Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of November 2021

Online Edition: the L.A.S.T. Dialogues


Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Hosted from Stanford during November 2021
by Piero Scaruffi

During the covid pandemic, this online program replaces both the 12 physical L.A.S.E.R.s that were planned at Stanford University and University of San Francisco for 2020 and the L.A.S.T. Festival that was planned for Spring 2020. Since some of them are simply "fireside chats", we tentatively called them the The Life Art Science Tech (L.A.S.T.) dialogues. See previous and future speakers and their videos.
(Note: All times are California time)

  • November 10 @ 6pm
    Albert Ascoli (UC Berkeley/ Literature) on "Dante for the 21st Century" (on the 700th anniversary of his death)
    Kat Mustatea (Playwright & Technologist) on "Augmented Reality and the Decaying Book"
    Neil Shubin (University of Chicago) on "Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA"
    Register here or here


    Albert Ascoli (UC Berkeley) on "Dante for the 21st Century" (on the 700th anniversary of his death)
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Albert Ascoli is Distinguished Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and currently serves as President of the Dante Society of America. His interests include the relations between literary form and history; the author-reader relationship; the construction of Italian national identity; literary politics of gender; Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ariosto, Shakespeare. His most recent books are Dante and the Making of a Modern Author (Cambridge, 2008) and A Local Habitation, and a Name: Imagining Histories in the Italian Renaissance (Fordham, 2011). He has edited several essay collections including Making and Remaking Italy: The Cultivation of National Identity around the Risorgimento (with Krystyna von Henneberg; Berg, 2001), a double issue of Renaissance Drama titled "Italy and the Drama of Europe" (with William West, 2010) and Italian Futures, an issue of the electronic journal California Italian Studies (with Randolph Starn, 2011). He has held a number of fellowships, including the NEH-Mellon Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome (2004-2005), was recently elected "membro straniero" of the Academy of the Istituto Lombardo and is currently serving as President of the Dante Society of America. He has recently completed editing the Cambridge Companion to Petrarch (with Unn Falkeid, 2015), and his current research project is a study of the problem of fede (faith) as promise and belief in the early modern period.


    Kat Mustatea (Playwright & Technologist) on "Augmented Reality and the Decaying Book"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Kat Mustatea is a playwright and technologist whose language and performance works enlist absurdity, hybridity, and the uncanny to dig deeply into what it means to be human. Her TED talk, about puppets and algorithms, unpacks the meaning of machines making art. She co-curates EdgeCut, a live performance series that explores our complex relationship to the digital, and is a member of NEW INC, the art and tech incubator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Her most recent hybrid work, Voidopolis, won the Arts and Letters Unclassifiable Prize for literature and the Dante Prize for art, and has been exhibited internationally in a variety of digital and physical formats, including at Ars Electronica 2021 in the form of an AR book meant to disappear. Her mixed reality play, Lizardly, will premiere at MAXLive: The Neuroverse, co-produced by New York Live Arts, in fall of 2021. She speaks and writes frequently about cutting edge technology and art.


    Neil Shubin (University of Chicago) on "Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Neil Shubin is the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Professor on the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago and the Provost of the Field Museum of Natural History. He is a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist. Raised outside Philadelphia, Shubin earned a A.B. from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 1987. He also studied at the University of California, Berkeley. Shubin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011.


The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine.