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Final Presentations [nachshon_alon]

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2007 by nachshonalon

Well although the class has nearly reached its end, the creative juices still seem to be flowing endlessly. It was very astonishing to see the start of the final presentations in class on monday. Just with the element water there were countless projects cronstructed around craftsmanship, the pursuit of happiness, global health and world solutions. It is very warming to see so many students interested in helping the world with its soon to be water crisis although there isnt a single individual in the class who suffers from the lack of the ability to get fresh clean water. The other day in my introduction to chemical engineering class Walter W. Wang, the President and CEO of JM Eagle, the worlds largest producer and supplier of plastic pipelines, camee to class and gave a lengthy presentation. His presentation was most shocking because he spoke as if he had the solidary control over the health and future of the entire country of africa because of his control over water. He has recently started a project that transfers large amounts of clean water from the coast to the inter African cities. The water crisis is apparently very close to the top of the list of our problems and it is very reasurring to see so many of my fellow students who will soon be politicans, buisnessmen, and people of potential holding the issue in high regards and taking steps towards tackling the problem before it tackles us. 

One of my favorite projects so far was the rain music. It is so cool how the dropping of water molecules can make so many different sounds. It was also innovative of the guy to get out on the rainy day with the a sound recorder. Reason, the program he used, is also very cool. It is amazing how technology these days allow the average student to take his/her ideas to production without professional assitance.


late but sorry jack kutilek

Posted in Uncategorized, Week 8 on November 26, 2007 by jkutilek

well uh so i realize i forgot to write this blog by sunday midnight. lets begin.
when i think last week i remember that discussion we had where everyone argued back and forth about whether religion was right or not. it all seemed like a waste of time. one person would say “hey i think there is no coincidence because of religion.” then someone else would say “yo that doesn’t make any sense”. reading over other blogs reminds me about whether something is actually true. and i also thought there was not really any reason to argue about it, but maybe thats because when you raised the question i immediately had what seemed like the entire argument inside my head already and came to agree with what victoria said at the end of the class, about how it all depends on your definition of what the truth is. there didn’t seem like much to argue about to me. maybe i was still mad about the religion argument, i don’t know, but it seemed like it turned into another I’m right because of what i believe versus I’m right because of what i believe. let me try to concise my statement. the discussions we had seemed to be driven by beliefs of life that couldn’t be changed. it was an argument that could have just been a statement of different outlooks, like a lecture. like hey some people believe this but other people believe this now go think about it and write about it in your blogs. i am just talking but that is my feelings on the discussion.
anyways lets look into some interesting things. as i browsed the internet for some art related to memory or consciousness, i was reminded of salvador dali’s dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate. i remember reading about how it addresses a persons interaction with the world while dreaming, which has always been a subject that interested me, and seemed to connect because it seems to be about consciousness. except it is consciousness while dreaming. i looked over the internet but it is difficult to find anything on this more than that dali was agreeing with Freud’s theory. however i did find a link to very long paper about consciousness and freud’ theory and it is too much for me to comprehend. here it is:
heres the painting its pretty good:


Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2007 by erikacramer

It was a pretty interesting lecture on Monday, because it wasn’t a lecture.  It was a discussion in which there were so many views being expressed and rather than one person talking to many.  Religion has done a lot of good things, but I think Tolerance has done more.  On top of that, I could never get my brain around the idea that any group of people could be said to deserve more than another group simply because they believed something the others did not.  Through the discussions I’ve had with family, friends, people in churches and people in classrooms, there are a lot of things I could say about what I hold to be true, but I’m only going to go into one.

