Thursday, December 3, 2009

MINDWALK - The movie for all aritsts and scientist, writers and politicians...

Because I cannot afford a copy of this myself, a students was nice enough to tell me this link to watch the whole movie on line.  An amazing discussion between a Physicist, Politician and a Poet.
A must see for systems thinking

Opening reception for Hybrids - tomorrow! 6-8pm

Come on down to the Science Museum of MN and see how the Fine Arts students of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design have responded to the SMM collections from behind the scenes.

The Artists will be present with their work on FRIDAY - Dec. 4th, 2009 (6-8pm)  - food, and free admission to the art show  because it's in the public areas.  (5th and 6th floors by the elevators)

This blend of art and science will be up until Dec. 11th, 2009 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientific Illustration Examples for my students (at the science museum today)

For my students in my Scientific Illustration Class:

The Right brain vs. the Left

Jill Bolte - what is it to live on the right side of your brain for a year?

Work of others:

Ernst Haeckel


Proteus Video: only 7 minutes of my favorite film

 Images taken from:

Here's some of my own work:
"reflections on Death" - Pen on paper. 2009

"Mr. Crumple's Last Day". Pen on paper. 2009

"Transport of Mr. Crumple" ink on velum. 2009

"Conversations in Passing" pen on paper. 2009
(and in sculpting)

Work of others your own age:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

 I taught scientific illustration and the working world definitely got my labor's worth - but I think it was worth it. Look at these great illustrations done by 9 year olds from observation!

YES! I taught them to draw, see with their eyes, and to trust and love the right brain. the kids are totally obsessed with right and left brain now.

Great X-Ray Art from the Natural Academy of Sciences

Beyond the field trip crowd
Posted by Lauren Urban   [Entry posted at 2nd April 2010 03:41 PM GMT]  Beyond the field trip crowd - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences


interview with a scientific illustrator

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hybrids Show at the Science Museum of MN --> the student work

It took a lot of work, my hair changed color, but everything is in order.

Here's some images and links to these fantastic student from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design - (*of those students who gave me links).  They are fantastic works and major artists of the future.  Please go and check out their fantastic show at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The opening;  Dec. 4th, 2009
Show runs from Nov. 20 - Dec. 11 - 2009

Images from the 5th Floor

Here are some people who are already interacting with the work.  Enjoying watching Emily's video in a home like setting, accompanied by the work of Ashley's quilt is Political Science student and SMM employee Mursal Omar.  We had a great conversation about the work, the world, politics, art and science. 


Images from the 6th Floor

This young family was loving Ben Severns' work - of the created creatures under the domes.  The little boy even lifted the dome ever so carefully to see if it would escape.  Told you guys people will touch.  All artists want is for people to touch the work, interact with the work etc - until they get the chance.  :)   From a teaching perspective, the irony of it all is not lost.    

Go students go!

Artist's Names. Their work, and their statements.

Meghan McFadden

Letting go

Notes is about the social behavior of American youth. Note passing is a primary mode of communication in American elementary schools. It is also about  why we choose to preserve things, and looking more closely at what we hold most dear.

In Letting Go, the Plane ticket for me is a means of letting go, of a situation that you have no control over. It is also about coming to terms with the loss of something or someone you hold most dear.

Raina Belleau
Studies of Bicephaly

Studies of Bicephaly
Art and science are both fueled by curiosity. When working with the Science Museum of Minnesota I was inspired by the history of the collections and by Emily, the two-headed turtle on display. My interest in Emily led to research bicephilia, or two-headedness, and the history of taxidermy as a tool to study and display specimens in Victorian era museums. I decided that I would bring these ideas into a contemporary setting by making my own two-headed animals- the kind of domestic farm animals we are familiar with in the Midwest. I kept the idea of taxidermy as a display method not only because it is use within the collections but also because preservation is a way we give importance something. By presenting the animals as taxidermy specimens I am giving value to the kinds of common animals we may not otherwise consider in such a way. I hope that my work sparks the curiosity that the museum and its collections sparked in me.

