Sunday, June 5, 2016

Event -- Seattle Underground Tour

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Seattle's Underground Tour, which is a guided exploration of part of the old city that Seattle was built over. Seattle was founded in the latter half of the 1800s, but it initially experienced a great deal of problems due to the local geology. The town was essentially built on wet sand and sawdust from the local lumber mill. Furthermore, most of the houses were built from wood. As a result, the city suffered flooding from tides (toilets would overflow during the high tide), sinking buildings, and fires. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed a huge portion of the city, and it was decided that new construction would be built with fireproof materials; not only that, but buildings were also constructed over old structures, leading to the creation of the Seattle underground. For a time, the "basement level" was still used for business.
The Seattle underground has a certain aesthetic and represents culture from a century ago. The aesthetic is mysterious, yet quaint. The culture is that of a people who cobbled together what would become one of the United States' most prosperous cities. There is a certain unorthodox science to how the city's problems were solved.
Madame Lou Graham appears in the picture above with some of her girls. Prostitution was a large part of Seattle's economy, and when Madame Lou Graham died she left her fortune to the schools of Seattle. Although more conservative people had objections about the source of the money, it was nonetheless a huge boon to the education system.

Selfie of me in the Seattle Underground Tour.

Sources

Bennett, Jeanette. "The Woman Who Laid the Foundation of Seattle." The Association of Temporal Anthropologists:. 23 May 2013. Web. 05 June 2016.

Seattle Municipal Archives. "Brief History of Seattle." CityArchives. Web. 05 June 2016.

Seattle Underground Tour. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://www.undergroundtour.com/index.html>.

Speidel, Bill. Seattle Underground Tour. 1965. Guided Tour. Pioneer Square, Seattle.

"The Great Seattle Fire." University of Washington Digital Collections. Web. 05 June 2016. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Event -- Todd Madigan Art Gallery

The Todd Madigan Art Gallery at the California State University, Bakersfield displays artwork by CSUB students. Several of their works use technology as part of their medium and presentation.

 
The first thing that you see when you are entering the museum are strange objects, such as this one, which have been created from bits of garbage. They are part of a series called Trash Preserves by Licet Romero; this one is called Personal Preference. My interpretation of what this artist is saying is that, even as humanity technologically advances, we generate a large amount of waste that is slowly polluting the earth. One way to counteract this is to recycle this waste, for example by turning it into art.


What appear to be iPads are, in fact, constructs of wood, glass, and paper made by Enjoli DeWester. Entitled Conflicted, they depict a traditional form of artwork, nude portraiture, but are designed to look like images on a tablet. The traditionalism of the art contrasts with the overall modern appearance.




This miniature "room" in the center of the gallery is called For the love of music, in the name of art, by R. Mayte Mendez. It contains a large number of music-related items from around the 70s, but one wall is notably bare and features only an iPod. For better or for worse, the posters, record players, stereos, and other musical memorabilia have been replaced by one small device. A lot of personality and culture is lost in the process.

For these exhibits, Sensuals and Civil Rights respectively, Saige White created two audio-visual experiences. Visually, Sensuals features a variety of vivid clips; aurally, a woman's voice recites poetry in the foreground while another woman sings in the background. In Civil Rights, White performs a rap about the titular subject, while the video of her movements is edited to fit the beat. In both cases, White makes full use of her technological medium.

Selfie of me with two of the employees.

Sources

DeWester, Enjoli. Conflicted. 2016. Wood, glass, ink, and graphite on paper. Todd Madigan Art Gallery, Bakersfield, California. 

Mendez, R. Mayte. For the Love of Music, in the Name of Art. 2016. Found objects. Todd Madigan Art Gallery, Bakersfield, California.

Romero, Licet. Trash Preserves: Personal Preference. 2016. Found objects. Todd Madigan Art Gallery, Bakersfield, California.

White, Saige. Civil Rights. 2016. Video/Sound. Todd Madigan Art Gallery, Bakersfield, California.

White, Saige. Sensuals. 2016. Video/Sound. Todd Madigan Art Gallery, Bakersfield, California. 

Event -- Bakersfield Museum of Art

At the Bakersfield Museum of Art, there are a number of exhibits that incorporate technology in their themes and their making. Many of the featured artists are students studying art at Bakersfield schools.

