From Fall 2010 @ PNCA
Art and Science?!
Reading Response One
“Art by its very nature is not science, and science by its very nature is not art; both these spheres of the mind have something in reserve that is peculiar to them and can be explained only in its own terms.” –Carl Jung
I agree with Jung when he says that art and science have to be fully understood within their specific realms, however I find that art and science are very similar in their fundamental elements. Art and science are abstract vocabulary. The terms mean tangible objects, actions and ways of thinking, all at once. It takes a lot of creativity and tons of experimentation to do both. But they differ mostly in the way they are presented and perceived by the world.
Science is presented and accepted as truth, understanding and concrete things, although it is always changing. If science says something, we believe it, because there is usually tangible or reasonable proof. This is true even when, as Kevin Kelly describes it, “Things are not true over time”. The more knowledge we acquire the, established truths change. To quote Kelly again, “truth is constructed”. The flexibility of this construction gives us a deeper understanding. If the truth didn’t change, we would never be able to progress.
Art is presented and accepted as constructed understanding, or perspective, of personal or collective experience. It doesn’t have to be “true” because the truth is often in metaphors or symbols. Art gives us a way to interpret and explain the emotional and intellectual complexities of existence. Science gives us a basis of physical understanding to interact with the world. In a nut shell, I believe both are connected in ways that is often overlooked, art comes from the internal or personal lens while science comes from the external lens. To quote Kelly again, “Science is less about human and more about general drift of evolution throughout the universe.” Both are ultimately designed to facilitate understanding(1).
The knowledge gleaned from both art and science can hopefully lead to conscious decision making for our futures. When doing the reading for this week, I consistently found myself feeling hopeless and terrified. While reading the Whole Earth Discipline I basically decided never to have kids, since they would barely be in elementary school when, as Stewart brand says, “Peace lovers would be killed and eaten by war lovers.” The term carrying capacity is new to me although the idea of overpopulation and depleting resources is not. It doesn’t take a scientist to realize that the earth can only hold so many walking meat sacks before it is too overloaded(2). Definitely a Super Wicked problem, which is too bad since, “Wicked problems have no stopping rule”(From: playing it forward), or real solution.
Basically the map I made explaining art and science is over-simplified and intentionally abstract, which is how I tend to think about things.
(1) This obviously shows my bias for conceptual art and not images made purely for aesthetic value.
(2) As an artist I can use phrases like ‘meat sacks’. It is much more visual, which is "creative". Also, as an artist no one expects me to use technical terms.
Three Interesting Artist Doing Science-y Things
Artist found in the book: 'Art and Science' by Stephen Wilson, 2010.
For this piece Ursitti created a "dating" service which is completely based off of smell. The idea is that singles come and choose their mate based off of tee shirt sample which have been imprinted with the candidates smell. "Ursitti, who collaborated with odour scientists over several years, sees her installations as an "important test case for working at the borders of art and science and for developing languages for areas of inquiry without developed languages.'"(Wilson)
Ursitti is using art with science to explore interpersonal and biological relationships.
I have found the idea of senses very interesting lately and am really intrigued by Ursitti's work. With infinite resources I would make entire installations that integrate the use of isolating the senses. This could manifest as interactive sculptures with internal parts that feel much different than the external parts. I would be also interested in exploring the possibility of making art accessible for the viewer to create themselves. This would use technology to attach sensors to body parts (much like Jochem Hendricks Eye Drawings which would correlate to robots that controlled physical medium to make work. I could see it being both 2D and 3D. It would make the viewer aware of there bodies as well as expose them to the fun part of being a maker.
Aseptia, Represented in part by the Lehmann Maupin gallery.
Artist found in the book: 'Art in Technological Times' by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2001.
The work was described in the text as, "This is a post-human body, transcending the dichotomies between nature and artifice, male and female. It is at once glorious and sinister, familiar and alien, grotesque and strangely seductive, and it beckons us toward a sci-fi future in which species identity renders gender identity irrelevant."
She is creating work about science, as well as making art as science. These forms look like they were created organic forms that could be made here in a lab or reference alien life.
