The Spirit of Humanity

The Spirit of Humanity

The Spirit of Humanity

Art & Science Exhibition of 1987:

Topographic Landform Series; Doug Czor
Topographic Landform Series
Electro-formed copper sculpture
Doug Czor

Art is one great rhapsody for humanity.  The gift to us all of artistic ability may be one of the most important talents known to mankind.  For, Art is both the doorway through massive cultural walls, and the treasure map out of our self-created labyrinth that opens onto the green fields of our ancient, original freedom.  Before recorded history, when we were not quite civilized, we had to follow the natural laws of Earth’s ecosystem.  Now, in addition to those natural laws, we follow self-created laws that arise from our own complex, self-created environment.  It is possible that Art, in all its forms, will be the foremost instrument that will allow our diverse cultures to overlap and survive globalization.

I remember first awakening to this idea in October of 1987.  I had already nearly completed the “Topographic Landform Series,” and was planning an exhibition with a few local artists who also enjoyed the creativity found in the genre of Art & Science.  Word spread, and the exhibition soon became a national show with eighteen artists from around the country.  The exhibition ran for the month of October 1987 in the Fine Arts Building, State Fair Grounds, Albuquerque, NM; it attracted newspaper, magazine, and television coverage.  We exhibited a wide range of artworks, e.g., holography, super computer graphics, laser computer graphic projections, electronic music, explosive metal forming, plastics, electro-formed copper, polarized light paintings, fluorescent environments, etcetera.  Albuquerque Public and Native American Schools declared the show a field trip for all school grades.  It was not until after the school buses arrived that I discovered Art & Science to be a concept that could diminish the immense walls between diverse cultures.

Photo Laser Landscape
Laser reflection photography
Joseph Belk

I remember the faces of school kids lighting up, as they walked in columns into the exhibition.  Inside, they lost control, jumped, danced, wanting to take in everything we offered and more.  This was a time just before the personal computer revolution.  Personal computers are not in every home and office.  Holograms and lasers are also a very rare experience.  During the October days of the exhibition, many school kids from up to a hundred miles surrounding Albuquerque went on a field trip to find and experience their first encounter with large holographic art and laser-projected computer graphics with cutting edge electronic music.  The kids completely “lost it,” but the exhibition was more than just entertainment; it was something they urgently wanted to “get inside of,” and explore this new future.

Art and Science Exhibition
Art and Science Exhibition
laser photography
Highland High School student

On the first day of the field trips to the exhibition, a teacher asked me to explain to her class about the composition of a hologram, and how they are created.  I had not yet understood the full meaning of what was happening.  I began to lecture to the kids in art museum tour style, but soon realized something was missing.  By the second day, I had physics-of-light demonstrations set up around the exhibition.  This was the beginning of a startling discovery because, at first, I thought the children would reject a scientific explanation, or anything remotely about math.  Instead, the kids were so excited by the holograms and electronic music that they actually listened to my physics-of-light and wave theory explanations while I drew diagrams on the blackboard.  I was astounded.  They wanted the whole story.  I kept the mini-lectures and demonstrations brief.  It dawned on me that in the kids’ minds, the cultural barrier of anti-science and math being not “cool” had completely vanished.  For a moment in time, the kids were open to the mystery and beauty of the universe.  The wall had been breached.

Art-&-Sci-1001-sm-w  Art-&-Sci-2002-sm-wCould Art be the main doorway for saving humanity?  In the future, globalization will become a major problem for all nations.  By its nature, the overlap of boundaries between cultures that are in opposition to one another will greatly increase the possibility of war.  The distribution of diminished resources and agricultural products, due to overpopulation and the earth’s warming from the last glacial period, will further escalate the threat of serious global conflict.  To counter this deadly spin, we need more leaders, scientists, engineers, and creative thinkers that are open-minded, non-political, and able to dispel cultural barriers.  Could it be that not only sharing all the arts between our cultures, but also the utilization of Art to inspire school children toward science and math, will be the two most key elements in saving humanity?

