Siddharth Ramakrishnan was a panelist for our March DASER event and has contribute the post below to prompt our discussion furhter. Siddharth is a Neuroscientist currently working in the field of Bioelectronics at
He co-teaches the Hybrid Worlds: Nano_biotech + Art course with Victoria Vesna and is interested in relating scientific concepts to the larger public. His collaborations with artists and architects have led to exhibitions and documentaries that blend the worlds of art and science. Currently he has been appointed Fellow of the UCLA Art|Science center.
Siddharth contributed following reflection for our DASER community with the hope of continuing our discussion here in the ether.
Daser Dialog (March 16, 2011)
From listening to the speakers and the audience questions, I felt that two main points arose – Community and Collaboration. All the works discussed fostered a sense of community and engaged a wide range of people – from Jennifer’s coral reefs to Andrew’s interaction with the ecology faculty.
A couple of interesting questions arose with regards to such collaborations and being part of the Art|Science community –
Is the sense of collaboration different between artists and scientists? How do they work together? This question arises in my work constantly. In creating exhibitions with Prof. Victoria Vesna (my collaborator), we go through a series of iterations of the artistic design. At every step, it is important to check that for the sake of aesthetics, the core scientific principle behind the project is not lost. In some ways it is a constant battle, an important one and also a battle that is better executed if there is true camaraderie between the collaborators.
It is in that vein that events such as DASER gain more importance. It is not easy for an artist to walk into a science lab and say, “Hey, I want to work on that!” Nor is it easy for the scientist to immediately recognize the power of the artist’s voice. But at social events such as DASER (perhaps with enough wine lubrication), the channels are created and dialog begins.
Building a community and engaging them in the endeavor is harder, but ultimately be it the active engagement in Jennifer’s work or a subtler one of an audience interacting in an art installation or reading a book, it happens.
With regards to my lecture:
I would be curious to know what people think about what happens in brains. What the concept of neurons are – there is a certain level of cartoonish information we get on the brain from books, but how is their perception altered when they see a movie of neurons moving inside a fish head. Is it conceivable for them to imagine themselves like that in an embryo?
I am hoping this leads to a project/discussion called “My black box” – which is what our brain is to us. Each of us has this, we carry it around, we use it and grow with it. What is your Black Box? What does it look like? Is it black? Is it a box? When did you feel you had a black box? Is there a moment when it is all clear and transparent? Is the brain more of a black box to you or your heart?