Making work about the use or implications of science is very interesting and is why I found Bul's work so fascinating. With infinite resources it would be great to do large scale castings as well as video work which reflects my hopes and fears of the future in regards to the path we are currently on. It seems that most sci-fi that I have read, and to some extent Bul's work, is a direct commentary about the choices humans are making now, as apposed to their idea of some disconnected created future.
Ghost Machine 2005, with George Bures Miller.
Artist(s) found in the book: 'Art in Technological Times' by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2001
The artists use recorded sound and video to orchestrate the viewers experience. The pieces are interactive, requiring the viewer to physically move through space. When the SFMOMA describes Cardiff's work it explains that the "live ambient sound becomes virtually indistinguishable from the recorded soundtrack, producing a weirdly thrilling uncertainty concerning what is recorded fiction and what is "reality"."
In works like Cabinet of Curiousness Cardiff and Miller use the science aesthetic to deliver commentary on personal and cultural experience.
The science and science museum aesthetic is very intriguing to me. I love looking at objects that have been disconnect from their original context and put on display. Objects that represent "truth". I enjoy the clean sterile or simplified look of what is presented as the science aesthetic, but perhaps it is more the vintage science look. Is that a thing? Cabinet of Curiousness is a good example of what I am thinking about. Glass jars filled with things, labels, multiples, catalogs, order... I don't have a specific project in mind for this idea, but it is more something to influence my mode of working.
Reading Response Two
In her article about Brandon Ballengee, Lucy R. Lippard starts out by arguing that no persons can live successfully in both the art and science world; that they must choose. “When choosing between science and art as a career (and it is a choice that must still be made) Ballengee decided that art could create a ‘better understanding between people and nature.’” (13) Later in the same paragraph she quotes the artist, “I wouldn’t be able to do one without the other”. (13) What is interesting is when trying to explain the complex nature of Ballengee’s work as well as art and science in general things get contradictory. Art and science are definity two things, however Ballengee’s statement alone proves that it is almost impossible for the two things to be mutually exclusive. It is interesting how hard we try to confine information into clean little boxes of identities, when the world is just so much more complicated than that. It seems that the need to open both art and science up past the clean lines of definition is here, and that people are looking for that. It is hard to adjust from a way of thinking that frowns upon, or is not interdisciplinary, to one that is opened to a complicated mess of connections. I wonder if it is more of a semantics issue, not being able to fully express the magnitude of reality with language, than an issue of not being able to physically understand reality.
It is interesting to learn about Ballengee, because what he does, cannot be defined simply. He is successfully negotiating the integration of both worlds. As Clare Lilley puts it, “Working almost around the clock Ballengee variously adopts the role of artist, scientist, collector, educator, mediator, shaman; leading visitors into his (and their) world…”(53) It is inspiring to see work that not only pushes the boundaries of what art can be but additionally pushes the social and ethical boundaries. His work deeply rooted in science and ecological issues, presented as fine art, has the ability to make the viewer question their role in the scheme of things.
Colin McGiNN’s continues this same idea about our moral implication and the idea of luck. He is calling us out on the lack of taking responsibility we have as humans. Explaining that we have certain forms of fiction that reveal our hidden guilt, “as if our unconscious recognizes it only too well but we repress it in the interest of evading its moral consequences.” (2) It is interesting to see this pathos laid out. The use of explaining a scenario, or fiction with a dash of humor, in which the apes out grow humans is very clever in suggesting we get our shit together and take responsibility.
This leads me to my closing quote by Oron Catts, who eloquently states what is at stake if we do not question our actions, "Western technology is getting better at hiding the victim. We don't have to stop and make and ethical decision when we consume the world."
Words and Terms
Applied Forward Reasoning
Group Headline project
With our geodesic dome climate controller .5000, the weather is always great!
†This devices must be worn during all daylight hours by at least 97% of the world population to be effective.
Reading Response Three
The best quote, which was quoted by Stewart Brand but originally found in Science daily, that sums up the readings and suggests what we have to do to save our species is; “move hundreds of megatons of carbon, sequester that carbon for thousands of years, be repeatable for centuries, be something that can be implemented immediately using methods already at hand, not cause unacceptable environmental damage, and be economical.”(291) It shows the overwhelming and complex nature of the issues at stake, both on a practical physical level and a human political level.
