Mind Over Matter.
Michelangelo’s painting the Creation of Adam depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is the source of inspiration for this post. I selected this work for the underlying scientific research carried out by Michelangelo, which may o be overlooked when compared to his success associated with artistic mastery and religious iconography.
Though the dissection and study of human cadavers was considered sacrilegious at the time of the Renaissance, this extreme pursuit lead to Michelangelo’s’ unrivaled understanding of the human form. Although he considered himself a sculpture and not painter, his mastery of the design characteristics of the human form was executed perfectly in both medium.
Similar to Michelangelo, I have a desire to create and understand the way things are designed. The underlying mathematics and science which explain the nature of the observable world appealed to me much more than religious theory. I enjoy the design, manipulation, alteration, and construction of objects through various materials. Paralleling the religious concepts portrayed in the Creation of Adam, art and design share in this realm of creation
The science of the subatomic universe dictates electrons are negatively charged. Therefore, two elections can never make contact as they are charged to repel one another. This effect is similar to the magnetic field experienced when two like poles repel each other. In human context, the sense of touch we perceive is merely that, our perception. We are made of atoms which contain electrons, and therefore it is impossible to actually touch anything. The painting shows the interplay between God and Adam depicting the moment just prior to observable touch. The correlation between the science explaining the impossibility of touch on a subatomic level, and the moment Michelangelo selected is staggering.
As a child, I was raised in the Catholic Church. This religious theory of creationism depicted in the Creation Of Adam demonstrates the christian belief that God created man in his image. Although a religious upbringing instilled personal characteristics and morals for which I am grateful, I frequently challenged what I was being taught, and my curiosity eventually lead me away from structured religion. I became interested in the arts, and this later became the foundation to my pursuit of a career in industrial design.
Industrial design has been described as “taking something from one state and moving it to a preferred state.” In a general sense, industrial design attempts to alter material and form to better suit our needs. However, science describes our inability to physically connect with any material, object, or person. This fascinates me immensely; we can think, design, and create without the ability to truly make contact, demonstrating everything we do truly is mind over matter.
Michelangelo’s art, and today’s advanced industrial design and production methods demonstrate humans remarkable ability to alter, create, and shape materials. However, the rate in which our control and utilization of materials is changing the environment is quite alarming. Creation makes us human, but are we driving to fast headed for a collision?