 A funny thing about many religions that teach that things are pre-destined, or that there is a single path that God (or whoever one believes to be up there) wants you to take/pushes you towards, is that it makes it easy for that person to not take responsibility for their actions.  If you do something, or you make a bad choice, or even if someone else makes a bad choice and as a result you respond in a certain way, it becomes possible for you to assign that choice as a part of God’s preset plan.  If you place all of your faith in something bigger and more powerful than yourself, it becomes easy to accept and settle for what in actuality is not your full potential.  An example without God, but represents the problems with believing the problem is higher up than yourself:  Soldiers fighting in Iraq for the United States of America.  Many people don’t want this war to keep going on, but it does.  In one of my other classes, we were having a discussion about this and one guy was angry with the soldiers for signing up and going to war, which met a lot of opposition from the rest of the class who were defending the people who signed up saying things like, some minorities don’t have choices about whether to sign up because they are offered things like college tuition, etc; or that they start recruiting in highschool so early that a lot of kids aren’t given enough information to make an educated decision.  (There are a lot of reasons people fight in wars-but the class subject was based more on minorities and social influences) The point of his argument (which I see truth in because I’m bringing it up here) was that we do not have a draft.  There is a choice that is being made by these kids and young adults.  When we defend the fighters in a war that we don’t believe in because we argue they were forced into it by circumstance bigger than themselves we take responsibility out of the hands of the people who are commiting the action and we internally create a feeling of hopelessness in ourselves to right the situation.  Circumstance, and how these young adults were raised, and their political backgrounds, and how politicians, teachers, recruiters, and friends influenced them to make one decision becomes too much for us as spectators of seeing these people go to war to muster up the guts to make any kind of active change.  When we take it out of the big picture and look at it simply on our own level, it doesn’t become an impossible problem.  It becomes something we can see and understand and take action towards, whether by providing more knowledge about alternatives to funding college or encouraging discussion about these choices when we see them being made.  Basically, when we begin to see things on our own scale rather than huge and complex and omniscient and omnipotent, we can take RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS.  Problems are no longer outside of ourself, they are within us and are tangible around us, and when we see them in this way we can fix ourself first-and by doing so, then we can work to fix the problems in our environment.  It is increasingly important that we contunually define our own individual moral code, taking in all the information we learn as we age, and to make changes as we gather new information.  The world is changing all the time, and as flexible beings we change with it and interact with it on our own terms.  We can never know for certain if there is or isnt a God, but we can know our own limits and our own definitions of what is right and wrong and we are capable of making our own choices and molding ourselves if we don’t fit our own expectations that we arive at through having a strong individual moral code.  In going to church, when I was little, I remember being taught that God or Jesus (I don’t remember which one) wanted us to question our beliefs and continually think on our physical and spiritual actions so that we could better come into a stronger way of faith.  (Did anyone else who went to a christian church ever learn that? I haven’t heard it since….) My main point is that whether there is an afterlife or not, we do the best that we can so that we can interact with eachother in ways that allow eachother to live happy and healthy because we care about the people around us (and if you’re surrounded by happy and healthy people, they probably won’t want to cause you any harm either… because happy, healthy people just don’t do that sort of thing) and we allow ourselves to live in the now and enjoy life while acknowledging the power that we have as individuals and the power we have when we come together to create change in the ways we think and how we live.

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Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2007 by seandelshad

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Dolphins in space?! -Daniel Waltrip

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2007 by dwaltrip77

After watching some YouTube videos about the neo-Nazi demonstration that Professor Vesna witnessed, we had the distinct honor of receiving a guest lecture by Richard Clar, a local interdisciplinary artist on Wednesday. Seeing as there was no class Monday, we are restricted to blogging about Richard Clar’s presentation.

The most interesting concept that I picked up from his presentation was the idea of using art as a medium to potentially communicate with extraterrestrials. The Space Flight Dolphin project seeks to release a dolphin into space as a satellite that orbits the earth. It will transmit a signal that is a modulated by the sounds of dolphins. This dolphin signal is available for reception and detection by any possible alien or extraterrestrial sources. Additionally, the dolphin voices will monitored by various museums around the world. The idea behind this project is to approach communication with life in outer space in a new way. Richard uses a more artistic, unique perspective, rather than the methodical scientific view point in his goal to answer the question, “Are we alone?”