In chapter eight, It’s All Gardening, Brand starts by arguing that all humans have always engineered ecosystems, this is something I had never thought about in these terms. It was eye opening to start thinking in these terms in order to understand the implications of our actions and to begin to understand that the earth is not at stake, humans are. It is also interesting to realize that a lot of our understanding or assumptions are based on the (American) idea that we can control the way the earth reacts to our intervention, or as James Lovelock says, “assuming that the biosphere merely responds passively to change instead of realizing it was in the driving seat.” (14) I wonder if this comes from small-scale experiments, like gardening, or just a general egotism, a lack of understanding that something’s are out of our control? The idea of a worldwide database that catalogs every species is very intriguing. As Brand states, “If we’re going to garden the wild (and the world) responsibly, simplifying is not an option; we have to inventory all of life in order to really understand food webs, energy webs, biogeochemical cycles, seasonal and climatic changes, shifting populations rations: the full gamut of how life works.” (268) I guess before this, I didn’t really understand that this didn’t already exist. In my happy ignorance I assumed that there was an institution or group of institutions, which had all of that information under lock and key. I am disturbed how little the intellectual elite actually communicates with each other.
It is a little hopeful to know that this is changing and information is being exchanged more readily. Also it is kind of fantastic that we are now utilizing some of our connected technology for something besides sharing porn. The fact that there are things like the ‘Global Soil Map’ and organizations like CarbonTracker, are hopefully a step in the right direction. I found it particularly exciting that; “Google Earth is being used to track the behavior of everything from polar ice to radio-tagged animals”. (Brand 278) My excitement is despite the fact that when I first encountered Google Earth I felt it could be used by the government or some other ominous group to invade privacy or do other dubious acts.
I suppose when we are talking about mass extinction of our species I shouldn’t be too worried about my privacy.
“Man can never have enough without having too much” –William James
For this project on GeoEngineering, I would like to write an essay. When doing the readings and during the class discussions on this topic I have found myself becoming more and more disheartened by the inevitable destruction of our planet as we know it. I find myself wanting to eat cake and fried foods out of comfort and because I don’t know how long they will be here. I realize that this is a counterproductive reaction, and I feel it is necessary for my sanity to become proactive on the issues of global warming and learn about my specific environment. Based off of Kevin Kelly’s idea of “the big here”, I will attempt to answer his list of questions one should know to “elevate your awareness (and literacy) of the greater place in which you live”. There are thirty initial questions, four bonus questions, and a final question posed by Steward Brand. I hope to find much of the information on the Internet, and through phone calls. I expect that some of the questions will be more difficult to answer than others, although I desire to find all of the answers. It will be a pleasant surprise to know that this information is out there if someone takes a bit of time to find it. This essay may take the form of a blog in order to incorporate a more complete illustration of the issues at hand, i.e. linking other web based information that is relevant. This digital format may also lead to an easier distribution of information to a wider audience. I would like to keep the format somewhat open ended at this point because I think that as I acquire the information, the best way to organize it will reveal itself.
Final Project: Essay Blog
Go here to see my project. Find out what well dressed pears have to do with local water systems, and other fun facts!
Rough ideas for project two
School or workspace with little foot print. I made a 3d sketch that may work... The idea is that if people are stacked up a wall they take up less space. Basically the skyscraper idea, but on a smaller scale and made with sustainable materials. It would also be multifunctional.
An example of precedent work would be MRVDV's virtual pig farm. Build it high in to the sky!
Reading Response Four
The Wired, “6 ways we’re geoengineering earth” article was kind of lame in terms of content, pretty basic, but good in a way of tagging the biggies of human intervention. The author Brandon Kiem lists these as the big six; Draining rivers, painting earth black, infinite farm, wiping out reefs, plastic revolution, altering atmosphere. Although there is no real in depth information, it is kind of helpful to simplify things in order to think about them more clearly. (This goes against the idea of wicked problems, oops.)
In A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, Manual De Landa, gives a much more thorough, although still skimming view of how we as humans have shaped the predicament we are in now. Starting out with the industrial revolution, Landa gives the example of burning ore as the first step of producing “non-human energy”.
