Do art and science make a good couple? Graphic by Katie Gibson

Art and science: the world’s best couple?

Do art and science make a good couple? Graphic by Katie Gibson
Do art and science make a good couple? Graphic by Katie Gibson

Art has been one of the most efficient ways to learn about the cultures of the world. There isn’t an exact estimate on when humans began making art, but we have examples dating back to roughly 50,000 years.  From what we have gathered, prehistoric art was created to depict religious stories and rituals.. Creating statues for their gods and goddesses in hope it would provide them good fortune, fertility, food, etc.

5,500 years ago, the first known system of writing was developed by the Sumerians. This form of writing is known as cuneiform.  Somewhere in the fourth millennium BCE, the ancient Egyptians developed the world’s first writing system, which we all know today as hieroglyphs/hieroglyphics.  Each of these writing systems used little symbols and pictures to depict stories and historical events.

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Which brings me to my point– art not only has been influencing the world historically, but also scientifically.

The reason we view some art and find it visually appealing, is because the artists took the time to create what they knew our brains would like biologically. When we see a cute little kitty, we think it is cute because their eyes are so much bigger in proportion to their heads. Imagine if we saw a cat with eyes the size of a rat’s eyes. They would probably be terrifying then.

When you view a work of a human who is represented as innocent, or perhaps devout, then maybe they would be represented with larger eyes to show their purity.

Art could also walk hand in hand with psychology. In art, there is this principle called line. It can be an actual, visual line that we see, or an implied line that our brain fills in. In psychology, we call what art calls implied line, closure.  Closure is where our brain will see a cut out figure, but then fill in the gaps to create a new image. There are many other examples of how the two tie together, such as how sometimes our brain recognizes one image, and then another although it is just one image made up of many other images. In art that would most likely be known as illusion. Our brain likes to play tricks on us, and artists know exactly how to create compositions to do just that.

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There is a video by a youtuber under the name Vsauce, who talks and describes in a video titled  “Messages for the Future” just how we use art and science to potentially inform other lifeforms. In this video, Michael Stevens tells us about how there are these satellites launched up into space, some in orbit within our solar system, others, interstellar. Some have records with images of earth and earthlings. There is one, that has these plaques on it with images of what the typical human being looks like and messages written on them in binary code, in hopes that if someday, extra terrestrial beings were to discover them, they would be intelligent enough to decipher it. One satellite even has a record with a recordings of songs, human voices, animals and even a message from former president Jimmy Carter.

This record also contains 116 images, as well as the directions encrypted on the back. Stevens not only explains this, but also other ideas of how we could potentially reach out to other life, so be it. If interested, please check out the video, it is extremely informing and enlightening, and also shows how today, we still refer back to that ancient way of art, to document our existence.