Saturday, May 9, 2015

ART 350S Final Project

         As a student who studies biology and art, I am interested in the relationship between these two studies; however, I want to explore problems in life science by using artistic skill. I have a slightly different way to view the art-science connection compared to how Bioart approaches it. Sarah Bryant, a book artist, also uses artistic method in her works to explore scientific topics. Bryant is interested in diagrammatic pattern and changing lines in statistical graphs. She has already published over ten books. I am mostly attracted to two of her books named Point of View (2008) and Figure Study (2015).
         Point of View (2008) explores the emotional changes of an individual when reacting to the other people and the surroundings. Bryant primarily focuses on social anxieties, and she also emphasizes the necessity for an individual to interact the environment. The graphs are mainly designed in the cross-section style, showing body temperature changes by different colors. Some pages are translucent to imply the shifting of emotion. This book has applied some psychology and sociology aspects.
         Figure Study (2015) is Bryant's current work. Collaborating with the biology professor David Allen at Middlebury College in Vermont, they collected population pyramid data from various regions around the world. More than one hundred population pyramid images were created. In every sheet, each two population pyramids are attached to each other, one at the upper position and another one at the lower position. Generally speaking, Figure Study is a collection book of data study. It allows the readers to learn the population distribution in different places and to analysis the images by comparison. Besides the book projects I have introduced, Bryant's other book works such as Cutaway, Biography, Simulations, etc., are also related to scientific subject.
Sarah Bryant's website:
         The way she interacts with the meaning and simplicity of lines and how she connects art with the science are truly interesting. Her works make me see a different way to explore the art-science connection. Bryant tries to present two things in her works, the physical realities of environment and how humans reflect their emotion to the environment. Point of View is a well example to understand Bryant's goals. I also found out she is careful on the design to every detail of a book. In Point of View, there is an interesting feature that the characters are only drawn with the outlines, making readers be able to identify the their emotions by the color changes instead of the facial expressions. Bryant also set a gatefold for each page in order to encourage the readers to have more interaction with the book and dissect the translucent layers. The translucent design represents the transition of surroundings. Although Figure Study does not present an obvious emotion-environment connection, but the series of population pyramids have fully shown the realities of environment.
         Bioart develops a new way to practice art, but sometimes a Bioart work may hold the viewers back because of their unfamiliarity to biotechnology. Sarah Bryant uses drawing skill and layout design to explore different scientific studies. Similarly, for this project, I also want to question biological problem by using visual images.
         My final project connects to the issue of animal endangerment and human activity impact on environment. According to National Geographic, species extinction is happening 1000 times faster when humans appear, meaning we are causing the loss of various organisms at an unbelievable speed. Animal extinction is typically caused by human activities such as hunting, natural resources consumption, overexploitation, etc. For instance, many amphibians lose their habitats because of agriculture use or industrial contamination. Biodiversity is seriously important to increases natural productivity and maintains ecosystem balance. Species extinction can lead to the instability of ecosystem, causing more species to extinct due to the disruption of food chain. Therefore, the purpose of my final project is to gain more public attention on this issue. It is a 5-minutes video that consists images of endangered species. The species are in five classes of animals: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The video starts with aquatic mammals then ends with marine fish. I used ocean habitat as the starting and ending point. Most drawn animals were classified as either vulnerable or critical endangered in their conservation status, and only few are considered as less concerned based on the IUCN Red List. All species I selected were threatened due to human activities. I drew the images by the software Corel Painter. The reason I chose to use drawing is because I think visual art is a common art form for general audience and is an effective way to transmit the message. Then all the drawings were collected and transformed into a video by using Adobe Premiere. I also uploaded the video to the Internet, so it can have a higher chance to be noticed by the broader audience.
         I hope this video project will create some impact to the public. The primary influences I look forward to the audience are viewing nature and life with more respect, and perhaps even more –gaining interest in biodiversity by concerning wildlife preservation or human impact on environment. However, there are several considerations that my project needs to adjust. Because the animation only moves in either vertical or horizontal direction, the motion can be more dynamic and developed into a storytelling. Besides the movement problem, I think my project need to develop a question on contemporary technology of digital art.
         So far, I have made some project to connect art and biology, but I always interpret my work in an overly simple style. Starting from this project, I hope to see myself building up more experience of practicing biological theme in an more artistic, poetic way.
The whole image of my project video

Friday, May 8, 2015

Jackpot Grant Exercise

· In 75 words or less, summarize your proposal for NAC funding. State project, date, place and purpose. Be brief, this is just a synopsis
         My project would be a hand drawing animation. The length is estimated to be around 5 minutes. The purpose would be focused on biodiversity and the animal endangerment. It would explore the human-environment relationship and how human activities affect species extinction. The project would take place at Church Fine Arts building in University of Nevada, Reno on May 5th through May 7th, 2015.  For this project, NAC funding would provide a big financial support of technical approach.