Eric Groves
Light Interaction 

Light can provide cheap beauty.  Not in the sense of shallow beauty, but in terms of monetary cost.  For Light Interaction, I used five things; light, food dye, water, a murky container and a clear one.  Anyone can do this at home, it’s just the way someone uses the food dye that makes it special.  I took footage of these simple acts and edit them to music.  What has inspired me to do this were the jars in the museum’s collection, the various things that filled them, and their different colors.  I took that and made it into a clean canvas of water being painted by brilliant color.  The song is “Treefingers” by Radiohead (

Lauren Schaefer
Reasons for Keeping 
I am intrigued by the things that people choose to keep. I wonder why an institution’s collection is perceived as more valuable and significant than any one individual’s. I have been exploring the tension of the organized manner of the collections at the Science Museum of Minnesota versus the chaos of my own collections. My initial interest was in the cultural and the imposed monetary value of the institution’s stockpile, afterwards I started analyzing my own random items, which I own for aesthetic or sentimental reasons. The motives of collectors and hoarders vary wildly and the reasons for keeping are as rich as  the collections.

Ruth Sauvageau
Give It Back

When I was growing up, I was heavily influenced by nature and its cyclical path of birth, life, death and rebirth. Throughout this course, Working the Collection, I have been given the opportunity to view the collections of a National Museum on a personal level, changing the way I feel towards arts and crafts. While researching and observing within the collections, I discovered that I love the beauty surrounding patience and it’s reflection on the piece of work being created. From this experience I have confirmed my passion of the earth and disgust of removing things from within it.

Clara Reynolds
 Erasing Genetics
Process Ink Drawings
Diversity in Food: starting an  heirloom garden.

The drawings are made of heirloom corn harvested at a local organic farm corn charcoal, which I bio-charred. I used the bio-char process because it allowed me to be a part of each step in the process of creating my own materials and would be carbon neutral upon creation; carbon negative when it returned to the soil. The drawings are a reflection on the time line of profit based corn crossbreeding from the late 1400s to the present.  Emphasizing the violence, speed and massive change that has happened in the past 30 years.  I am physically erasing the genetic make up of the corn embedded in both the paper and the charcoal, as the genes of many vegetables have been depleted through biotechnology.

 Ben Severns  
 There Was Blood On My Hands

For a great portion of my life, I’ve been fascinated by science, scientific phenomena and technique, as well as the way that science is presented to the public. My work has also been influenced by my interest in photography, sculpture and the systems which each possess. For the past 7 years my work has evolved from my love of systems, process and photography, to developing a new vocabulary, merging film and sculpture.  

“There Was Blood on My Hands” is a piece dealing with RNA and the way that it is the potential for anything at all. I crafted this idea from cast plastic, which has the potential for any shape. I also was looking to graphically display the models of RNA that I had made, and to capture their density and other aspects, so I made solar prints of the models that I made. I love these little creations. They’ve become more than just simple scientific models to me, they carry with them all of the failings which occurred in their creation. While their express purpose is to provide abstract models for what RNA is and can do, they also deal with possibilities. I am looking to develop a metaphorical dialog between my life in science, art, and technology, and that of biological systems, in which every living thing possesses.

Amy Breitag
The World Outside Us

“The World Outside Us” is a long-exposure photograph taken in the late hours  of the night, visualizing the movement of the Earth via the light from the stars in the night sky. Earth revolves on an axis, with a full rotation completed in 24 hours. The stars look like they’re moving across space because when the shutter of a camera is held open for an extended period of time, it captures the Earth in its actual rotation.  I chose this piece to show at The Science Museum of Minnesota because it’s an excellent combination of science and art.  The image is a still representation of the workings of physics and quantum mechanics – the foundation of the universe.  This photo depicts the interaction between nature, time, and space.
I am extremely fascinated with the universe, and lately have been influenced by every aspect of space.  How the universe was created, the life cycles of planets, stars, and nebulas, the workings of galaxies, warping of time in space, and back holes.  I want to inspire viewer to contemplate all these phenomena, and how tiny our world actually is in comparison to the size of the ever-expanding universe - because we are one of a kind in all existence.

I love this image - where you can see the Universe reflected back upon the space.  Sort of a poetic after affect that I wound up thinking about all the way home.  

Josh Hosterman
Second Meditation: Providence

This interactive sculpture is an illustration of one’s self as a source of wisdom.  The interaction completes the illustration and is an exercise in tapping this  wisdom.

The triangle inspires me.  We use triangulation to navigate earth and space, to create a realistic image of our three-dimensional world, or to provide stability to a structure.  We also use triangles metaphorically to help link ideas or make sense of abstract concepts.  One such use is the symbol of an eye within a triangle, often called the All Seeing Eye or the Eye of Providence.  It generally represents the idea of being watched over – most often in a passive or helpful way.  “Second Meditation: Providence” is a reinterpretation of this symbol.  I invite you to complete the image.

