The 5th LAST Festival

A Life/Art/Science/Tech (LAST) festival
presented by Stanford University

date:March 23-24th, 2018
location: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory - Building B053
location: Get your tickets


Download the program

Friday, March 23, 2018

6pm-9pm Opening of the Art Exhibition

6:30pm-8pm Talks

8pm-9pm Performances

Saturday, March 24, 2018

10am-6pm Talks

10am-9pm Art Exhibition

10am-5:30pm Workshops

1:30pm & 6:15pm Performances

Art Exhibition

"Almost anything that we create can become monstrous. One hopes for the best, but never knows just how it might play out. The story of humankind is partially a history of the twists and turns posited by technological innovation. The complex relationship between intention and context sometimes converge in mysterious and unpredictable ways resulting in new creative strategies, machines, social architectures, designs and creative expression." (Joel Slayton)

ART CURATOR: Joel Slayton

Joel Slayton is a pioneering artist, researcher, and curator. His work engages a wide range of practice including media, installation and performance and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions around the world. From 2008-2016 Joel was Executive Director of ZERO1, a Silicon Valley based arts organization where he was responsible for the ZERO1 Biennial and other year round programming. Joel is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University where he was Founding Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media in 1984.

Download the layout of the art exhibition

Download the catalog of the art exhibition

or purchase it from Amazon

Jonathon Keats: Free Will (Placebo)

Jonathon Keats is an experimental philosopher, writer and artist. His conceptually-driven interdisciplinary art projects, hosted by institutions ranging from Arizona State University to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, include the creation of a photosynthetic restaurant for plants and the development of cameras that take thousand-year-long exposures, documenting the long-term effects of climate change. Keats is the author of six books, most recently You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, published by Oxford University Press. He is a Research Fellow at the Nevada Art Museum's Center for Art + Environment, and the Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina - Asheville.

Morality depends on free will. However research in fields ranging from neuroscience to physics shows that human behavior and the universe as a whole may be deterministic. In the interest of protecting human morals, and promoting civic responsibility in democratic society, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats has made an important breakthrough in pharmacology: a placebo for free will that may be taken orally. The only known antidote for determinism, this ethical placebo will be made freely available through a free will dispensary at the LAST Festival.

Kal Spelletich: Hand Shaker

Kal Spelletich explores the boundaries between fear, control and exhilaration. For 25 years he has been experimenting with interfacing humans and robots with humans using technology to put people back in touch with intense real life experiences and to empower them. KalOs work is always interactive, requiring a participant to enter or operate the piece, often against their instincts of self-preservation.

1. Place Your Hand Inside Robot Hand And Grip It. 2. Shake Hands With Robot. 3. Open your hand to try and get robot to let go. Robotic Hand Senses A Human And Extends An Open Hand. Upon contact, It Decides According To Your Heartbeat And Touch Which Of Three Grip Strengths To Use. It Decides When And How Often To Shake Hands And When To Let Go.

Scott Kildall: Cybernetic Spirits

Scott Kildall is cross-disciplinary artist who writes algorithms that transform various datasets into 3D sculptures and installations. The resulting artworks often invite public participation through direct interaction.

Cybernetic Spirits is an interactive electronic artwork where participants can generate sonic arrangements by "playing" fluids that humans worship in our contemporary society such as, adrenaline, breast milk, blood and gasoline. Sponsored by the American Arts Incubator (AAI) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by ZERO1. The program utilizes community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation.

Carlos Castellanos: Microbial Sonorities

Carlos Castellanos is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests such as cybernetics, ecology, embodiment, phenomenology, arti_cial intelligence and art-science artworks have been exhibited at local, national and international events such the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA), SIGGRAPH & ZERO1 San Jose.

Sonifying bacterial voltages. Exploring the use of emerging bioenergy technologies and ecological practices as artifacts of cultural exploration, Microbial Sonorities represents an inquiry into sound as a method of investigating the bioelectric and behavioral patterns of microorganisms.

Purin Phanichph: A Machine That Listens

Purin Phanichph is a San Francisco, California based artist & designer. He is interested in exposing & transporting the audience into a more simple world via my work. PurinOs work employs various elements of design and computer interaction in order to engage the viewer with objects that are more simple, more playful, and more interactive.

