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Fig. 3. Makepeace Tsao, Organ cfCorti, scanning electron micrograph (SEM) painting, 40 x 30 in (77.500X magnifica­ tion), 1993. In this SEM painting of the human ear, a row of Deiter's cells down the middle are flanked by two rows of stereocilia, which are associated with outer hair cells. In die background are smooth cuticular plates. lected on the basis of probability by pressing a button on the wand. Each new sound is unique in terms of its tim­ bre as well as its musical response to gesture, confronting the participant with unpredictable spatial strategies for interaction. The user develops a cogni­ tive relationship to each sound, explor­ ing 3D space with the wand to uncover its logical and sonic capacities. The Talking Chairwas exhibited in March 1994 at the Linden in Melbourne. Note 1. The signal from an ultrasound transmitter situ­ ated on the wand is picked up by three distancemeasuring receivers whose outputs are digitized and converted into 3D coordinates. A computer op­ erating the music programming language FOR­ MULA receives this information and uses it as an input for various compositional algorithms and to determine the spatial projection of sound. Spatial projection is achieved by attenuating the level of sound fed to each speaker and adjusting the amount of artificial reverberation through a digi­ tally controlled mixer capable of projecting four in­ dependent channels of sound. The sound sources are a sampling keyboard, a frequency-modulated (FM) synthesizer and two channels of sound on a recordable compact disc. ARTISTIC CREATION AND SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY: ONE PRACTrnONER'S EXPERIENCE Makepeace Tsao, 533 Antioch Drive, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A. Received 28 October 1993. Acceptedfor publication by RogerF. Malina. On a topic as immense as my title im­ plies, I wish to present not a survey of the activity of many people, but only my own introspection as a single indi­ vidual. I had the good fortune to re­ ceive training in both art and science and the opportunity to pursue both oc­ cupations simultaneously. The scientific work took precedence in my younger days, when art was a leisure occupation. After retirement from science, I be­ came occupied with various aspects of art, such as involvement in the organi­ zational activity of community art cen­ ters and the operation of two art galleries. All along I painted, sculpted and photographed. My early work in science was in the field of pharmacological activity in mim­ icry of the structure of effective herbal medicines. When I was interested in a possible cure for schizophrenia, I de­ vised a simple synthesis of mescaline [1] as the start of a series of new com­ pounds that might have beneficial ef­ fect on sufferers of this disease. When the first of these compounds turned out to have no pharmacological activity whatsoever, I felt the need to gain bet­ ter understanding of the basic processes involved. I turned my attention to the study of biological chemistry. Eventu­ ally, I discovered that biological cata­ lysts—the enzymes that facilitate the synthesis or breakdown of cell compo­ nents—are not single entities, but groups of "siblings" with individuality. In other words, there is heterogeneity in many enzymes that perform the same metabolic function [2]. This situation is similar to painting parallel brush strokes of equal width and length— although their function may be the same in the painting, there is enough individuality in each stroke to prevent them from appearing identical. My paintings, which constitute the bulk of my artwork, began with land­ scape and still life, with an occasional abstract. In 1977 I chanced upon a jour­ nal illustrated with scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) of alloys and min­ erals. In many of these images there is order and similarity, and yet each com­ ponent has individuality,just as the row of trees along the road in the country­ side does when painted by an experi­ enced artist. I saw SEMs as a new world of realism to explore. The SEMs are a very close view of reality, the closest pos­ sible view before we draw so close to ob­ jects that we can only see a fuzzy world of molecules blurred by atomic agita...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 70-71
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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