Sunday, June 5, 2016

Extra Credit Event 2: The Getty Center

Visitor Card, stub for visit to the J Paul Getty Museum

For my second Extra-Credit event, I visited the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. I am now a proud Californian, and can now proudly claim that I finally went to the Getty Museum after living 10 years in Los Angeles. Already entering the Museum from the parking lot, the Museum greeted us with a super clean, quiet and modern tram that took us over the mountains into the center.

Architecture of the Main Getty Center building
Walking into the main building of the Getty Center, I was flooded with the beautiful architecture, which every detail seemed to be intricately calculated. The architecture was designed to bring as much sunlight into the building, conserving much energy yet still looking so modern and artistically attractive. Although the lectures never touched on the topic of architecture, I personally believe that architecture can also become a branch of Mathematics+Art, part of our Unit 2 lectures.

2D  cave visuals, entrance of 3D room
2D visuals, entrance of 3D room
For this trip, I think my experience at the exhibit for Cave Temples of Dunhuang really allowed for an integration of technology+art. The exhibit of "Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road" features displays of rare objects originally discovered from Mogao in China, three full-size cave replicas, and lastly a 3-D virtual experience of Cave 45 from the eighth century.

Selfie with Uniformed Getty Center Employee.
The most significant part of my visit was the 3-D virtual experience, where the audience -in groups of 10-20 people- were guided into an entirely darkened room with a ceiling to floor screen wall, in which later the wall was projected with a first-person visuals of the Cave 45 from Magao China. We were given 3D glasses, and the experience was surreal. it truly felt as if I was in Cave 45, in Magao China, in the 8th century.

My own technological approach :)
This cave in real life was only witnessed by certified and pre-authorized researchers, however this virtual experience allowed the general public to experience the site while physically still in Los Angeles, CA. Technology allowed for art to be appreciated over barriers of time and distance, and I believe this truly integrated the technology+art genres.

I would recommend visiting the Getty Center to all my classmates, as the Museum was accommodated with cafes, restaurants, and rest areas; moreover, beautiful architecture, statues, and fine art exhibits. More importantly, for all foregoing reasons, I would recommend my classmates to go specifically to the Cave Temples exhibit before it ends in September 4,2016.

Event 3: Museum of Jurassic Technology

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Ticket

Selfie with the main entrance display
(no picture allowed with employee)

For my third event, I visited the Museum of Jurassic Technology (MJT). Honestly when I first arrived, I was rather surprised at the humble outlook of the museum. The Museum had a petite and simple face structure, however some greater deep histories and exhibits were hidden within these walls. I was only able to take two pictures regarding this exhibit, as the regulations were very strict about photography.

The MJT was full of mysteries and provoking controversies, which personally made it even more interesting. The exhibits contained various mixtures of historic, ethnographic, artistic, and scientific exhibits and displays, which majorly emerged in the 16thC onward. The museum's mission was to be "an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic".

Henry Dalton's "Micromosaic"

Two specific exhibits I want to mention are the "Micromosaics" by Henry Dalton, and "Obliscence, Theories of Forgetting and the problem of Matter" by Geoffrey Sonnabend.

Henry Dalton was a prominent micrographer in the 1800s, who took apart butterfly wings scale-by-scale to arrange them in artistic forms, his works called  "Micromosaics". These Micromosaics were imperceptible to the human eye, and could only be seen through a microscope. Dalton took individual butterfly scales, sort them by visual characteristics, transfer them onto a slide, and crush them onto the palette; all looking through a microscope. The unique scientific art gained much attention and inspiration among the European naturalists.

Obliscence model, Geoffrey Sonnabend
Geoffrey Sonnabend was more of a theoretical scientists in the field of arts, prominent in the early to mid 1900s. Sonnabend began to question the validity of "true memory", raising the theory that memory is an imaginative illusion of our experience. In this theory, Sonnabend created a model of Obliscence consisting of the Cone of Obliscence and the Plane of Experience. Later into Sonnabend's later career, complex terms were adjusted within this model i,e, premonition, Deja vu and forebodings. These terms are even used in the present day, contributing to both psychological and neurological fields of science and imaginary inspiration of art.

I would definitely recommend this event to the class, as I believe this museum withholds much of the earlier works and beliefs that have allowed for artistic and scientific progressions, even against much opposition and social rejections. This museum can be defined as one of the mothers of technology+Art genre, displaying earlier works that have allowed for the genre today.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Event 2: Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory, attended on June 3, 2016; 90 Degrees!
Before the show began, beautiful artificial sky.
Inspired by our lecture of Space+Art, I chose to visit the Griffith Observatory and watched the "Centered in the Universe" screening at the Griffith dome named Samuel Oschin Planetarium. First off, it was 90 degrees outside waiting under the canopy for 30 minutes to enter the dome, and the moment I stepped in I was faced with this beautiful artificial image of a sky-blue sky in a nice breezy room. I was stricken by how realistic technology had made the sky look, and how intricate they had the details added. I was only able to take one picture of the dome before the screening began; however the sky changed colors, clouds changed positions, and sunlight was withdrawn as if within a real sunset.

The screening was about how human beings are metaphorically the "center of the universe" even within all the scientific investigations and discoveries proving how we are not, literally. Surrounded by the circular shape of the dome, and with every corner filled with some beautiful projection of visuals, the audience looked around 360 degrees as if it were the real sky.

Myungjae song, with Uniformed Griffith Observatory worker

 The computer graphics of the show took us through eras of pre-modern to modern histories, all the way from Alexandria, Egypt of 140 A.D., to astronomer Clausius Ptolemy's Earth-centered universe, to Galileo's Sun Centered Solar system -which reminded me of Professor Vesna's lecture about the Copernicus model of the sun centered system, and lastly onto Edwin Hubble at Mount Wilson Observatory.

The graphics were designed in such a way that it provided visuals from both the bird-eye&human-eye perspective. This show was visually aimed to trigger the audience's creative imaginations according to the bits of realistic time travel, making us question the fundamental questions about the universe, who we are, where we come from, and how the space was integrated into so many aspects of inherent questions to where we are today.

 For me personally, this was such an interactive way to experience the integration of science into technology, visualizing astronomy, made into art; I would definitely recommend this event to all my classmates. As Professor Vesna said, Space is where all the subjects we learned came together;  where robots projected artificial yet beautifully realistic images onto the dome sky, where exploration of astronomy&science was explored through the technology of computer graphics, and where imaginations and visual effects were artistically expressed and triggered through such technological tools.