"A Machine That Listens" is an interactive art piece that, rather than taking the form of an intimidating supercomputer, looks and behaves like a child learning a new language. This simple yet playful OmachineO receives audio input from an audience through a built-in microphone and displays what it hears in both text and visuals found from the internet.

Amy Karle: Feast of Eternity

Amy Karle is an internationally award winning bioartist whose work can be seen as artifacts of a speculative future where digital, physical and biological systems merge. KarleOs artwork taps what it means to be human and opens minds to future visions of how technology could be utilized to support and enhance humanity.

The time we are at in evolution is humanity and technology merging. Envisioned as an artifact of a speculative future, "Feast of Eternity" depicts a human skull, which typically represents death and mortality in conjunction with the possibility of growth and life embodied in one piece. The sculpture is created from reality capture, a 3D scan of a human skull, digital design and generative art. Crystallization on the 3D printed form depicts how cells grow along the lattice and represent the mystery, delicacy and preciousness of life. Sponsored by the American Arts Incubator (AAI) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by ZERO1. The program utilizes community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation.

Gary Boodhoo: Deep Dream Vision Quest

Gary Boodhoo is an interaction designer who combines videogames and machine learning to create interactive science fiction. A Jamaican-born industry veteran, millions of players around the world use the interfaces he invented for games including Madden NFL, The Sims, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and The Elder Scrolls Online. His work examines how digital environments overlap real ones. Boodhoo turns neural networks inside out to make pictures of minds. A machine learning enthusiast, his creative practice encourages emotional connections with smart objects viewers can no longer distinguish from themselves.

This interactive video installation reveals an unpredictable world to a neural network through a live camera. My software finds deep dreams - machine hallucinations synthesized by running the network the wrong way. I wanted to make intimate generative art that engages viewers through constant recognition and novelty

Raul Altosaar: Liquefied Realities

Raul Altosaar works alongside intelligent machines to hold space for being more human. Through the misuse of emerging technologies Raul investigates and imagines the ancient futures of embodied computation. His current work leverages computer vision techniques that approximate embodied perception to create liquefied VR environments that feel deeply human.

Experienced anew by every viewer, Liquefied Realities is an infradisciplinary experiment constructed to bypass traditional modes of artistic engagement. Woven by hand out of the disparate remnants of emerging technologies, this liquefied Virtual Reality environment invites deep interaction and continuous co-creation.

Melanie Piech: No, means no...just so we're there's no ambiguity....

Melanie Piech uses sculpture to explore questions about our individual human and collective societal experience. She returns to themes of timeOs passage, female-ness including gender-equality, and social justice. She aims to encourage people to ruminate about their lives and how we fit together in our society, to engage others in discussion, even if it is only in their heads.

What if, starting from the very beginning of time, women were not thought of (by some) as prey? How would the power imbalance be changed? This piece represents these ideas...a prototype for a piece of wearable tech for women. Its blades triggered in response to a stress sensor.

Raphael Arar: Nostalgia

Raphael Arar is an award-winning artist, designer and technologist whose work elucidates the complexities of human-machine relationships.His artwork has been shown at museums, conferences, festivals and galleries internationally including the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Gamble House Museum, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, and the Athens Video Art Festival

Nostalgia is an installation that draws attention to the computational challenges of understanding human emotion, specifically the sentiment it refers to. Making sense of human emotion requires affective computing, and the underlying system leverages machine learning and emotion detection in attempt to translate the components of the sentiment's qualitative makeup in quantitative terms.

The Mobile Arts Platform (MAP): NASA, NorCal - Artists SeekingAmerica

The Mobile Arts Platform (MAP) is a Bay Area artmaking and curatorial team founded in 2009 by Peter Foucualt and Chris Treggiari with the goal of creating mobile exhibition structures that engage the public. MAP creates an autonomous exhibition space, an artistic research lab where a cross pollination of mediums and genres can occur, be accessible to the public, and create strong bonds with partner communities.

