Rebecca M Price
Explores the intersection of biology and art through representations of nature in illustrations, photography, and film. Examines the effect of technological discoveries such as the telescope, microscope, and camera that shape and enhance our representations of nature.
How has natural history affected art and how has art affected natural history? To answer these questions, we will explore the mutual impact of these fields, discovering how technological innovations that enhance vision—such as the microscope, the telescope, the camera and digital imaging—affect our representations of nature. We will employ a fascinating, diverse set of readings to explore how modern medical illustrations stem from Da Vinci and the traditions embedded in the anatomical theater and how National Geographic evolved from a Victorian tradition of nature drawings. We will also see how nature has inspired Hollywood films (Aliens, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Finding Nemo). Throughout the term, you will find examples of BioArt to contribute to a course database, and we will analyze the images in that database through a series of interdisciplinary assignments.
Student learning goals
Recognize the effect advances in technology have on the interplay between art and biology.
Evaluate the biases inherent to interpreting and producing visual, biological imagery.
Develop basic databasing skills necessary to catalog a collection of art.
Conduct research on efficacy of communicating biological ideas through visual media.
Communicate your research clearly while writing, talking and creating visual art.
Collaborate with others as you interpret course readings.
General method of instruction
We will meet twice a week, and our meetings will combine lecture and hands-on projects. To prepare for each class, you will need to complete the assigned readings, ensure that you understand the previous class’s material and complete the homework assignments.
Class assignments and grading
Class Portfolio (3 contributions, 25 points each) 75 Assignments related to readings 50 Biological Rhythms 75 Final Project (visual and written components) 200 Participation, Homework 100