Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of January 2012

Constructive Interference of the Arts and Sciences

San Francisco, 9 January 2012
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm (FR) building, Maraschi room

An event about Artists and Scientists who work/think/imagine/engage at the intersections of the Arts and Science.

Chaired by Piero Scaruffi (p@scaruffi.com) and Tami Spector
Part of a series of cultural events

Note: Besides the sister series of the National Academy in Washington DC, in 2011 there were also the first New York LASERs and in 2012 Hong Kong will also have its own LASERs.

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. See below for location and agenda.

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.

See also...

  • Interdisciplinary panels
  • DASERs
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Antarctic Science and the Cultural Arts
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings

    • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
    • 7:00-7:25:
    • Piero Scaruffi (author) on "Alan Turing and the Programmable Universe" A tribute to Alan Turing and unorthodox meditations on artificial intelligence, the singularity, Silicon Valley and computer art. Read more
      Robert Horn will display his "Can Computers Think?" mural
    • 7:25-7:50:
    • Mark Wagner (Street painter) on "Street Painting: Creating Community Through Impermanent Art" Street Painting, aka chalk drawing/pavement art has recently come to the front of the global art world. The largest chalk drawing that set the Guinness World Record required working on the streets with tens of thousands watching 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:
    • Cheryl Leonard (Composer) on "Music from High Latitudes" Making music out of sounds, objects and experiences from the polar regions. Read more
    • 8:35-9:00:
    • Gian Pablo Villamil on "From Sketch to Showpiece: Building Lynn Hershman's RAW/WAR Installation" The process of designing and implementing the RAW/WAR interactive installation, part of a set of transmedia works that link to Lynn Hershman's documentary, Women Art Revolution, selected by the New York MOMA as one of the best documentaries of 2011 Read more
    • 9:00: A guided tour of the "Can computer thinks" mural by Robert Horn, futurist and cognitive scientist, author of "Visual Language - Global Communication for the 21st Century".
    • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

    • Robert Horn did did not start out to be an artist. He have had several previous careers: political scientist; entrepreneur; CEO; futurist; cognitive science researcher; author. He was a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) and the author of Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century. His 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. You can view the "Can Computers Think?" mural online.
    • Cheryl Leonard is a San Francisco-based composer, performer and instrument builder. Over the last decade she has focused on investigating sounds, structures and objects from the natural world. Her recent works cultivate stones, wood, water, ice, sand, shells, feathers and bones as musical instruments. Leonard uses microphones to explore the intricate sounds hidden within these instruments and develops compositions that highlight the unique voices they contain. She has also composed numerous soundtracks for film, video, dance and theater, and created sounds for museum exhibits Her commissions include works for Kronos Quartet, Illuminated Corridor and Michael Straus.
    • 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). He has also written extensively about cinema, literature and the visual arts.
    • After an extensive career in strategy and business consulting for the technology industry, for the past several years Gian Pablo Villamil has been working with notable artists to bring to life complex technology-based artworks.
    • Mark Wagner is a digital and traditional artist, and educator. Wagner moved from art school at Pratt Institute in Brookln NY to the high desert plains of New Mexico in the mid 80's. He's been involved in Native American Indian ceremony for over 30 years. He has been involved in the film industry as a concept artist and consultant, in addition to his work as graphic designer, illustrator, author, musician, and fine artist. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History where the Paleo Indian department is featuring his artwork throughout their new web site. Wagner worked at Pixar Studios on the new Disney feature film John Carter, and has worked on other films; Terminator 3, DreamKeeper, and The Book of Stars. Wagner is also an internationally know street painter and chalk drawing artist. He founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit Drawing on Earth that inspires art and creativity in youth and communities around the world. Their first project set a Guinness World Record for the largest chalk drawing. Their current project is an Global Illustrated Story.

    Address and directions:

    University of San Francisco
    2130 Fulton Street
    SF, CA 94117
    Room: Fromm (FR) building, Maraschi room

    See the campus map and directions

    Extended abstracts

    Making music out of sounds, objects and experiences from the polar regions. Composer and instrument-builder Cheryl Leonard has been making music out of sounds, objects and experiences from the polar regions. In 2009 she travelled to Palmer Station, Antarctica on a grant from the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, and this past September-October she participated in the Arctic Circle expeditionary residency program in Spitsbergen (aka Svalbard). Leonard will discuss working with sound at the ends of the earth and share examples of the field recordings, instruments, and compositions that have grown out of her polar adventures.

