Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of July 8, 2013

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, July 8, 2013
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and Tami Spector

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.

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...

  • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
  • 7:00-7:25:
    Christine Marie (Shadow Artist) on "Cinematic shadows and stereoscopic objects" Used as a tool for storytelling- giant cinematic shadow theater is a form that is both ancient and appealing... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50:
    Sarah Cahill (Musician) on "Music in Unusual Spaces" The act of listening to music has changed and evolved over the years... 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:
    Dave Deamer (UC Santa Cruz) on "Meteorites, soap bubbles and the origin of cellular life" RNA -based microorganisms may have been the first forms of life... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00:
    Adrian David Cheok (Mixed Reality Lab, Singapore) on "Multisensory Human Communication" A presentation of research being conducted at Singapore's Mixed Reality Lab... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Sarah Cahill is a pianist who has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano, and has performed chamber music with several chamber groups including the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. She has recorded for the New Albion, CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, and Artifact labels. She has a weekly radio show, Then & Now, in San Francisco. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the Berkeley Art Museum. Her most recent project, A Sweeter Music, premiered in the Cal Performances series in Berkeley in January 2009 and continued to New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall, Rothko Chapel, and venues around the country, with newly commissioned works on the theme of peace by Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Yoko Ono, Frederic Rzewski, etc. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, and Evan Ziporyn.
  • Adrian David Cheok, born and raised in Australia, is a Full Professor at Keio University, Graduate School of Media Design. He is Founder and Director of the Mixed Reality Lab, Singapore. He was formerly Associate Professor in the National University of Singapore. He has previously worked in real-time systems, soft computing, and embedded computing in Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs, Japan. He has been working on research covering mixed reality, human-computer interfaces, wearable computers and ubiquitous computing, fuzzy systems, embedded systems, power electronics. He was invited to exhibit for two years in the Ars Electronica Museum of the Future, launching in the Ars Electronica Festival 2003. His works "Human Pacman", "Magic Land", and "Metazoa Ludens", were each selected as one of the worlds top inventions by Wired and invited to be exhibited in Wired NextFest 2005 and 2007. He was awarded the Hitachi Fellowship, the A-STAR Young Scientist of the Year Award, and the SCS Singapore Young Professional of the Year Award. He was invited to be the Singapore representative of the United Nations body IFIP SG 16 on Entertainment Computing and the founding Chairman of the Singapore Computer Society Special Interest Group on Entertainment Computing. He was awarded an Associate of the Arts award by the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore. He was awarded as Fellow in Education, World Technology Network. He was awarded a Microsoft Research Award for Gaming and Graphics. He received the C4C Children Competition Prize for best interaction media for children, the Integrated Art Competition Prize by the Singapore Land Transport Authority, Creativity in Action Award, and a First Prize Nokia Mindtrek Award. He received a First Prize in the Milan International InventiON competition. He is winner of Keio University Gijyuju-sho award, awarded for the best research of the year in Keio University, Japan's oldest university. He received an SIP Distinguished Fellow Award which honors legendary leaders whose illustrious lives have positively influenced lives across generations and communities around the globe. He was awarded Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. This honor is bestowed each year by the World Economic Forum to recognize and acknowledge the top young leaders from around the world for the professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. He is Editor in Chief of the academic journals: Transactions on Edutainment (Springer) and ACM Computers in Entertainment. He is of Associate Editor of Advances in Human Computer Interaction, International Journal of Arts and Technology (IJART), Journal of Recent Patents on Computer Science, The Open Electrical and Electronic Engineering Journal, International Journal of Entertainment Technology and Management (IJEntTM), Virtual Reality (Springer-Verlag), International Journal of Virtual Reality, and The Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting.
  • 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.
  • Christine Marie is an artist and director creating original lo-fi spectacles of large-scale cinematic shadow theater. She seamlessly integrates performers, objects and hand made special effects to elicit connections with concepts, phenomenology and history in emotional and visually stimulating performances. She studied Wayang Kulit traditional shadow puppetry in Bali and is a former member of ShadowLight theater. Christine Marie received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Integrated Media and Theater. She lectures and conducts workshops for theater companies, film studios, universities and schools. She has taught shadow animation at Pixar and consulted for the film, "Me and My Shadow," for DreamWorks studios. Christine Marie is a 2012 TED Fellow. She also directs, designs and edits for film and video design. "Signaling Arcana" will premiere in 2013.
  • 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. He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room