Observe this object – its shape and surface. Look through the surface of the mirror to your reflection. Observe your self.  If you look through your reflection, allowing each eye to focus on itself, you will perceive one central eye.  Breathe naturally and blink naturally.  While focused on your eye, notice what happens with your peripheral vision.  Initially, there will be shifting visual signals as your mind flutters back and forth from eye to eye.  After a minute or two, your mind and eyes will relax and you will complete the Eye of Providence. Your experience is the meaning of this artwork.

Andrew V.
Tethered Poles
This piece represents the preservation of energy at a specific place and time.  Magnets are restrained from each other, creating an invisible energy between them.  Although the space between the magnets is vacant, there is energy in motion that is pulling itself to a visual standstill.  This tension supports the illusion of levitation, and will continue to remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force.  

Ashley Buxbaum
Fractal Quilt

Fractals have a fragmented structure resulting in patterns that can be broken into arbitrarily smaller scales. They appear similar at all levels of magnification, which are often considered to be infinitely complex in informal terms. These works combine the relatively personal nature of a quilt with the mystical presence of science, which leaves interaction open with the public referencing other exhibits within the science museum. 

Please feel free to touch these pieces

Emily Atchison
(your) long journey

Please sit here as if you are in your own home. After all, this is a home video. History passed through oral tradition has a mutable form. Portions are lost, recovered, added, and highlighted as it passes through time. The delicacy and determination of this form is difficult to preserve in a stationary repository. It is meant to travel, and transfigure, and eventually die away. To show this mutable form in an environment that preserves and remembers heightens its temporality and gives it access to auxiliary memories. In this long shot there is a window, the back of my head, and a framed picture of my parents’ promotional photograph when they were playing music full time. The sound is a recording of the Watson Family playing “your long journey,” my parents’ version of the same song, and my voice singing with my parents’ recording. As I sing, I rock back and forth in the chair. This causes my reflection, in the glass that is covering the photograph of my parents, to flicker.   The Watson Family singers, my parents, and I, are shimmering at once (as a ghost does) on the threshold of time, by tradition of sound. Death is singing over and over itself and I am flickering in its image. I am mourning. 

Curtis Allen
Supports: This Mask Has Been Danced
Artifacts of a Ritual
The first phase of this project is in some sense a “re-enactment” ritual performed by a custodian of an apartment complex at the end of his cleaning routine. In the ritual/sacrifice he scented the lobby of the building by piercing, or stabbing, an aerosol fragrance can to expel its aroma. What interested me in this is that what seemed important, even mystical, were the context and content under which the ritual was performed—modern society, wage labor, custodial work, the environment of apartment buildings, the specific and instruments and implements used and so forth—but rather the motions, repetitions, and forces used (and those implements which present it, or legitimize it as a ritual). In other words, the ritual gained its importance through its experience, and not through its symbolic characteristics. Therefore, in a sense, this is not a story in the traditional sense; instead the work invites you to find, or create, experiences rather than imagine them. The second phase of the project involves embodying the process of collecting at the Science Museum itself. So accordingly, the wood and foam presentation support attempt to follow as closely as possible, the protocol for similar kinds of artifacts annexed into the collections department here at this very museum. This has provided a method for understanding ‘the museum’ more closely. Understanding, at least partially, the way in which the museum, as a collective and institutional structure, operates. This phase is what is presented to you here: the artifacts, the ritual garment, the sacrificial object (the aerosol can), the sacrificing object (the screw driver), and resting bed (the white cloth); and the supports, the two wood and foam constructions used for preservation and display.

Brian Nigus
John 12:27

John 12:27 is a response to the ideas of perception and theoretical sensations that, through the studies of its collections, the Science Museum of Minnesota has presented.

“You will never touch anything, there will always be a small barrier between your hand and the object you are trying to touch.”

Take for example, a wall in the museum. Due to the strong electrostatic repulsion experienced by the electrons in your hand’s atoms, against the electrons in the wall’s atoms, you are unable to physically make contact with the wall. This contrasts our perception of touch. Even though we cannot physically feel the wall, we can perceptually feel it. This is because our classifications of touch are made early on in life. We don’t argue with the wall. We know we can’t pass through it, but what if we could? What if we believed hard enough to phase through these sturdy ideals. What if we could turn solid to flux through thought?

