Artist Profile: Helen Miller

Helen Miller is a third year art history student. I was lucky enough to work with her as the designer for my recent play, and she has fortunately given me permission to share some of her work with The Tribe. Her style is mainly watercolour illustration; her ambitions are to work in mental health awareness and illustrate full time.         These were created for Mental Wealth two years ago, and express feelings of loneliness and alienation associated with mental illness.      These illustrations have featured in the ‘Hometown Highlights’ pieces in Owl Eyes, and depict Manchester and Putney respectively.         Helen created these two images for my play, Clockwork. The first depicts two of the major characters on a playing card and is suggestive that they are two sides of the same person, while also being part of a game of chance. The second is more symbolic of the play as a whole, with themes of war, time and magic.Helen is available for commission and can be contacted at hmm65. Alex Mullarky


Make sure not to miss out on an exhibition of stunning student artwork curated and hosted by Art Society and ST.ART Magazine as part of On The Rocks!

On The Rocks is, as I’m sure many of you are aware, a truly inspiring arts festival that showcases the very best in new Scottish and student talent and takes place across various locations in St Andrews from Saturday April 14 until Sunday April 19. With the first festival taking place in 2009, it has now become a permanent fixture on the thriving cultural calendar of our small town.From the many tantalising talks to the theatre productions in wondrous locations, there is sure to be something to take your interest. One such event will be ART WORKS, which looks to be a great exhibition showcasing the year’s creative spoils created by our very own student body. For the first time, Art Society and ST.ART Magazine are joining forces at On The Rocks for an evening of thoughtfully curated artworks, installations, live entertainment and the release of ST.ART’s fourth, and first printed, issue! For those of you who have always shied away from attending ArtsSoc’s weekly life drawing classes for fear of nervous giggles, or have never gotten round to venturing on one of their Walk and Draw trips, here is a chance to see some of the remarkable results conjured up by your fellow students and maybe even friends. Some work that has featured in previous issues of ST.ART Magazine, which started up at the beginning of this academic year, will be present at the exhibition plus even more submissions. As well as this, ST.ART Magazine will be releasing it’s first printed issue where the fantastic graphics of the online issues and a variety of new and inspiring work by students will finally be transferred to an actual tangible magazine to treasure! It’s a great chance to see some of the amazing talent to be found in this town in the flesh.There is no doubt there will be some great pieces to see, so make sure you venture to the wonderful exhibition space of the Barron Theatre (free of charge!) on Wednesday, April 18 from 20:00 to 23:00 to check out the possible Picasso’s of our town and take a break from your academic work for an evening of artistic amusement. For more information make sure to like Art Society  and like ST.ART Magazine on Facebook! Nicole HorganImage credits - Toby Marsh

The Art of Art Snobbery

Lucy Tittle shares her experiences at The National GalleryIt was with the attitude of an Emperor introducing civilisation to the primitive Celt that I took my friend, a lowly Computer Science student, with me to the National Gallery. Fuelled by the spirit of the Easter weekend and undeterred by the crowds flocking around a staging of the Passion of Christ in Trafalgar Square, I sallied forth to enjoy some more religious imagery in the gallery itself, accompanied by my willing student. I had a vision of myself as the professional Art Historian strolling amongst the painted panels, expounding carefully recollected knowledge from AH1001 to my philistine, as he hung eagerly on my every word. Alas, this picture I had created for myself was far from realised when we at last managed to make our way to the entrance through the throngs of Bank Holiday visitors.Fondling the trusty camera that never leaves my handbag, we entered the first room of paintings and I remarked that it was a shame not to be able to take photographs for my article due to the gallery’s photography policy. My companion, never short of guts, announced that he would be the photographer of the trip and boldly marched past the slumbering elderly attendant, in front of the orderly line of seated people viewing the painting, and took several noisy photographs with flash. Disgusted at this lack of proper gallery etiquette and blushing copiously, I hurried my friend through several more rooms as he was in turn scolded for reaching out to touching the paintings and then stared at by a solemn looking gentleman for his loud comment about the large number of paintings that seemed to display the buttocks of Cupid or the infant Jesus.Hungry and flagging, I was laughingly asked by my sidekick why many of the altar pieces featured smaller figures at the bottom of the painted areas. Buoyed up by the chance to start educating the embarrassing heathen I had brought with me, I embarked on a dull explanation about families who had commissioned the works and why they were depicted showing their devotion at the bases. I increasingly found myself struggling, however, and was forced to lean closer to take a peek at some of the placards upon the walls to support my hazy memories of first year facts. Under the barrage of questions that ensued about the story of Saint Sebastian and the other biblical narratives shown in the artworks, I was quickly ruing the day that I decided not to take Religious Studies at GCSE. I was even shown up yet again as my technologically savvy friend gleefully produced his Smart Phone, started scanning the works on display and sharing with me the information he had produced.I began to wonder, after all, whether I did in fact have the correct attitude to gallery visiting. Whilst my friend, whom I had once considered anything but an expert in this field, was coming up with his own witty responses about the works and enjoying himself, I was constantly shushing him and racking my brain for long-lost facts. It would appear that you do not need a degree in Art History to be observant and knowledgeable about art – in fact it seems to be somewhat of a hindrance! A keen eye and a sense of fun such as those possessed by my comrade will help you to see far more than my own pretensions and preconceptions. I would strongly advise you on your next trip to the National Gallery to acquire some bruises from climbing on the lions outside in Trafalgar Square, to make your own judgements about the 14th Century paintings, and to take a science student with you for a bit of perspective. Trust me, you will get far more out of the experience! Lucy TittleImage credit - Lucy Tittle 