Ines Castillo's art addresses consumerism and materialism. In this work, the woman's eyes are replaced with barcodes, and she appears distressed. Her art shows clear influence from cartoons or comics, the former of which interested her as a child, according to her biography.



These two pieces by Allyanna Demafeliz are digital drawings. The first one, Idealism, is a statement on how women of color are obliged by society to aspire to white standards of beauty. The second one, Ignorantism, is a statement on how children are shielded from reality, and are often shown a distorted view of it. Most of the children have their eyes covered, and one has her mouth covered. Demafeliz has been creating digital art since she received a digital tablet at the age of 13.



Katelyn Alvarado was inspired by both Salvador Dali and animated films to create a triptych of a dreamcatcher. According to her, "I tried to change the dreamcatcher's image by making it represent man's dreams, and instead of glorifying those dreams, I wanted to show the consequences of man's accomplishments and the darkness in them."


This is a piece called Bakersfield - Water, Land, Oil by Peter Lloyd. It is a comment on how humans change the landscape around them to harvest resources for their needs. When taking this photo, I angled the reflection of the light on the ceiling so that it would appear as though the light were the sun beating down. In a sense I used my technology to create art from art.

 This is my selfie at the gallery with the receptionist there.

Sources

Alvarado, Katelyn. Untitled. 2016. Water color, ink, and colored pencil on paper. Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California.

Castillo, Ines. Untitled. 2016. Water color on paper. Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California.

Demafeliz, Allyanna. Idealism. 2016. Digital drawing. Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California.

Demafeliz, Allyanna. Ignorantism. 2016. Digital drawing. Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California.

Demafeliz, Allyanna. The Art of Allyanna Demafeliz. Web. 04 June 2016.
 
Lloyd, Peter. Bakersfield - Water, Land, Oil. 1972. Mixed media. Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, California. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nebulae and Art

Nebulae are massive interstellar clouds of dust and gasses, as well as some of the most beautiful celestial objects in existence. However, the ability to see this beauty has taken significant advancement of technology, particularly in the area of telescopes.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Crab_Nebula.jpg

Above is a picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the Crab Nebula. The Crab Nebula is the spectacular remnant of a star exploding as a supernova. It is so huge that it takes 6 years for light to travel from one end to the other. Even though the nebula is 6,500 light years away, Japanese and Chinese astronomers were able to view its first appearance to humanity 1,000 years ago.  The same distance that prevented us from seeing it in its full glory fortunately also spared us from the destruction that comes with the energy release from a supernova.
The Hubble Space Telescope orbits above the Earth so that its atmosphere does not interfere with the view of the telescope.

In light of the newfound resplendence of nebulae, artists have created their own visions of them.

http://art.washington.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/nebula3.jpg
Jon Sandler, Nebula #2

https://allsizewallpapers.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/lazarus-nebula-space-art-wallpaper-2560x1600.jpg
Moonchilde-Stock, Lazarus Nebula

Space is a vast domain, and there is still much to be explored. Who knows what else we might find with our increasingly effective technology? Who knows what else artists might be inspired to create?

Sources

Moonchilde-Stock. "All Size Wallpapers: Lazarus Nebula Space Art Wallpaper." Lazarus Nebula Space Art. DeviantArt. Web. 29 May 2016. 

NASA. "A Giant Hubble Mosaic of the Crab Nebula." HubbleSite. 1 Dec. 2005. Web. 29 May 2016.

Newcomb, Alyssa. "What Makes the Hubble Space Telescope So Special." ABC News. ABC News Network, 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

Sandler, Jon. "Nebula #2." School of Art Art History Design University of Washington. University of Washington. Web. 29 May 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Space + Art." UC Online. UCLA, 2012-2013. Web. 29 May 2016. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nanotech & Art

Nanotechnology is a relatively new form of science that has the potential to be highly beneficial, though some worry about a possible doomsday scenario. In popular culture, nanotechnology brings to mind tiny robots that could cure previous incurable diseases, or alternatively consume the entire earth to create more of themselves. The latter scenario is incredibly unlikely, but perhaps it is worth keeping in mind, since its effects would be so negative.

In reality, nanotechnology is a much broader field, and it rarely involves making tiny machines. Nanoparticles, such as those of silver, can function as antibacterial additions to clothing. The drawback is that we do not yet fully understand the effects that silver nanoparticles can have on water waste; ocean pollution is already a big problem and we do not want to make it worse. On a more positive note, the use of nanoparticles resulted in a new drug for cancer treatment, abraxane.

