San Francisco, 14 May 2012
c/o University of San Francisco
Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. See below for location and agenda.
Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
Unlocking the Power of Play; Situational Design Applications in the Civic Realm. The mission of Nonchalance, a San Francisco based Situational Design agency, is to provoke discovery through visceral experience and pervasive play. This is achieved this by means of interactive narrative, game design, augmented reality, automated environments, event production, installation art, spatial navigation and cultural curation. They are best known for their award winning independent projects The Jejune Institute and Oaklandish.
Urban Ecology. With most of the world's population living in cities, creating green cities is essential, both for their immediate environmental impacts and how they shape our environmental habits and attitudes. Urban Ecology: New York City's Visionary Urbanism explores how artists, landscape architects, and educators are reimagining New York City, greening the streets and changing perceptions of nature. I analyze pragmatic projects (such as Fresh Kills Park and habitat restoration efforts); as well as more quixotic interventions (such as art projects by Mierle Ukeles, Tattfoo Tan, Walter De Maria, and Public Farm 1 by WORK Architecture). Together these are dramatically changing the built and imagined city. While "Urban Ecology" is not a history, it begins with New York City in the 1970s and early 80s, on the verge of bankruptcy and with neighborhoods literally on fire. Rather than continue to decay, New York has since experienced a profound cultural and natural rebirth. The project moves from elements of urban ecological existence (fire, earth, air, water) to processes and life forms (trees, farming and foraging, animals, garbage). Rather than offer a rigid typology, this organization helps us see cities in a fresh light. These categories are also universal and can provide ways of reimagining other cities, whether Chicago or London or San Francisco.
How to Augment our Intelligence as Algorithms Take Over the World. Financial markets provide liquidity to the world, in today's society the markets should be considered a public utility something more akin to clean water than the modern day casino that they have become. However financial markets, unlike water, are incredibly complex. Indeed the majority of financial transactions are algorithmic trades made by algorithms or nonhuman software agents. These trades happen at the sub 600ms time frame, beyond the limits of human decision making. This type of trading is called high frequency trading, and the world that it inhabits is the new financial ecosystem. There are predatory algorithms, parasitic algorithms, and algorithms that are preyed upon. These algorithms are not smart at the moment, only capable of processing a few bytes of information and generating a few cents per trade. But they are getting smarter. They are now starting to process unstructured news, the kinds of news that humans read, and they are making decisions that generate more profit. This high speed algorithmic world is not however isolated from the human time-scales of the world we live in. The instability of micro-second crashes is highly correlated with global macro instability. Indeed the 10 stocks with the most micro crashes were all major financial institutions that had massive volatility on a human time scale. The high frequency financial ecosystem is incredibly important, important perhaps as access to water. Yet instability in this system is correlated with instability in the world we humans inhabit. So it is too important to regulate out of existence and too damaging to leave unregulated. We must control a system that is beyond our understanding. To do this we have two choices, we can create software to augment our human abilities. The software equivalent of a robotic exoskeleton. Or we can create fully autonomous algorithmic agents, a new set of algorithmic species, and set them loose into the sub micro second world. Perhaps we can control the system by competing within it. Either way, within the next few years a robot will have read this text, processed it and made a trade before you've even got past the first sentence -- in another 3 more, the machine will be the one writing the article in the first place.
Reinterpreting the Great Wall of China for the age of globalization. Open Wall is a large-scale glass installation re-interpreting a section of the Great Wall for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Sheng's Open Wall installation captures an interval of China's heritage, translating this historic structure as a temporary zone of glass architecture. This installation represents the newfound openness of contemporary China and engages the contemporary moment as a pivotal moment of global exchange. The sculpture, which is meant to be a reconstruct of the great wall of china, indicates moments of transparency and opacity, marking this critical intersection of Chinese and Western culture. Located along venice's historic grand canal, the temporary pavilion was made up of 2,200 stacked glass bricks, each brick representing the number of years which it took to build the great wall. The glass blocks become a kind of cultural currency which can be moved, redistributed, subtracted and added duration of the installation, expressing the transitory process of globalization. Each brick was engraved with a date and its corresponding chinese lunar year. the dates meant to signify historical moments which have been witnessed by the Great Wall. 564 BC was the year the Great Wall's construction began and 1254 AD was the birth year of Marco Polo, China's link to Venice. The Open Wall project employed glass bricks which are the same size as those that were used to build the Great Wall. The bricks of the Great Wall, when laid out lengthwise edge to edge, could span the entire globe.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
the University of Illinois' eDREAM Institute,
the University of Calabria's Evolutionary Systems Group,
Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology,
School of Visual Arts Computer Art Department,
and USF Dean's Office of Arts and Science.