Tuesday, April 26, 2016

[week 4] Medicine and Art

Medicine and healthcare an important field of study because not only does it directly relate to our health, but also it ultimately aids our understanding of the natural world. Modern discoveries in biology such as tensegrity and geodesic structures bring us closer to understanding nature and its building blocks, and possibly unraveling the underlying them of the universe itself.

Medicine and art, once again seem like two completely separate subjects, have always had an interesting connection with another. To talk about the shift in relationship between medicine and art, we first quickly examine the evolution of medicine and how medicine itself has changed over time.

The Tai Chi symbol. Yin and Yang representing opposing energies of the universe.
We look at Eastern medicine, in particular Chinese medicine, as representative of medical practice before the advent of modern technology. Chinese medicine has often baffled western scientists and doctors, who believe that the whole practice is, based somewhat on superstition. The ancient Chinese never treated medicine as a science, but more as a philosophy. Chinese medicine deals with workings on a metaphysical level, the treatment of a patient is not to fix an illness, but to restore a balance that has been disturbed. Much like an artist who in his/her artwork constantly strikes the balance between colors, shapes, and lighting, a traditional Chinese doctor is simply restoring a balance in the patient’s body.

Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam".
Modern medicine, however, has a completely differently relationship to art and technology. Medicine is a field in which technological advances flourish. Examination of the connections between technology and art naturally leads to the examination of medical technology due to the connection between art and the human body. The human anatomy has always been an inspiration to many famous artists. From external body proportions to the internal workings, the human body has set the stage for many brilliant artworks. 

A nanobot injecting medicine into a blood cell.
It is also a wonderful transition going from robotics to medical technologies because robotics plays such a crucial role in the future of medical care. From Nanobots to exoskeletons, robots open a new world of possibilities in medical treatment, administering to patients in a way that doctors cannot do. 

"1: THE QUASI-RELIGIOUS NATURE OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE." Understanding Chinese Medicine. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

"10 Advances In Medical Technology From The Global War On Terror." Task Purpose. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

"Can Nanobots Be Designed To Deliver Medicine?" The Latest News. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

Ingber, Donald E. "The Architecture of Life." Sci Am Scientific American 278.1 (1998): 48-57. Web.

"Traditional Chinese Medicine Organ Times." Naturopathic By Nature. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

[week 3] Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Art

In this digital age, Arts presented in the digital media is inevitable. I strongly disagree with arguments that suggest contemporary digital art is a lesser form of Arts from older times. I think both articles written by Benjamin and Davis argue for merit in Arts of the digital age and the reproduction of Arts.

The reproduction of an Art piece does not diminish its meaning, but brings new meaning to it. The deconstruction and reconstruction of the product itself is a form of art. Copies of art do not reduce its authenticity; it simply makes the art itself available to the general public. I believe the purpose of spreading the aesthetic and spiritual significance of an art piece is significant enough to justify the existence of copies.

Emulation is on its own an art form, be it an exact replica or an interpretation of the “copier”. One who mirrors is an artist in his/her own sense.

One of this week’s main topics is robotics, and I believe that the essence of robotics is the emulation of the human race. Robotics has evolved immensely, and the field itself has shifted away from the mechanical aspects of a robot to the intelligent aspect (the rise of Artificial Intelligence). Artificial intelligence is an imitation of the mind, and imitating creativity itself is most definitely an art.

 The two images above are created by Google's neutral network. In other words artworks of an artificial intelligence. It is not to say the artificial intelligence will ever replace human creativity, but the creation of another creator is most definitely an art form of its own.


"Artificial Intelligence Can Now Paint Like Art's Greatest Masters." Motherboard. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Davis, Douglas. "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (An Evolving Thesis: 1991-1995)." Leonardo 28.5 (1995): 381. Web.

"Rehearsing Revolution and Life : The Embodiment of Benjamin’s Artwork Essay at the End of the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." Walter Benjamin and Art. Web.

"The Real Face of Artificial Intelligence: Why It's Is Already All around Us." TODAY.com. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Wakefield, Jane. "Intelligent Machines: AI Art Is Taking on the Experts." BBC News. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Friday, April 8, 2016

[Week 2] Abstract and Reality – The interrelationship between Mathematics and the full spectrum of Art

Mathematics and Art may, on the surface, appear to be completely separate studies. Logic and Creativity always seem like a never-ending battle, clashing against each other. However, upon closer examination, Mathematics and Art are subjects that completely intertwined by nature. From abstract to reality, Mathematics has a profound influence and relationship with artworks and artists alike.

