Students and teachers can explore the STEM concepts and skills found in the artists work. The STEM Concept tool provides a core idea from the Next Generation Science Standards and illustrates possible ways it has been applied in each artist's work. It also includes artist tips and views on STEM for a personal perspective on their unique STEM + Art connections.


Next Generation Science Standards

Core Idea ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

ESS3.A: Natural Resources
ESS3.B: Natural Hazards
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
ESS3.D: Global Climate Change

Junkspace:  This art piece dramatizes the effect human activity has had not only on the earth’s surface but also in outer space. Industrial processes for producing electronic devices, combined with continual advances in technologies, has resulted in a proliferation of electronic waste, obsolete pieces of equipment filling up space on the surface of the earth. Many of the devices we use on earth require communication satellites for their functionality and countries around the world are increasingly launching new satellites into space. Each new satellite produces associated debris from the launch itself (rocket bodies), from accidental explosions, and from their eventual obsolescence.  There are also many pieces of orbital debris in space currently that came from the space exploration missions of the 1950’s and 1960’s. At any given time and place there are pieces of orbital debris floating high above you, orbiting the earth. This artwork imagines what this floating debris might look like if it were visible to the naked eye, using electronic gadgets that we all use here on earth to take the place of pieces of orbital debris, which we cannot see.  The artists use
photographs, computer programming, and data from NORAD to present a dynamic
image of all the junk that humans have produced and continue to produce.

skills applied

  • Data Mining
  • Programming languages
  • Satellite Technology
  • Communication Technologies


The combination of media we employ in “Junkspace” is unique: it uses photography (the images of electronic gadgets were each photographed individually), animation (custom software using the computer programming languages Objective-C and OpenGL to create movement), and data mining (satellite tracking data published by NORAD, The North American Aerospace Defense Command, to dictate the movement of gadgets in Junkspace, and in the App we tap into an already existing database of information on these satellites and rockets). Students could research all the different aspects of the project: - Find out what happens to the household trash they throw away. - Find out where old cell phones, cameras, computers that are discarded in Albuquerque end up going. - Communicate with officials in space centers in New Mexico about the design of modern satellite technology, and the connection between satellites and the gadgets we use on earth.  Lynn and Neal

Artist on STEM
Has working with science and technology improved your professional career or life and if so how?

"Yes, it has been enriching for me to work with scientific topics and with scientists. It feels purposeful to me, where my artwork can serve a purpose in a concrete way." Lynn

"Sure. Math and physics are just basic capabilities that I have. Not many artists have them. There is a fear that many "artistic" people have of math/science. It's limiting. Freedom is better.Neal

How has your creative work influenced your use of technology and/or how has technology changed how you work or the pieces you make?

In terms of the technology we used to create “Junkspace,” the project is self-reflexive: the technologies and tools we used are in fact included within the project itself as examples of obsolete gadgets (computer, IPad, IPhone are among the gadgets included). We were compelled to make “Junkspace” not because we feel we are immune of the problems it raises but instead because we recognize we too are caught in the web of buying, using and discarding electronic gadgets just like everyone else is. “Junkspace” seeks to open a dialogue about why we covet, use, and eventually discard particular technologies over time.Lynn

Do you think there is a difference between artistic and scientific creativity?

"I think artists and scientists share a lot in common in terms of creativity, although the vocabulary differs. In terms of approaching a problem, scientists start with a hypothesis, while artists begin with an idea, or vision. In terms of process, for both scientists and artists there is experimentation and testing, and a knowledge of materials is important for both artists and scientists. A couple differences come to mind; scientists often end up specializing in one tiny area, often due to professional pressures whereas artists tend to be more generalists, borrowing from many different disciplines when creating their work. That’s a big generalization but for me it’s definitely the case." Lynn