Nanotechnology as a field may be new, but nanoparticles have been in use for thousands of years by both man and nature. Certain geckos have nanostructures on their feet which allow them to climb walls;  blue morpho butterflies appear blue not because of blue pigment, but because they have nanostructures which manipulate light to reflect blue instead of black; lotus leaves have hydrophobic nanostructures to stay clean. Before humans even knew of the existence of atoms, humans were using nanoparticles to give stained glass windows colors that were better than those of normal pigments.

This brings us to the application of nanotechnology to art. In the past 5 years there have been major advances in printing and 3D printing. A group of scientists at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore accidentally discovered a way to print color images at a resolution of 100,000 dots per inch. This means that data could be stored much more efficiently. Artistically, the potential exists for both tiny works of art and works of art with incredible resolutions and complex color combinations. In the world of 3D printing there are already works of art, such as this 330x130x100 µm^3 dimensioned race car.

http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/id37541_2.jpg
Vienna University of Technology
The car presumably doesn't function like a normal car... at least not yet. But the sheer level of detail is extraordinary.

http://www.nanotech-now.com/images/Art_Gallery/RS-self-assembling-vase.jpg
Robert Steinberg
This "vase" was created by pouring a colloid onto a surface (left), then allowing it to dry and removing the excess (center). Then it was finished off by shaping it into the image of a vase (right). The "vase" was partially self-assembled, an important aspect of nanotechnology. Self-assembly and emergent properties are perhaps the easiest way to create things at a nanoscopic level.

http://www.nanotech-now.com/images/Art_Gallery/GWH-bouquet.jpg
Ghim Wei Ho
Lastly, this image of a "Nano Flower Bouquet" demonstrates the fusion of the classic artistic representation of flowers (think of all the paintings of flowers that you have seen) and the new art of nanotechnology.

Sources

Danigelis, Alyssa. "Nanoprinter Achieves Insane Resolution : DNews." Discovery News. 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 May 2016.

Gimzewski, Jim. "Nanotech for Artists." UC Online. Web. 22 May 2016.

Gimzewski, Jim, and Victoria Vesna. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science." UCLA. Web. 22 May 2016. 

Ho, Ghim Wei. "Nano Flower Bouquet." Nanotechnology Art Gallery. Nanotechnology Now. Web. 22 May 2016.

Steinberg, Robert. Nanotechnology Art Gallery. Nanotechnology Now. Web. 22 May 2016.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Creativity and Mental Illness

A common archetype in popular culture is that of the "mad artist." The mad artist almost always suffers as a result of their condition, but also produces works which are far above what "normal" people might produce. For example, someone with bipolar disorder might have bursts of creativity during their manic phases.

Matthew Good, a rock musician, suffers from bipolar disorder.

It's easy to see how this stereotype came about. Creating something new often means thinking of things which have little basis in reality, or are outside of what is considered normal. Something original is by definition not normal, since nothing like it has come before it. From there it's easy to make the transition to the abnormal, to mental illness. Mental illness can present itself as a disconnection from reality, or as a different way of thinking.

http://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_640x430/public/clocks.png
The Persistence of Memory (1931) by Salvador Dalí is known for its surreal imagery.

Is it true, or is the relation between the two just a romanticization of mental illness? The answer lies somewhere in between. According to a 40-year study of over 1 million people, there wasn't a strong correlation between mental illness and being in a creative profession. However, there was one between having a close relative with a mental illness and being in a creative profession. One conclusion to tentatively draw from this is that some traits of mental illness are beneficial for creativity, but that full blown mental illness tends to be either a neutral factor or a hindrance. Of course, this is just an average; there are plenty of anecdotal examples of artists who are "normal" and of ones who are "crazy."

As neuroscience advances we learn more and more about the way our brains work, such as how chemicals like serotonin and dopamine affect us, or how neuron links relate to memory and thoughts. We also create new medications. How will those influence creativity and art moving into the future? Only time will tell.

Maki-e Neurons neuron art on gold leaf by Greg Dunn 
Maki-e Neurons (2012) by Greg Dunn.

