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BETTER LIVING THROUGH MUSIC: There's a growing body of science that shows sound has a very pronounced effect on the body. The big challenge is finding the right mix of sounds and music that works for you. Music created specifically for relaxation is often lumped together derisively by detractors as New Age or metaphysical music. But the reality is that the types of recordings that fall under this banner are incredibly diverse, though they are almost exclusively instrumental (if you don't count the chanting). Globe and Mail (Toronto) 11/07/00

SMILING SCIENCE: A neuro-scientist believes the enigma of the Mona Lisa's smile might be due to an optical trick. "If you look at the painting so that your gaze falls on the background or on Mona Lisa's hands ... it would appear much more cheerful than when you look directly at her mouth." Discovery 11/30/00

LOST IN SPACE: How come it's always the engineers that get to go up in space? Well, obviously there are some good reasons. But designer and choreographer Richard Seabra wants to "send artists and performers into space to work in a special art module that he wants to become part of the International Space Station (ISS). Seabra wants to see to it that the arts and humanities are given a permanent place in space, that science moves aside to make room for the bounty of other cultural pursuits humans value. 04/23/00

THE FINE ART OF OPPOSITION: Science is changing our moral world. In turn, artists respond to its discoveries and challenges. "The 'artistic' culture differentiates itself from the scientific culture by cherishing the individual gesture and scribble, and very often by characterising itself as the subversive, the destabilising, the contrary." New Statesman 04/10/00

MY BODY MY ART: A number of artists are tapping into a vein of concern about what some see as runaway technology in medical science. "The debate's over what we do with our bodies - science is catalyzing these debates - but where they play them out are culturally, personally, and legally. The artwork becomes a corporate body to mimic what happens in reality." Wired 05/15/00

UNDERSTANDING IMPRESSIONISM: In the spring of 1886, your opinion of impressionism seemed determined by whether you lived in Paris or New York: "In New York, critics aligned impressionism with cubism by emphasizing their rationalist aspects, whereas in Paris their differences as perceptualist and structuralist modes took priority." A 21-page pamphlet entitled "Science and Philosophy in Art" was circulated at an exhibition in New York and eventually made its way back the French impressionist painters, who took it up excitedly and distributed it amongst themselves.  The writer turned out to be a 29-year-old American woman chemist, Helen Cecilia de Silver Abbott, whose particular defense of impressionism was before its time. American Art Spring 2000

FREEZE FRAME: Eccentric Englishman Eadweard Muybridge discovered the photographic system that would revolutionize scientific understanding and the process for naturalist art. Was this dedicated craftsmen "a mad scientist, promoting his lab experiments as photographic art? Or was he an artistic opportunist, using science to gratify his flair for fantasy?" Civilization 06/00

THE SCIENCE OF ART: Until recently picture conservation has been a somewhat sensual, hands-on and almost medieval craft. No longer. New scientific methods unlock secrets. "When Rembrandt painted white preparatory ground on his canvases, little did he realise that some 350 years later a scientist would be interested in the tiny fossils it contained." Financial Times 01/13/00

SCIENCE OF ART: The scientific community has discovered the arts world, investing in arts projects. The artists bring outside-the-box thinking with their projects. New York Times 02/03/00 (One-time registration required for entry) 

VAN GOGH'S ASTRONOMY: It's not unusual to know the year a famous painting was done, but the exact hour? Van Gogh's "White House at Night" has been pinned down quite precisely: 7 PM on the 16th of June, 1890. The information comes, not from Van Gogh, but from astronomers who studied the position of Venus in his nighttime sky. New Scientist 02/28/01

CANALETTO TO THE RESCUE: Climate-change specialists and preservationists hoping to save Venice from damaging floods and sinking are studying Canaletto’s 18th-century paintings for clues to what the city’s sustainable water levels should be. Canaletto painted his cityscapes using a camera obscura, and thus they are a remarkably accurate measure of optimal flood levels. BBC 2/15/01





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