Monday, June 6, 2016

Event 4

Event 4

Poster for the event on the door leading inside.

        This week I went to the CNSI Presentation Room for the Art & Brain and MORPHO catalogue launch. This event was much more intimate than past ones I had been to for this class. The room was a little small and there were about 40 people in total which included Professor Vesna herself, other DESMA 9 students, and the artists, and scientists involved in the project. I actually had a chance to chat with Professor Vesna for a little before the introduction started and it was nice to finally meet the woman who I have been watching on video for the entire quarter! 

Me holding a sample copy of the book.

Professor Vesna providing an introduction for each the authors who collaborated for the book.

What is cool about the book that the event revolved around is that it is a complete collaboration of art and science. Artists and scientists joined forces in order to create this book and you could tell that it was a complete labor of love on all ends. There was even a first edition copy of the book that was put together by hand. Each person who had a part in the publishing of the book said a few words. One of the men who spoke was a neuro scientist who had been collaborating with artists for many years. He talked about how working with artists was an eye opening experience for him with what he could do in science. Art is a vehicle to communicate how science affects people and it is a good metaphor for a new way of thinking. He told us of how the federal budget for science keeps shrinking and how working with art could help find a new approach of science to make it more appealing and more understandable to people. I thought that this was a great perspective to think of art and science and how both branches can benefit from each other. To me the creation of this book is a great example of what amazing things science and art can do when they work together. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Event 3

Event 3

My friend Jake (who is also in DESMA 9) and I outside of the Broad Art Center.

This past week I went to an event at the Broad Art Center called Staring in the Age of Destruction (S.A.D.). Walking around the event was really cool because it was a showcase of all the senior’s final art projects. I am a political science major so I would never have an assignment like the ones that these art students had and I enjoyed seeing all of the different projects. You could tell that each student put an incredible amount of time and labor into their project and that each work had a very personal meaning to its creator. The showcase really did a great job of fusing art and science together. Every work was very unique but had some technological twist to tie it all together. 

Title slide for Danielle's piece.

Although all of the works were fantastic I was immediately drawn to a piece titled “I Just Want to Feel Like Myself Again” by Danielle Hollander. The work itself is a large projection of an image of a mask of a girl’s face with a wig of black hair. It actually had and entire wall so the girl’s face seemed to look over the entire exhibit. The projection was a loop of film of a face looking out hauntingly into an unknown space as her hair is being brushed. The face starts out completely normal and then distorts over time as acts of a daily beauty routine are carried out on it. The more the girl’s hair is brushed the more distorted her face gets and she looks as though she is suffocating. The large image of the distorted face overlooking the entire event was quite unsettling to me but I couldn’t look away. The inclusion of the video loop and the evolution of the girl’s face from normal to a suffocated plastic mask is a great example of how technology can be used to make art. I think that the video loop had a profound affect on how the piece was received by its audience. A single picture or painting wouldn’t have had the same emotional impact.

The piece as it first appears on the projection.

The piece at then end of the time loop appearing severely harmed after all of the beautification.

The preface to the art work.

The brief description of the work really stuck with me. The description title read “An exploration of rituals I perform in order to maintain body image. Over time, these rituals feel compulsive, suffocating, and monotonous. The more they are performed, the more detached I feel from myself and my image” (Danielle Hollander). This short preface from the artist is very relatable to me in my everyday life and to countless others. As I watched the face of the girl slowly become distorted over time as it went through its beauty routine I felt sad. Today’s society puts so much pressure on having the perfect appearance no matter the cost and often times the image we are seeking is unattainable. I felt that through this piece Danielle was trying to show us that seeking these unrealistic images will only lead to unfulfilled expectations and a lost sense of self. This work asks us to contemplate society’s values of beauty and to look to ourselves for what we think should be deemed beautiful.