Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Final Fronteir...of Art

I thought it very appropriate that we would end our study of the intersections of art, science, and technology with an exploration of space. It certainly ties in what we’ve learned about math, robotics, and nanotech. Hubble space voyages continue to go deeper and deeper (that is, further and further away) into space, and it is often thought of as the final frontier of scientific discovery [1]. While much of what we learned could contest the idea that scientific discovery is limited here on Earth, space does seem the most vast area of exploration, at least to me.

Space…it doesn’t have to be your final frontier!

I especially like what artists are doing with zero-gravity technology. Frank Pietronigro was the first American artist to experiment with this by creating acrylic paintings in mid-air [2]. He goes on parabolic flights, which experience 20-25 second periods of weightlessness, and creates his art during this time. Below is a photo taken during one such flight.

“Drift Painting,” Frank Pietronigro

There are also performance artists and dancers who choreograph in zero-gravity. The video below is from a TED talk live performance of a "zero-gravity" dance. While it is not actually assisted by zero-gravity technology, the inspiration is the same.

What was really interesting to me was when I found out more about Alan Bean. Bean was aboard Apollo 12, and walked on the moon in 1969 [3]. Surprisingly (or maybe not that surprisingly, given the combination artists/scientists we’ve learned about this course), Bean shortly retired from being an astronaut and focused on painting thereafter. He creates powerful images that portray the amazement of moon exploration, and they inspire further exploration of space.

“The American,” Alan Bean

The last thing that stuck out to me during this wrap-up of the course was the Eameses’ Powers of 10 video [4]. As a mathematical person, I enjoy giving perspective in the form of numbers to things that can be too vast or minuscule to logically visualize. I will definitely be following the powers of 10 blog [5] from now on!

Screen caps from “Powers of 10” by the Eameses


[1] Jager, Mathias. "Space... the Final Frontier." Hubble Space Telescope, 21 July 2016. Web. 24 July 2016.

[2] Woods, Arthur. "Performance Art In Zero-G." Ars Astronautica. N.p., 2008. Web. 24 July 2016.

[3] Foust, Jeff. "When Space and Art Intersect." The Space Review. Space News, 8 Sept. 2009. Web. 24 July 2016.

[4] "POWERS OF TEN AND THE RELATIVE SIZE OF THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE." Eames Official Site. Eames Office, 2013. Web. 24 July 2016.

[5] Powers of Ten Blog. Eames Office, n.d. Web. 24 July 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Kristine -

    Great post I agree with your analysis of outer space as the final frontier. It is literally an infinite area of vastness that is completely open for exploration. I'm curious about your thoughts on what you think will be man's next source of exploration if we are ever able to completely understand space? Do you think it's possible that we will gain significant knowledge of space in our lifetime? I also found the paintings done with zero gravity technology to be fascinating and the perfect blend of art and science. Great post!