See the campus map and directions

Extended abstracts

Mixed Reality Lab.
The Mixed Reality Lab(MXR) at the National University of Singapore aims to push the boundaries of research into interactive new media technologies through the combination of technology, art, and creativity. The key objectives of the Mixed Reality Lab are to create a world centre of excellence for interactive media and entertainment technology, to provide multi-disciplinary project-based learning environment for students, to modify creative media technology to promote economic development of Singapore and to open new doors for creativity and artistic students. In keeping with the above objectives, MXR Singapore has made technological advancements that have the potential to unlock the power of human intelligence, link minds globally, accelerate learning, and enhance creativity. The Lab hopes to supply Singapore with the technological knowledge that will be at the digital heart of many of Singapore's emerging sectors including Digital Exchange, Digital Entertainment and Digital Media, Digital Culture as well as adding value to Biomedical and Biotechnology initiatives. MXR defines entertainment media as entertainment products and services that rely upon digital technology. These include traditional media that now use digital production processes such as movies, TV, computer animation, and music, as well as emerging services for wireless and broadband, electronic toys, video games, edutainment, and location-based entertainment (ranging from PC game rooms to theme parks). The lab has produced large scale technological deliverables for DSTA and the Singapore military in interactive human computer systems and has spun off companies such as Real Space, Brooklyn-Media, and MXR Corporation. In the last few years, the lab has received many local and international awards such as the Nokia Ubimedia MindTrek Award in 2008, the Young Global Leader 2008 from World Ecomomic Forum and the Creativity of Warm award from 8th International University Creative-in-Action Contest 2007. Additionally, the lab has also been invited to major media technology-art centers, such the Ars Electronica Museum of the Future in Austria. The Lab plans on exploring commercially creative new media art works which will assist in development of blue-sky explorations and cultural exuberance for Singapore and creating human technology which involves the development of new interfaces to make machines more natural, intuitive and easy to use. The lab aims to bring about this vision and bring the future of new media into reality. It is also an aim to make Singapore one of the main global cross-points and nuclei of new media and the exporter of new media in the Asia Pacific region. Thus, one of the main goals of the lab is to invent the future through the visualization and realization of new media ideas. This continues the tradition established at Xerox PARC, Disney Imagineering and the MIT Media Lab and by visionary individuals such as Douglas Englebart, Alan Kay, Brendan Laurel and Jaron Lanier. The work done in the lab can be termed "Imagineering", or the imaginative application of engineering sciences. Imagineering involves three main strands of work. Firstly, imaginative envisioning: the projections and viewpoints of artists and designers. Secondly, future-casting: extrapolation of recent and present technological developments, making imaginative but credible ("do-able") scenarios, and simulating the future and thirdly creative engineering: new product design, prototyping, and demonstration work of engineers, computer scientists, and designers.

The Origin of Cellular Life.
All life today has an absolute dependence on membranous boundary structures composed of lipid bilayers. It seems inescapable that a primitive version of membranes must have been present nearly 4 billion years ago when cellular life emerged on the Earth, but what lipid-like compounds were available? The most likely candidates are amphiphilic molecules resembling fatty acids -- soaps -- that are capable of self-assembly into membranous vesicles. We have found such molecules in carbonaceous meteorites and observed that they can assemble into microscopic vesicles. Although simple containment is one function of boundary membranes, they could also play other roles related to their ability to concentrate and organize monomers. I will describe recent results in which the organizing effect of lipids was shown to promote polymerization of mononucleotides into RNA-like polymers. The resulting protocells represent a model system for studying how RNA -based microorganisms could have emerged as the first forms of life.

Music in Unusual Spaces.
The act of listening to music has changed and evolved over the years, and we're hearing more classical music in alternative spaces, outside the conventional concert hall. How do these changes affect how we listen?

Cinematic shadows and stereoscopic objects.
Shadows are as old as the sun, ubiquitous and each of us possess our own. Used as a tool for storytelling- giant cinematic shadow theater is a form that is both ancient and relevant to modern theater going audiences. I will discuss the history of pre-cinematic projection devices and show examples of how the form has been utilized to communicate stories that appeal to the psyche and/ or communicate ontological or phenomenological themes. I've invented a light that casts 30' 3D stereoscopic images and am working to find meaning in the form and to create an intimacy with the image beyond the novel or gimmick use of 3D.

Photos and videos