Right turn: Who said science and creativity had to be mutually exclusive?

Author: Erin Sugar, 03/25/16

Beautiful things can happen when you combine science, art and technology. (Think STEAM!) Contemporary dancer Paige Fraser has teamed up with Intel to create an artistic piece that uses 18 Intel RealSense cameras to display a whimsical 3D reflection that mimicks her real-life dancing. “The future’s bright when we figure out how to bring together humanity and tech,” says choreographer Tone Talauega.

Talauega’s sentiment is supported by technologist, artist and first-name-given-only Amy (@sailorhg on Twitter), who says in her piece Art & Math & Science, Oh My!: “Technology-inspired technology gives us incremental improvements. Art-inspired technology gives us brand new ideas.” In her article, Amy asks the reader to imagine an art class that also covers the science behind perceiving colour, allowing for a child to pursue his or her interests in both art and science at the same time. This idea is simple, but powerful. It removes the obligation to choose between creative elective subjects (art, music, philosophy, etc.) and those that are more logic-based (physics, chemistry, math, etc.) – something Amy says she always struggled with until deciding that she could combine both her loves. This form of collective education may foster passion in subjects that otherwise may seem dull or too complicated.

Art enthusiast and coder Jenn Schiffer demonstrates this mode of teaching, having created var t;, a writing and coding project that she started as a way to teach programming and art history to her students. (You can play with her demo here!)

And then there is TEDx speaker Fabian Oefner who also takes this approach in his photographs, which capture the moment science and art intersect, appealing to the two ways a viewer sees the world. He says, “art on one side, has more of an emotional approach to the world, whereas science more [sic] has a rational approach to the world; and by bringing those two views into one, in my images, I would like to both speak to the viewer’s heart but also to the viewer’s brain.”

A relevant example in the regenerative medicine world is Cells I See, a popular art contest about stem cells and biomaterials run by the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. Now in its 7th year – it began as a Stem Cell Network initiative – Cells I See is taking submissions until September 2016. There is prize money and bragging rights at stake, so why not submit an entry (or two!)?

As technology and art intersect more and more, it is important to expose students to the possibilities that are available to them when they use the right and left sides of the brain. Without creativity and science, outlets like Cells I See and Nature’s Image Awards wouldn’t exist, and how boring of a world would that be?

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Erin Sugar

Erin Sugar

Erin Sugar has returned to the land of business savvy scientists once more as a communications coordinator at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). A recent BAH English Literature graduate from Queen’s University, Erin is on a mission to integrate herself fully into the stem cell and regenerative medicine (RM) community by scouring the deepest and darkest corners of the web. Here to make sure you are not left in the dark about the lighter side of RM news and culture, Erin delivers Right Turns that satisfy the most multifarious of cravings. You can reach Erin at erin.sugar@ccrm.ca
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