Landa later goes on to explain how there was a divide the two main types of civilization; “Large scale, energy intensive industry, and small scale, skill intensive industry.” This distinction is really interesting to me, because I had never thought of these two things in terms of tactics. I see this on a small scale in my day-to-day life. Simple things, checking my email, it is energy intensive, industry intensive and involves large-scale infrastructure. On the other hand carving a piece of wood could involve cutting the tree and the manual labor. I say could because in this society it takes large-scale industry to supply most woods and wood carving tools. It is EVERYWHERE! Even in things that shouldn’t be. I guess it just shows what kind of society we live in. I can’t think of one thing that isn’t part of the larger scale. Even my garden, I got all of the supplies at Lowes.
I watched the Cameron Sinclair Ted Talk on open-source architecture. What he was saying was interesting about getting designers interested in solving these big issues, but focusing locally. He was really concerned about getting ideas going now, and implementing them, which was exciting. I was discussed when he talked about how it took Unicef twenty years to put a flap on their temporary tent design. It seems like opening up the design world, sharing information and keeping it available to all kinds of people is a great idea. I am, however, concerned about his requirement for laptops. I understand that it is a super fast and effective way to communicate globally, but I am unsure how realistic it is if we are trying to get everyone involved. It sets up a class structure; those who have access to a computer then get to make innovations for those who don’t. I don’t know. I am not trying to pick on his enthusiasm it just seemed weird to me. I guess any great plan is going to have some flaws and the goal would be to get enough different kinds of great plans working so together they can create the super great plan.
Abstract for Project Two: Puppet Mania
For this project, Portia Grace Roy and I will be making a video. The video will be in the format of a children’s puppet show public service announcement. This PSA will work under the assumption that an age of Anthropocene has occurred as well as massive climate change. The story line of the PSA consists of a father teaching his daughter how she can ‘do her part’, as well as survive, by utilizing a portable solar cooking device, the Solar Bowl-er™. The information will be presented in a serious tone, although it will be playful, as a serious kid show should be. We will present the video on a school issued AV cart to further the theme of primary education. We hope to draw on aesthetics already established by past PSA’s as well as children’s programming. The estimated duration of the video is approximately two minutes.
Reading Response Five
I thought the reading “Places to Intervene in a system” by Donella H. Meadows, was really interesting in breaking down the problems of social, political constructs. It seemed very much connected to the Wicked Problems, paper we read at the beginning of class but from a different angle. The idea of leverage points, being a place where change, is possible is fascinating in that it pin points actual areas that are contributing to negative or positive feedback.
The most appealing part to me is when she attacks growth as one of the main contributors in the positive feedback cycle we are currently in. “Growth. Both population and economic growth. Growth has costs, among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, the whole list of problems we are trying to solve with growth!” Putting it in such frank terms was eye opening for me. It was one of those things that I didn’t know I knew until it was clarified. The analogy of a faucet was particularly helpful in cementing these ideas in my head. We tend to argue about semantics but everything is being drained from the same place.
It was also interesting how we cut out the elements which can regulate the positive feedback loops;
“A complex system usually have numerous negative feedback loops it can bring into play, so it can self-correct under different conditions and impacts. Some of those loops may be inactive much of the time, like the emergency cooling system in a nuclear power plant, or you ability to sweat or shiver to maintain you body temperature. One of the big mistakes we make is to strip away these emergency response mechanisms because they aren’t often used and they appear to be costly. In the short term we see no effect from doing this. In the long term, we narrow the range of conditions over which the system can survive.”
Sound familiar? Silly humans, with your silly short-term thinking and your paradigms.
I read Robert Fortner’s blog post, Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition. It was really interesting but I am having a hard time connecting it with the Meadows reading. I can assume that a lot of what she is talking about is at play in the development of this technology however; the use of vocabulary and perspective seems different. I particularly thought it was fascinating in Fortner’s history, that when programming voice recognition software they had to get rid of the system of how we understand language; “Ironically, however, much of the progress in speech recognition came from a conscious rejection of the deeper dimensions of language. As an IBM researcher famously put it: “Every time I fire a linguist my system improves.” But pink-slipping all the linguistics PhDs only gets you 80% accuracy, at best.”
