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[Art & Creativity] Art Science

Abstract :
According to the late French sociologist Marcel Mauss, the boundaries between the sciences are poorly delineated and one could also add that those between art and science are as well. These poor delineations not only display the most urgent problems, but also are the place to search for the still “unknown”. Such boundaries are where both artistic and scientific forms of knowledge begin to develop into hybrid formations and which eventually bear new knowledge. Although long under way, the hybridization of art and science presents itself as the most significant challenge for society today. When we hold up the cameras of our mobile devises in front of us, we are literally ‘layering a digital reality on top of the real world’ and creating the hybrid world we now all live in, or when we leave our digital fingerprints as part of the ever-growing data cloud, we are exposing ourselves to a cryptographic dichotomy. It can there fore be said, that the hybridization of the physical with the digital breads a fluid transaction between very diverse states of consciousness by reshaping our very existence. And, if hybridity is the landmark of artistic and scientific practice, the exhibition “Hybrid Highlights” is indicative in itself of such a hybridized territory that goes beyond art and science per say while exploring and expanding through the possibilities offered from the still “unknown” of the poorly delineated. 

Project Authors :
Arthur Clay, rthur.clay@inf.ethz.ch
Monika Rut, monika.rut@gmail.com

Institutions involved :

Book of Stamps

The “Book of Stamps” is a travel guide between sonic landscapes from cities to urban cultures. The sheets of the book provide a recording surface and the ink stamps with their various patterns provide the ability to place sounds into the book.
Together they act as an interactive tangible interface for a variety of time based musical tasks that form a collaborative composition by its users. There are two sets of ink stamps: The stamps that look like natural things like trees, bushes or stone paths belong to the “Country Sounds” category; Those that look like buildings belong to the “City Sounds” category. By stamping a book page with a combination from both categories, a soundscape is created that will either tend to sound like a city, a country or an urban sonic mix of both. In this manner, sonic spaces are created for each of the pages and when the user turns the pages to other already stamped pages, it lends him or her the impression that they are actually “traveling” between places sonically.

Project Authors :

Clay Arthur (USA/CHE) – arthur.clay@inf.ethz.ch

Drawing code
The project consists of creating a fascinating software application for a set of drawing spiders from Lars Vaupel of the robotics group “F18” in collaboration with the Computer Science Department of the ETH Zurich. Two robotic platforms equipped with felt pens are driving on paper and produce random drawings. Each platform has electro-mechanic sensors for edge and blocking detection. It is possible to choose the basic driving mode (straight ahead, curves, circles), and then the behaviour changes after every edge contact, so the result is unpredictable and every drawing is unique. The application basically instructs the spiders to draw “fantastic web” of high artistic quality based on Kandinskyís theory put forth in his book from 1926 Point and Line To Plane using a real time interface concept that relies on easily editable command lines of code, which can also be used to demonstrate high level programming and system design effectively while having fun making line art.

Project Authors :

Lars Vaupel (DEU)

Involved Institutions :

Computer Science Department, ETH Zurich

Finger Print City

The Finger Print City project employs Procedural Inc’s CityEngine technology to create a personalised digital world of a fictive city. The digital world on view is a qualitative representation of geographical, statistical and topological data, such as terrain, population densities, and even street network. The representation can be combined with biometrical information from a visitor in order to create a unique, personal representation of a city to each visitor. In contrast to other similar approaches, we do not attempt to create a « virtual » version of an actual city that simply copies and augments artefacts from the physical world but create a possible city out of the visitors features. Thanks to its generative nature, the project is extremely content rich, can be interactively explored and makes the invisible visible.

Project Authors :

Simon Schubiger-Banz (CHE)

Involved Institutions :

Procedural Inc


HEBO was invented 2008 by Johannes M. Hedinger and Frank Bodin. HEBO is a derivation of the two last names of the artists. (Hedinger/Bodin). HEBO is a series of humanoid robots and a kinetic sculptures. HEBO interpret scenes, allegories and stories from everyday life and the history of art. They are small world explanatory models, little machines with big emotions. The programmed movements are aesthetic and narrative part of the kinetic art work. The robot itself becomes the narrator and creator. HEBO features humanoid lines and qualities and acts humanly. Next to the technical aspect, the focus of HEBO is on the shown action, the philosophical references and the reaction and interaction with the audience. HEBO is a cooperation of the artist duo Johannes M. Hedinger and Frank Bodin with ETH Zurich (SMS Lab, Prof. Robert Riener).

Project Authors :

Johannes Hedinger (CHE); Frank Bodin (CHE); Prof. Robert Riener

Involved Institutions :

ETH Zurich, SMS Lab

Human Brain project

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a research project which aims to simulate the human brain with supercomputers to better understand how it functions. The end hopes of the HBP include being able to mimic the human brain using computers and being able to better diagnose different brain problems. The project is directed by the ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne and co-directed by Heidelberg University, the University Hospital of Lausanne and the University of Lausanne. It is supported by the European Union as a ‘FET Flagship’ project and the 86 institutions involved will receive one billion euro in funding over ten years. Neural networks expert Geoffrey Hinton has expressed his doubts that the Human Brain Project will succeed, because it depends on “too many moving parts that no one yet understands”

Involved Institutions :

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Heidelberg University
University Hospital of LausannE
University of Lausanne

Le Mariage