LAFA 263: The Human Body in Science and Art
Fall 2012 - Special Topics Course
This course gives an overview into some of the many fascinating branches of science that have the human body as their subject, and introduces both historical and contemporary artists who have been inspired by these themes. Students are then guided through the process of conceiving, planning, and executing their own work of art inspired by, or in reaction to, the science of the human body.
In the science portion of the course students learn about a wide variety of topics, including DNA, race and skin color, neurotransmitters and mental illness, color perception, disease and gene therapy, anatomy and biomechanics, and medical cadaver study, among others. Each topic is presented as a classroom experience that may include lecture, demonstration, hands-on lab work, visiting scientists, videos, and/or field trips to the Columbus State Community College’s anatomy lab and the Body Worlds exhibition at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI). Out-of-class, students have additional opportunities to study each topic through assigned readings, videos, and research.
The studio art portion of the course introduces, through lecture and discussion, a selection of contemporary artists who are currently addressing themes of the body and science in their work. Students then propose their own original artwork (or series of artworks) that explores the visual beauty, ideas, ethics, and/or politics of the body in science today. With one-on-one help from the instructors, as well as feedback from their peers in class critiques, students refine their concept, conduct the necessary research, and plan the execution of their project. In the last part of the semester students focus on creating their work of art and writing an accompanying Science Paper and Artist Statement. At the end of the semester, the best artworks from this class will be exhibited adjacent to the Body Worlds exhibition at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI) museum in downtown Columbus.