It was lovely to hear Margret Atwood and Ursula K. LeGuinn talk. They are both such eloquent and hilarious women. I particularly was intrigued by their discussion of science fiction vs. fantasy. They were saying that science fiction is based in reality and fantasy is not.
“I won’t show you mine if you wont show me yours.” –U.K.L.G.
Kidz In Action: The Solar Bowl-er™
Here is the LINK our project!
The stills from the PNCA performance. "Focus Zachary!" -Miss Portia
And here is some behind the scenes action shots...
This project was interesting in terms of where it started and where it ended. The original idea had the potential for many avenues. It was great working with Portia to narrow and focus our project. Ultimately we ended up having perhaps too much fun. We focused so much on the aesthetics of the project that some of the content that was part of the creative process ended up going by the wayside. We had a back story to make our puppet show make sense, but ended up loosing that content with the presentation of the final product. I don't know if this matters. The project works as a complete and awkward segment, it alludes to a whole which it may be a part of, but does not require it to stand on its own. I think to push the project further, incorporating our back story would be key, as well as making more segments. I can see this project living amongst other similar segments to make a 'kids hour' of television which would more thoroughly describe an age of Anthropocene and dystopia.
Reading Response Six
Reading Response six
“They had me at ‘precautionary,’ worried me at ‘some cause and effect,’ and lost me at ‘fully establishes scientifically.’ That is an illusory, unattainable goal. Nothing is fully established scientifically, ever-not gravity, not Darwinian evolution, not the safety of peanut-butter-&-jelly sandwiches. Science is a perpetual argument.” –Stewart Brand (161)
I think quote sums up the argument of this whole chapter in Whole Earth Discipline. Although because this is brand’s stand in a nutshell. It seems complicated that he is so in favor of GE foods, it seems he would give more credit to the cynicism surrounding the development of GE rather than use this as an argument to dive right in. Personally I have no solid moral stand on GE food and it was refreshing to read someone who has obviously thought a lot about as well as researched a lot about this subject.
Quite honestly it surprised me that Brand’s stance was for GE foods because most of my experience with GE up to this point has been coming from a place of fear. A lot of casual conversations in Portland as well as a few ‘go organic’ books I have read have used scare tactics to approach the use of genetic engineering. And frankly it works. It gives me the heebe jeebes to think of food sliced together in a lab. After reading Brand demystify the issue (although pointedly bias) it striped away a lot of the emotion behind it and made it much easier to understand logically and get to a better understanding of the parts.
I was particularly fascinated by the idea that GE foods do not contain the linkage drag that breed plants do. Brand quotes Jonathan Gressel explaining it, “…This is done without all the extraneous genetic baggage brought by crossing with the related species. Genetic engineering is like getting a spouse without the in-laws, whereas breeding is like getting a spouse with a whole village.”(131) I found this so interesting because in her book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin talks about people accidentally breeding homicidal rapist chickens. Basically breeders try to make fatter chickens that will mature faster in order to gain a higher profit, however they don’t realize that there are personality traits associated with physical ones so they end up making fat and horrible chickens. In other words we didn’t know what we were doing and only cared about immediate profit. In a way it does seem safer to extract the exact gene, however I still feel slightly skeptical that there are not unforeseen risks. I realize that as the opening quote suggest, there are always unforeseen risks.
I am however, less worried about human safety as I am about human exploitation. It seems like the potential for companies like Monsanto to fuck over the whole planet are a greater risk. But perhaps that is fear talking. As Zack Denfeld suggests while talking about biodiversity, “ Industrial capitalism does not make room for this, if India goes down the road of the U.S you will not eat this.” It is a somewhat gloomy prospect. There is great potential for GE food. It could help with hunger and deficiency issues, but in the wrong hands it could lead to a lack of biodiversity and food monopolies.
In Class Recipe Project
Have you ever wondered why pineapple wasn’t any sweeter? Well now you don’t have to. Thanks to Hawaii University we now have genetically engineered pineapples that will have your dentist smiling! This simple recipe will satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth. Make it on Valentines Day to share with your sweetie. Pair with a fine cognac.