The Future has Arrived: Artificial Intelligence

Natalie Keir takes a look at the amazing applications of artificial intelligenceWhen I was 10 years old, it was my life’s mission to convince my parents to buy me a mobile phone. I remember trying to use my very under-developed cunning and wit to persuade them that I didn’t want a phone for social purposes; oh no, I wanted one purely for the sake of my safety. This can’t have been terribly convincing, considering the most dangerous part of my day was probably when I attempted PE. Eventually my parents complied, probably due to my infallible skills of persuasion, and bought me my phone of choice, along with a pink camouflage ‘superwoman’ phone case.  I am afraid to say that my taste in phones hasn’t improved much since then. Up until recently, I have never really cared about having a Blackberry or iPhone, I would rather have taken the cash equivalent. However, this Christmas my boyfriend received an iPhone 4S, and from that moment, everything changed.It was not the fantastic Internet connection, the unrivalled graphics, or any of the other stuff people seem to go for in phones that got me: it was Siri, the robotic ‘personal assistant’. The highlight of my week is when my boyfriend asks me to send a text for him, and I have a chance to interact with Siri. It is the most amazing gadget, especially when you think about what Siri has to go through to entertain you with its smooth conversation. When you say something to Siri, all it receives is a soundwave, simply a line of varying amplitude and frequency. From this soundwave, Siri has to interpret what you are saying, and what you require it to do. This is much tougher for a computer than you would first think.Let’s say we tell a computer a very short simple story. “The girl saw a necklace in a shop window, she loved it”. To a human, that seems pretty simple, but when you examine the story, there is a lot to be misinterpreted. If we were to ask what the girl loved, a human would say “the necklace”, but a computer would not know if it was the necklace or the shop window. Next, we could ask if the girl was able to pick up the necklace. A human would know that she couldn’t, as the window is in the way, but the computer wouldn’t know this, as there is nothing to suggest that the window is solid. Finally, you could ask how the girl could pick up the necklace. The human could answer that the girl should enter the shop and ask the shopkeeper, but a computer would have no idea: it wouldn’t know that the door could open. To combat all of these problems, the computer would have to have a huge database of contextual information, consisting of all the things that humans inherently know. We take our intrinsic knowledge for granted when it comes to things like the relative desirability of inanimate objects, but that is data that would have to be quantified and inputted into the computer; a daunting task for any computer scientist.Another problem that has been plaguing computer scientists for years, is trying to get a computer to recognise simple objects, such as a mug. Although this challenge seems trivial, it is one of the first steps in developing robots that could perform actions in the same way that a human could. The difficulty is that a robot sees a mug as a set of coordinates and if two mugs are not identical then their coordinates won’t be either. Even if thousands of photos of mugs were inputted into the computer’s memory, the computer still wouldn’t necessarily be able to recognise a mug if it had never seen it before. As much as scientists loved examining mugs, a breakthrough was definitely needed, and the Artificial Intelligence team at Stanford University managed to make it happen. To teach a robot to think, you need to understand how a human thinks, and it was recently discovered the human brain works in a much simpler way than previously thought. The pink wrinkly tissue that makes up the outer layer of the brain is called the neo cortex, and is split into different regions for different senses. It was found that if you swap the audio and visual connections, so that the eyes are connected to the audio part of the brain, and the ears are connected to the visual part, the brain can still interpret new information. Basically, the brain all works on the same ‘program’. Trying to mimic this program allows scientists to train computers like the brain is naturally trained. In this way, scientists have been able to program a computer to do things that humans haven’t yet been able to do, such as fly a helicopter...upside down. This has never been done by a human helicopter pilot, and a seriously talented pilot prodigy would have to be born for this to ever happen.The possible applications for artificial intelligence are unbounded, and some diagnostic equipment in hospitals is already taking advantage of this developing technology. At the University Hospital Lund in Sweden, ‘artificial neural networks’ are being used to help diagnose heart attacks in patients with chest pains. Researchers exposed the computer to thousands of past medical records, and by learning from experience, the computer is now able to diagnose better than an experienced cardiologist. It is predicted that artificial intelligence could completely transform the medical industry, and it seems that the change can only be positive.The world of artificial intelligence anticipated in so many sci-fi films is still a farfetched fantasy, and much of it is never going to exist. In 1972, Geoffrey Hoyle, a sci-fi writer and futurologist, wrote a list of predictions of how life would have changed by 2010. For the most part, his predictions were pretty accurate; Internet shopping, Skype, and webcams are all common occurrence nowadays. He also predicted that everybody would be wearing jumpsuits. Thankfully, that less than desirable fate has not yet been bestowed upon us, but the general accuracy of the list just shows how precise scientists can be in their predictions. If the development of artificial intelligence continues at the anticipated rate, we are sure to have some exciting amenities coming to our aid over the next few decades. Natalie KeirImage credit - Liz Henry