Sunday, 16 April 2017

Week Two: Math + Art

The Parthenon, made using the Golden Ratio.
As a Mathematics major, I have always been aware of the beauty in mathematics. The perfect representation of complex equations on a simple two-dimensional graph is a sight to behold, and the image turns lovelier when you consider the innumerable, ingenious ways these equations are transmuted and morphed to fit into different models. However, I had never considered the application of these relationships into art, and how artists themselves are influenced by these mathematical ideas.
From the very beginning, art has both subconsciously and directly drawn from math, from the representation of shapes on Rene Descartes’ system to Brunelleschi’s use of linear perspective to induce depth in his art.  As Professor Vesna detailed in her lecture, this tradition has continued into the modern day, with the golden ratio and fractals being incorporated into art every day.

3D Fractal art generated by Apophysis (software)
Math can also serve as a form of liberation for artists, as mentioned by Henderson in her article, with painters embracing the idea of a fourth dimension and leaving behind the trappings of Euclidian geometry. Conversely, artists can fully embrace these trappings, and represent them in their full glory, as was done in Flatland.

Some of the math in Alice in Wonderland.
The idea of math inspiring art intrigued me, and when I set about researching other works of art that were inspired by mathematics, I found an article detailing the math that inspired Alice in Wonderland. Curiously, this inspiration was not in the form of a representation of mathematical ideas, but instead a rejection or satire, as Lewis Carroll, a conservative, traditional mathematician, did not respect the changes that were occurring in his field of study.

After this week’s lectures, I found myself coming away with a greater understanding of the links between math and art. While I used to see them as disparate disciplines, I now realize they are intertwined with one another, feeding into and inspiring each other. Hopefully, I am able to incorporate this juxtaposition into my own life, and observe my major in a wholly different light!

Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. “The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art: Conclusion.” Leonardo. 17.3 (1984): 205-210. Print.

Vesna, Victoria. “” Cole UC online. Youtube, 9 April 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.

Dianne Mizze. “Golden Parthenon”. Empty Easel. January 20, 2009.                  

Unknown. “Subliminal Messages in Alice in Wonderland.” The Original Jath. March, 2014

Apophysis. “3D Fractal Art”. Apophysis.                                                     

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Week 1: Two Cultures

The worlds of art and science have always seemed intertwined to me. As a young child, my favorite forms of fiction revolved around science fiction, a genre where science was welcomed and praised. This intersection has further featured in my major, Mathematics/Economics, which features elements of both science (Mathematics) and art (Economics). While economics may not necessarily be the most artistic of majors, it does involve an attempt to understand and explain human behavior, which is the root of all art. As Snow states, the future lies in an intersection between these two seemingly disparate cultures, resulting in a third culture where innovation exists.
UCLA Math Department handbook, using the Simpsons to capture the reader's attention.

I am no stranger to bridging two cultures. As an immigrant from India who studies in the US, I live in a perpetual state of dynamism, incorporating elements of both the culture of my birth and the culture I live in to generate a unique culture that I can call my own.

Despite the contention of some, like Brockman, who states that scientists already represent the “third culture”, I believe that instead, there is an ebb
The helicopter, inspired by the Jules Verne book, "Clipper of the Clouds"
and flow of ideas between both cultures, allowing both artists and scientists to inspire and be inspired by one another. This results in the formation of a hybrid third culture. As Snow and Vesna state, these cultures lie at the heart of the intersection of different cultures, resulting in the progression of both cultures involved and humanity as a whole. I fully embrace the formation of these cultures, and this lecture has empowered me to continue on my current path, encouraging me to seek out the seemingly incompatible parts of science and the arts and attempt to mesh them up in unique, innovative ways.

Snow, C. P. “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” New York: Cambridge UP, 1959. Print.
Vesna, Victoria. "Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between." Leonardo. 34 (2001): 121-125. Print.

Brockman, John. The Third Culture. N.p.: n.p., 1995. Print.
Unknown. “Handbook.”, 2012-13,

Amita Roy Shah. "USA-India Flag" Amita Roy Shah's Blog. August 13, 2012.

Bettman. "Helicopter". The Smithsonian. March 15th, 2012.