In putting together an edition of The Arts Paper that would focus on the intersection of art and science, we knew that the TED website – specifically, the “TED Talks” thereon – would offer plenty of compelling content from which to choose. For those who might be unfamiliar with this extraordinary Internet resource, it’s worth explaining that TED (an acronym for technology, entertainment, design) “is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading,” according to its website, ted.com, which features a host of interesting lecture videos. What follows is a list of five “TED Talks” that we think capture the essence of what we’ve attempted to explore in this issue of The Arts Paper.
Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal”
Bohannon, a molecular biologist, writer, and creator of a scientific-explanation competition called “Dance Your Ph.D.,” proposes doing away with such tired and uninspired presentation tools as PowerPoint and enlisting artists – who could use the work – to communicate otherwise boring or complex information.
Making sound visible through cymatics”
Grant, the founder an organization called seeper (seeper.com) – which aims to “create and capture the essence of experience,” according to its website – advocates the study, understanding, and wide-ranging artistic, educational, and scientific utilization of cymatics, which he describes in this “TED Talk” as “the process of visualizing sound.”
“Neil Harbisson: I listen to color”
Harbisson, a color-blind artist, explains in this “TED Talk” how, through his Cyborg Foundation (cyborgfoundation.com), he “tries to encourage people to extend their senses by using technology as part of the body,” and how technology has allowed him to “hear color” – to “listen to a Picasso, for example.”
“Nathalie Miebach: Art made of storms”
In this “TED Talk,” Miebach, an artist whose “work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations,” according to her website (nathaliemiebach.com), discusses her use of weather data to create artwork that “challenges our assumptions of what kind of visual vocabulary belongs in the world of art, versus science.”
High-tech art (with a sense of humor)”
Rao, a Bangalore, India-based artist who, with collaborator Søren Pors, uses technology to give less advanced machinery more intriguing capabilities, introduces viewers to decorative and nondescript objects that react to everyday, environmental changes, and to functional reinventions, from a typewriter that turns paper into sent e-mail to a camera that makes subjects disappear.