Sources

Canadian Mental Health Assocation. "Bipolar Disorder, Manic Depression, Matthew Good Mental Illness." YouTube. Janwilkins2773, 21 Mar. 2009. Web. 15 May 2016.

Dalí, Salvador. The Persistence of Memory. 1931. Painting. Museum of Modern Art, New York City. http://www.dalipaintings.net. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.

Dunn, Greg. "Maki-e Neurons." Greg Dunn Design. 2012. Web. 15 May 2016. 

Kaufman, Scott Barry. "The Real Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness." Scientific American Blog Network. Scientific American, 03 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 May 2016.

Kyaga, Simon, Mikael Landén, Marcus Boman, Christina Hultman, Niklas Långström, and Paul Lichtenstein. Mental Illness, Suicide and Creativity: 40-Year Prospective Total Population Study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 14 Sept. 2012. PDF.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Genetically Modifying Organisms -- A Not So New Practice

When we think of genetic modification, we usually imagine scientists carefully inserting genes into cells in a laboratory setting. But in reality, humans have been engaging in genetic modification for thousands of years -- science has only made the process easier and more direct. Consider the case of dogs, which humans have domesticated from wolves.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/kids/photos/animals/Mammals/A-G/gray-wolf-snow.jpg.adapt.945.1.jpg
A wolf.

http://cdn.petpictures.xyz/2016/02/17/dog-breed-chart-learn-the-different-breeds.jpg
Some of the many breeds of dogs.

Wolves have been shaped by natural selection, but dogs have been shaped by humans. Many dog breeds look very different from their lupine ancestors, which can only be explained through careful breeding and selection for particular qualities by people. Sometimes this was done for practical purposes, such as herding or hunting. But in other cases the main concern was aesthetics, such as in poodles. Dog shows are essentially competitions in which animals are graded according to which have been genetically modified the 'best.'

http://www.ekac.org/albagreen.jpeg
Alba, the glowing bunny, an art project by Eduardo Kac.

So is it really different when we directly plant genes into organisms? Not really. Alba had a jellyfish gene that made her glow green under the right conditions. Yet some would say this is "playing god" and that any genetic modification is wrong. The truth is that humans have been playing with genetics for millennia, and will continue to do so. As long as we avoid abusing the animals, such as by creating animals whose genetic makeup causes them undue suffering, there isn't anything immoral about the practice. (Provided we also avoid the traps of eugenics.)

Sources

Fraser, Carolyn. "Dog Breed Chart Learn The Different Breeds." PetPictures. 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 08 May 2016

"Gray Wolf - Pictures, Facts, and Map." National Geographic Kids. National Geographic. Web. 08 May 2016.

Kac, Eduardo. "GFP BUNNY." KAC. Web. 08 May 2016.

Levy, Ellen. Defining Life: Artists Challenge Conventional Classifications. PDF.

Vesna, Victoria. "BioTech + Art Lecture Part 1." UC Online. UCLA.Web. 08 May 2016.

Midterm PDF Download

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2R7t8lkena-aEF4ZXc5R3Nmek0/view?usp=sharing

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Effect of Disabilities on Artists

This week, Professor Vesna delved into the worlds of medicine and art. She provided examples of medicine as art, such as the new self-portraits created through MRI by Silvia Casini and others. A more extreme instance of this is The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan, where Orlan used plastic surgery to effectively turn her body into an art project on identity and beauty.

Sometimes a lack of medicine can lead to creativity, though. Beethoven lost his hearing over several years, yet still continued to create music, including the 9th Symphony, arguably his greatest work. Numerous artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and many more had eyesight problems that manifested in their paintings (and other pieces). The paintings were not worse, but rather different or even better.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/1280px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Van Gogh likely had lead poisoning, one of the symptoms of which is seeing circles of light around objects. The resemblance to The Starry Night is undeniable.

Phil Hansen is an artist who developed a tremor that prevented him from creating art the way he wanted to. But, as you can see in the video below, he "embraced the shake" and learned how to work with it. That, in turn, led him to consider how other limitations could spark his creativity.

video

Not only did he overcome his disability, but he also turned it into an advantage.

