Monday, November 03, 2008

343. Journey Through Vertebrate Consciousness: Artistic Variations (Rather than Genetic Variations) of Representative Specimens

Comparative Osteology Lab. Survey of Vertebrates. From fish to frogs to crocs to chickens to wabbits to a pecuiliar organism called a human, who is actually taking pix of all these critters!Black and white version of above, since I have a tendency toward displaying all possible outcomes of Artistic Variation, rather than Genetic Variation.Some General Goals for the Osteology Lab: How to Frame your Perception. In part a Journey through Vertebrate Consciousness, err... journey through Vertebrate Brainsacs.

PDF File for Comparative Osteology Lab Self-Guided Tour:

Artistic Variation of Select Specimens for Comparative Vertebrate Osteology Lab. Vic's Largest-Longest Picasaweb Slideshow Yet!

Picasaweb Portfolio of Best, Most Intriguing, and Most Pertinent Images for Comparative Osteology.

Some blurbs that Vic wrote while Engaged in Osteology Lab:

**PLEASE RIGHT CLICK EACH IMAGE TO DETERMINE THE NAME OF EACH SPECIMEN! Last Monday was perhaps the best Vertebrate Lab I ever had (conceptually and comparatively)! Predictably, this lab was held through Dr. Sam Sweet's Evolutionary Vertebrate Morphology Course (EEMB 108). Essentially, Dr. Sweet (Dr. Conceptual) organized a survey of vertebrate skeletons, from fishes to humans, all in one room! It was a very cathartic experience to stay in lab for a long time, taking pictures of these organisms, observing the morphological variation of an underlying common body plan (as well as realizing how biologically inaccurate I had been cartooning them the last few years!). I also couldn't help observing shifts in relative "brain case" size. Aren't all these living organisms--despite their differences--­experiencing some form of continuity of mental experiences? We're all "alive," right? And we must be sensing some similar underlying drivers of Existence, right?

**Perfect Lab for the Week of Halloween... plus some Rabbit Skinning too on Wednesday. We Considered creating a quilt out of the rabbit skins as a Halloween costume. That would have most certainly won a costume award!

**I suppose this is my attempt to make really uninteresting pictures look really good. The lab was not condusive to photography: there were objects in the backdrop (like electrical outlets and peg boards) and dim lighting. So I tried my best with what I had. Photoshop is like Butterfly Metamorphosis for Images that come from Nondescript Caterpillars!

**I have met an individual who is "no longer interested in placing anything on the internet" simply because "someone else has already done it before." So for example, I would not photoshop nor place any images of the Osteology Lab on the internet simply because "people have done it before." Just because someone else has already done it doesn't mean that you as an individual have the unique capacity to re-interpret a similar experience. If I do not engage in this process, I will have not "internalized" my own personal experience with universal principles. The experience is ultimately externalized and dictated by the perception of other individuals. So hxll with that poor mentality. I will assume that the Internet is an Illusion, and I will not let the activities of other people discourage me from my own internal desires and pursuits!

**I know this is just a total ASIDE, but I have to say that I found out that the circulatory system in organisms (via observation in developmental biology) is not genetically regulated but is a self-assembly system. Holy Bajeesus! What does it all MEAN?! I wrote a poem called "Carved and Harnessed" and it explores similarity of network formations in geologic and biological systems. The poem starts out "The land is carved by water. I guess water carved me as well. I see the rhythmic fluid flows, channels branch, turbulent swells). It's all self-assembled in the end? Oh my.... More philosophical meditations to delve into.... Self assembly? Following what principles of physics and fluid mechanics?

**My sister, Jenny, and I had a tissy one time when we were both undergrads at UCSB. Back in 2001 or so. My sister proclaimed she loved frogs because she loved frogs and they were cute. And then I challenged her and asked if she knew about their phylogeny and ecological tendencies (which I had acquired in a Terrestrial Vertebrates course). She spewed all over me and said that you don't have to know everything about an organism in order to love it. Such is the interaction between Knowledge and Emotions.

**I never considered this lab to be a Graveyard--err Boneyard Exercises, more so an Artist's Delight, a Biologist's Intrigue, and a Vertebrate Paleontologist's Paradise!

**I continuously refer to Scott Chatenever because he is an artist / ceramicist who studies artistic design. He also has chickens in his back yard.

**These photographs provided emotional attachment to the material Dr. Sam Sweet has been chronically discussing in class. Besides, I really need to review lecture notes. Ack!
**It was a superb meditation--largely visual--less so on verbage. I felt absolutely horrible for keeping Chris (session leader) in class for much longer. I printed out some photographs for him. It's the least I can do.
**Most my meditations are visual mental maps jigsaw puzzles. The words seem to trail afterwards. After all, scientists make up names just to masseuse their egoes and weed out the ingroup versus outgroup of their specialized disciplines. So it goes the theory of Ed Lowry, med student gone grad student.
**I couldn't help to think about how we didn't have any mastadont skulls in class. Well, given the technical difficulties of their size... in addition to the notion that megafauna aren't around too much anymore... and all we have are the scrap tiny organisms left to study since all the remaining megafauna are mass-produced within the agriculture/farming machine (e.g. cows).
**Consciousnes started with those danged tunicates... somatic and visceral... all in the name of locomotion. You go, you tunicates!
**I was thinking about designing a fictitious organism that had an endoskeleton and exoskeleton all at the same time, and then I saw turtles, which are kinda sorta like that. And armadillos, which its skin took form of armored plates. My dad mentioned on the phone, "Armadillos are like biological military tanks." And I responded in return, "Ya, they're like Micro Hummers."

**I guess I did the Michel Gondry lego kinda thing. Putting boxes around "organic math proofs" and "fractal-like" structures. I still have my far-off dream of meeting Michel Gondry. Sigh.
**I suppose through my angles of photography, I am anthropormophizing these organisms, but what the hxll, why not.... I am a human and I am destined to anthropomorphize....
**I was asking questions when taking pictures, what would it be like to stare square into the eyes and face of each one of these organisms? Like how I used to take pix of Cat Kat (my aunt's and uncle's cat who was mawled by a coyote this summer).
**It's funny to think, since time A (Fall 2002) and time B (Fall 2008), I have drawn cartoons of fish, salamanders, gekkos, snakes, turtles, T rexes, mice, rabbits, squirrels (lots of squirrels!), bats, cats, dogs, whales... and suddenly, entering in this room full of skeletons of these organisms, my fragmented life of scattered experiences was encapsulated within three hours of photographic immersion. I feel much more mentally consolidated. And also more respectful of morphology the next time I go drawing these cute little cartoons. I will always draw them Allometrically Incorrect: big bulgy eyes and rounded, fluffy bodies (the Evolutionary Brainwashing Factor of Cuteness)--just for the sake of the cuteness factor--but at least I will have a Morphologically Correct reference point of these images with Osteology Lab. Such is the synergism between creativity and reality.

I am leaving this lab feeling like I have visually mastered the material--to some degree of resolution never achieved before, and I feel like I have a visual, conceptual ground plan for delving into Dr. Sam Sweet's lectures--with all this inspirational stimulus!

1 comment:

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