One GE Hawaiian Pineapple (Diced)
One Cup Corn Syrup
One Cup (package) Maple and Brown Sugar Quaker Instant Oatmeal
Two Cups Salted butter
Half Cup Raw Sugar
Half Cup Brown Sugar
Preheat oven to 350˚. Fold in pineapple and corn syrup, set aside. Combine oatmeal, butter and raw sugar. Place pineapple mixture in the bottom of a non-stick 9x9 baking dish. Layer the oatmeal mix on top of the pineapple. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top to caramelize. Bake for 25mins. Serve warm with a sweet cream ice cream.
Email to Professor David A. Christopher: Professor of Biotechnology, University of Hawaii
Hello Mr. Christopher,
I am an art student attending the Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland Oregon. I am currently enrolled in an Art an Science class in which we are looking into genetically engineered food.
While looking at the Information Systems for Biotechnology web page I came across a pineapple in which in 1997 the University of Hawaii genetically engineered, amongst other things, to be sweeter. The bp number is 97-220-04n. I was curious what the benefit of making this fruit, which seems sweet in itself, sweeter would be. We guessed in class that it could be about ripening times or perhaps about attracting other organisms to aid in some way.
If you have the time I would love to understand more about this.
Thank you for your consideration,
Reading Response Seven
Steward Brand makes this statement in the first page of the chapter Gene Dreams; “The realization is humbling: All complex life forms were invented by the creatures we think of as cooties, germs.”(169) It is an oversimplified and beautiful statement. It shows both our human lack of understanding of the complexity of the world as well as highlighting our kind of messed up hierarchy of life in general. A good example of the lack of understanding is when he is talking about just beginning to understand the oceans and how they are a massive home of microenvironments that we didn’t realize before. It is also curious how we as individuals host a considerable amount of microenvironments, “We humans have 18,000 distinct genes; our microbes have 3 million, We are one species; they are diverse- a thousand species in our digestive tract a twenty-one-foot-long bioreactor running on 100 trillion microbes), another thousand in our mouth, five hundred in our skin, another five hundred in those of us with a vagina.” (172) We are complex systems living in a hugely more complex world and yet we try to control it all, somehow.
It was very interesting to read about the different ways genes can pass to one another vertically and horizontally. I think that it is hard for me to grasp horizontal gene transfer. It mostly makes sense in terms of viruses and is explained well by the New Scientist, and quoted by Brand, “The rate at which viruses shuffle DNA around suggests that life is capable of acquiring fresh new material our of the blue, and also of making dramatic leaps in the time is takes to catch a cold.” But I still don’t understand genes spontaneously swapping DNA with their host. Is it through osmosis, digestion? I don’t know exactly but it is fun to think of things that normally reproduce sexually or asexually horizontally reproducing.
Besides the biology, and economy of the GE issue, it seems that the human aspect needs to be looked at as well. In the Zack Denfeld and Kat Kramer radio show Kramer argues, “But it’s a larger food culture debate as well then because its, the more these efficiency, … the more efficient you can buy your meals … it cuts this cultural relationship we have to food, which is very important in having a healthy ecosystem.” I think this is a very important point to remember. We have the ability to push and manipulate our food sources at a rate that seems much faster than in the past, and I wonder about the psychological and social effects of this. Denfeld says, “We have spent fifty years as efficiency as our main driver and selection mechanism as our food selection, that doesn’t work anymore.” My question is what does work now?
Rough Project Ideas
For this genetically engineered food project, I am going to create a sculpture. The sculpture will depict a fanciful medley of imagined food growing from a tree. I plan to use preexisting artificial fruit and vegetables, as well as an artificial tree. The fruit will be sculpturally manipulated into ‘hybrid’ fruit and then attached to the tree as if it were growing naturally. These food objects will be a good starting place to talk about the use of genetic engineering to create food that has beefed up nutrition values. Golden rice, for example, has being made to incorporate vitamin A. The new hybrid fruits and vegetables that I will create, maintain the aesthetics of the origin fruit, in order to more easily identify the added nutrients. For example the Arti-applem, would be an excellent source of the antioxidants and fiber of an apple, the vitamin C and potassium of a lemon, as well as Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Phosphorus, Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, from the artichoke leaves. The sculpture will include text that will highlight the name and nutrition value of each fruit.
