Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The origin of art . . .

How's that for a heady subject title? I don't usually have an opportunity to link my scientific interests with my artistic ones other than the inspirations I draw from my work that play into my designs. However, this morning the New York Times ran an article on the origins of art and so I thought it would be fun to put the link to the article here on my blog.

The Dance of Evolution, or How Art got its Start

I found the article to be very interesting. If you read it and find something of interest to share, please leave a comment. I'd like to try having a dialogue on the blog with this article as a starting point.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andi,

This is a very thought provoking article. With two young ones around the house, I have often wondered how creativity is passed from generation to generation. The explainations for the origin of art suggested in this article combined with the recent work on epigenomes, makes me wonder if participation in such activities as art, music, etc. could even influence ones grandkids in the future. An interesting hypothesis, maybe not too likely though.

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

Martin - Thanks for posting the comment. What a wonderful idea - that our own artistic endeavors may have a genetic impact on later generations. I don't know if that would be possible via DNA methylation (in reference to your epigenetic inference), but certainly it would relate to cultural evolution. We pass on memes in a way analogous to genes.

Sidebar: for readers who would like to know more about epigenetics, there's a great website available at: http://epigenome.eu

A good article to read as an introduction to the subject would be the one on nutrition (how what you eat during your lifetime may have an impact on later generations):

What I found most interesting in the NY Times article is the connection between adaptive behaviors (interaction of mother and child) to the building blocks of expression we find in art. Humans are apparently hard-wired, or, in biological terms, pre-adapted to artistic expression. I find that rather cool. . .

Cheers - Andi