Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 14 January 2020

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
14 January 2020, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and Tami Spector

The LASERs are an international 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 and the dates for the Bay Area.

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. The event is free and open to everybody. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
See below for location and agenda.
Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs.
See also...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Lisa Blatt (Photographer) on "TBA" Abstract forthcoming... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Adrienne Mayor (Stanford/ Classics and History and Philosophy of Science) on "Gods and Robots" Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence?... 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: Fabio Barry (Stanford/ Art History) on "The Illuminating Origins of the Marble Roof" The Acropolis was an anomaly... the Greeks strove to build in light... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Jules Litman-Cleper (Media Artist) on "Unsimulatableness: that which cannot be simulated" Earth Centered Communication Technology, Organic Computation, ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Fabio Barry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History and, by courtesy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Stanford University. Originally trained as an architect, his research and teaching still gravitates to this art form, although he is deeply interested in painting and sculpture of all periods as well as archaeology. Much of his published research has concentrated on artistic production in Rome, particularly Baroque architecture, treating themes from liturgy to light metaphysics. His most recent work, published or in press, has been on medieval and antique subjects, particularly sculpture. An ongoing interest, the subject of his PhD, is the imagery of marble in the visual arts and literature from antiquity until the age of enlightenment, in which he attempts to identify the evocative qualities of materials (the "Material Imagination") before the era of mass production and standardization distanced materials from the realm of nature and myth.
  • Lisa Blatt is...
  • Jules Litman-Cleper is a new media artist and theorist born and raised in the Bay Area. Jules is interested in unpacking simulation as a way of knowing, the formation and deformation of patterns in organic systems, perceptual and mathematical aspects of randomness and ecologies: their flows of information, spatial dynamics and protection. These inquiries unfold through visual art, mixed-media installation, writing, sound, research and experimentation. They have taught classes and exhibited work at Krowswork, Aggregate Space, New York Studio School, with performances at The Lab, ATA, CCRMA and more.
  • Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science, investigates natural knowledge contained in myths and oral traditions. Mayor's most recent book is "Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology" (2018). Other books include "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World" (2014) and a biography of Mithradates VI, "The Poison King," a National Book Award finalist (2009). Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor's two books on pre-Darwinian fossil traditions in classical antiquity and in Native America opened a new field within the emerging discipline of Geomythology, and her book on the origins of biological weapons uncovered the ancient roots of biochemical warfare. A research scholar in Classics and the History and Philosophy of Science Program, she is currently a Berggruen Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford.
  • Danielle Wright is the Executive Director of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of commercial refrigeration. For the past decade, she has worked in energy efficiency and sustainability of the built environment with a special focus on refrigeration. Her goal is to create solutions that produce positive business outcomes and environmental benefits.
  • 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 "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 "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.

Extended abstracts:


We take for granted that the ancient world was teeming with brilliant white temples. But we have forgotten that the Acropolis was an anomaly, that the marble temples derived from monumental statuary, and that the Greeks strove to build in light.

This is a general artist talk in which I will briefly cover the main themes driving my artistic work and scientific-ish research on: "Generativity," "Organic Computation" and "Unsimulatableness." I'll then show some images of works from projects called "Earth Centered Communication Technology" and "the Primacy of Plants" and talk about how these relate to the themes.

Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence? Long before technology made self-moving devices possible, concepts of artificial life--and qualms about replicating nature--were explored in ancient mythology. Beings that were "made, not born" featured in Greek myths about Jason and the Argonauts, the bronze robot Talos, the sorceress Medea, the craftsman Daedalus, the fire-bringer Prometheus, and Pandora, the artificial woman fabricated by the god of technology Hephaestus,-and in ancient legends of India and China. From the age of myth to the proliferation of real automata in Hellenistic times, the impulse to create artificial life is timeless.

Photos and videos of this evening