This project was interesting because as I went through the process of making it, the point became more and more clear. My concept of genetically engineered food also became more bazaar. I don't think this project tells people what to think or how to feel about GE foods, but rather, hopefully makes them question their own assumptions on the issue. The critique went well for this project, everyone seemed fairly optimistic about the execution of the idea. There were a few things that I found surprising while in the critique. The main thing was that people got a little hung up on the fruits that looked like they were being penetrated as apposed to growing organically. The consensus was that these objects gave the over all piece a slightly more aggressive tone. While this was not something I had consciously tried to achieve, I think it makes the piece stronger. The title was something that the group felt could be stronger. They suggested adding the literal translation of the Latin words as well as changing the phrase "The next generation of resourceful eating" to "The next generation of efficient eating", which I agree with and will change for the opening of the class show. My biggest accomplishment with this piece happened while installing it in class. A passerby was intrigued by this moving tree and came in to investigate. He was really into the fruit and I got a lot of "awesome" comments. It also spurred a whole conversation about GE. It made me think I had really hit on something if someone outside of the context of our class could get so enthusiastic about it. Very cool. Also, to expand this project it was suggested that I make enough to have an "orchard" of them. That would be pretty sweet. I will just need a financial backer.
Final Reading Response
We have the power to choose moment by moment how we want to be in the world.” –Jill Bolte Taylor
The TED talk, Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor was highly emotional. After suffering a stroke Taylor feels as though she was given the gift of deeper understanding, of being able to access nirvana. She also believes that anyone has the power to access this, which is a pretty loaded argument. In the beginning of her talk she began by talking about her brother who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. I was curious that in her conclusion she did not circle back to him. I kept expecting her to relate her experience to her brothers. It was not necessary for her to make the connection, however it seemed like a loose end. Her speech seemed to parallel her point. In the beginning it was all about facts, time line and back story, as she went on it became more and more present. By the end, she seemed one hundred percent in the moment and not concerned by the info she had given previously. It was very engaging and somewhat uncomfortable to watch. The other two people we read, or saw paled in interest to Taylor.
The TED talk, On Memes and Temes, left me wondering how much information I didn’t have. I felt like I walked into a conversation that had already started and was trying to pick out the reason. What I learned from Susan Blackwell was that “We are a pandorian species”, meme = that which is replicated, “The big brain is divided by the memes”, temes is her name for technology which replicates itself, “Language is a parasite.” And “We all think we are choosing these things by the temes will be making us do it.” I am unable to process exactly what all of these statement mean at this time. My first reaction is that it is just another way to understand our world. It comes across as a conspiracy theory, but maybe it is just a philosophy.
Aubry de Grey. Um. Yea. I hope that he is not as arrogant in person as he sounds on paper. I normally try very hard to not make personal judgments about someone and just think about their ideas, but the interview format of both of these articles made that hard to stick to. In, How Beer, Oprah and Sergey Brin Can Help Cure Aging, by Steven Lecart, I got hung up or turned off by a lot of what he said. For example, “ The handicap is being encumbered by all the conventional wisdom in a given field.” I am all for creative thinking, looking outside the box and all that, but to disregard the industry or historical standard seems ignorant. I am hoping his meaning was lost in translation on this one.
In the next article, We Don’t Have to Get Sick as we Get Older, by Casper Liewellyn Smith, Grey states, “… there is a tendency to think there is some sort of inevitability about aging- it somehow transcends our technological abilities in principle, which is complete nonsense.” So there is some circular reasoning going on here. If I don’t agree his argument is that I am being nonsensical but there isn’t much to his argument other than we don’t have to believe what we have already believed. Okay I get that. But when asked about population growth and how humans living considerably longer would effect that he said, “I don’t see that it’s sensible to regard the risk of a population spike as a reason not to give people the best health care that we can.” So apparently these two things are mutually exclusive and not interdependent. I can’t wait to be living in my neighbor’s filth at 150 years of age. How can you have a quality of life at any age if the earth can no longer support basic needs? His whole argument seems so idealistic and somehow shallow. Grey states, “I do this because I’m interested in saving 100,000 lives a day.” That sounds great and godly, but there is no hint at the idea that perhaps that is not what we need as a species. We are starting to learn now in 2010 that the theory “if this is good than more will be better” just might not be where it is at.
