Helluva Hot Take: Artists and Engineers Are Not on Opposite Sides of the Talent Spectrum

By Lina Hegazy

Mines is a place where engineers thrive. It fosters skill, technicality, and offers dozens of opportunities to develop industry specific knowledge. Most importantly, Mines fosters creativity and innovation – or at least that’s what they try to convince us in our HASS classes? 

In all honesty, Mines really is great – but is also heavily lacking in specialization areas that encourage the intersection of non-technical creativity with technical skills. The non-technical skill in question is one that can be viewed in many different ways: art. Yeah yeah, Mines is so smart and so cool and so much better than Boulder because everyone here is an engineer, and their passions are so much more technical and will “actually get them somewhere in life” and art is stupid and blah blah blah. However, that is NOT TRUE. Yes, the efficiency of a major in art is …questionable. Though, the intersection of art and engineering is not something to be undermined. So many engineering innovations come from creativity beyond the typical type A engineer thinking, so many come from art. There’s so much room for exploration. 

What if a Comp-Sci student wants to go into animation? General media design? Or literally anything that intersects with art? There’s no option but online resources, because Mines does not cater to the non-technical mind (and drawing a filter for EDNS101 doesn’t count). What if you don’t have a non-technical mind? Classes that implement both technical and non-technical areas will enhance your abilities regardless. Just because one doesn’t have an interest in pursuing a non-technical career doesn’t mean there’s no benefit. Exposure to these areas allows the mind to broaden and escape the ‘logical and one-track’ mind – I promise this isn’t a HASS lecture. If you really think about it, artists are just engineers that can’t do math. They definitely have the creativity and curiosity to pursue it, they’re just lacking the technical aspect. As engineers, however, we have all of that. So why doesn’t Mines give us the opportunity to use art with our skills? Or to make us better engineers? 

There’s even the option to use engineering to make art. The notorious ‘Can’t Help Myself’ piece made by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu depicts machinery constantly cleaning up the puddle of blood-like liquid surrounding it, while continuously making an even larger mess. This piece is a great example of the flexibility of art, since there are so many perspectives on what it could mean and represent to different people – all thanks to a machine. The machine in question? A robot. Yuan and Yu created this art using an industrial robot, visual-recognition sensors, and software systems. You know what that means? You know who created this art piece that has affected thousands? Robotics engineers. Engineers took their amazing sexy technical skills and combined it with this heart wrenching vision to create a beautiful piece that represents hopelessness. So much can come from combining the two sectors, and ‘Can’t help myself’ is only one example out of hundreds. 

Basically, Mines, can you pretty please provide classes that implement both art and engineering? Not just for those of us that want it, but also for those of us that need it. 

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