09 October 2009

"Science and the arts need not be strangers"

How come, 50 years after [C.P. Snow's lecture on The Two Cultures], and just as he said, we still meet people who would think it shaming to admit difficulty in reading but who boast (sometimes untruthfully) about their incompetence at basic mathematics? How come the phrase “computer nerd” runs off the tongue more easily than “painting nerd”? Or that a cultured dinner party in W8 might find it odd if no one knew the name of the director of the Tate but not of the Science Museum?
In regards to the museum director question, I think that would be because the Tate is a real taste-maker for the art scene, but science museums are more chroniclers of scientific achievement than they are drivers of it. But the rest of his criticisms are spot on. I don't think it should be any more acceptable in polite society to boast of you ignorance regarding computers than it is to boast of ignorance of books.

latter half of the essay to list men of both numbers and letters who cross over the divide. It's a list I'm going to have to look into more, because I love getting art in my science and science in my art. Some of my favorites in this category are:
I'll also give an honorable mention to Amy Lin. Her art doesn't make much use of science directly, but she is trained as and works full-time as a chemical engineer and is also a professional artist, and I find that inspiring.

I think the most common (and commonly overlooked) intersection of art and science is film making. I'll add John Lasseter and Ed Catmull as honorable mentions to my list for everything they've done at Pixar. You can really track the advances year-by-year in the newly released Pixar Short Films Collection. I'd also pay attention the ACM's and IEEE's annual graphics and visualization conferences. There's some great aesthetic achievement coming out those quarters every year which very few people take notice of.

PS You can't use "computer nerd" and "painting nerd" in the same sentence without mentioning Paul Graham, who in addition to be a Lisp hacker and entrepreneur, is also trained as a painter and the author of Hackers and Painters.



The (US) National Gallery announced this morning that they have added Villareal's installation "Multiverse" to their permanent collection. I'm really happy about that. After having seen the NGA's series of podcast episodes on "Multiverse," I finally got to see it in person with Special Lady Friend a couple of weeks ago. I can't express how much I loved it. You can watch those videos on the NGA website and read more about Villareal here. (Edited: Villareal's gallery, Connor Contemporary, announced that "Multiverse" has been acquired, but the NGA page linked above does say that it is only on view until November '09. I'm not sure if that's old information or if they now own it but will disassemble it, or what, but you'd be advised to head down there soon if you want to see it.)



TateShots recently had a short episode they shot from Tyson's studio:

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