For Real Final Reading Response
This afterward is a little jumpy, so my response will also be. Really there were three things that stood out.
1) This quote by Brand, “In other words, the progress of climate science is likely to keep on alternately terrifying and mollifying us till mid-century at least.” I realize there is probably no solution to this, however as someone who appreciates the facade of stability this statement pretty much gives me a panic attack. Also it seems from his new writing that the experts in this field are all fighting about what should be done. Again I realize this is inevitable when we are talking about such big issues, however it still just reeks of hopelessness, which leads me to my next point…
2) “You can drop spent fuel rods down the borehole, stack them up a mile deep, pour in some concrete, and forget about the whole thing.” This seems like a bad plan. Maybe it is the best plan but it still seems bad. Yes, I do not know the science; it is totally possible that it is safe and effective. I just think injecting the planet with our waste seems, for lack of a more eloquent phrase, fucked up.
3) Lastly… this quote, “His science advisor John Holdren remarked that developing the ability to nudge asteroids “would demonstrate once and for all that we're smarter than the dinosaurs and can therefore avoid what they didn't.” All I can say to this one is, WOW. I didn’t realize this was our big plan. Who exactly are we proving this to anyway?
Professional Practice exercise
Call for artists, information acquired via email:
Thank you for your interest in Spring Exhibition 2011
The spring exhibition is an adjudicated open exhibition. The exhibition venue is Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen.
The Spring Exhibition 2011 will take place between 5 March and 25 April 2011.
Anyone who is 18 years or older is entitled to apply. Applications take place online 10 -16 January 2011. It costs DKK 500 to apply.
You can apply with up to 5 contributions in the categories: painting, sculpture, installation, graphic art, architecture, crafts/design, photography, video, film, performance, animation, sound art, net.art, software art, visual poetry (mixed forms of text and image). There is a time-limit of 5 minutes for video, film, animation and other time-based works. On the adjudicating process for both Spring Exhibition 2011.
The board of Charlottenborg Fonden and Kunsthal Charlottenborg will select a maximum of 500 works from the total number of works sent in.
These 500 works will be adjudicated by an international jury of five experts.
If your contribution is approved by the jury, it will be on show at the exhibition during the period 5 March and 25 April 2011.
The Jury Award
10 contributions will be nominated for the Jury Award, the winner being announced at the opening of the exhibition. The award will be handed over by the chairman of the jury and the award also includes a sum of money and a statement by the jury.
An online exhibition catalogue will be prepared for the exhibition.
For further information, go to the Spring Exhibition website at www.springexhibition.com Should you have any queries, you can also send an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spring Exhibition
Proposal for Show: An Exercise
Project Proposal/ Description: The Candy Perts The Candy Perts are a live, sound, video performance group consisting of the two members H. Zinger and E. Armstrong. The 20-minute performance consists of a blending of narrative, singing, spoken word vocals, percussion and a video piece. The video is a series of vignettes that connect and respond to the content of the piece and also includes more traditional music components that “play” along with the percussion. There will also be prop elements as well as sculptural costuming to aid in visual and contextual appeal. The issues being explored by the performance are health, friendship, art practice, aging, social and political concerns, nature, procreation, pop culture, as well as dinosaurs, french fries, humor and grief. The performance requires a ten foot by fifteen foot space with wall space or ceiling mounts to hang a projection screen which should be located opposite the viewing area. The screen needs to be at least seven feet by six feet. Other equipment required is a digital projector and PA system. The artists can bring these items if the space does not have access to them. The artists will provide the percussion equipment, microphones and lighting. It is important that the space has the ability to be dark, and that no other work is within the required space.
Misc Candy Pert Extras
Group's name inspired by: Candice Pert PhD
Group Show Action Shots: Yea Buddy