Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of February 11, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, February 11, 2014
Mulford Hall - Classroom 240 (See the Extensions catalog)
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

The LASERs are a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole series. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking. This event is kindly sponsored by the Minerva Foundation.
Where: UC Berkeley, Mulford Hall - Classroom 240
Campus map
  • 7:00-7:25: Bernie Lubell (Kinetic Artist) on "Intimacy and Entanglement" Exploring the conflicted relationship we have with machines via interactive artworks derived from the mechanistic physiologies of E.J. Marey... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Katherine Sherwood (Visual Artist) on "How a Cerebral Hemorrhage Altered my Art" Images at the intersection of art and neuroscience... Read more
  • 7:50-8:10: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.
  • 8:10-8:35: Curt Frank (Stanford Univ/ Chemical Engineering) on "Historical Pigments: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" Art, Chemistry and Madness: the Science of Art Materials... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Eric Paulos (UC Berkeley/ Living Environment Lab) on "Hybrid Assemblages, Environments, and Happenings" Research at the intersection of computer science and design research... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Thinking about Thought
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings
    • Curt Frank is a Professor in Chemical Engineering at Stanford and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering. He was the founding Director of the Center on Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation, from 1994 to 2010. He was also the Chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2001 to 2006. His research interests are in polymer materials science, and he has current collaborations with the School of Medicine directed at development of an artificial cornea and toward hydrogel-based arrays for study of primary hepatocytes, with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source on the development of proton and anion exchange membranes for fuel cells, and with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on developing bio-based composites and foams for applications in the construction industry. In collaboration with his wife Sara Loesch-Frank, a calligrapher, artist, and art teacher, Curt has taught an Introductory Sophomore Seminar on "Art, Chemistry, and Madness: the Science of Art Materials" for the past six years. Curt lectures on a series of historical palettes: Paleolithic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial, and Contemporary.
    • Bernie Lubell's interactive installations have evolved from his studies in both psychology and engineering. As participants play with his whimsical wood machines, they become actors in a theater of their own imagining. Since the early 1980's his installations have been shown in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Florida, China and Europe. "A Theory of Entanglement" and other large scale installations were recently featured at FACT, Liverpool, UK and v2 in Rotterdam, NL., and "Party of the First Part" in Paris, France. Recent awards include a Guggenheim Artists Fellowship in 2011, an Adolph & Esther Gottlieb artists grant in 2009, a Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant in 2002 and an Award of Distinction for Interactive Art from Ars Electronica in 2007. Lubell's work includes a stone age digital computer, a rainstorm of chaos and nostalgia, a phone booth-confessional network, a mechanism to measure Intimacy, room sized simulations of the human heart, the brain and breathing, a giant cooperative knitting machine, and a mechanical computer that allows people to work together furiously to accomplish nothing. Opening 9 April 2014, Lubell will hold a large show at the Intersection http://theintersection.org titled "Why can't the Second Part of the First Party be the First Part of the Second Party?"
    • Eric Paulos is the Director of the Living Environments Lab, Co-Director of the CITRIS Invention Lab, and an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering Computer Science Department at UC Berkeley where he is faculty within the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM). Previously, Eric held the Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor Chair in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University where he was faculty within the Human-Computer Interaction Institute with courtesy faculty appointments in the Robotics Institute and in the Entertainment Technology Center. Prior to CMU, Eric was Senior Research Scientist at Intel Research in Berkeley, California where he founded the Urban Atmospheres research group. His areas of expertise span a deep body of research territory in urban computing, sustainability, green design, environmental awareness, social telepresence, robotics, physical computing, interaction design, persuasive technologies, and intimate media. Eric received his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Eric is also the founder and director of the Experimental Interaction Unit and a frequent collaborator with Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories.
    • Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006). 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 is "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.
    • Katherine Sherwood's acclaimed mixed-media paintings gracefully investigate the point at which the essential aspects of art, medicine, and disability intersect. Her works juxtapose abstracted medical images, such as cerebral angiograms of the artist's brain, with fluid renderings of ancient patterns; the paintings thus explore and reveal, with a most unusual palette, the strange nature of our time and current visual culture. Sherwood's work was exhibited in the 2000 Whitney Museum Biennial and at Yerba Buena Art Center in 2003 and 2009. Among many throughout the USA, Katherine also had a solo exhibition in 2007 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. She co-curated "Blind at the Museum" at the Berkeley Art Museum, and organized an accompanying conference at UC Berkeley. Sherwood was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship 2005-2006 and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant 2006-2007. Katherine is a professor at UC Berkeley in the Art Department and the Disability Studies Program.

