Monday, June 6, 2016


In culminating this course, the third event I went to was the book release of Professor Vesna's collaboration project "Morphano: Works by Victoria Vesna - A Decade of Collaboration 2002-2012 with Nanoscientist James Gimzewski."

As a huge fan of Professor Vesna and her work, this event was very inspirational to my personal opinions towards art and science collaborations. I was extremely excited to hear her and her colleagues speak about open involvement to anyone interested in becoming a part of the movement.

It was inspiring to see a collaboration lasting a decade long and even still present. In my personal experience with working with other artists, it was hard to keep the passion required to succeed in place with lots of uncontrollable disruptions between other members of the groups, in terms of effort and recognition.

I think the "Brainstorming" piece where Professor Vesna and her colleagues made visual representations of brain storming by performance was accurate in reinstating the philosophical significance of putting minds of different creators, science and art, in a room together to work.

In quoting Linda Weintraub from the Professor Vesna's book, she states, "Like the experience of the sublime, frontiers of exploration are often identified with radical shifts of scale," I think she reinstates the comments made by Professor Gimzewski, where he said that the scientific method has been been explored and pushed to its limits, that we need artists now to innovate and make new leaps in science and art all together. I felt very emotionally connected to this idea and still think about how anyone could get involved if creativity has become more of a prerequisite than technical knowledge in this case.


I have stressed that there is a high level of philosophy in all of these lectures and events, that it is not just bringing two worlds together, but the possibility of doing so has existed for so long and is still undermined, and it offers more recognition to human intelligence and its possibilities.

(Crackled Neurons by Greg A. Dunn -

This course and event has motivated to do more research in neuroscience and art. In an article by Stanford University, they reinstate one of the class themes that it is "characterizes art as imaginative,
subjective, narrative, and often controversial, but very rarely scientific."

(Art piece of brain activity by Audrius Plioplys

The idea of bringing artists to scientific settings is something I constantly express admiration for. Take for example, artist Audrius Plioplys has "has transformed the artist's studio into a neurobiology research laboratory: he has merged neuroscience with art." It is interesting to see how controversial this idea is and how people write about it. Also, I came across the 'Neuroesthetics' movement that takes "a scientific approach to the study of aesthetic perceptions of art, music, or any object that can give rise to aesthetic judgments." I am excited to see how all these movements and collaborations expand to the mainstream in my lifetime.

How do we explain the origins of art without understanding the human brain that neuroscience attempts to do, and how do we neglect the possibilities that may result with careful applications of neuroscience and scientific data to artistic expression? These are a few of the things I've thought about. I do not have the answers to them, however. I feel like most people that are in the forefront of this movement are experimenting to find out. I want a place in this movement.

Thank you so much for this opportunity to learn and be exposed to truths I never knew existed before, as well as the potential I never knew I had. I really hope I find my way working in this field. I believe we are all capable of learning, some faster and easier than others, but I think for me specifically, I will find it challenging and rewarding to apply my learning skills to new concepts in both science and art. Thank you Professor Vesna, Symrin, and Professor Gimzewski again for all the values given to me in this course.

Paulina Shafir


VICTORIA VESNA. Victoria Vesna. N.p., n.d. Web.

Huang, Mengfei. "The Neuroscience of Creativity." Comic Art, Creativity and the Law (n.d.): 7-11. Http:// Web. <>.

"Art of Neuroscience." Society for Neuroscience. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.


Noe, Alva. "Art and the Limits of Neuroscience." Opinionator Art and the Limits of Neuroscience Comments. New York Times, 4 Dec. 2011. Web. <>.

"Neuroesthetics." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. <>.


For my second event, I attended a presentation by Maria Antonia Gonzalez Valerio on her interdisciplinary projects at the National Autonomous University of Mexico on May 26 at 6 pm.

I found this presentation very worth while and wish it was given at a large scale. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned from it was the possibility to spread messages, political or social, through these experiments involving art and science, and the possibility to get involved without having expensive equipment.
(Professor Vesna and I <3)

For example, with her involvement in “Sin origen/Sin Semilla (first transgenic and biotechnological exhibition in Mexico)”, this sent messages to people all over Mexico that GMO crops do have some sort of toxicity in them due to the use of pesticides and the country should keep defending itself from the persuasive business intentions of Monsanto.


Maria stated her philosophical position very well in my opinion. I think the questions she posed about the logistical aspects of performing in the scientific method with the use of machines that constantly need to be updated and adapted to versus the consistency in performing individual methods in art, should artists have labs? As I research and search with keywords, "artists" and "labs" it is disappointing to see how few results come up. 

It seems that most art and science experiments are done as collaborations. There is nothing wrong with that, I collaborate everyday in different ways. But, the connotation in my opinion, is very voluntary and not expected, as if the only way we can get these two forms of expressing reality is by mutual desire and not as part of how we learn and create. I am not sure if this makes sense, I am still trying to figure it out myself.


I also tried to look up "kitchen labs" and see what is an example of the best at-home labs out there. There are not many examples to see, or I could find on the surface web. I came across an article about "biohackers making at-home labs" who found more benefits in making labs at home than using community labs. It stated, "Science is all about coming up with smart ways to answer hard questions. But sometimes getting those answers requires expensive machines." In relation to Maria's argument, she expressed the ineffectiveness of needing such equipment, when there are people out there who are using creative ways to make DIY science legitimate, such as the "Rock N' Roll" biotech group/event at Aalto University in Finland. 


The biggest take away I can express from this event to not surpass the word limit, is the potential to find answers unconventionally and be a part of this movement if the passion, curiosity, and philosophy is there. As an artist, I would love my own lab, in ways it could be a "studio" but I don't want to limit the use of its space just to paint and photography equipment, but as a space that anything can be made in. 


"Hic Et Nunc/News." MAGV. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

"Mexico's Transgenic Maize under Fire." Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. <>.

"Residency Program." Art/Science. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

Biba, Erin. "Genome at Home: Biohackers Build Their Own Labs." Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

Nicholson, Leigh. "Hacking the Body-the Scientific Counter-culture of the DIYbio Movement." Hacking the Body-the Scientific Counter-culture of the DIYbio Movement. N.p., 2 Sept. 2015. Web. <>.

"DIYbio." DIYbio. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.