The Art & Science Exhibition of 1987 generated many spin-off operations with various groups in New Mexico.  The project continued in the form of slide show lectures and demonstrations at high schools, the School of Engineering at the University of New Mexico, and also at the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe, well into the 90s.  A local television station sent a film crew to document the exhibition, and later distributed the video footage to other television stations in California.  The local television coverage doubled attendance at the exhibition.  The California television coverage was not only good marketing for the artists of the exhibition from California, it also helped to inspire artists as far away as Australia and Switzerland.

In 1990, I was invited to publish an article about the exhibition titled, “Art & Science for the Youth of New Mexico,” in the international journal, Leonardo Magazine, Volume 23, Numbers 2 and 3, pp 225 – 226, color plates after p 250.  I remain humble and optimistic about the future.  Personal computers are just beginning to appear in homes and schools.  The Digital Age has begun, and it is fascinating how Art in all forms remains vanguard for the spirit of humanity.

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Explosive metal forming sculpture by Evelyn Rosenberg
Explosive metal forming sculpture Evelyn Rosenberg

Photo Credits (top to bottom):

Doug Czor, electroformed copper sculpture
Joseph Belk, laser reflection photography
Highland High School student laser photography
Mel Prueitt, super computer graphics
Evelyn Rosenberg, explosive metal forming sculpture

Art & Science Exhibition of 1987 Artists:

Paul Bash (DNA  Computer Graphics Video)
Joseph Belk (Laser Reflection Photography)
Larry Bell (Ultraviolet Light Architectural Installation)
Brad Cantos (Holography)
Doug Czor (Electroformed Copper – Sculpture)
Jay Dunitz (Reactive Metal Photography)
Jackie Greber (Plexiglas Light Sculpture)
Tanya Horton (Electroformed Copper Sculpture)
Craig Hudson (Science Phenomenology Painting)
Charles Mattox (Laser Computer Graphic Projection)
Tom McVeety (Electric Cello)
Kim Poor (Space Art Painting)
Mel Prueitt (Super-computer Color Graphics Prints)
Evelyn Rosenberg (Explosive Metal Forming Sculpture)
Jeffrey Stolet (Computer Generated Electronic Music Composer)
Joseph Traugott (Iridescent Paper Sculpture)
Austine Wood-Comarow (Polarized Light Painting)
Britton Zabka (Holography amid Bronze Sculpture)

Articles Published about the Art & Science Exhibition of 1987, and Later Spin-off Projects:

William Clark, “Art, Science Inseparable For Modern Day da Vincis,” Albuquerque Journal, 18 Oct 1987, The Arts Section, Section G , 1.
Suzy McKee Charnas, “Art On The Cutting Edge,” New Mexico Magazine, Oct 1987, 44 – 49, Cover Photo.
 Tony Baer, Contributing Editor, “Art And Technology – Reciprocal Inspiration,” Mechanical Engineering, Oct 1987, 60-65.
 Technology Becomes Art, Engineering Times, Oct 1987, Volume 9, No. 10.
 Stefi Weisburd, “The Spark – Personal testimonies of Creativity,” Science News, 7 Nov 1987, Vol. 132, No. 19, 289-304, Cover Photo.
 Kimothi Noelle Cain, “Art and Science join together in UNM Engineering Atrium,” New Mexico Daily Lobo, 12 Sept 1989, 2, University of New Mexico.
 Doug Czor, “Art & Science for the Youth of New Mexico,” Leonardo Magazine, 1990, Volume 23, No. 2 and 3, 225 – 226, color plates after 250.
 David Staton, “Exhibit Celebrates Efforts To Revitalize Marriage of Art & Science,” Albuquerque Journal,  1 Feb 1991, The Arts, Section C, 1.
 Sherry Robinson, “The Corner of Arts & Sciences,” Mirage Magazine, Spring 1993, 32-33, University of New Mexico Alumni Association.
 Michael Burckley, “Turning A New Corner,” New Mexico Daily Lobo, 13 Aug 1995, 12, University of New Mexico.

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