This can be appreciated, I suppose, but I fail to see how one can honestly say this is a valuable scientific pursuit. There is merit in pursuing one’s creative desires, expressing themselves, and following their dreams. However, a dolphin soaring through space in orbit around the earth as it transmits dolphin sounds in hopes of detection by an alien source? I think that the idea of contacting extraterrestrials is fascinating (while perhaps somewhat farfetched), but this is more of fancy, modern art project with a science label slapped on. The scientists who are putting forth a focused effort to search the sky for signs of extraterrestrial life deserve to be recognized, however this isn’t quite on the same level. Though as an ambitious art project that creatively employs technology, it is quite interesting and honorable.

This may sound somewhat negative, and I am probably reflecting on my natural bias, but as I posted earlier in the quarter, the way that art, science, and technology connect is through art being assisted and expanded by the discoveries and evolutions of science and technology. Art doesn’t further the goals of science or create new technology. It serves a very valid function in life, as a mode of human expression that can’t be met any other way, and I don’t mean to demean it at all. It seems to me that the space dolphin project is another example of this concept. 


plastination [alon_nachshon]

Posted in Uncategorized, Week 6 on November 13, 2007 by nachshonalon

A few years ago I went to the human body plastination exhibition and I found it quite astonishing. Understanding the full schema of the human body is a difficult task, so having almost a complete layout of the muscular system on display is a huge step towards a complete understanding. What is so counter-intuitive about the human body is that it can be so superficially explained in its general processes, but the details are infinite. This is what makes the human body a form of art; simple and childish to over lookers but profound and intricate to those who are interested. To me biology is the greatest piece of art in this world. I am fascinated by the controversy between Darwinism and Creationalism because I find comfort in scientific reason, but then there will be a loss of art if all is completely explained and there is no higher being responsible for some of the piece-work.

Another interesting work that was discussed this week in class was the project John Carpenter worked on at Caltech. What is cool about this project is that it is basically a virtual encyclopedia of the anatomy of an animal. Lastly, regarding MRI’s, I’ve had a few heart MRI scans in my life because of an open heart surgery operation that I had here at UCLA when I was 4½ months old. The MRI machine is both a very dangerous and very useful machine. Because of its insane magnetic strength it is always scary going inside one, but I do it anyways because it can tell my doctor almost anything he wants to know.

On the topic of muscle art ….

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plastination: too bad we didnt have this lect. before halloween. erika cramer

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2007 by erikacramer

We should start next lecture with a clip from Anatomie!  It’s a German horror film that deal directly with the subject of plastination.  Here’s a tiny blurb from IMDB…

“Medical student Paula Henning wins a place at an exclusive Heidelberg medical school. When the body of a young man she met on the train turns up on her dissection table, she begins to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, and uncovers a gruesome conspiracy perpetrated by an Antihippocratic secret society operating within the school.” 

The main character is Franka Potente (Lola Rennt star) who finds herself a student in a med. school which murders people in order to plastinate them and thus create “advances” in science.   


THAT would pretty much make my day. 

On another note, I thought that Kittiwat’s consumable art was really interesting.  First off, it was sooooo gross, but other than that it brings up a lot of really great art-world topics without becoming art-world exlusive.  He says his art is about not judging by appearances, which carries through in his work but in my opinion is a cliche statement and doesnt touch on all that his work does.  To me, his work makes huge statements about the rate at which we consume violent images in our daily lives via media, horror films etc.  Just the act of making art that is consumable goes into so many different areas and touches on famous precedents such as Warhol.  That’s all if we’re just talking about concept.  Truthfully, he probably just gets a kick out of making gross looking stuff and having people eat it, which is a pretty cool (albeit macabre) niche to be able to fill.  I wonder what his parents think of his line of work. 

Personally, I’d be worried someone would try and hide real body parts in with the bread body parts, thus framing Kittiwat for murder.