Grant amount being requested (up to $1000): $800
· Primary Contact Name: Jessie Lien
· Primary Contact Title (Organizations only): N/A
· Primary Contact Address: 1664 N Virginia St
· City, State & Zip: Reno, NV 89503
· Primary Contact Email:
· Applicant Status: Individual
· Grantee Institution: Individual-artist
· Grantee Race: Asian
· Type of Activity: Artwork creation
· Discipline: Media arts-video

1. Provide a concise description of your project. Please include when and where your project will take place. What specific elements of the proposed project will NAC funding support?
         This project would be displayed to the public at Church Fine Arts building in University of Nevada, Reno for two days from May 5th through May 7th, 2015. The project contains the elements of biological science and human-environment relationship. It would be a short animation consisted in various animal species drawings. The length is set to be approximately 5 minutes. Five classes of animals, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, would be selected. The video would start out with aquatic mammals then end with marine fish. It would be a looping DVD projected on a wall. Because the theme emphasizes on species extinction, I would choose endangered animals that disappeared due to human activities as my video characters. Also, I would only focus on the species that have the conservation status to be either critical endangered or vulnerable, and very few would be classified as less concern in their conservation condition. Then the images would be drawn by Corel Painter software. The reason I choose to use drawing is because visual art is a common art form and is usually an effective way to transfer message to audience(s). After all drawings were finished, it would be collected and be combined into a video by Adobe Premiere. In the video, the drawings would be played in the horizontal or vertical direction. I would randomly insert the images that slightly explain how human activities affect animal’s survival into the video. For example, when the animation showed the drawings of sea turtles, there would be some photos like turtle trapped in fishing nets. The photos would be set to only pop on less than one second. I want the audiences to view this video more than one time to try to figure out the content of these photos and think about the message behind the animation. The photographs would also help to understand the seriousness of human activity impact on the environment.

2. What is the purpose and goal(s) of the proposed activity? How does it relate to the cultural needs of your community?
         The primary purpose of this project is to appreciate biodiversity and increase the awareness on animal endangerment and species extinction. According to National Geographic, species extinction is happening 1000 times faster when human appears, meaning we are losing plenty of organisms in an unbelievable speed. The issue is typically caused by human activities such as hunting, natural resources consumption, over-exploitation, etc. For example, many amphibians lost their habitats because of agriculture use or industrial contamination. The importance of biodiversity is that it increases natural productivity and maintains ecosystems in balance. For this project, my goal is to bring up more the attention on animal conservation from the audience. I hope the animation would create certain influences on the audience to view nature and life with more respect. Secondary, I hope it can increase public interest in biodiversity by caring wildlife preservation or human impact on natural environment.

3. Describe your target audience(s) for the project. If you use the term "underserved," please provide us with your definition of the word as it relates to population(s) or region(s)
         There would be no specific type of target audience(s) for this project because I think protecting animal diversity is a worldwide topic, and everyone should learn about it and understand. Therefore, the audiences can be included from people with inexperience on biology to professorial scientists. However, since the project would be first installed in University of Nevada, Reno, I would expect the majority of my audiences is going be students major in fine arts, artists that participate the final project exhibition set-up, and university facilities. Then the secondary group might be students major in biological science, local artists, and people who came to visit this exhibition. Furthermore, audiences might be people who physically showed up at this exhibition or watched the video on the Internet. Because this video project would be uploaded to the Internet, target audiences would be predicted to present in a broader range.

4. Provide a concise account of your experience, training and accomplishments as a professional artist.
         I'm an undergraduate student, majoring in biology and minoring in digital art, of University of Nevada, Reno. Because studying the two distinct subjects, my long-term goal for being an artist is to explore the relationship between life science and art. I have completed three projects for my digital art courses to approach my goal. The first is a small sculpture using three eggs as medium. Each egg has some major classes of animals on it. This sculpture expressed the idea of biodiversity. The second assignment is a video triptychs, searching for the connection between water and lives. The recent work is a responding sculpture to Heidegger's article The Question Concerning Technology. It applies the concept on the biotechnique of DNA sequencing. So far, my experience of project working is only limited in personal achievement. To work on this project that I am purposing, I am looking forward to make some influences on our society.
Link for the project assignments:
The diversity mini-sculpture
Life with water (video) 

5. Why does your project deserve public funding (state and federal dollars)?
         In many countries and regions, animal conservation has been highly concerned by the government. Some countries even support organization or establish national institutions to protect local animal diversity. Even though my project would not directly assist in animal conservation, it still can raise the audiences’ attention on the issue of animal extinction. In addition, my project would be able to make effect not only on the audience, but also on the artists who are interested in applying this project into their works. However, to extend the influence as possible as I could, it would be beneficial to distribute my project widely. Thus, a certain level of financial support would be very helpful. If receiving NAC funding, I would be able to find better way to increase the distribution of public interest, such as making advertisement and releasing them through mass media. The funding would also help in technical approach, improving the quality of this video project.

6. What methods will you use to market and promote your project to the general public and to specific constituencies? Will this build your audience and make you more visible in the community and/or state?
         I have planned two major ways to distribute my project and to increase the public interest. For the first method, I would apply the advantages of the Internet. After uploading the video, it would have more opportunities to be seen by the public due to the accessibility and rapid transmission. The Internet would also help to transmit my project around the world, bring broader rage of audiences. Second, I would use advertising resources, including social media and communication media, to inform the public about my project and the information of the exhibition.  On the other hand, to gain the attention of specific constituencies, I would find sponsors that might be animal conservation-related organizations and magazine companies to ask for cooperation as an alternative way to distribute my project. By using Internet, accessing mass media, and asking for cooperation from specific organizations, I believe this project would be more visible in public.

7. Describe the methods you will use to evaluate project impact and measure its effectiveness. How do you determine if your goals were achieved?
         For this project, my purpose is to make people be more concern about biodiversity and conservation. Because it is a long-term goal, I think the achievement would be hard to determine. However, I still plan out some methods to estimate the effectiveness of my project. I would invite the artists and cooperators to visit the exhibition and ask for suggestions to my project. I could also look up the comments on the Internet after I upload the animation video, and critiques from magazines, news, or any communication media. In addition to having the public audience to give critiques, I planed to make more drawings and put them into a small collection book. The book would be sold internationally. Then it would act as an alternative method to evaluate project impact by checking the sales volume. This way would allow people to view this project even if not using Internet.

· Projected Expenses
         -the NAC Grant Request: $800
         -technical support on software: $300
         -Ways of distributing public interest: $500