Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 6 March 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 6 March 2018, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - 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...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Rosanna Guadagno (University of Texas at Dallas) on "Men, Women, and Technology: Insights from Social Psychology" Abstract forthcoming... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Neeraj Sonalkar (Stanford/ Design) on "What improvised theater, jazz and design thinking have in common" Design thinking has a lot in common with the improvisational mindset practiced through improvisational theater or jazz... 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: Carlo Sequin (UC Berkeley) on "Klein bottles and Super-Bottles" Super-Bottles are topological models that can yield artistic creations... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Paul Dresher (Composer) on "What Would Happen If..Inventing Musical Instruments - the Experimental Playground at the Intersection of Music, Craft and Physics."
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Paul Dresher is one of the foremost composers of the post-minimalist generation. He has composed opera, chamber and orchestral works, live instrumental electroacoustic music and scores for theater, dance, and film. Paul's many honors include a 2006-07 Guggenheim Fellowship and commissions from the Library of Congress, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, the Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, Zeitgeist, San Francisco Ballet, Chamber Music America, among others. Compositions include: the post-minimalist classics Liquid and Stellar Music (1981) and Channels Passing (1982), the trio Double Ikat (1989); the "American Trilogy" (1985-90), three operas in collaboration with writer Rinde Eckert; the evening-length collaboration with choreographer Margaret Jenkins "The Gates" (1994); the Concerto for Violin and Electro-Acoustic Band (1997); the solo percussion work "Schick Machine" (2009), created for percussionist Steven Schick and performed on a set huge invented musical instruments and sound sculptures; the Concerto for Quadrachord & Orchestra (2012), "Sound Maze" (2015), a hands-on sound installation of twelve invented musical instruments that toured the USA in 2017; and the multidisciplinary piece "Molded by the Flow" in collaboration with playwright Rinde Eckert and faculty and students at the University of Southern Maine, where Paul has been appointed USM Libra Professor for the 2016-17 academic year. He has had a long time interest in the music of Asia and Africa, studying Ghanian drumming, Hindustani classical music, Balinese and Javanese music. His music has been performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe. His recordings include: This Same Temple & Liquid and Stellar Music (Lovely Music, 1984), Dark Blue Circumstance (New Albion), Opposites Attract (New World), Slow Fire (Minmax), and Casa Vecchia (Starkland).
  • Rosanna Guadagno is a social psychologist who conducts research at Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab and who teaches Emerging Media and Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas. She was previously at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at UC Santa Barbara and served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation for three programs. Her work has been widely published in scholarly journals and covered by mass media. Her forthcoming book is "Why We Click: The Psychology of Social Media."
  • 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 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.
  • Carlo Sequin has been a professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley since 1977. His research interests lie in the fields of Computer Graphics, Virtual Environments, and Computer Aided Design Tools. He has built CAD tools for the layout of integrated circuits, for the conceptual phase in architectural design, for the design of mechanical systems, and -- most recently -- for artists who create abstract geometrical sculptures, and for mathematicians who want to construct tangible visualization models.
  • Neeraj Sonalkar is Research Associate at Stanford's Center for Design Research. The question that motivates his research is: how do engineering design team co-create new product possibilities? His research is focused on investigating how team behavior influences the generation and propagation of ideas into products. The Human Innovation Engineering group at the Center for Design Research conducts empirical and field research oriented towards acceleration of radical innovation by teams, organizations and regional ecosystems. We study and model how humans innovate both at the interpersonal interaction level and at the broader level of an organization or a regional innovation ecosystem such as the Silicon Valley. This research furthers our understanding of innovation as the outcome of an integrated system spanning individual mindset, interpersonal interaction dynamics, and the underlying physical, institutional, financial and knowledge infrastructure.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
Fromm Hall is behind the church, best accessed from Parker Ave.

Extended abstracts

A Klein bottle is a single-sided surface with no borders and with a shared "inside" and "outside." Klein bottles are best experienced and most easily understood when holding a physical model in your hands. By grafting together simple Klein bottles, one can form "Super-Bottles" of higher genus (i.e., with a higher degree of connectivity). Modular parts have been fabricated on a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machine; they can be connected in many different ways into high-genus "Super-Bottles." Some of the resulting topological models are attractive enough, so that they can be enjoyed as art-works even by people who do not know the underlying mathematical background.

"What Would Happen If.." It's the question I often ask myself when I start to work on a new instrument. While composition and performance is usually the ultimate goal of all my activities, inventing new instruments (whether acoustic or electronic) requires me to experiment like a scientist and play like an artist. In fact, if you possess enough experience with physics of sound and the acoustic characteristics of physical materials, there is little difference between the two. In this presentation, I'll show video of a few finished instruments in performance and then work backwards to how they were imagined and created.



Design thinking is commonly perceived as a process and a mindset for creative problem solving. This design thinking mindset has a lot in common with the improvisational mindset practiced through improvisational theater or jazz. Using an improvisational lens enables us to go beyond practicing design thinking as process-following, to practicing design thinking as a fluid, interaction-based activity. This has broader implications for how we practice creative teamwork, and the building of innovation ecosystems such as Silicon Valley. Neeraj Sonalkar has a background in mechanical engineering and design thinking. His interest in team creativity took him to improvisation theater and semiotics. Inspired by improvisational theater and the idea of a musical notation, he invented a notation for visualizing the dynamics of design teams. Neeraj is currently heading Human Innovation Engineering Research at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, where he uses improvisation and design thinking to build innovation ecosystems in cities globally.

Photos and videos of this evening