To me abstract art is art that defies the conventional reality. It is Art that depicts a reality perceived by the artist, open to interpretation, a higher reality. In many ways, that describes a dimension that is beyond what we know. Henderson’s Geometry in Modern Art outlines the concept of the Fourth Dimension, of Non-Euclidean Geometry, and how these ideas influence artists. The idea of another physical dimension challenges an artist’s reality. Allowing deviation from the visual reality brings out another dimension of creativity in an artist. As Henderson elegant puts it, the fourth dimension is a symbol of “liberation for artists.” Just as inhabitants of flatland cannot fathom the concept of depth, we too are unable to truly understand the fourth dimension, but is it under such conditions that creativity are allowed to flow without inhibition, creating the rawest form of art.
(on the right: Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 by Marcel Duchamp; below: Distortion of reality scene from movie Inception (2010))

On the other end of the spectrum, there is art in reality. A well-known Italian poet, Dante, one said, “Nature is the art of God.” I could not agree more to that statement. There are countless examples of how math underlies in the art of nature, but to examine their relationship I would like to pick a specific and famous example, the Fibonacci sequence.
The Fibonacci sequence has numerous mathematical significances in many patterns hidden its arithmetic, explored by Arthur Benjamin briefly in his Ted talk “The magic of Fibonacci numbers. As importantly, the Fibonacci sequence is ever-present throughout the aesthetics of nature, underlying seemingly chaotic phenomenon. To show the scale and ubiquity of the Fibonacci numbers, I will show nine examples.
 (to the left: A Fibonacci spiral)

 (The Fibonacci sequence on the pedals of a succulent)
 (The Fibonacci spirals in which sunflower seeds organize)
 (The Fibonacci sequence on a pineapple)
 (The Fibonacci sequence on a pine cone)
 (The Fibonacci sequence on plant leaves)
 (The Fibonacci spiral on a nautilus shell)
(The Fibonacci spiral on the eye of a hurricane) 

(The Fibonacci spiral of a galaxy)
(The Fibonacci spiral on Donald Trump)

Works Cited

"15 [Make That 16] Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ratio in Nature @ AMERICAN DIGEST." 15 [Make That 16] Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ratio in Nature @ AMERICAN DIGEST. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.
"Fibonacci in Nature." Fibonacci in Nature. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. 
Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. 
Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion." Leonardo 17.3 (1984): 205. Web.
J, Elaine. "What Is the Fibonacci Sequence?" LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.
"Pinterest." Pinterest. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.
"How Inception‘s Astonishing Visuals Came to Life." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.
TEDtalksDirector. "Arthur Benjamin: The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers." YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

[Week 1] Two Cultures

My name is Arthur Yeung. I am currently a fifth year Civil and Environmental Engineering student at UCLA. As an engineer, I witness the dichotomy between the Sciences and the Humanities everyday. The contrast is visible even in the architectures of the buildings. The fluorescent-lit hallways of Boelter hall don’t resemble the arches in Royce hall, just as engineering students behave differently from Arts students.
However, these observations are vastly generalized. Especially in a college environment, I personally know many engineers who have great respect and understanding of arts and literature, and vice versa. From my experience, students who exhibit comprehension of both the Sciences and Humanities are often more insightful on the subject matter and are more effective communicators to those around them. 

C.P. Snows lecture on the Two Cultures is very progressive for his time. He astutely points out the importance of a scientific revolution and how the revolution of education systems is necessary to realize that change. Snow draws attention to the contentment of the West (Snow 46); but more importantly, he makes an observation that the West will become an “enclave in a different world” through inaction (Snow 53). It is interesting to compare Snow’s prediction in 1959 to the current economic and political dynamics between the East and the West. Obviously education is not solely responsible for difficulties in understanding Eastern cultures and their rise, but it did play a role. Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Education Paradigms” lay out a great direction towards where changes in education could occur. 

In professor Vesna’s article “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between”, she makes a powerful argument stating the importance of “Sharing the Language” and “Collaboration” between scientists and intellectuals (Vesna 124). The goal is to move towards a third culture where science and art do not contradict but complement each other. It is the responsibility of artists of the “third culture” to bridge the gap between the Sciences and Humanities (Vesna 124). 
The gap between scientists and literary intellectuals today are already much less, as it is between science and the public. There are organizations that do an amazing job connecting science to the general public. Companies like National Geographic, effectively delivers its mission to “inspire, illuminate, and teach” through “storytelling” (National Geographic). It is important to create and spread such a culture, because moving on from this century we will begin to face pressing problems on the scale of all humanity, such as overpopulation, depletion of resources, and pollution.


"About the National Geographic Society." National Geographic Society Press Room. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

"Clipsuper.com Ucla Royce Hall Stage." Clipsuper.com Ucla Royce Hall Stage. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

"Failing like Never before." Ucla «. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.

TheRSAorg. "RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms." YouTube. YouTube, 2010. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Toward a Third Culture: Being in between." Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-25. JSTOR. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.