WBEZ | aesthetics http://www.wbez.org/tags/aesthetics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The science is in: beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-02/science-beauty-truly-eye-beholder-113164 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Credittheilr.jpg" style="height: 344px; width: 610px;" title="A new study says everyone has a unique idea of who is attractive (Credit: theilr)" /></div><p>There are some&nbsp;<a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1571/1638" target="_blank">factors</a>, such as symmetrical facial features or clear skin, that are encoded into our genes as attractive traits.</p><p>But a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)01019-2" target="_blank">study&nbsp;</a>published this week concludes that people disagree with each other about who is attractive&nbsp;about half the time. The study,&nbsp;titled&nbsp;&quot;Individual Aesthetic Preferences for Faces Are Shaped Mostly by Environments, Not Genes,&quot; concludes that personal experience and history, not genetic predisposition, account for this difference in taste.</p><p>This is especially startling because genetics determine much of our abilities and preferences -- even our ability to recognize different faces<a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/107/11/5238.full" target="_blank">&nbsp;is genetic.</a></p><p>&quot;For years there&#39;s been art, there&#39;s been&nbsp;discussion, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there hadn&#39;t been any scientific evidence.&quot; said Dr.&nbsp;Laura Germine, one of the leaders of the study,&nbsp;&quot;So we wanted a quantitative study of what influences our judgements of aesthetics, and to investigate where this comes from a behavioral genetic standpoint.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>To gather this quantitative evidence Germine and her team&nbsp;gathered data from&nbsp;35,000 volunteers who visited their website&nbsp;<a href="http://www.testmybrain.org/" target="_blank">Test My Brain</a>. They determined a way to effectively test difference in facial&nbsp;preference, and used this to test&nbsp;547 pairs of identical twins and 214 pairs of&nbsp;fraternal&nbsp;twins on the attractiveness of 200 faces. Identical twins have the same exact genes, but they still find different faces attractive.</p><div><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="face1" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/face.png?itok=sXjFwIxn" style="height: 392px; width: 610px;" title="The study used a ranking system to determine individual preferences in facial aesthetics. (Credit: testmybrain.org)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><p>Germine concludes this means that much of what inspires our idea of what is attractive&nbsp;is&nbsp;personal history: &quot;The environment of the beholder is what determines the moment-to-moment judgments of attraction. If you&#39;re exposed to a face paired with a positive emotion, you are more likely to find that face, and other faces like it more attractive.&quot;&nbsp;This means that every social relationship could influence what traits and faces one prefers.</p></div></div><p>&quot;We looked at adult twins who had been out of the home for 10, 20, 30 years and so had very different life experiences.&quot; explained Germine.&nbsp;&quot;The example I always give is the face of your first boyfriend could be one of the shaping factors of our notion of facial attractiveness.&nbsp;If we studied 12-year-old twins the family environment might be the same, and so likely they could find similar faces attractive.&quot;</p><p>Germine noted that the study didn&#39;t look explicitly at&nbsp;romantic attraction but general attraction to facial features. &quot;We tested the attractiveness of male and female faces and people tend to have the same percentage of agreement or disagreement.&quot;</p><p>Test yourself online&nbsp;<a href="http://www.testmybrain.org/tests/start" target="_blank">here</a>, to see how much you differ from other people on what faces you prefer, and who you find beautiful.&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-02/science-beauty-truly-eye-beholder" target="_blank"><em>via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-02/science-beauty-truly-eye-beholder-113164 Guatemala’s contemporary artists draw on violence to push boundaries http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/guatemala%E2%80%99s-contemporary-artists-draw-violence-push-boundaries-93949 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-10/guatart2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With the election of a former army general as the country’s next president, the legacy of Guatemala’s long, bloody civil war doesn’t just disappear overnight.</p><p>Increasingly, Guatemala’s past and present mix not only in politics, but also in its contemporary art. Artists like Regina Galindo and Anibal Lopez combine the nation’s violent history with present-day concerns to produce a distinctly Guatemalan style that has garnered international acclaim.