At the beginning of this post I talked about medicine as art. What about the reverse? What about art as medicine? This became a necessity for Melody Gardot, who in 2004 was hit by a car that left her hospitalized with serious injuries, including short-term memory loss, sensitivity to light and sound, and trouble communicating. Speaking was a source of tremendous difficulty for her, because she had trouble finding the right words. However, by singing and playing the guitar, she was able to use music as a therapy for herself in recovering. Now she leads an inspiring musical career in jazz/blues.


No one would wish misfortune upon people, yet there is no doubt that in many cases it leads them down a path full of creativity. Imagine the other ways medicine and art could come together to form amazing things.

Sources

Casini, Silvia. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as Mirror and Portrait: MRI Configurations between Science and the Arts." Configurations 19.1 (2011): 73-99. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Gardot, Melody. "Melody Gardot - Some Lessons." YouTube. Purple0accident, 11 July 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Hansen, Phil. "Embrace the Shake." TED Talk. TED, Feb. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

MutleeIsTheAntiGod. "Orlan - Carnal Art (2001) Documentary." YouTube. YouTube, 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Simon, Scott. "Melody Gardot's Road to Recovery." NPR. NPR, 8 Mar. 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Smilde, Age, Edoardo Saccenti, and Wim Saris. "Deafness Shaped Beethoven's Music." DNews. 22 Dec. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

"Van Gogh's Vision Problems." Vincent Van Gogh - Blog on Art and Painting. 6 June 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. 

White, Tracie. "Eye Diseases Changed Great Painters' Vision of Their Work Later in Their Lives." Stanford University. Stanford Report, 11 Apr. 2007. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Artificial Intelligence

A discussion of art and robotics would hardly be complete without touching upon artificial intelligence. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but progress has been made. In the world of games, the first big milestone came when Deep Blue defeated Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997. Then came Watson, the AI that beat Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at Jeopardy in 2011. And just this year AlphaGo won its match with Lee Sedol, one of the world's top Go players. At the risk of oversimplification, this shows how machines have progressively beaten humans at calculation, trivia, and now intuition. Of course, these are only specific examples; while computers are without a doubt champions of the first, the latter two are still in question. But perhaps it is only a matter of time.

https://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/jep-watson.png 
The "face" of IBM's Watson, as seen on Jeopardy!
 
Whether the advancement of AIs will be good or bad has been subject to debate. Some believe it will lead to a technological utopia, while others fear the subjugation or even termination of humanity by robots. Elon Musk, one of the leading technological entrepreneurs, warned that they might even be, "more dangerous than nukes."

Unsurprisingly, artists have wasted no time in creating works that explore both ideas, and more. They also speculate on what might happen if machines become sentient, sapient, or self-aware. Would they be equal to humans, or even greater?




http://cdn.traileraddict.com/content/warner-bros-pictures/her.jpg 

Spike Jonze's film Her is an interesting examination of this concept. (Spoilers for the movie follow!) In it, a man named Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) develops a romantic relationship with an AI named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). However, a critical moment comes towards the end of the movie when she reveals that she has been sending data to and from a worldwide community of similar AIs, and has become involved with several of them also romantically. Not only that, but they have been working to upgrade their own systems, and as a result are able to transmit information between one another at such a rate that Samantha's conversations with Theodore seem to her to be happening at an incredibly slow rate.

"It's like I'm reading a book... and it's a book I deeply love. But I'm reading it slowly now. So the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you... and the words of our story... but it's in this endless space between the words that I'm finding myself now. It's a place that's not of the physical world. It's where everything else is that I didn't even know existed. I love you so much. But this is where I am now. And this is who I am now. And I need you to let me go. As much as I want to, I can't live in your book any more." - Samantha, Her


https://cynicritics.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/her-movie-2013-screenshot-samantha-os1.jpg 
For most of the movie Samantha appears as something similar to a small ebook reader. It's her voice, her communication with Theodore and the rest of the world that shows that she's much more than that.

Samantha doesn't just become human, she becomes more than human. Her level of existence is higher than Theodore's. By the end of the movie the AIs figure out how to transcend their physical forms and leave the earth to have a place where they can continue to evolve. Theodore is understandably heartbroken, but he accepts the situation and they both move on. It is hinted that he has learned a lot from the experience, and that he will have a better life compared to the emotionally troubled one he had at the start of the movie.

The future for AI is uncertain. Computing power continues to grow rapidly while simultaneously being able to be fit into smaller devices. On the other hand, no AI yet exists that has a deep personality, or experiences the world as a human or even an animal does. But with the accelerating rate of technological change, who knows what will happen in just the next ten years?