Artists Peter Foucault and Chris Treggiari are Factronauts, part of a special exploration program called NASA, NorCal Artists Seeking America. Their mission, to seek out information and stories that will help illuminate this post-election county that has been turned on its ear.

Cesar & Lois: The [ECO]NomicRevolution - When Microbiological Logic Determines Everything

Cesar & Lois ponder autonomous systems that integrate natural and technological networks. In their various bodies of work, Cesar Baio subverts the algorithms of autonomous systems, while LOIS infuses art with natureOs data. Together they create fungal systems that tweet and posit nature- based economies. Project contributors include Scott Morgans, biologist at California State University San Marcos, along with CSUSM undergraduate researchers and artists: Kiana Ajir, Kodie Gerritsen, Mei-Ling Mirow, Derrick Northrop, and Stephen Rawding.

The [ECO]Nomic Revolution: when microbiological logic determines everything is a project that alludes to humanity in the Anthropo/capitalocene as the iconic Dr.Frankenstein, while also referencing the fear that microscopic cultures tend to elicit across humanity. In this case, the societal output (Frankenstein’s monster) is an economic system that ignores nature’s input. This project allows a conduit for nature’s “micromonsters” to determine a new [ECO]nomy.

Pantea Karimi: Trilogy

Pantea Karimi works with installation, prints, virtual reality and video projection. She researches visual representations in medieval Persian and Arab and early modern European scientific manuscripts in five categories: mathematics, medicinal botany, anatomy, optics and cartography.EKarimi examines how illustrations in ancient scientific manuscripts played a role in communicating knowledge and how the broaderEaesthetic considerations of science were closely related to art. Her works collectively highlight the significance of visual elements in early science and invite the viewer to observe science and its history through the process of image-making.

Trilogy is a site-specific installation composed of three rows of stands: Archive, Experiment, and Result. The installation is a response to Mary ShellyOs novel Frankenstein; it tackles human desire to experiment with the notion of creation and to innovate new scientific methods to create new life. The stands display curious images of exploration into the properties of human body in medieval period (Archive), medical surgical tools as a metaphor for Victor FrankensteinOs creation of a humanoid (Experiment) and the current and future research on stem cells and human embryos (Result).

Tony Assi: Gaze Relations

Tony Assi is a Digital Arts + New Media MFA student at the University of California, Santa Cruz working at the intersection of visual art and computer vision. Tony uses visual art and software to investigate the relationship between people and technology through critical visualizations.

Gaze Relations illustrates the difference between how people and computer vision algorithms perceive the body. Gaze tracking demonstrates the complexity of human perception in comparison with body detection algorithms that reduce the body to simple patterns, revealing and contrasting the processes of human and machine vision.

Brian Reinbolt: iAltar

Brian Reinbolt studied music (piano performance) in Florida and he got an MFA in electronic music at Mills College. At the turn of the Millennium, he started working on various multimedia projects involving electronic circuitry. In an effort to make the projects solidly presentable he taught himself woodworking and is currently creating electronic timekeeping devices.

iAltar is a continuous, autonomous computer controlled video and sound art installation: a networked system of small computers that sends a query phrase of random words to the Google image search engine, displaying the phrase and the resulting images on video monitors while using an artificial voice to speak the phrase. It is accompanied by a musical background generated by a music algorithm using sound samples created by the artist.

Daniel Stefanescu: Progress Accelerated

Daniel Stefanescu manages the technical and logistical requirements of the XPP hard X-ray instrument at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. His background is in cryogenics and ultra-high vacuum science. He is also a graduate of the San Jose State University School of Business and holds a minor in Graphic Design.

Progress accelerated uses a large flat-screen display and a top-mounted, inverted, partially-reflective pyramid to create the illusion of a hologram floating above the display. With this equipment, I intend to display a recurrent 1min video that will hopefully convey my impressions of the relationship of our current and future technological advancements as they contrasts with the more natural aspects of the human condition.

Anja Ulfeldt: Lightning Detector

Anja Ulfeldt is an interdisciplinary artist, teacher, and curator working primarily in sculpture and time based media. Time and presence are the consistent themes of her work, particularly the presence of the audience. Ulfeldt's work addresses psychological relationships to human infrastructure through visual art, sound, and durational experience.

