Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of September 2021

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


Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Hosted from Stanford during September 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)

  • September 1 @ 6pm
    Carol Strohecker (Dean of Design, University of Minnesota, and cofounder of the SEAD network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design) on "The Kusske Design Initiative: Inciting interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration for designing in harmony with the natural world "
    Anastasiia Raina (Rhode Island School of Design) on "Posthuman Polymythology"
    Warren Sack (UC Santa Cruz/ Digital Media) on "Software Arts"
    Register here or here


    Carol Strohecker (Dean of Design, University of Minnesota, and cofounder of the SEAD network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design) on "The Kusske Design Initiative: Inciting interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration for designing in harmony with the natural world "
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Carol Strohecker is Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. Her creative practice, research on learning, studies of complex systems, and "designing so others can design" have contributed to contexts of growth and change, including technology R&D, academic administration, organizational start-up, and community economic development. A co-founder of the SEAD network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts, and Design, spawned through grants from the US National Science Foundation, she inaugurated the roles of Vice Provost at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Director at the Center for Design Innovation, a multi-campus research center of the University of North Carolina. Previously she was Principal Investigator of the Everyday Learning research group at Media Lab Europe, the European partner of the MIT Media Lab. Prior to MLE, she worked at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories and in the Human Interface Group of Sun Microsystems. She earned the PhD of Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991 and the Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT in 1986. She has served MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences as a Lecturer and as a Presidential Nominee on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee. She has served on research and advisory panels for the National Science Foundation and the European Commission.


    Warren Sack (UC Santa Cruz/ Digital Media) on "Software Arts"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion. He is Professor in the Film + Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches digital arts and digital studies. He has been a visiting professor in France at Sciences Po, the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme, and Telecom ParisTech. His artwork has been exhibited by SFMoMA (San Francisco), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany). His scholarship and research has been supported by the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Sunlight Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Warren received his PhD from the MIT Media Lab. His book "The Software Arts" (MIT Press, 2019) presents an alternative history of software that traces its roots to the step-by-step descriptions of how things were made in the workshops of 18th-century artists and artisans. He illustrates how software was born of a coupling of the liberal arts and the mechanical arts and argues that the arts are at the heart of computing.


    Anastasiia Raina (Rhode Island School of Design) on "Microbial Cosmologies"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Anastasiia Raina is a multidisciplinary designer, researcher, and an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She graduated from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design and has lectured and served as a critic at design schools, including Yale University, Parsons, Pratt, Otis, UCLA, Pomona College and University of Chicago. Prior to her MFA, she worked as a commercial graphic designer and art director in Los Angeles. In her research-based practice, Anastasiia is interested in exploring the aesthetics of technologically mediated Natures through machine vision and computer-generated forms, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and the incorporation of biomaterials into the artistic vernacular. She draws upon scientific inquiry and collaborations with scientists as a means for generating new methodologies and forms in design. In addition to teaching, she consults and collaborates with various international firms, including the Hyundai Motor Group, and has delivered lectures at conferences about posthumanist aesthetics and pedagogy to engage with a wide range of scholars from a variety of disciplines.
  • September 8-12
    [Anti]disciplinary Topographies @ Ars Electronica
    Click here for the program (20+ online talks and exhibitions)
  • September 29 @ 6pm
    Cindy Cohn (Executive Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation) on "Imagining A Future with Real Digital Privacy"
    Elizabeth Currid-Halkett (University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy) on "Inconspicuous Consumption and Cultural Capital: the New Inequality"
    Alvy Ray Smith (Co-founder of Pixar, live from Montreal) on "A Biography of the Pixel"
    Register here or here


    Cindy Cohn (Executive Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation) on "Imagining A Future with Real Digital Privacy"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Cindy Cohn is the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. From 2000-2015 she served as EFF's Legal Director as well as its General Counsel. In 1993, EFF she served lead attorney in Bernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful First Amendment challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography. Among other honors, Ms. Cohn was named to TheNonProfitTimes 2020 Power & Influence TOP 50 list, and in 2018, Forbes included Ms. Cohn as one of America's Top 50 Women in Tech. In 2013, The National Law Journal named Ms. Cohn one of 100 most influential lawyers in America, noting: "If Big Brother is watching, he better look out for Cindy Cohn."


    Elizabeth Currid-Halkett (University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy) on "Inconspicuous Consumption and Cultural Capital: the New Inequality"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Elizabeth Currid-Halkett is the James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning and professor of public policy at the University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy. She teaches courses in economic development, the arts, and urban policy and urban planning. Her research focuses on the arts and culture, the American consumer economy and the role of cultural capital in geographic and class divides. She is the author of "The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art and Music Drive New York City" (Princeton University Press 2007); "Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity" (Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) and "The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class" (Princeton University Press, 2017), which was named one of the best books of the year by The Economist. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Expert Network and Industry Strategy Officers and has been a member of the WEF Global Future Councils. Currid-Halkett's work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Salon, the Economist, the New Yorker, and the Times Literary Supplement, among others. She has contributed to a variety of academic and mainstream publications including the Journal of Economic Geography, Economic Development Quarterly, the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the New York Times, and the Harvard Business Review. Author Website: www.elizabethcurridhalkett.com


    Alvy Ray Smith (Co-founder of Pixar) on "A Biography of the Pixel"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Alvy Ray Smith is a cofounder of Pixar and a pioneer of computer graphics. He was present at Xerox PARC for the invention of the personal computer, then at the New York Institute of Technology where the vision of the first digital movie was conceived, then Lucasfilm, where he was its first director of computer graphics. His second startup company Altamira was sold to Microsoft, where he was the first Graphics Fellow. He has received two technical Academy Awards for his contribution to digital movie-making technology. He created and directed the Genesis Demo in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", the first use of full computer graphics in a successful major motion picture. He hired Pixar's star animator, John Lasseter, and directed him at Lucasfilm in "The Adventures of Andre & Wally B". He initiated the Academy-Award-winning CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) project between Pixar and Disney, the hardware and software system that Disney used for years for full production of all its 2D animated feature films. He initiated and negotiated the Academy-Award-winning CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) project between Pixar and Disney, the hardware and software system that Disney used for years for full production of all its "traditional" 2D animated feature films. He has published dozens of articles on cellular automata, computer graphics, scholarly genealogy, and computer history, and created numerous artworks. He has a PhD from Stanford in computer science. His book "A Biography of the Pixel" was published by MIT Press in 2021.


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