The LASERs are an international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience.
The LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series was started by cultural historian Piero Scaruffi in january 2008 as a local forum for presenting art and science projects underway in the Bay Area. The Bay Area LASERs now alternate between San Francisco (at USF), Silicon Valley (at Stanford Univ) and the East Bay (at UC Berkeley). Sister series, coordinated by Leonardo ISAST, were started in 2010 in Washington DC (chaired by JD Talasek at the National Academy of Sciences), in January 2013 in Los Angeles (chaired by Victoria Vesna at UCLA), in October 2013 in Santa Cruz (chaired by John Weber at UCSC) and in Sacramento (chaired by Anna Davidson at UC Davis), and in February 2014 in London at the University of Westminster and then UCL (chaired by Heather Barnett) and in March 2014 at the Umlauf Museum in Austin, Texas (chaired by JD Talasek).
In 2014 Carlos Castellanos started the LASER series at Kansas State Univ.
In 2015 Siddharth Ramakrishnan started the LASER series at University of Puget Sound in Washington State.
As of 2017, LASER series are held in Washington D.C. (chaired by JD Talasek at the National Academy of Sciences), Los Angeles, CA (chaired by Victoria Vesna at UCLA), Santa Cruz, CA (chaired by John Weber at UCSC), Northern California (chaired by Anna Davidson at UC Davis), London (chaired by Heather Barnett at University of Westminster and UCL), Austin, TX (chaired by Sally Weber at Umlauf), North Texas (chaired by Ruth West at University of North Texas) Kansas (chaired by Carlos Castellanos at KSU), Zurich, Switzerland (chaired by Jill Scott and Boris Magrini, at the University of Applied Science), Paris, France (chaired by Annick Bureaud, at the University of Applied Science), Toronto, ON (chaired by Roberta Buiani at ArtSci Salon), NYC, NY (chaired by Ellen Levy and Patricia Olynyk), Tacoma, WA (chaired by Siddarth Ramakrishnan at University of Puget Sound) and Montreal, QC (chaired by Nina Czegledy and Gisele Trudel at Hexagram), Georgia (chaired by Scott Thorpe at University of Augusta), Irvine (chaired by David Familian and Caitlin Moore at the Bealle Center at UC Irvine), Santa Barbara (chaired by Jane Chang MI), North Texas (chaired by Ruth West).
The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.
Each evening, in a casual academic setting, free of charge and open to the public, presents up to four artists, scientists, philosophers, historians, inventors and scholars who are working on paradigm shifts. Each evening also allows the audience to socialize and encourages people in the audience to briefly introduce their work. (If you are interested in running a LASER series at your university, please contact me and this is roughly what makes the LASERs different).
Archive of past LASERs
Gallery of past presenters
See also the
The LAST festival
Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist who was the manager of the Olivetti Artificial Intelligence Center in Silicon Valley, held visiting scholarships at several academic centers (notably Harvard and Stanford universities), lectured in three continents, and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (most recently, the four-volume "Thinking about Thought" in 2014 and "Intelligence is not Artificial" in 2015). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s; and he has co-authored "A History of Silicon Valley" (2012).
As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (Second edition, 2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). He has also written extensively about cinema, literature and the visual arts on his website www.scaruffi.com. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). "A Brief History of Knowledge" (2011), the lectures from his old UC Berkeley class, has been published as an Amazon ebook.
Full bio: click here.
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