The work in this series conjures a connection to preternatural phenomena such as St Elmo's Fire and Franklin's Bells. In keeping with the event's Frankenstein theme, the work is brought to life by electricity and implies just a touch of danger.These experiments explore the history and discovery of electricity through encounters with static charges.

Kathleen Deck: Re-thinking Extinction

Kathleen Deck has sought innovative paths and connections between creativity and sustainability to develop her arts research practice at the intersection of art and science. She is a new media artist MFA candidate at the University of California Santa Cruz, interested in themes of sustainability, climate change and animal extinction.

Re-thinking Extinction is a collaborative project with Professor Sinervo at UC Santa Cruz to develop and build "Robo-tort,O a robot prototype of the California Desert Tortoise (Gopherus Agassizii). This mechanical tortoise creature embodies the human desire to dominate and change the natural world. Only, this monster is determined to save the species it was made to resemble and can explore solutions beyond the current resolution of inevitable extinction.

Jiaqi Zhang & Anton van Beek : Challenge

Jiaqi Zhang is an interdisciplinary artist who explores the dynamic relationship between people, technology, and space. Her interests lie in the similarity and distinction of sensory perception and emotion experience in everyday life. Anton van Beek is an engineering student whose academic interests lie on the interface of mechanical engineering and arti_cial intelligence. He new avenues of development can lead to unparalleled growth and unforeseen opportunities.

Challenge creates a chance for participants to be engaged in a playful series of rapid emotion changes that follows by naturally occurring responds to the challenge we set up. The piece intends to highlight the commonness that we all share as human beings through the similarity of our acoustic expression, no matter the race, gender, or class; we are the same in this challenge.

Alex Reben

Alexander Reben is an artist and roboticist, who explores humanity through the lens of art and technology. His work deals with human-machine relationships, synthetic psychology, artificial philosophy, and robot ethics, among other topics. Using art as experiment, his work allows for the viewer to experience the future within metaphorical contexts. Reben's artwork and research have been shown and published internationally, and he consults with major companies, guiding innovation for the social machine future.

"A Pleasure to Sanitize You " is a robotic hand-sanitizer which take pleasure in serving humans. "Populace Guise" reflects on the fact that over 5 million faces are used to train facial recognition systems without consent.

Steve Durie: Off in the Distance, Act 1 - Growing the Collection

Steve Durie is an artist, lecturer, digital media producer, designer and a faculty member at San Jose State University. He has worked on projects involving digital media, installation, web art, music and performance which have been applied to traditional art, academic environments, business and commercial venues. He is one of the founding members of C5 Corporation, an art/business hybrid cartel focused on theoretical models of information technology and data visualization.

"Off in the Distance" is an interactive piece in which participants are invited to use the motion gestures of interaction we have become accustomed to with machines that watch our movements. Set in the desert one simply looks to create signs of life to try and make contact.

Tools for the Modern Dr Frankenstein: Workshops

Berryessa Room - Second Floor

Workshops will be announced soon and people interested in attending them will be required to sign up (space is limited).

Saturday March 24 (10:00-11:30): Melissa Merencillo: How to use OBS with Periscope Producer to add media content to your Twitter account

Click here to view detailed description and to register

Saturday March 24 (13:00-15:00): Xiaohan Zhang: Creative Coding - Making Art with Code

Click here to view detailed description and to register

Saturday March 24 (16:00-17:30): Xiaohan Zhang: Creative Coding II - Professional Coding Tools

Click here to view detailed description and to register


Orientation Theater & Patio

Friday March 23 (6:30pm): Mobile Arts Platform astronauts

The Mobile Arts Platform (MAP) is a Bay Area artmaking and curatorial team founded in 2009 by Peter Foucualt and Chris Treggiari with the goal of creating mobile exhibition structures that engage the public. MAP creates an autonomous exhibition space, an artistic research lab where a cross pollination of mediums and genres can occur, be accessible to the public, and create strong bonds with partner communities.

Performance description coming soon...

