This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.


Week 7 - Light pollution and aurora

We visited a small planetarium on campus this week! It was an amazing experience where I learned a lot about astronomy and the wonders of the universe. One fascinating thing I discovered was that stars come in different colors, and these colors tell us how old they are. I was surprised to learn that the bright, light blue stars are newborns, while the warm, orange stars are older.

Week 7 Blog - The Stars and Us

Lecture Reflection

This week’s class visit to the planetarium was very interesting and engaging. I loved the immersive experience of panning throughout the sky and exploring the stars and galaxies around us. I find that each time I think of space I am all the more humbled about our small, inconsequential place in the universe. I also think it’s beautiful to imagine all of the other forms of life that exist beyond our understanding.

Blog 7

This week, we visited the Planetarium with Santiago Torres and experienced a part of the Alien Star Dust project/exhibit. I especially enjoyed the visualization/meditative aspect, in which we were present in our space and then "zoomed out" to view ourselves as nothing more than dust as well in the scale of the Earth and universe. It is easy to forget how vast the universe is, and how alone we are, yet also how special it is that we are here and able to experience the life that we experience.

The Commercialization of Space

Santiago Torres' talk yesterday on astronomy was very interesting. In particular, I wanted to dive deeper into this "battle" he said was occurring between astronomers and business tycoons like Elon Musk. 

The commercialization of space is something that has been a hot topic for many years given the potential issues it could cause for not only our society, but our environment and planet as well.

Week 7: The Orion Constellation and the Aztec Civilization

Today's guest speaker and astrophysicist, Santiago Torres, walked us to the planetarium, where he spoke about blue and orange stars, stardust, the Orion constellation, and more. I found it fascinating when he told us how the Aztecs used the Orion constellation to track seasons and religious offerings. Additionally, I enjoyed seeing the planetarium, being present underneath the stars, and escaping the hectic student life before finals on the UCLA campus.

Week 6: The Brain and Art

I find Cristina Albu’s research on the interconnection of the brain and art to be very fascinating. Last week, when deciding on a midterm topic, I wanted to pick something that would pay homage to my major, psychology. In the end, I chose to focus on reactive fear of the unknown, but I was very close to choosing something related to the brain. Throughout this process, I found several artists with related works.

Week 6 - Plato Now

It was a pleasure listening to the comprehensive and fascinating guest lecture by Dr. Cristina Albu in class on Tuesday. While each of the sub-topics and art pieces were interesting in their own right and exposed me to works I previously was completely unfamiliar with, I was specifically struck by the discussion surrounding Juan Downey's Plato Now (1973) piece. Learning about Plato Now was a serendipitous moment, as I based my midterm project around Plato's landmark work Republic, reimagining it for the present day.

week 6 blog

    This week, we were joined by Christina Albu. What stood out to me most from her presentation was when she discussed the idea of interpersonal connection through aligning vibrational energy and brain waves.

Week 6: Art, Aesthetics, and Cognitive Science

I really enjoyed Professor Alba’s lecture this past week because of the way that she discussed the cognitive science behind emotional responses to artwork, a subject we’ve considered but not really discussed. It’s interesting to think about not only why art makes us feel a certain way but also *how* (in terms of literal human anatomy and physiology).  

Week 6 Blog

This week in class we heard from Christina Albu who described the connection between the brain and art. I wanted to explore the topic of meditation more, one of the topics she mentioned in her talk. 

Brainwaves & Music

It was such a pleasure to have Cristina Albu speak to the class about brainwave art! Though all the different artists and artworks she presented were very interesting, I was most fascinated by the examples she provided of artists who created musical works based on brain signals. Growing up, performing violin as part of an orchestra was such a huge part of my life, and I was very curious about other performance pieces that involved using brainwaves to create unique compositions.

Connection and the Brain

This week we heard a very interesting guest lecture from Christina Albu on electroencephalography (EEG) and art based on brain imagery. My favorite part of the lecture was when she talked about brainwave duets, particularly the pieces Mutual Wave Machine by Suzanne Dikker and EEG Kiss by Lancel/Maat. Both these pieces seem to examine the neuroscience behind human connection and trust, whether that is between friends and family or romantic partners.

Blog 6

Last week, when conducting research for my Midterm on artists who use manipulations of the body to send a message in art I had stumbled across the artist Stelarc. Although I ultimately chose to go a different direction with the organization of my midterm that did not include his work, I was very intrigued to hear him included in Christina Albu’s fascinating presentation on neuroscience and art. This inspired me to take a deeper dive into this artists’ work.

Week 6: Richard Lowenberg and Cross-Species Communication

I really enjoyed Cristina Albu's lecture last week on art related to neural networks and their behavior. As a communication major, I was particularly interested on her discussion of Richard Lowenberg's 1976 work The Secret Life of Plants. I decided to look into this work further, and the rest of Lowenberg's work on interspecies communication. (I had actually touched upon this topic briefly in a previous blog post, so I was pretty excited she talked about this and I can write a post about it!)


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