Crossing Over: Caltech and Visual Culture, 1920 - 2020
Crossing Over considers how scientists use visual culture, examining the roles images and artists have played in scientific institutions. Far from depicting information impartially, scientific images make arguments, persuading viewers to accept particular theories and interpretations. Caltech, founded in the late 19th century, serves as a case study for how scientific images have been used over the 20th and 21st centuries and how they’ve evolved. Spanning 100 years, two global pandemics, and four venues across campus, Crossing Over mines the Caltech archives for objects, images, and stories illustrating the complex interchange between science and the visual arts at this influential institution. Caltech physicist Richard Feynman, for example, created a widely used system for depicting the behavior of subatomic particles, known as Feynman diagrams. Three contemporary Los Angeles artists—Lita Albuquerque, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Hillary Mushkin—contribute original, site-specific installations.
Artwork credit: Drosophila, 1934, Edith M. Wallace. Ink and watercolor on paper. ©California Institute of Technology.
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