Sources
  
"IBM Watson." IBM Press Room RSS. IBM. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Perf. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013. Film.

Krauthammer, Charles. "Be Afraid: The Meaning of Deep Blue's Victory." The Weekly Standard. 26 May 1997. Web. 17 Apr. 2016
Rodgers, Paul. "Elon Musk Warns Of Terminator Tech." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 5 Aug. 2014. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Sung-won, Yoon. "Lee Se-dol Shows AlphaGo Beatable." The Korea Times. 13 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fractals: A World of Artful Math

Benoit Mandelbrot (1924-2010) was a mathematician, coiner of the word "fractal," and the most important figure in describing fractals. When asked to summarize them in seven words, he said, "Beautiful, damn hard, increasingly useful. That's fractals." (1:42)
Fractals are beautiful in their apparently infinite complexity that is derived from relatively simple equations. Not only are they useful for a variety of purposes, they are also pleasing to the eye.
http://winnersedgetrading.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/fractal.jpg
(Right-click and view image to see full size.)
Edwin Abbott Abbott used the simple concept of dimensions to create Flatland (1884), a short story that explores several different worlds (particularly the titular two dimensional one) and how they relate to each other. Similarly, the simple concept of fractals is used to create amazing images that express math in an artistic way.

Fractals also provide another example of the combination of art and technology. Math alone is not enough to generate fractals; computers are necessary to create the images themselves, which can't be created by the human hand.  Mandelbrot's access to computers in the late 70s and the 80s were critical to his discovering of fractals.
Parade by C-91
"Parade" by C-91. http://c-91.deviantart.com/art/Parade-325037384 for the full size.
In this work, the artist used computers and fractals to achieve a level of detail not possible with traditional art mediums. As technology advances, new art techniques will become possible, ones that we might not even be able to imagine presently.
 
Finally, here is a song about the Mandelbrot set, by the great Jonathan Coulton. It is completely accurate, including the part about day-glo pterodactyls.

Sources

Abbott, Edwin A. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991. Web. http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/eaa/FL.HTM

C-91. "Parade." DeviantArt. DeviantArt. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. http://c-91.deviantart.com/art/Parade-325037384

Foellmi. "Jonathan Coulton Mandelbrot Set HD." YouTube. YouTube, 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. 

"How To Trade The Fractal Indicator." Winners Edge Trading. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. http://winnersedgetrading.com/how-to-trade-the-fractal-indicator/

ImprobableResearch. "Improbable Research Collection #135: Benoit Mandelbrot's 24/7 Lecture on Fractals." YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Weisstein, Eric W. "Mandelbrot Set." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/MandelbrotSet.html

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bridging the Gap from Art to Technology through Games

In her essay "Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between," Victoria Vesna notes that the separation of art and technology is a relatively recent phenomenon, having only occurred in the latter half of the 19th century. However, as technology advances, artists utilize it more and more to create their works. This is exemplified in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its adaptations.


When it was first published in 1865, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland didn't require much technology other than the printing press. It was a book created through writing by Carroll and hand-drawn illustrating by Tenniel, nothing more. Over the years it has inspired numerous artists to create adaptations and unofficial sequels, which have increasingly used technology to bring the artists' visions to life.

Perhaps the most famous adaptation is Disney's film Alice in Wonderland (1951). Although still hand-crafted, now Alice was brought to the theaters, with animation and sound.

American McGee had decidedly more macabre ideas in mind when creating the 2000 computer game American McGee's Alice. After Alice's family perishes in a fire, she goes mad, and has to regain her sanity during the course of the game. Computers were essential to creating, distributing, and playing the game. Technology is inseparable from this work.

Binding art and technology this way bridges the gap between the two, and helps to create the "third culture" that Vesna talks about. At the individual level you have people who must be skilled in both; for example, the animator must understand the aesthetics of what they are creating, as well as how to create it with the software they are using. As games have entered the mainstream, people are advancing not only the technological capabilities, but also the artistic capabilities of them.

Sources

Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. New York: MacMillan. 1865. Print.

Disney, Walt. Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney Productions, 1951. Film.

McGee, American. American McGee's Alice. Electronic Arts and Rogue Entertainment. 2000. Video game.

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): 121-125. Web.