Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where to begin with Arts and Sciences

 (* and a little side note - Ruth, I told you the Cerebellum was another part of the brain, I was wrong.  Check this site out for all the brain knowledge you'd ever want to know!)
When I think of Jill Bolte Taylor's talk on about what it was like to live on the right side of her brain.  She was a brain scientist who had a stroke on the left hemisphere of the brain, and spent a year seeing the world through the right side of her brain.  It sees in images, in senses (taste, touch, smell, etc), it picks up on energy, emotion, and a holistic perspective, much like writer and scientist Fitjof Capra described in his book "The Web of Life".  
  By the end of the talk, Ms. Taylor was so elated / transformed from her experience -  so moved to nearly tears. truly believes in world peace is within our grasp - almost instantly - if we would only be willing to see the world through the right brain.  It would take a cultural shift, a trust in one another, and trust in one's self.  She describes it far better than I, (boy is she dynamic - click the link people - you're gonna love it!!!)   but the point is, perhaps we might understand the world and ourselves far better if we were willing to see the world in a new way, almost as an artist does.... as a scientist does when they are simply observing object - describing what they see... imagining what could be next.....   between the two fields - of Art and Science - as a functioning hybrid fully engaged with our world and communities -  we might be able to have the greatest leaps in our understanding of our world and possibilities as infinite. 
So clearly, this is what I believe.  
But - lectures aside, I have to give some artists / scientist for my students to look at:
In the e-mails I've seen so far from your work, here were a few that I thought were great references:
FOR MY BIO-SYSTEM'S STUDENTS (@ the Minneapolis College of Art and Design)
Because you are working on your mini-biome zoos, I have to spill the beans because we have an amazing speaker coming on Monday, and we are lucky enough to have her at our own school!  Karen Wirth, Chair of the Fine Arts Department at MCAD

 Karen M. Wirth
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1995
[silkscreen, paper, Fresnel lenses]
Image and article found on line posted by: the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the Washington Project for the Arts  
This whole exhibition was just breath taking, and you an still see it on line:

Science and the Artist's Book:  An exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the Washington Project for the Arts

I hope this inspires you like it did me!!!

 Karen Wirth worked with my hero / shero team of Helen and Newton Harrison, and she is coming in to share her experiences working with them, tell us a bit about their work, and her own.  These two artists are working on what your project is really about.  Listen carefully, because its not as easy as it seems.  I really encourage you students to look up  Helen and Newton Harrison  to inspire and aid your own work. 

Finding information about the Lagoon Cycle:  (there)
and other fantastic places like the Green Museum

Helen and Newton Harrison. The Lagoon Cycle, Second Lagoon, Panel 3: 8' x 9'9''.  1974 - 1984
Image originally obtained from Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, and I obtained it from the web site: Bio Mediale:

Working the Collection (@ the Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

 (Picture taken by :Abbi Allan on Sept.4, 2009)
Just because we have been seeing a lot of dried, stuffed and pickled things;  I wanted to add some light to this and point out that all species have a curiosity / fascination / concern with death.  I think every being  - when confronted with the 100% possibility to life coming to an end for them at some point, sit up and take notice.  
Here are my friends, Seti (yes, I named my dog after the "Search for Extra Terrestrial Life" (S.E.T.I.) program - because I love it!), and Sebastian examining the Dragonfly and Humming bird I am trying to dry out for illustrating purposes, just like Dick Oehlenschlager told us about. 
 (Picture taken by :Abbi Allan on Sept.4, 2009)

(Picture taken by :Abbi Allan on Sept.4, 2009)
I think the article wrote Dick Oehlenschlager about the life and death of Emily was very touching, and yet educational.  Note how he takes the "spectacle" out of this image with his writing.  He speaks of her life, her visitors, personality and there is a tenderness to it.  Making sure that when you speak of a specimen - any specimen - that you remember it was living, and still carries on connections to those who are STILL living, and care very much about how it is represented.
In your own work - I hope you strive to go beyond just what you see - but see it in the right brain... what are your senses telling you?  Part of me, when I read about Emily's entwined organs, I want to sift yarn.  What is it to separate yourself from your self?  Could it be a metaphor for depression or something like that?  
this image is from the Science Museum of MN. biology department and can be found on the web at:
The Snapping Turtle is on display at the Science Museum of MN (where I got this image from), on the 4th Floor I believe.  Again, you must read Mr..Oehlenschlager's write up about Emily.

When you find an object that moves you - ask yourself why?  Describe what you see - nearly to the point of dry observation.  Ask yourself what does it remind you ofHow does it make you feel Ask questions that you might have, and then see where the conclusions might bring you.  This is a method I learned from Barbara Cox, from the Perpich Center for the Arts, who has many fantastic tools for students and teachers - but wow, that critiquing method is my new scientific method about understanding the world!

That's all for now.
Let's see how this works! 


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