marjan varzandeh's blog

Cry Me a River

Water has always been a big part of my life. When I was little my dad built a pool in our backyard. And he taught me and my sister how to swim. And a few years later I learned how to surf. And since then I have basically lived on the beach and in the water. It’s ironic really. My favorite part about surfing is paddling out as far as you dare to go and then turning and staring at where the water meets the horizon. And then I’d just sit and stare out letting my mind go numb.

Observing the Art in Science

A week ago I went to the Griffith Park observatory for the first time. And while I visited the center for another class, I saw aspects of this class too in what I saw and I have decided to talk a bit about the overlap. I went to the observatory for my Evolution of the Cosmos seminar. That part makes sense. A class about the stars and the universe so you take a trip to a museum dedicated to science and astronomy. But I believe that the Griffith Park Observatory best embodies the successful merger between science and art.

Strange Makings

No one quite knows what the formula is to creating the next big look. But everyone knows that the fashion industry has a huge hand in the development of societal trends. It was Coco Chanel who made having a tan a desirable feature in the 1920s. One person is responsible for changing the average person’s perception of beauty and appearance. Red carpet actors and actresses boast the newest fashion trends with avant garde outfits that are often considered ridiculous to the laymen and yet we would be lying to ourselves if we said we weren’t a bit jealous.

You Dirty Rat

Rat. It’s a dirty word. Because they are thought to be dirty animals. They are the purveyors of disease. By carrying fleas with the Death Plague they are single handedly accused of wiping out one third of Europe’s population during the Dark Ages. And there’s always that negative connotation that comes with the environments in which they live. They are seen as sewer dwellers. We abhor them for finding joy in living in filth and excrement. Personally their tails just freak me out. And for no logical reason either.

The Growth of a Culture

We live in a highly industrialized and processed society. The Little House on the Prairie age of canning and making preservatives at home is long gone. Even the canned food you get from the grocery store is not true canned food in the sense that it contains modern day preservatives and chemicals in the canning process. Today, there is a growing awareness of the negative effects of processed chemicals and a movement towards more organic and natural sources of food. All organic fruit and vegetables are considered “cool” and an indicative of an indie lifestyle.

Growing a Green Thumb

As humans we see ourselves as looking down at all other organisms from atop the food chain. We have won the evolutionary arms race against animals and plants and now domesticate our conquests. Hominins were once hunter gatherers, moving along the landscape and foraging wild plants and animals. And then we began to change and adopt domestication and agriculture. In my anthropology class we learned about the Domestication Syndrome which explains how plant changed as they began to be domesticated. Wild corn called teosinte had few grains that were often hard to pick.

From Bowie to Bowels

                Perhaps it was because I had just had a long day of classes or perhaps it was a result of the photographic skill of Kathy High and her friend but I didn’t give a second look at the imitation David Bowie photographs on the wall when I walked in. I honestly believed them to be lithographs until Miss High explained that it was her in the photos.

Bridging the Divide

From an early age science and the humanities are divided. We are told that one side of our brain reasons math and science and the other side focuses on art and the social sciences. And we are taught that most people are either left brained or right brained, polarizing the two hemispheres. Even here at UCLA that same pattern of divide is present. We are divided among north and south campus majors.

My First Blog: Our Strange Culture

                Art is ambiguous. The parameters of what defines a piece of work as being art is nebulous at best and is under constant scrutiny and debate. And yet the glass ceiling has been shattered. Art is no longer a picture perfect portrait of a bowl of fruit or a woman delicately poised in her seat.

Subscribe to RSS - marjan varzandeh's blog