of the Art Exhibition about "Mind"
For the Interdisciplinary Tour of the Human Condition
Held at Stanford University on April 19, 2012 @ 6:30pm-9:30pm
Robert Horn's mural "Can Computers think?"
For the past 20 years, I have been helping create a new field of art mixed with science, social science, and the humanities. It occupies a space somewhere between applied graphic design, the fine art of large murals, and investigations of the various social messes we find ourselves in. Conceptually it addresses the challenges of extreme complexity of the contemporary world. Aesthetically, it integrates expressive, and attractive visual patterns. Linguistically, it expresses a new semantics that tightly combines words and visual elements, each doing what they do best. All this combined into a unity that enables humans to cope with the contemporary world and feel its impact.
Can Computers Think? Scientists and philosophers have been debating this question for at least half a century. "Under pressure from the computer, the question of mind in relation to machine is becoming a central cultural preoccupation. It is becoming for us what sex was to Victorians-threat, obsession, taboo, and fascination," according to MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle. The question of whether computers will ever replace the human brain is truly a millennial question because it deals with who we are as human beings. But, to date, it has been too arcane and diffuse to include anybody but the experts in cognitive science, philosophy or artificial intelligence (AI), keeping countless students and other interested readers a the margins of the debate.
Horn has produced a set of conceptual and artistic maps that promise to revolutionize argumentation and philosophical debate. "We originally conceived of these maps only as a teaching tool," explains Horn, who is a visiting scholar at Stanford University. "But as they neared completion we realized that we had created both a remarkable intellectual history of the fifty-year-old debate and a clear picture of where the arguments stand today."Can Computers Think? is a set of seven "Issue Mapsr"measuring 3 x 4 feet each and with text and graphics showing both the topical and chronological organization of the debate . Horn's maps display arguments beginning with Alan Turing's 1950 claim that computers would be capable of thinking and move through over 800 individual claims, rebuttals, and counterrebutals. Each map plots an average of 100 major claims, representing the nearly 400 cognitive scientists, philosophers, AI researchers, and mathematicians, who have weighed into the argument in a significant way.
Artistically, the maps are groundbreaking as well. Several hundred icons and illustrations and about 60 photographs help the reader navigate, providing easy landmarks and crystal-clear visual representation of the arguments. "Bob Horn is the new Mercator, a pioneering navigator of knowledge. His argumentation maps open a whole new way of looking at information." says Robert Jacobson the Editor of Information Design MIT Press.
In 1950 the great British mathematician and inventor of the computer, Alan Turing. wrote in the journal, Mind: "I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted." "Turing would be surprised," says Horn. "Anyone looking at the maps can see that the debate is far from settled.".
Bob Horn did not start out to be an artist, although he has sketched all his life. He has had several previous careers: political scientist; entrepreneur; CEO; futurist; cognitive science researcher; author. He is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR). One day he's an artist, the next day he's a consultant. He is the author of Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century. His information mural work was represented in the first-ever exhibits of information design as a fine art at the Stroom Museum in The Hague and at the Coventry (UK) School of Art and Design in 2000. One of his info-murals - for Nirex, the British government agency that regulates nuclear waste disposal - incorporates the history and future plans of the agency going out twelve thousand years, and hangs in its cafeteria. His most recent work concerns the major 21st century looming issues: sustainability and climate change. His mural, commissioned by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has hung in the atrium of the World Trade Center in Amsterdam, and many other places world-wide.
Scott Kildall's installation "After Thought"
After Thought is a portable personality testing kit, which uses flashcards and brainwave analysis to test stress and relaxation levels. During the interview, participants wear an EEG-reading headset, which reveals states of relaxation and anxiety in response to visual stimuli. As they slowly turn over placards of charged imagery such as a house on fire, a person yelling and a bottle of pills, I track their responses. Afterwards, in a personal interview, I ask them questions about their relationship with their mind, operating like personal psychic to assist the interpretation of brain data.
Scott Kildall is a new media artist working with video, installation, prints, sculpture and performance. He gathers material from the public realm to perform interventions into various concepts of space. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Philosophy from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago through the Art & Technology Studies Department. He has exhibited his work internationally in galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London and Hong Kong. He has received fellowships, awards and residencies from organizations including the Kala Art Institute, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Recology San Francisco , Turbulence.org and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. Scott is a founding member of Second Front - the first performance art group in Second Life. He currently resides in San Francisco.
Luther Thie's Web-interactive installation "Neurocapital"
The core of Acclair is its NeurocapitalT methodology. In its essence, it is a system that attributes market value to brain output and can be applied to many areas of society.
For this event, Acclair will be demonstrating the NeurocapitalT system using its racial bias test. In this test, "stimuli" (images of different people coupled with 1 of 10 questions), are recorded while the brain is monitored for EEG responses. The interpretations of the tests are provided to various non-profit institutions to promote racial tolerance.
Luther Thie is an interaction designer, researcher and artist. He has presented his work at technology conferences, and in art galleries and museums in the US and Europe. He was a spotlight speaker at the Computer Human Interaction conference (CHI 2005) and the Emerging Artist award winner at Zero1/ISEA 2006. He has had exhibitions internationally at Van Abbe Museum and STRP Festival of Art and Technology in The Netherlands and Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Italy.
Recently, he had a solo show at ProArts Oakland and has been included in multiple group shows in California galleries and alternative spaces including 21 Grand, Berkeley Center for New Media, New Langton Arts, Off-Space, San Diego State University, SF Camerawork, Shoshana Wayne, Southern Exposure, Steven Wolf Fine Arts, and The Lab.
His writing has appeared in Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology and his artwork has been reviewed in various publications including ArtNews, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sculpture, SF Bay Guardian and SF Weekly.
