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Science and Art Meld in Borland Exhibition

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Cortisol Cut Two Ways by Candice EE Ching Ng

Sans-Axis, an exhibition featuring artistry by faculty and students from Studio|Lab, will be on display in the Borland Gallery on the Penn State University Park campus, June 20-28, 2013. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Studio|Lab is a research initiative at Penn State that emerged from the idea that the arts and science are complementary. In its most literal sense, Studio|Lab is a "studio" for scientists to refine the aesthetic dimensions of their work, and a "laboratory" for artists to test the performance and impact of their work. Sans-Axis is a result of that collaboration.

The works on exhibit in Sans-Axis provide a glimpse of the many conversations that emerge from interdisciplinary culture and expression. Experiments in data visualization, materialization and sonification are core channels of exchange through which individual interests and assumptions shape and are reshaped by collective practice. Rotating through artistic and scientific paradigms, the presentations consider the malleability of disciplinary norms.

Five artists/researchers are displaying their work:

Candice Ee Ching Ng is an artist and researcher. She uses art, critical design and technology to explore the frameworks of relationships that are negotiated between humans, mediated spaces and objects. She uses emerging technologies and created objects to provoke narratives about how technology manifests within society. “Cortisol Cut Two Ways” materializes in wood panels 34 individuals’ cortisol levels as they reacted to and recovered from a stressor.

Michael Coccia is a research statistician and data artist. With particular interest in analysis of behavioral science data, he uses both traditional and experimental techniques to create data visualizations as windows to openly explore and expose the research process itself. His interest is in part to encourage an active awareness of assumptions inherent in current analytical paradigms, and to use research questions as vehicles for movement in an unrestricted space. “Kente” uses photographic print as a medium for describing 103 children’s physiological responses to emotion-inducing situations.

Matthew Kenney is an M.F.A. candidate (new media) in the Penn State School of Visual Arts. He is a hacker, researcher, and blogger whose current interests are in physical computing, human computer interaction, sound art and data sonification.

David Lydon is a graduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Working in the Geier Lab for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and Addiction, he is pursuing interests in adolescent decision-making. Specifically, his research is focused on understanding the dynamics among brain areas involved in reward processing and cognitive control that have implications for adolsecents’ risk behaviors (e.g. the initiation of substance use).

Nilam Ram, associate professor of human development and family studies, and Brian Orland, distinguished professor of landscape architecture, are co-directors of Studio|Lab. They make use of and develop ‘time-oriented’ technologies, study designs and interdisciplinary paradigms to understand how and why individuals and contexts change over their life spans.

Data and media provided by Kristin Buss, professor of psychology; Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, associate professor of human development and family studies; Karen Hooker, professor and co-director of School of Social and Behavioral Health Science at Oregon State University; Erika Lunkenheimer, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Colorado State University; and iSAHIB, a local study of 150 adults, age 1 to 90 years.

To learn about the exhibition and the artists/researchers behind it, visit For more information about Studio|Lab, visit