Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 1: Two Cultures

       In this week's readings, Victoria Vesna and C.P. Snow both talked about the intertwining relationship between arts and science. In “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” C.P. Snow challenged the conflicting conventional definitions that people gave to science and literacy by examining the social changes brought by the industrial and scientific revolution, concluding that these two subjects cannot be clearly divided. Victoria Vesna elaborated on C.P. Snow’s statement in “Toward a Third Culture: Being In Between” and introduced a “third culture,” which is the artists using science to articulate their works. Indeed, as time goes by, this kind of art works are present in our world more and more often.

woodcut art integrating image of mobius strip

       To me, this kind of concept of the reciprocity of arts and science has always been familiar, especially in schools. Growing up in China, the education system requires students to learn both arts and science courses until high school. And then, when I was trying to decide whether to go into science or art field in high school, I realized that some academic subjects are hard to be sorted arbitrarily as arts or science subjects. For example, chemistry is science, but it requires large amount of memorization like literary. And geography, classified as arts, actually uses a lot of scientific methods in collecting and analyzing data, and requires a scientific mind in interpreting them.

the concept of "time zones" in geography

       This weeks readings lead me to think more deeply about the relation of these two essential elements in our life and what people can achieve in light of the “third culture.” I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena last year. The exhibition of students’ designs of prototype concept cars in the hallway really appealed to me. The artistry in the design and the highly modernize functions were perfectly balanced. Although they were just concepts, I do believe the “third culture” will bring them into real life one day.

concept car design by ArtCenter student


Snow, C. P. "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution". New York: Cambridge University Press, 1961. 

Vesna, Victoria. "Toward A Third Culture: Being In Between". Leonardo, JSTOR. Web. 2 April 2016.

Escher, Maurits Cornelis. Möbius Strip II. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. <

Standard Time Zones Map of the World. Digital image. Time Zone Calculator. N.p., n.d. Web.

Bhandal, Gurminder. McLaren Supercar. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 


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