Friday March 23 (8:15pm): Andrew Blanton

Andrew Blanton is a percussionist, media artist, and educator. He is currently the area cooridinator of the Digital Media Art program and CADRE Media Labs at San Jose State University. His work is fundamentally transdisciplinary combining classical percussion, new media art, and creative coding to create realtime sonic and visual instruments. He has shown his work all over the world including Google Paris, the Studio for Electro Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, University of Brazillia, and the 20016 International Symposium for Electronic Arts in Hong Kong among many others. For more information visit

Waveguide is an audio visual performance that uses the internet as a resonant body for drums. By sending data from drums to a server and back through the audience's cell phones in real time, the work uses the array of cell phone speakers to create an immersive audio visual environment. Conceptually, the work draws on a number of different topics exploring the ubiquity of cell phones in contemporary society, and what it means to have an increasingly mediated reality through the screen of a smart phone. Each phone of the audience acts as an individual small speaker, screen, and interactive environment, allowing for real time dispersed audience interaction with the work as it is performed.

Saturday March 24 (1:30pm & 6:15pm): Rob Hamilton and Chris Platz (Stanford CCRMA)

Rob Hamilton explores the converging spaces between sound, music, and interaction. His creative practice includes mixed-reality performance works built within fully rendered, networked game environments, procedural music engines and mobile musical ecosystems. His research focuses on the cognitive implications of sonified musical gesture and motion and the role of perceived space in the creation and enjoyment of sound and music. Dr. Hamilton received his PhD from Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Music and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Chris Platz is a virtual world builder, game designer, entrepreneur, and artist who creates interactive multimedia experiences with both traditional table top and computer based game systems. He has worked in the industry with innovators Smule and Zynga, and created his own games for the iOS, Facebook, and Origins Game Fair. His real claim to fame is making interactive stories & worlds for Dungeons and Dragons for over 30 years. From 2007-2010 Chris served as an Artist in Residence at Stanford University in Computer Graphics.

"Carillon" was built within the Unreal Engine 4 with support for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display and Leap Motion. Premiered on May 30, 2015 at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall by the Stanford Laptop Orchestra, Carillon was designed to allow multiple performers to interact with the giant virtual bell-tower across the network, controlling the motion of parts of the instrument that generate sound and music. The environment can be explored using an immersive head mounted displays (HMD) like the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion hand tracking sensors. Using their hands, players can select parts of the Carillon and manipulate them (e.g. set them spinning) with hand gestures in 3D space. As the rings spin on different axes and components of the Carillon are activated and manipulated, parameters of sound and music are changed in real time, creating a musical experience.

Homo Digitalis: Talks and Q/A

Friday & Saturday, Panofsky Auditorium

Download the program

Piero Scaruffi (LAST Festival founder)

Anna Davidson (UC Davis & SFAI)

Mikey Siegel

"What is Consciousness Hacking?"

Mikey Siegel is a robotics engineer turned consciousness hacker. He envisions a present and future where science and technology support psychological, emotional and spiritual flourishing. Where our devices not only connect us to information, but also connect us to ourselves and each other, acting as a catalyst for individual and collective awakening. He is currently teaching at Stanford University, founder of Consciousness Hacking, BioFluent Technologies,, and the Transformative Technology Conference. He received an MS in robotics from the MIT Media Lab.

John Law

"Why we need Monsters"

John Law was a member of the Suicide Club, a primary member and principal organizer of the Cacophony Society, and a co-founder of the Burning Man festival. He co-authored "Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society" (2013) and has spoken internationally about the San Francisco counterculture.

Jennifer Dionne

Monsters made of Light

Jennifer Dionne is an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford. Jen's research develops new optical materials and microscopies to observe chemical and biological processes as they unfold with nanometer scale resolution. She then uses these observations to help improve energy-relevant processes (such as photocatalysis and energy storage) and medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Her work has been recognized with a Moore Inventor Fellowship (2017), the Materials Research Society Young Investigator Award (2017), Adolph Lomb Medal (2016), Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2015), and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2014), and was recently featured on Oprah's list of "50 Things that will make you say `Wow'!".

Dave Deamer

What is the origin of life?

