I grew up in the two seemingly disparate worlds of art and science; my mother was a genetics professor in a family of artists. My childhood involved Punnett squares and painting, of DNA and design. Science and art have been labelled as two different “cultures,” but I see them as not unlike the many languages I have learned to speak because of my diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Both of them have their own grammar and syntax, and can be used to tell stories.
I was trained in molecular biology and biotechnology in university, and also in illustration and contemporary art. I have always had an insatiable desire to learn, to wonder about the world we live in. I believe that these two worlds are not antagonistic to each other but instead can be cross-explored to stimulate human curiosity. I believe that both fields try to answer the same questions about the human condition: Who are we? Why are we here? etc.
As a scientist, I am fascinated with unravelling the mysteries of the universe. I have taken the values of self-criticism and thoroughness from my scientific training. I like working with precision and order, of sifting through data and trying to create order out of chaos. As an artist, I also approach projects organically, oftentimes taking from my personal experiences. I like approaching projects in a playful manner; I’d like to think that the common theme through all of my work is wonder. Most of the time, I try to see how a child will view my work, because children are very creative and do not have the biases that adults do. I believe that creativity is the bedrock of human civilization and is the key to progress. It is how science and art can move forward, and even more so if we choose to learn from both of them.
My formative years have been marked with the struggle to choose between the sciences and the arts, eventually concluding that it is possible to navigate my way through both worlds. In this century of saturation and hyperspecialization, I believe that these alternative paths are not just valid, but are absolutely necessary. The fusion of disciplines to answer a particular question can bring about a new arena that no one has ever thought of before, and may prevent certain problems from arising. Diversity is a crucial element in today’s globalized world. I have lived and worked in diverse cities, cultures and environments all of my life. I have taken the strengths of the disciplines I have been immersed in, knowing full well that not one is the absolute, and that we have much to learn from other fields that will give us newer perspectives.
However, I am primarily a storyteller; I was a writer first before touching a paintbrush or a pipette. Throughout my explorations art and science, I have been a journalist, an editor, and a writer. Writing is the way I make sense of the world. Nothing is lost to a writer; every event, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, is the zenith or nadir of a storyline.
As a designer, I also believe in technology, and how it has the potential to bridge science and art. I believe that while art can make science tangible, and science makes art functional, technology because of its accessibility can bring these to the fore and help solve the pressing issues of mankind by constantly innovating and reshaping old ideas, at times to meet the current needs, at others to anticipate them.
I would like to imagine a future where people can approach questions through discourse in both the sciences and the arts, where these two worlds can cross over more organically, and where we can use creative technologies for a better world.
Barcelona, January 2010