</p><p>Emiliano Valdes, an art curator based in Guatemala City, says Guatemalan artists are challenging the country's reputation for producing brightly-colored crafts and pottery.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Video of Regina Galindo's "Who Can Erase the Traces?"</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/D46p71QdCTc" width="420" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2011 23:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/guatemala%E2%80%99s-contemporary-artists-draw-violence-push-boundaries-93949 Mural restoration heartens Puerto Ricans http://www.wbez.org/story/mural-restoration-heartens-puerto-ricans-92248 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/mural-2_WBEZ_Chip-Mitchell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the country’s oldest outdoor murals covers a storefront on Chicago’s Northwest Side. People who care about the 40-year-old painting are finishing a facelift. The mural restoration is doing more than brightening up a gritty stretch of North Avenue. It’s got Puerto Ricans in the Humboldt Park neighborhood talking about their heritage.</p><p>MITCHELL: A celebration of the restoration included music with roots in Puerto Rican slave plantations.&nbsp;José López of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center recalled the artists who painted the mural in 1971.</p><p>LOPEZ: Young Puerto Ricans from the street — people who were marginalized — decided to give us a legacy for our historical memory.</p><p>MITCHELL: The mural covers the side of 2423 W. North Ave. and includes portraits of nine Puerto Ricans who struggled for abolition and the island’s independence from Spain and, later, the United States. Three of them are on crosses. Those three all served long U.S. prison terms in the mid-20th century. The artists, led by Mario Galán, named the mural “La Crucifixión de Don Pedro Albizu Campos” after a Puerto Rican Nationalist Party founder. They put him on the biggest cross. López said the mural has special meaning in a part of Chicago where many Puerto Ricans can no longer afford to live.</p><p>LOPEZ: Gentrification means, many times, the writing away of people’s history.</p><p>MITCHELL: Restoring the mural took a decade. Neighborhood leader Eduardo Arocho attributes that to a developer who owned a vacant lot in front of the work.</p><p>AROCHO: His plans were to develop a three-story condo unit. We tried negotiating with him for several months, even at one point offering him several lots in exchange. And he refused and he just started to build the wall, covering the mural intentionally. And so that’s when we grabbed our picket signs and started to protest.</p><p>MITCHELL: The city finally won control of the lot and helped turn it into a small park to keep the mural visible.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: It’s remarkable that this mural has survived.</p><p>MITCHELL: John Pitman Weber is a professor at Elmhurst College in DuPage County. He has studied and created public art for more than four decades. And he provided consulting for this mural’s restoration, carried out by Humboldt Park artist John Vergara.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: Its content is unique, not only in Chicago but nationally.</p><p>MITCHELL: And aesthetics? Pitman Weber calls the mural formal and stark.</p><p>PITMAN WEBER: Kind of Byzantine, in a way, quasi-naïve -- executed by some very, very young artists. The style possibly even adds clarity.</p><p>MITCHELL: Not all Puerto Ricans appreciate the artwork or the idea of the island breaking from the U.S. But when I ask the ones who walk by, most have strong attachments to the mural.</p><p>WOMAN 1: My mom used to go to St. Aloysius. My parents did and so...</p><p>MITCHELL: That’s a church right here.</p><p>WOMAN 1: It’s a church down the street. I used to go there when I was a little girl. And my mom would drive us to church and that’s how I knew we were getting close is when I’d see the mural almost every Sunday.</p><p>MAN 1: I see Don Pedro on the cross being crucified for what he believed in. Crucified the same way as Jesus!</p><p>WOMAN 2: I used to get up every morning and look at this mural.</p><p>MAN 2: I went to prison. I was 17 years old and I went to prison for 20 years. And, during those 20 years, when I used to think about home and I used to think about Humboldt Park, it was this mural that I used to think about.</p><p>MITCHELL: Why is that?</p><p>MAN 2: I remember when I was first looking at it, I think I was maybe 9 or 10 when I first noticed it, I didn’t know anything about Puerto Rican history. To me it was just a painting that was up there. I didn’t understand who was up there, what it was about. But when I went to prison I learned about my culture, I learned about who I was. I even got this guy on my arm. Two of these guys are on my arm.</p><p>MITCHELL: Tattoos.</p><p>MAN 2: Yeah, Pedro Albizu Campos on my right arm and I got Ramón Emeterio Betances on my left arm. And I think I can attribute that to this mural, man.</p><p>MITCHELL: The mural restoration will be complete with the addition of calligraphy this fall.</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/mural-restoration-heartens-puerto-ricans-92248