When I look back at the history of my time at UCLA, I can surely name many stimulating classes that have made me question the society we live in. One of the first classes I ever took was “Sociology of Health, Illness, and Disease.” On the first day of class our professor began asking us a range of questions.
What does it mean to be ill?
What is considered a mental illness?
If depression and anxiety are considered mental illnesses, then aren’t we all a little mentally ill?
Do you know if you are mentally ill?
This week’s visit to the CNSI gallery was rather interesting for me. I never took the opportunity to take physics in high school, so the mini lesson in physics really interested me in the subject. I had no idea that something so simple as attaching some metal to a magnet and a battery could create a motor! What intrigued me even more was the discussion with physicist Walter Gekelman. His work was highly abstract to me, but from the ideas I was able to grasp I am truly amazed.
When skimming through the countless essays that constitute the given reading we were given to select an essay from, one distinctly stood out to me. It started of with the title, “The Ethics of Experiential Engagement with the Manipulation of Life.” Studying biology and years of humane and inhumane research, one really begins to wonder when ethics falls in line to what is right and what is wrong in research. There are many perspectives to this. There is of course the biological perspective of life as well the cultural beliefs we created as a society.
What I love most about art is the way it can move people. Your expression through art creates a certain vibe simultaneously spreading a message about something you are feeling. After learning about our midterm project, I was inspired to use my art to bring awareness to a proliferating circumstance of homelessness in our society. I was inspired by a bio-artist introduced to our class during week 1. Kathy High is the artist who created her inventive art project called “Blood Wars” in 2010.
During week four we took a trip to the local Art and Science gallery on UCLA’s campus to view guest artist Toni Dove’s work. It was actually my first time at this building and I was pleasantly surprised by the work of art presented to us. Our guest artist explained her project of combining different videos with video motion sensors to control the video being played. The basis of her work was based upon virtual reality technology. I thought it was really cool how she wanted to create a type of control that didn’t require the use of gloves or headgear.
During lecture this week Professor Vesna introduced us to the topic of Chinese zodiac signs and related it to the homeobox gene. I found this gene quite interesting, as it is a selector gene that determines the fate of your cell. If you lose the HOX gene you have a transformation of segment identity. This transformation makes it possible for insects to have their antennas placed on their legs and vice versa. I thought this was really cool as it the manipulation of what you see can create a monster type version of a being.
During week 2 of this course we enjoyably had Mick Lorusso lecture as a guest speaker. He graciously spoke about some of the work he has done as an artist and introduced the class to many more artists who have done some great work. One of his projects that really touched me was the Museum of Endoluminosity. He spoke to us about the passing of his father to leukemia. He linked this transcendence of departure to the phenomena of diamonds. “Contemporary scientific writings, including publications by Dr. Dean Ho, Dr.
Coming into this class I didn’t really know what to expect on the topic of biotechnology and art for this course. After watching many videos posted on the course website, along with reading articles online, I now have a better understanding of this course. I find it very interesting how intertwined biology is in our everyday life. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear everything is constructed from cells.