In 2008, Luther was artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts and Montalvo Arts Center. He has an MFA in sculpture from SF State University and an MA in interaction design from the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.
Elizabeth Jameson's MRI collage "Carousel"
"Carousel" is composed of MRIs of the artist's brain. This collage portrays a series of MRI slices of the brain as a the journey in an endless, whirling motion. The collage captures a joyous burst of color and warmth against the austere and lonely MRI technology.
Carousel was inspired by the lyrics of the Joni Mitchell song "The Circle Game": "And the seasons they go round and round, And the painted ponies they go up and down, We're captive on the carousel of time." These lyrics show our mind's constant search for beauty and meaning in our existence.
Elizabeth Jameson creates images based on MRI scans of her own brain. Her etchings reveal the brain's anatomical structure, while celebrating its beauty and mystery.
Jameson was born in Rochester in 1951. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in 1973, and received a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1976. She had a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Policy at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine from 1984-86. Jameson was a public interest lawyer, and a nationally recognized expert on health policy for children with chronic illness and disabilities.
Her professional and personal life changed profoundly in 1992 when she suddenly lost her ability to talk, underwent brain surgery, and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Jameson regained her speech and through her treatments became fascinated by the images of brain scans. And although she had not previously made art, she found herself wanting to create her own work by exploring these images.
Jameson's initial paintings, produced in 2006, use French dyes on silk to depict the skull and brain in loose, highly saturated colors. These works were followed by her first solar etchings, which use sunlight to etch a photosensitive metal plate. These etchings of her brain were like self-portraits, and an early example featured the artist in profile facing an image of her MRI. The artist began producing more abstract etchings that focused on specific areas of the brain, with the suggestion of dream-like images such as a bird, dancing forms, and a valentine, all suffused with color. Jameson has also created large-scale digital prints (up to ten feet in length) that at times incorporate etchings, and textile pieces with images and text. She is currently developing a new project documenting military and civilian casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jameson sees her work at the convergence of art and science: "Advances in the scientific and technological fields are paving the way for a new sensibility...neuroimaging in particular is unique among scientific endeavors in that the imagery created is so identifiably human." Her art has been embraced by the scientific community, and is now being exhibited at neuroscience centers around the world.
Jameson's work is in the permanent collections of the Harvard University Center for Brain Science, the Picover Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, Johns Hopkins University, the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, the Center for Art and Brain at the University of California, Davis, University of Wisconsin Foundation, Madison, and the Basque Neuroscience Institute in San Sebastian, Spain.
Oxford University Press has used one of her images as cover art for their book, "Neuroscience of Attention: Attention Control and Selection," a leading book on cognitive neuroscience. In 2012, Jameson's work is featured in a National Public Television special on the brain that is currently airing on various stations throughout the United States.
Ian Winters' social installation "Memory Table"
The Memory Table created by media artist Ian Winters with composer Evelyn Ficarrais a deceptively simple "social" installation that presents the fa‡ade of an everyday cafe table-but with a video and sonic "mirror". Modeled after human memory processes and forgetting, and applying the concept of granular synthesis to visual imagery, the Memory Table records fragments of life at a cafe table and projects back a `mirror'of up to a dozen layers of past "memories" merging with the present. As time passes both sonic and visual memories are merged and rewritten based both on patterned chance operation and associative responses to gesture & sound of visitors.
More information about the project's ongoing research process is at: http://www.ianwinters.com/memorytable.html
Ian Winters is an SF video/media artist working at the intersections of performance, architectural form, and technology and time-based media to explore the complex relations between physicality, technology, and place, often in collaborations with composers and choreographers to create both staged and open-ended media environments through performance, visual and acoustic media. Winters trained in photography, video/film and performance at SMFA-Boston and Tufts University, and post-graduate training in architecture.Full bio at www.ianwinters.com/bio.html.
Evelyn Ficarra was born in California but spent a substantial part of her life in Britain. She studied composition with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex, receiving her MA, and also studied at the National Film and Television School, graduating in Screen Music, and completing a PhD in Composition at University of California, Berkeley. Ficarra's work has received support from, among others, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Arts Council of England, the London Arts Board, the Sonic Arts Network, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation, Poems on the Underground and Meet the Composer. She has had composer residencies at the International Electronic Music Studio (EMS) in Stockholm and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her works have been short-listed for the Prix Noroit, Bourges and Luigi Russolo competitions. Full bio at http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/people/evelyn_ficarra
Stella Zhang's painting "Energy of Mind"
My painting emphasizes the growth and energy of our mind. Our mind has incredible detail and possibility, in the cycle of expansion, extension and changing. I use simple materials such as sand, water, and glue to make this painting, because the sand is a natural particles, as the smallest unit cell in the human body, small but implies a great deal of energy. I tried to put this energy into visual. I use materials that symbolizes straight to the meaning. Ignore the unnecessary factors, and express the message directly and clearly. The painting reflects my Asian background. In my mind, no matter how chaotic and complex the world is, there is always a balance in the end. I use the canvas as a tool to show my inner spirit and mind, allowing me to express myself.
Stella Zhang was born in Beijing, China. She learned painting from her father the acclaimed brush painter Ping Zhang who was a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. She attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts for high school. She then matriculated to the Central Academy of Fine Arts for college where she received her BFA in Chinese Brush Paining in 1989. She moved to Japan in 1990 where she studied Japanese Painting at Tama Fine Art University and later at Tokyo Art University where she earned her MFA in Japanese Painting in 1996. She has lived in the United States since 2003. In the past 20 years, her work has been exhibited in Chinese, Japanese and American galleries and museums. Her work has been included in fine arts collections in many countries. She has published four books.