    Building Lynn Hershman's RAW/WAR Installation. Lynn Hershman Leeson (her website) is an award-winning artist and filmmaker who taught at UC Davis and Cornell University and is currently chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her works include the first interactive laser artdisk (LORNA), three award-winning feature films (Strange Culture, Teknolust, Conceiving Ada), and interactive installations that use the Internet and artificial intelligence software. "The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson" was published by the University of California Press in 2005. Women Art Revolution (2010), based on her own archives recently acquired by Stanford University, is a documentary history of the feminist art movement that took 40 years to complete. She was honored by the Digital Art Museum in Berlin with the d.velop digital art award (d.daa), the most distinguished honor for lifetime achievement in the field of new media. Interviews with Lynn Hershman: click here and click here.
    The RAW/WAR project is generated from the idea that history is aboutaccess and authorship and that we, as a global digital community, cannow all participate in its creation and change the way history itselfis constructed. Using new technologies, current and future generationscan create their own histories, breaking the cycle of omission anderasure. RAW/WAR takes the form of an interactive, community-curated archiveand an accompanying interactive installation that provide a forum in which userscan come together, share their stories and collaboratively contributeto the history of women's art. The project emerges from the documentary !Women Art Revolution. Whilethe film provides a personal perspective of feminist activism in anational context, RAW/WAR opens up this dialogue to a global audience,connecting women and their histories worldwide. An ongoing partnership with Stanford University Libraries (SULAIR)houses the !Women Art Revolution Collection in a publicly accessibleonline archive for study and research. The collection, acquired in2008, holds the interview footage and transcripts from the film.Because of the retrievability of this information, there are noouttakes, subverting traditional notions of filmmaking. RAW/WAR isabout continuing this ongoing lineage into the future and allowingusers to add, and ultimately, remix, their own stories. The RAW/WAR website (at www.rawwar.org) is self-curated. This is achieved by rating and meta-ratingand is intricately linked to the whole thesis of !WAR: shedding light on who is left out and why. The RAW/WAR installation is a live participatory environment thatallows users to 'bring light' to the lost or invisible histories ofwomen in art with virtual flashlight controllers accessing theinteractive, community-curated archive. Unlike the archive, which is a tool for research and exploration, the installation allows for serendipitous discovery: it presents users with unexpected discoveries, and allows for unusual juxtapositions of found media. The RAW/WAR project was created in collaboration with Alexandra Chowaniec, Brian Chirls, Gian Pablo Villamil and Paradiso Projects.

    Street Painting: Creating Community Through Impermanent Art. In June of 2008, 6,000 people (over 4,000 elementary school children) from Alameda CA, USA worked collaborately over two weeks to create the world largest chalk drawing, setting a new Guinness World Record. Over 90,000 sq. ft. were covered with beautiful colored chalk and a satellite photograph from 423 miles miles high was taken of the artwork. This spawned DRAWING on EARTH, whose mission statement reads: "Inspiring Art and Creativity in Youth and Communities around the World". Quote: "We believe that creativity is a natural renewable energy that when exercised and practiced during youth empowers one to experience an inner resource that is sustainable, long term, and available in all aspects of one's life. We believe that kids who are nurtured creatively grow up ready and able to more effectively interact with the world, connect to the environment, integrate with technology, and understand the bigger picture. We believe that art is not just a pretty picture but also a way of being creative that will help to solve some of the world's problems. We believe that creativity crosses race, economic, gender, and religious boundaries and is the glue that brings communities together that heals personal and collective wounds. We believe people connected to their creativity consume less, are more comfortable with what they have, are able to generate more of what they want and need, are better at taking care of themselves, are able to help others with their generosity. We believe that creativity continues to be important later in careers and business, partnership and marriage, community engagement, becoming an elder, and being curious about the end of ones life. We believe that a creative art education to be the best investment into the future that anyone can give and receive."
    There current project is a 5 year Global Illustrated Story where large youth and community chalk drawings are created around the world that will eventually tell one story. This is an attempt to set another world record. The first chapter of the story began in late 2009 in Caracas Venezuela, the projects title was called Creative Growth, it may be the theme of the entire story - growing creativity.

    Alan Turing and the Programmable Universe. You can download the full presentation with no pictures from here of the full presentation with pictures from Slideshare (the talk will only cover 20 slides or so of this presentation). 2012 is the Alan Turing Year with tributes planned all over the world. In 1936 he conceived the "Turing Machine": a machine whose behavior is determined by a sequence of symbols and whose behavior in turn determines the sequence of symbols. A universal Turing machine (UTM) is a Turing machine that can simulate an arbitrary Turing machine. Every computer built today is a UTM. Your laptop and your smartphone are UTMs (alas with finite memories). Since virtually every progress in other disciplines has been due to the use of computers, they all owe Turing something, from the human genome project to the Hubble Telescope. During World War II Turing broke the Enigma code used by the Germans in their secret messages. Historians credit that breakthrough with giving the Allies a critical advantage over the enemy. Maybe Turing did not win World War II alone, but the outcome may have been different without that breakthrough. In 1950 (when computers were beginning to spread and scientists were beginning to marvel at their potential) Turing published an article in which he proposed that a machine can be said to be "intelligent" if it performs exactly like a human being. That marked the birth of Artificial Intelligence. The computer has become a vital fibre of our society and the debate about how intelligent it can and should become is very much part of our concerns. In 1954 Turing committed suicide. The British government had been trying to "heal" his homosexuality and the cocktail of "medicines" probably caused his depression (not to mention humiliation). His legacy is very much among us and one could argue that the entire 21st century is the Turing Century because every major research program of our time depends on computers. It is interesting to speculate what Turing would say of today's computer technology; and compare with the futures that digital artists are imagining. Robert Horn will display his "Can Computers Think" mural.