El proceso creativo en una experiencia artística en el mar

[Este blog fue creado publicado primero en la página web del Schmidt Ocean Institute: aquí]

Siempre me ha interesado el cómo surge la creatividad, cómo se forman las ideas de manera inesperada, tanto en el arte como en la ciencia. Me imagino que para cada artista que ha participado en el programa Artist-at-Sea y para cada investigador que ha sido parte de un crucero oceanográfico en el Falkor, ha existido una variedad de circunstancias muy específicas que han inspirado y desencadenado el avance de su trabajo y su proceso creativo. Las generalizaciones son probablemente difíciles de hacer. Sin embargo, una generalización estoy segura de poder hacer, y es que es muy poco probable que un artista o un científico que haya pasado por esta experiencia no haya experimentado inspiración o no haya sido afectado positiva y creativamente por la experiencia. La creatividad implica la capacidad de percibir el mundo de maneras innovadoras, de hacer conexiones entre cosas a las que no les habíamos prestado atención, de ver problemas con una mirada nueva y con una mente abierta.

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The Creative Process in an Artist at Sea Experience

[This blog was first published in teh Schmidt Ocean Institute’s webpage: here]

I am interested in how creativity emerges, how ideas are formed in unexpected ways in both art and science. I can imagine that for every Artist-at-Sea and for every researcher that has been part of an oceanographic cruise on the Falkor, there have been a variety of very specific circumstances that inspired and triggered their work, making advancements in their research. Generalizations are probably hard to make. However, I feel confident about making one: that it is very unlikely that an artist or a scientist has come through this experience unchanged or uninspired. Creativity implies an ability to perceive the world in innovative ways, to make connections between things you have not paid attention to before, to see problems with fresh ideas and openness.

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Technology, Exploration and Clay

[This blog was posted first in the Schmidt Ocean Institute webpage: here]

Trying to work with clay during an oceanographic expedition focusing primary on autonomous robotic development might sound a little crazy. Ok, probably it is. However, my interest in interdisciplinary creation and exploration, plus serendipitous circumstances, put me here on the Falkor, sailing off the coast of Costa Rica. I am here with a group of scientists and engineers that are working to advance the development of autonomous robots used for exploration. Their efforts will help us understand and explore the deeper ecosystems of our planet, while their technology will also be used in outer space to explore the possible existence of life in other planets. Overall, thinking on the implications of what can be done with this research is mind blowing. Therefore, I guess that it is fair to ask why I would be working with clay in such a technological environment? Or maybe even before that, to ask why bring art to this expedition at all?

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Tecnología, Exploración y Arcilla

[Blog publicado en la página de la expedición: aquí]

Tratar de trabajar en cerámica escultórica durante una expedición oceanográfica que se enfoca principalmente en el desarrollo de robots autónomos puede sonar algo extraño. Ok, probablemente lo sea, pero mi interés en creación y exploración interdisciplinaria, y circunstancias azarosas me trajeron al Falkor, en esta expedición frente a la costa de Costa Rica. Me encuentro aquí con un grupo de científicos e ingenieros que trabajan en el desarrollo de robots autónomos que serán utilizados para la exploración oceanográfica. Sus esfuerzos nos ayudarán a comprender y explorar los ecosistemas más profundos de nuestro planeta, pero a su vez la tecnología desarrollada aquí servirá para la exploración espacial y la búsqueda de vida en otros planetas. En realidad, el pensar en las implicaciones de esta investigación es realmente alucinante. Por lo tanto, supongo que es justo preguntar el porqué de mi elección de trabajar en cerámica escultórica en medio de tanta tecnología; o quizás antes que eso, el preguntar el porqué de traer a una artista a esta expedición.

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ASKXXI: Arts+Science Knowledge – Building and Sharing in the XXI Century

[This article appeared in the Newsletter of Friday Harbor Laboratories —TideBite— in March 2018]

In 2004, under serendipitous circumstances after my first year of graduate school in UW’s Biology Department, I found myself at FHL taking the Comparative Embryology course taught by Richard Strathmann and George von Dassow.  Having moved to Seattle from Chile the previous year, I’d roughly navigated the first year of grad school exploring my role in scientific research and my overall interests and passions in scientific illustration, pedagogy and visual arts.  I found in the Comparative Embryology course a uniquely fruitful playground, led by inspiring and knowledgeable mentors with whom I could explore the beautiful diversity of life’s earliest stages.  In a pedagogical world driven by graded tests, exams and reports, I had the rare opportunity to reflect, at the same time both deeply and playfully, on the ecology and evolution of embryos’ development.  The only stated expectation of the course was to “look very closely,” ask questions, and remain open to gaining new understanding while in close proximity to the tools and community to support that process.

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On the importance of accuracy in scientific illustrations (or sculptures)

A few weeks ago, I had a one-hour phone conversation with my friend Jacqueline Parada on how we are constantly encountering new details on the forms of the organisms that we are drawing or sculpting. She is also a scientists, illustrator and a ceramic sculptor and we both spend quite a lot of time observing organisms under the microscope, identifying their forms, reading scientific papers, looking at SEM images and then translating all that visual information into an illustration or sculpture. It is actually nice to be able to talk about these things with someone that knows exactly what you are talking about.

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Illustration versus Photography in Science

I often get asked, specially by students, “why do we need to draw when we can take photographs?”, “isn’t scientific illustration old-school?”. To answer this I always start by clarifying one issue: I am all for technology, new media, learning new techniques and enjoying the many advantages that we have in the XXI century, from smartphone, to GPS, to confocal microscopy. In my view, we are not replacing one tool by the other, but we are expanding the array of tools and possibilities to do what we want to do: visually record or communicate something in science.

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Why do I study the intertidal?/¿Por qué estudio el intermareal?

More than once I have been asked why do I study the intertidal? More specifically, why do I study, draw and make sculptures of the organisms that specifically live in that zone? When I visited the intertidal for the first time as a student of biology in the university, I was captivated by something that now seems pretty obvious to me, and that is the extreme nature of this environment and the enormous diversity of life forms that inhabit it.

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Science, Art & Biodiversity — Ciencia, Arte y Biodiversidad

Welcome to my site! My name is Fernanda Oyarzun; I am a biologist, scientific illustrator and sculptor. For me art and science are two ways in which I try to understand and make sense of the world, of the organisms that intrigue me, of that which amazes me, and of that which I want to better comprehend. Frequently, the images of the things that I observe through the microscope or of the animals that I see in the intertidal stay with me for days, and those images inspire my drawings and sculptures. Other times, the need to communicate or to teach, pushes me to develop visual material to complement an explanation of a process, structure or species.
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