Dave Deamer is Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He recently published First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began (University of California Press, 2011). Deamer also co-edited Origins of Life with Jack Szostak, published by Cold Spring Harbor Press, 2010. Deamer's research focuses on molecular self-assembly processes related to the structure and function of biological membranes, and particularly the origin and evolution of membrane structure. In collaborative work with colleagues at NASA Ames, Deamer showed that photochemical reactions simulating those occurring in the interstellar medium give rise to soap-like molecules that can self-assemble into membrane structures. This confirmed earlier studies in which Deamer demonstrated that microscopic vesicles were produced by similar molecules present in carbonaceous meteorites. These results led to a new hypothesis about how primitive forms of cellular life could appear on the early Earth, which will be described in his talk.

Michael Snyder

Managing and Extending Health

Michael Snyder is the Stanford Ascherman Professor and Chair of Genetics and the Director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine. He is a leader in the field of functional genomics and proteomics, and one of the major participants of the ENCODE project. His laboratory study was the first to perform a large-scale functional genomics project in any organism, and has developed many technologies in genomics and proteomics. These including the development of proteome chips, high resolution tiling arrays for the entire human genome, methods for global mapping of transcription factor binding sites (ChIP-chip now replaced by ChIP-seq), paired end sequencing for mapping of structural variation in eukaryotes, de novo genome sequencing of genomes using high throughput technologies and RNA-Seq. These technologies have been used for characterizing genomes, proteomes and regulatory networks. Seminal findings from the Snyder laboratory include the discovery that much more of the human genome is transcribed and contains regulatory information than was previously appreciated, and a high diversity of transcription factor binding occurs both between and within species. He has also combined different state-of-the-art "omics" technologies to perform the first longitudinal detailed integrative personal omics profile (iPOP) of person and used this to assess disease risk and monitor disease states for personalized medicine. He is a cofounder of several biotechnology companies, including Protometrix (now part of Life Technologies), Affomix (now part of Illumina), Excelix, and Personalis, and he presently serves on the board of a number of companies.

Melissa Merencillo

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Melissa Merencillo is an X-Reality (XR = AR/VR/MR) enthusiast and technophile focusing on social presence, behavioral communication and interaction design in digital reality systems. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from California State University East Bay (2012) and a Master of Arts in Multimedia in Interaction Design also from California State University East Bay (2017). Her work on the collaborative thesis, Project: This Way!, explored the concepts of copresence in VR and was shown at the VR Mixer of the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, and at the symposium, If You Weren't: Playing with Realities in ARG, AR, and VR held at Stanford University in Palo Alto. She is a member of various AR/VR MeetUps and attends industry conferences on AR/VR technology throughout the Bay Area. She is currently the Instructional Support Technician II and Video Lab Coordinator of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay supporting courses in digital video and media production.

Steve Omohundro

A.I., Deception, and Blockchains

Steve Omohundro founded Possibility Research and Self-Aware Systems to develop beneficial intelligent technologies. He has degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Physics from Berkeley. He was a computer science professor at the University of Illinois and cofounded the Center for Complex Systems Research. He published the book "Geometric Perturbation Theory in Physics", designed the A.I. programming languages StarLisp and Sather, wrote the 3D graphics system for Mathematica, invented many machine learning algorithms (including manifold learning, model merging, bumptrees, and family discovery), and built systems that learn to read lips, control robots, and induce grammars. He's done internationally recognized work on AI safety and strategies for its beneficial development. He is on the advisory board of AI startups AIBrain and Cognitalk, and is past chairman of the Silicon Valley ACM Special Interest Group in AI. He is also on the advisory board of blockchain startup Dfinity and the Institute for Blockchain Studies. See for example his Presentation on Deep Learning for Business and TED talk on A.I.

Alison Gopnik

The child as a monster, the monster as a child

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children's learning and is the author of over 100 articles and several books including the bestsellers "The Scientist in the Crib" and "The Philosophical Baby; What children's minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life". She has also written for Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, New Scientist and Slate. She has three sons and lives in Berkeley, California.