Please consider this qualitative equation.  
Perceived Water Solidity Postulate
                                                              S    •    m    •    a    •    X    =    Perceived    H2O    Solidity 

          -    S    =    Area    of    cross-section    entering    the    water    (0    <    S    <    ∞)
          -    m    =    Mass    of    object    (0    <    m    <    ∞)
          -    a    =    Gravity    acceleration    (9.8    meters    /    seconds2)
          -    X    =    Height    of    fall    (0    <    X    <    ∞)

         -    Kinetice    =    ½    •    m    •    v2    =    ½    •    m    •    √(2aX)2    =    (½    )(2)    •    m    •    a    •    X     

This postulate expresses the idea that water is perceived as more solid upon entrance when the falling height, the cross-section area of the object entering the water, and the kinetic energy at impact are greater. Jumping from a diving board at your local pool is not high enough to experience the phenomenon that pilots express as “hitting a wall of bricks,” when they slam into the ocean from an ejected plane. Minimizing one’s surface area can lessen the perceived hardness, but by imagining a belly flop (large surface area) from a one-centimeter drop above the water’s surface opposed to a one-thousand-meter drop, it is easy to see the difference in the perceived solidity of the water.
Since we can prove that water, in its liquid state, has many perceptions of solidity, what stops us from flip-flopping the malleability of other objects, ideas, places, or people for that matter? The Navy Pilot is one of our nation’s most respected figures. Mentally and physically they are in peak condition for the actions they must carry out. They are prepared and trained, but even these noble aviators can be rendered powerless. On    October    28,    2009,    two    Navy    Pilots    ejected from  their  T-34C Turbomentor training planes over the Gulf of Mexico, unofficially due to maintenance problems. One pilot was found deceased, floating towards a fishing boat. The second pilot was given up on after five days of searching. These two aeronauts, stripped from their powerful roles, were left at the mercy of the cosmos and Mother Nature. They went from strong to weak, solid to flux, in an instant.

The characters in this story were friends of my brother, a fellow Navy Pilot, a man
I never imagined losing control of a situation he was in until now. 

A possibility that (I now see) is all too real.
Allison Pegoraro
The Shaman Alchemist (costume)

The Shaman Alchemist

The word “alchemy” derives from the French word “alchemie” which means “the art of transformation”. Alchemy is both a philosophy and a practice with an aim of achieving ultimate wisdom as well as immortality. I created a shaman alchemist character based on various ritual costumes in the American Museum of Natural History, and imagined a ritual search for a sense of alchemy through the preservation and conservation of nature at The Science Museum of Minnesota. The shaman alchemist is standing in the biology lab surrounded by preserved animals and animal parts with The Science Museum’s Curator of Biology Dick Oehlenschlager. The animals are all preserved for research and though dead, are also partially immortalized through being captured in art.

Ashley Fresquez
Please, Come In

“Please, Come In”
The inspiration for this piece came from viewing scope and expansiveness of the Science Museum Collection. This drawing is a response to a personal Landscape,
and the effect of geography on a person’s identity. It is my particular impression of my native landscape.


Hilary Leasman

I have two pieces in the museum. One is a human skeleton made of pillows, titled Skulleton. The other is a children’s book titled, Soundscape. In its final form the skeleton will be “dissectible”. Each bone will be connected to the rest of the skeleton by buttons. I picture it in a living room where the head can be lobbed at a snarky guest or the femurs wielded like swords. Just imagine the pillow fights! “No, no, it’s a leg bone! that means I’m kicking you!” “ It’s in your hand… you’re hitting me!”

While attending MCAD I am also working toward becoming a firefighter. To this end I am taking an Emergency Medical Technician course. One day, during a lecture, my EMT instructor goofed and called a skeleton a skulleton. The odd spelling is reflective of the context that spurred its creation.

My other piece, Soundscape, is about a girl who gets enveloped by the noises of her creaky old house. She uses the sounds as a gateway to a convoluted fantasy world that she explores with her musk ox, Sprucer. Soundscape is my first children’s book. It began as a letter that I was writing to a friend. The “creaky old house” was actually my college dorm, pine hall. The letter languished on my desk unsent until, on a whim, I reworked it into a children’s

 Pillow Skulleton  

Video Bar for Art and Science discussions