DESMA 9: Week 2- History, Dimensions, and oddly-defined rock

A lot of stuff goes on in this class. There is a lot to write about.


I read the first week’s reading after I had written the blog post, so I figure I may as well catch up now.


C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” was fairly interesting. He said that scientists are brash and boastful, but I disagree. Most scientists I have met are down-to-earth people and relatively humble. My friend’s dad is a computer scientist that I interviewed for a project in high school. I know him well, but he had never mentioned his career in any way until I asked him. Granted, he was proud of his work when I asked, but that is certainly good. Snow also says that scientists are “unaware of man’s condition”. However, he also says that writers “have no foresight”. Logically speaking, if writers and scientists worked together, they would be able to quickly solve the most critical of man’s woes. Snow says that standardized tests and specialized education are the culprits to the science/humanities split. I see his point, but how could you possibly mix the two? Perhaps I am simply too used to the system to determine a solution.


I also watched a good deal of the Steve Kurtz lecture. I am not sure what the point of his lecture was. Certainly, it was fairly interesting in its own right, but in the context of art and technology as the theme of the class, I felt it out of place. Although his pranks were fairly interesting, his group seems like little more than an outspoken interest group. Some of the things he said happened to him were a stretch. The beer police? Come on. They shut down a harbor because they found a tiny electronic LCD screen on a ferry? Psh.


I was enthralled by the movie that was being shown on Monday(off of Youtube, but still), Pi by Darren Aronofsky. I watched his other movie, Requiem for a Dream, so I was enthralled once again by his style. The movie is about a guy who believed he could find a pattern in the stock market. At first he believed he could get rich, but eventually he just became obsessed with the idea that there is some kind of formula that governs all life. The other movie shown in the lecture was A Beautiful Mind, which has a similar theme. The main character, in the beginning of the movie, is trying to find a way to apply math to all life. He calls this idea “governing dynamics”. I question why these two movies are shown, especially considering the theme. Is there some underlying message the professor is trying to convey? How does the idea of “art in technology” (or is it “technology in art”?) apply to the idea of a way to explain everyday life? Interestingly, I saw a video on Youtube recently in which a guy named Derren Brown, who hosts a show called “Trick or Treat” in Britain. He tried to predict what a couple of advertising guys would make to advertise a chain of taxidermy stores. He completely succeeds appears to prove that even advertising buffs succumb to subliminal advertising.


Considering the “art in technology” theme, I expected something deeper than simple art created by equations, such as tesselations and fractals. I also expected something deeper than art history, with the little history of perspective we got. I do realize that it is early in the quarter, however. At any rate, even thought it isn’t what I expected, it is still interesting. The more modern art displayed on the internet was a lot more interesting. You can see how mediums such as the internet are being used to create new visual and aural experiences.


The reading on the fourth dimension was interesting at first, with the explanation of how different people interpreted the fourth dimension before Einstein. However, after it explains Einstein’s theory of relativity, it quickly because just a history lesson. Perhaps, now, artists may have to go after the 11th dimension, as the first 10 are taken. After Einstein’s theory, it did not seem to apply to technology much more than an advance of some scientific thought. I thought that technology was different from scientific thought, but perhaps I am wrong. I had always thought technology was the advance of machinery.


tech·nol·o·gy [tek-noluh-jee]


1. the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
2. the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
3. a technological process, invention, method, or the like.
4. the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.


Hmm, perhaps I was wrong.


Even though the “lecture” on math rock didn’t seem to relate much either, it was definitely interesting. My friends listen to a lot of progressive metal, which I assume is a derivative of progressive rock, and I listen to some powernoise, a sort of industrial noise. Therefore, math rock seems applicable to me. It seemed a bit distant because it was mainly a history of Japanese progressive rock/math rock, but even so it was quite an excellent concert and getting to try new music in class is hard to complain about. One thing I did learn, however, is that “noise” can be introduced in more genres than just industrial. I checked “math rock” on Wikipedia to get some background before the lecture and learned that it incorporated the concept of “noise”. Through a couple links, I also found that “noise” is used in techno.


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