Newark dumps, destroyed itself in about twenty-seven minutes on March 17th, in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art. While searching for kinetic art, I found two kinetic artists that really interested me.

One is Bruce Gray, whose “California Dreamin” rolling ball machine I found to be quite striking. I love the way it looks like a miniature version of a mystical roller coaster, something that would be found in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The second kinetic artist that caught my eye was Tim Fort, who creates playful and colorful projects that utilize the domino motion. I like his work because it is fun and appeals to all audiences, including children.


Robots: Who is Fast Karl?

In researching robot art, I came across an interesting website about a robot artist named Fast Karl. Fast Karl is a robot that designs abstract art without the use of a programmer. Using his tire treads, he paints across a canvas or paper with acrylic paints. As simple as it seems to put tire treads through paper, his work is actually quite beautiful. I find it incredible that machines can create such beautiful works of art. Even though some say they would not consider art created by robots
actually art, I believe it is as artful as a painting by Picasso. Just because it is not designed directly by a human, it does not make it any less beautiful or artistic.


What is Math Rock? Why isn’t Math Rock more popular in America?

Until Monday of this last week, I had never heard of math rock. When I first heard the phrase “math rock,” my mind immediately went to thinking that it is a type of music that talks about math, which made me initially turned off from it because I do not particularly like math. Then I thought, it would be illogical to have an entire sub-genre of music based
on songs that just talked about math; therefore, maybe instead of songs talking about math, the instrument playing was based on certain math equations. I was wrong both times because math rock is neither of those things. Math rock is actually titled math rock merely because the instrument playing is so precise. To me, the music was pretty similar to a lot of popular heavy metal today, except the drumming was very crisp.

Even though it is not really my type of music, I still cannot figure out why it is not more popular because it is still a fascinating musical genre. If you read reviews of math rock bands on Epitonic, one can tell that they are highly respected by their fans, so it is my belief that they should become more popular; however, maybe a part of math rock’s greatness lies in the fact that it is kind of hidden. Lots of once great songs become irritating once the radio plays them every hour of every
day; therefore, maybe it is better that a math rock song does not become another make-me-want-to-kill-myself if-I-have-to-hear-it-one-more-time songs.

What is the history of the Golden Ratio? Why is the Golden Ratio so incredible?

I had never really thought about the Golden Ratio until this week in lecture. It is incredible to think that so many things can be simplified to one number. Stars, spirals, architecture, perfect facial structures, sunflowers, etc.; it astounds me that so many natural objects contain the golden ratio. The golden ratio first appeared in architecture when Phidias created the Parthenon statues to show the significance of the golden ratio. Mark Ohm first coined the term “goldener schnitt” (in
English, Golden Section) in 1835. In the early 1900’s, Mark Berr used “Phi” to represent the numerical value of the golden ratio. This title gave recognition to Phidias, for his important contribution to the recognition of the golden ratio. I still do not completely understand how exactly this number exists, and I think that is where it’s incredibility comes from, that fact that it is such a far-fetched, yet completely realistic phenomenon. In lecture, we were even show that statistically the faces of people that follow the golden ratio are seen as the most beautiful. I guess if we were ever to actually define perfection, which I do not think we should do because I do not think it actually exists, but if we ever were to, I think that the golden ratio would define perfection, at least in the physically beautiful sense.

Final Projects

Final Projects


I was really impressed with all of the final projects that were presented in class on Monday and Wednesday. Presentations from all four elements, earth, water, fire, and air, were really impressive in their creativity and their design. Many used the element requirement as a springboard to create projects that dealt with pollution and/or other issues facing our planet today. They tackled these problems in a variety of ways, from designs for wildfire defense systems to art projects that aim to raise awareness about these topics. Whatever angle they took, most of the projects were very successful. One in particular that really intrigued me was the reverse gravity art display, where the tree inside the glass cube shed leaves that would float upwards. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of who made that project and thus can’t give them credit, but I think that would be a really spectacular piece to actually create in real life.

Experimental as this format for the midterm and final was, I think it was a huge success. It forced us to directly apply what we’ve learned in class to create something special of our own. Furthermore, viewing the one-minute presentations exposed us to some really cool project ideas, and, at least for me, opened my eyes to all the great ideas that our floating through the minds of my fellow UCLA students. Plus, having no written final and being done with class a week before finals is a huge plus. Overall, it was a fitting ending to a very memorable class.

Week Nine

I have decided to write about my experiences with the final instead of doing the usual thing and writing about the class. Hopefully this wont be too big of a problem. This class did a few interesting things to the way I work. I usually dont worry about the scientific aspects of my artwork, but whenever I did things for the class, I always thought about the other side of the equation. As someone who primarily uses a computer as his primary medium, I am always aware, to a certain extent, of the technical side of things. However, this class brought new context to my work. I never thought about issues with a combination of art and science, it was usually just one or the other. For example, my midterm dealt with a portrayal of intensely scientific concepts in a very artistic method. This was really unexplored territory for me, though I know I am not exactly the first to cross over into this fusion of science and art, as the class has taught me. It was a good feeling, to know that I was trying something completely different than my usual shtick. It’s also something I’d like to keep doing.

Prof. Gimzewski- Week 9

This past week Professor Gimzewski came and talked to our class about nanotechnology and bucky balls. I found his perspective on science and life in general very interesting. I specifically recall him telling us that at this point in time bucky balls are pointless. He said that the guys who made them should not have received anything, but they got the Nobel prize. Dr. Gimzewski looked at everything at face value. He knows that although someday these things could produce something that NOW they do not. And that it will take a lot of work to use these discoveries and inventions. Another thing that I liked about Professor Gimzewski is that although he is a leader in the field of Nanotech, he kept a level head and is still a normal guy (He told drinking stories!).

I also thought that his comments on the monks at the end of the discussion were interesting. At first thought it is hard to imagine that these men who all they do is meditate all day are the happiest people on the Earth. But then I thought about it, and it makes perfect sense. These men have no fears, no worries and are at peace with their inner selves. They do not have any stress or worry about any of the normal troubles that we have. These men are so focused and refined in their thoughts that they are the happiest men in the world. They are at peace! His comments about us only being an energy source also interested me. He said that when he was meditating he saw that other beings were only energy source. I am interested in his thinking, but do not agree with it. If everyone else was only an energy source, then he would be too. And energy sources cannot think so therefore nothing would really exist. I believe that although our body may be an energy source that we have spirits that live forever.

I liked Prof. Gimzewski and would love to hear from him in the future. I think that he should talk to every Desma class in the future, just to give the students a different perspective on science, but more importantly life.