Ken Goldberg

The Uncanny

Ken Goldberg is an artist and professor UC Berkeley. Ken is a pioneer in internet-based robotic telepresence and Cloud-Based Robotics / Automation and has published over 200 peer-reviewed technical papers on algorithms for robotics, automation, and social information filtering; his inventions have been awarded eight US Patents. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Co-Founder of the African Robotics Network (AFRON), Co-Founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), Co-Founder and CTO of Hybrid Wisdom Labs, Co-Founder of the Moxie Institute, and Founding Director of UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Lecture Series which has hosted over 150 presentations by artists and curators. Ken's artwork has?been exhibited at Ars Electronica, ZKM, Centre Pompidou, ICC Biennale, Kwangju Biennale, Artists Space, The Kitchen, and the Whitney Biennial.

Maya Ackerman

Machines that paint, compose music, write poems

Maya Ackerman is a computer engineering professor at Santa Clara University and was previously at San Jose State University. She specializes in Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on Computational Creativity and Machine Learning. Her work has been featured on NBC News and New Scientist, and her research appears at top academic venues. She received her PhD from the University of Waterloo and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech and UC San Diego, followed by two years as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University.

Piero Scaruffi

A brief History of Artificial Intelligence

Piero Scaruffi is a cultural historian who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "Thinking about Thought" (2014). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). His latest book of history is "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. His latest book on A.I. is "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013, expanded edition in 2018). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.

Vivienne Ming


Vivienne Ming, named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She co-founded Socos, where machine learning and cognitive neuroscience combine to maximize students' life outcomes. Vivienne is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, where she pursues her research in neuroprosthetics. In her free time, Vivienne has developed a predictive model of diabetes to better manage the glucose levels of her diabetic son and systems to predict manic episodes in bipolar suffers. She sits on the boards of StartOut, The Palm Center, Emozia, and the Bay Area Rainbow Daycamp, and is an advisor to Credit Suisse, Cornerstone Capital, and BayesImpact. Dr. Ming also speaks frequently on issues of LGBT inclusion and gender in technology. Vivienne lives in Berkeley, CA, with her wife (and co-founder) and their two children.

Our Mission

The L.A.S.T. (Life Art Science Technology) festival celebrates the confluence of art with the new media technologies and nascent sciences that are transforming sociality and experience in the 21st century.

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum, whether it's art, tech or science. They all coexist, influence each other and interact. Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum, it happened within the intense cultural ecosystem of the Bay Area. The L.A.S.T. festival aims at presenting art, tech and science within the same venue. The art expo features a dozen interactive high-tech installations that break the "Do not touch!" taboo of the traditional museum and that are meant to let you experience something you never experienced before. The speakers features talks on Artificial Intelligence, Graphics/Animation, Nanotech, Space Exploration, Computer Graphics, etc by leaders of today's science and technology.

Click here for a history of the festival, which has been held at Zero1 in San Jose (Spring 2014), Stanford University (Fall 2014), The Lab (2015), and San Jose State University's Hammer Theater in San Jose (2017).

From the Press...

Article in the Stanford Arts blog

Article in the Palo Alto Weekly

Article in Chinese

Article in the Stanford Arts post-festival

Join the Team

Join the team and help make this happen! The festival is totally nonprofit and we always need volunteers. Calling all college level students in the Bay Area! You can help with the actual days of the festival, with designing this website, with curating the art expo, with managing the speakers and panels, with P.R., and with the setup.

Contact Us

Why at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory?

Piero Scaruffi, festival founder: "SLAC has layers of history that will resonate for generations if not centuries, from the discovery of quarks that gave us physics as we know it today to the Homebrew Computer Club that gave us the computer as we know it today, from the first Northamerican website that can be considered the first act of the dotcom boom to the first direct evidence of dark matter that changed our view of the universe. Today we are humbled by these layers of history but we also hope to add a new layer that could lead to a new kind of integration between the humanities and the sciences at a time when the public is justifiably disoriented by the tumultuous progress of all sorts of new technologies."

Joel Slayton, festival curator: "SLAC is an iconic intellectual and cultural platform that for the arts represents a unique conceptual frame to feature works that explore the complex challenges represented by the intersection of science, technology and society."