Art + Science

UCLA Design Media Arts Blog | 22 September 2007

By Michelle Baba


WE HAVE always studied the differences between the “two cultures,” determining how they have rivalled each other and led to a clear division between the science and art worlds. However, this week while learning about nanotechnology, we stumbled upon yet another question involving the duelling sides: Does science need art? And if so, how/why?

According to Wilson da Silva, an editor at Cosmos Magazine, “if you boil it down to its most basic elements, science and art are not that far apart. Science is a framework human beings use to try and understand the physical universe. Art is a framework human beings use to understand their place in the cosmos.”

Every year, there is less and less space for scientists to explore the universe and it seems that at times, the numbers of questions that bring meaning to such epic endeavors are dwindling. Science is all about the outcome, the finished product that serves a practical purpose. On the other hand, while science does seem to fulfill out physical need, art fulfills our souls and our spiritual side. Art is able to inform science, and communicate some things to the public that data and scientific equipment is not able to. It is able to introduce a new way of thinking that is driving by creativity and self-expression. The possibilities in the art world are virtually limitless...

I think it is interesting to see how the art and science worlds are approaching each other. Sure, we all agree that there is a distinct line separating the UCLA campus into the north (humanities) and the south (math/science) sides, however, they most definitely extend their influence beyond the Bruin Walk divider. One way that I like to see it is, nanotechnology would not exist without the artistic/aesthetic aspect and certain types of art (especially design/media arts) and high-tech photos would not exist without the aid of science.

As said by one of Australia’s leading Shakespearean actors and directors, John Bell: “Just as artists of the Renaissance were inspired by scientific advances and the discovery of the New World, so artists of today must be fired by science’s probing into outer space, to the bottom of the ocean, to the origins of our cosmos and the beginning of time.”

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