    Extended abstracts:

    My artwork is an exploration of the intersection of art and neuroscience. I had been working with images of the brain at least six years prior to my cerebral hemorrhage - I always say that it took a while for my life to catch up to my art! I will share examples of my paintings both before my stroke and during the long period of recovery where I consciously made use of painting to heal myself. My work makes use of images appropriated from Western neuroanatomy from the 16th to the 21st century, including both historical drawings of neurons and cerebral angiograms of my own brain. I will also show my most recent work - constructions of multiple paintings and fabric which I call the Healers from The Yelling Clinic series, after the art and disability collective that I co-founded. Finally, I will discuss my course Art, Medicine, & Disability, and my research into historical and contemporary artists' responses to illness, disability, and death.

    This talk will present and critique a body of work evolving across several years of research at the intersection of computer science and design research. It will present an augment for hybrid materials, methods, and artifacts as strategic tools for insight and innovation within computing culture. It will explore and demonstrate the value of urban computing, citizen science, and maker culture as opportunistic landscapes for intervention, micro-volunteerism, and a new expert amateur. Finally, it will present and question emerging materials and strategies from the perspective of engineering, design, and new media.

    Curt Frank.
    In collaboration with Sara Loesch-Frank, artist, calligrapher and teacher, I have taught a Stanford Sophomore Seminar on "Art, Chemistry and Madness: the Science of Art Materials" for the past six years. In this class, the basic concepts of materials science are taught in the context of examining paintings, calligraphic works on paper or vellum, and ceramics. Paintings provide the primary emphasis in the class, where the central thesis is that a painting is a physical object. This laminated structure consists of several layers of varying properties: wood, fabric, or metal substrate; natural or synthetic sealant; natural or synthetic ground; paint layer consisting of pigments bound by egg yolk, oil, or acrylic medium; and possibly a natural or synthetic protective varnish. This composite material is subject to mechanical stresses due to variation in thermal expansion coefficients of the different layers and photo-oxidation followed by embrittlement of the polymeric binders, the combination of which leads to predictable failure patterns (the cracquelure or "crackle"). Through analysis of a painting using the basic approaches of materials science, I hope to develop an appreciation that everything around us is made of materials. If we can view the painting as a physical object, we can understand the reasons why some things break and others do not, why some objects discolor in the sun and others do not, and why some items are toxic and others are not. Thus, the painting is a metaphor for our man-made world: everything is made of something, and the performance of that something will depend on its composition, processing, and morphology. My LASER presentation will attempt to capture the spirit of this Sophomore Seminar through discussion of several historical pigments, including ultramarine, vermillion, orpiment, and azurite.


    This talk will focus on a series of artworks that draw on the pioneering medical imaging research of Etienne Jules Marey -- 19th century physiologist and father of motion pictures. Between 1995 and 2007 I created a series of pieces that were inspired and informed by Marey's experiments and his mechanistic theories of biological function. Since the 1980's I have been making interactive wood mechanical installations that explore the conflicted relationship we have with machines -- machines upon which we have become so dependent and in which we often see ourselves. Although my installations are interactive my work is adamantly low tech. As they play with my installations, participants tap into a reservoir of tactile knowledge stored in their bodies. The way that pieces feel, move and sound as you rock, pedal and press against them applies the kinesthetic comprehensions of childhood to the tasks of philosophy. The art installations I make often model the models and simulations we make about our world and ourselves often incorporating mechanical analogues for our social psychology. Like medieval diagrams they are maps of ideas that are powered by visitors to the show. Both the way I have made these pieces and the way that visitors to the show play with them helps to reveal how we stumble towards an understanding of who we are. It is epistemology that interests me. How do we know what we think we know?

    Photos and videos of this evening