The HUB-Robeson Center represents an epicenter of student life on Penn State’s main campus, featuring essential stops for food, drink, books and even the HUB-Robeson Galleries – which bring “contemporary art experiences to the Penn State community.”
Art from faculty, students and other groups can be found throughout the HUB Gallery, Art Alley and exhibition cases, as well as publicly displayed projects throughout the building.
Exhibits on display change throughout the year, and the HUB’s most recent exhibit, “Again and Again,” brings together the works of Penn State faculty members Tom Lauerman and Rebecca Strzelec, as well as José Pinto Duarte and Shadi Nazarian and their colleagues engineering. Sven Bilen and Ali Memari among others..
These works were curated by visual arts and productions specialist Dani Spewak and opened for the first time at the HUB Galleries on July 23rd.
Within the larger exhibit, “Again and Again,” selections from an earlier body of work titled “From Earth to Mars and Back” showcase work from the interdisciplinary research collaboration that was originally used in the 2019 NASA-Printed 3D Mars Habitat Challenge, a competition . with international teams focusing on sustainable and effective housing through 3D printing.
The featured selections of “From Earth to Mars and Back” demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to advance innovative solutions in a variety of fields, including the visual arts, architecture and engineering.
Nazarian is an associate professor of architecture and a key faculty member involved in the creation of “From Earth to Mars and Back.”
“One thing we would really like to communicate is that research like this cannot happen without interdisciplinary participation,” Nazarian said. “The words ‘architecture’ and ‘design’ belong to all these disciplines.”
Nazarian and her colleague, Duarte, Stuckeman Chair in Design Innovation and director of the Stuckeman Center for Design Informatics, said innovative technology informs art and similarly, art helps explore innovative technologies.
Duarte said that art and technology have always gone hand in hand, crossing disciplines to achieve innovation in all areas.
“Art has always been in harmony with the technology of the time,” said Duarte. “The amazing thing about art is that you use technology to make art, but you also use art to interpret technology.”
Penn State reported its first case of monkeypox in University Park on August 17.
Both Nazarian and Duarte said interdisciplinary research and the merging of art and technology can help create access to advanced fields, as the exhibit demonstrates advanced technological innovations through a medium that is easily understood or accepted by those who cannot seek knowledge. in these more scientific fields. field.
“The average person won’t go near reading a scientific article because they’re intimidated by it, but if they see a piece of art that has that technology embedded in it, it makes them curious,” Nazarian said. “Creating that sense of curiosity already begins to introduce knowledge.”
Duarte said he believes knowledge is an entity.
“The division into fields — science and art — is fictitious,” Duarte said. “We need everyone.”
Sven Bilén, head of the School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs and professor of engineering design, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering worked as a systems engineer for this project, and he said his work included “[pulling] together many different entities to work together in a new and different way.”
“When you do things from an interdisciplinary perspective, that’s where innovation really happens,” Bilén said, noting that when you look at advances in the visual arts, it’s important to remember that artists are able to use new techniques like the result of new materials and developments in engineering.
“I think engineers can be creative and artists can be innovative,” Bilén said. “We may use different words and different language, but a lot of times, we’re doing very similar things.”
The use of innovative technologies within “From Earth to Mars and Back” has a focus on real-world application — aiming to revolutionize construction and sustainability in addressing larger societal issues, such as housing insecurity, according to Duarte.
It is within the combination of real-world applications and the visual arts that Duarte finds beauty.
“When a work object expresses its time, it is about reflecting on society, including its technology, so if it uses the most advanced [technology] of that time, I think that’s when it becomes very beautiful”, said Duarte. “He uses all the power available at the time to express ideas.”
The work of Nazarian and Duarte is only one of the selections exhibited in the “Over & Over Again” exhibition.
Lauerman, assistant professor of art at Penn State, works within the overlap of sculpture, craft and design.
Lauerman’s selected installations seek to explore the visual, tactile and visceral experience and emotional capacities of built places while working with innovative 3D printing and sculpture.
Strzelec, distinguished professor of visual arts and coordinator of the visual art studies program at Penn State Altoona, is another artist featured in the exhibit.
Strzelec’s work is an “ongoing investigation of how wearable objects interact with the surface of the body,” according to her personal statement.
Her work consists of wearable objects, which are created through computer-aided design, three-dimensional modeling and 3D printing, again highlighting the exhibition’s commitment to innovative technologies and the re-imagining of objects.
The exhibition “Over & Over Again” will be on display until September 4th at the HUB Gallery at the HUB. A celebratory reception will be held on August 31 from 5-7:30pm at the HUB Gallery.
The HUB-Robeson Art Galleries in University Park recently announced five summer 2022 exhibitions.