A Fight for Change

Professor Vesna proposed an interesting question about art, science, and technology during Wednesday’s lecture–where can it go? Can art, science, and technology’s new method of thought and practice help balance or offset events like the conflict between Anarchists and neo-Nazis in Prague? While I think this is a very important question which is eventually asked every field of study (how can this change and benefit the world?), I have yet to imagine a probable solution.

Richard Clar’s lecture demonstrated a different application of art, science and technology which dealt with the desire to communicate with other life forms in outer space. I thought his proposal to allow a dolphin form to float in space was beautiful and thought-provoking. A dolphin’s high frequency signals in whistles and clicks are highly complex form of communication. In using a dolphin’s voice as a message to extraterrestrial life draws a correlation to man’s relationship to dolphins and the possible relationship between humans and other life forms. Dolphins are complex mammals which humans have yet to fully understand. And as a prehistoric creature, dolphins are intelligent adapters and communicators and echo humans as a similar evolving creature. And, when aliens intercept Clar’s dolphin, there will possibly be a similar appreciation and curiosity for such shapes and sounds.

On a different note, this affection for dolphins can be further explored with the recent protest by celebrity Hayden Panettiere. Panettiere tried to stop the killing of dolphins by Japanese fishermen who were slaughtering the dolphins for meat, a long tradition. But what makes dolphins, as opposed to other sea creatures like fish, worth protecting in the American ideology? Perhaps dolphins are important in that they are part of the ocean’s eco-system. However, how is their beauty and intelligence any different from pigs, which are also brutally killed on a much larger scale? The protest fails to understand that the appreciation of dolphins is very much a product of values and symbolism and does not consider the tradition and system of values of Japan. While Panettiere’s argument is thus flawed, the protest of the killing of dolphins still is beneficial in that it challenges preconceived ideas. I guess the fight for some change is better than none.

In looking at Clar’s space artwork, we can better understand the possible scope of art, science, and technology. His work “takes advantage of new technologies and materials created through space activities” but also “expresses the new psychological and philosophical conceptions developed through the exploration of space”. In creating a forum of discussion to better understand the implications of space travel and the search of life in space allows us to acknowledge Earth as its own system but also as a small part of the universe. In turn, this can potentially affect the way NASA and our government chooses to act and create policies. However, in trying to create something that employs art, science, and technology to prevent conflicts like the one in Prague seems very difficult. For example, an artwork using science and technology to illustrate and confirm that all humans are equal regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or gender would be an engaging piece. But conflicts like the one in Prague are so deep rooted and interconnected to history, economics, politics, and a lack of proper education,that it is hard to eliminate. In terms of using the creative and unique ideas emerging from the new field of art, science, and technology could transform the world in a way never assumed possible. Yet to create a physical and immediate impact, creating art for change does not reach a large enough audience. While art can inspire people to take an initiative in social justice, I don’t think it can transcend all boundaries. But again, I suppose some fight for change is better than none.


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