Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 8 May 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 8 May 2018, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Maraschi 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: Amanda Hughen (Visual Artist) on "Consumerism and cellular transformation" Magnifying, dissecting, and layering forms, words, and images found in the printed media... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Deneb Karentz (USF/Biology) on "TBA" Abstract forthcoming... 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: Mauro Ffortissimo (Media Artist, Poet and Piano Deconstructor) on "TBA" Abstract forthcoming... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Karen Ande (Documentary Photographer) on "Witness - A photographic chronicle of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and its impact on orphaned children" Can photography act as a stimulus for social change? ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Karen Ande is a social documentary and portrait photographer based in San Francisco, California. In 2002 she began chronicling the AIDS epidemic and its effects on children in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work took her from rural villages to city slums in Kenya and Rwanda, where she photographed people who daily face the challenges of AIDS and its impact on those they know and love. This work culminated in the award-winning 2010 book with journalist Ruthann Richter: Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa. Since then she has turned her attention to projects closer to home, partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics on publicizing childhood hunger in the USA. Her work--"Who's Hungry? You Can't Tell by Looking"-- was part of a campaign that resulted in the AAP recommending that all US pediatricians screen routinely for childhood hunger.
  • Mauro Ffortissimo was born in Argentina in 1962, and emigrated to the USA in 1981. He has been living, working and making art in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area since that time. Trained in classical piano, self-taught in painting and sculpting, he has worked in multiple media’s including, sheet metal and, most prominently: de-constructed piano assemblages. Mauro has pioneered the “Piano Liberado”; bypassing the keyboard and playing directly on the strings to liberate the instrument from the traditional constraints of the 12-tone scale. He is a co-founder of the music/arts organization Sunset Piano.— a live performance company that takes pianos and places them into unexpected naturalistic and urban outdoor spaces. For three years running he has co produced a major summertime piano installation in the San Francisco Botanical Garden called Flower Piano. His work is the subject of the documentary film "Twelve Pianos" by Storyfarm's Dean Mermell, highlighting Mauro's work. The film premiered as the closing film at Green Film Festival in SF’s Castro theater and will soon be available online. Mauro also writes poetry and hosts a poetry and music salon at Specs Bar in North Beach, the second Wednesday of each month.
  • Amanda Hughen has exhibited her work in museums and galleries internationally, including the Asian Art Museum (CA), the Berkeley Art Museum (CA), Danese (NY), Knoedler & Co. (NY), and White Columns (NY). She has been an artist-in-residence at the DeYoung Museum of Art (CA), the Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), and Yaddo (NY). Hughen received an MFA from UC Berkeley, where she was awarded a full Block Grant Fellowship and the Eisner Prize. Hughen/Starkweather (her collaboration with the artist Jennifer Starkweather) has been commissioned to create a permanent artwork on the glass exterior of the Union Square Central Subway station, which will open in 2017. She lives and works in San Francisco.
  • Deneb Karentz is professor and chair of the Biology Department at University of San Francisco. Karentz became involved in Antarctic research in 1986 as a volunteer on a field team studying the photophysiology of springtime phytoplankton in McMurdo Sound. Karentz's research focuses on the ultraviolet photobiology of marine organisms: identifying strategies for protection from UV exposure and understanding mechanisms for repair of UV–induced damage. Her work has focused on investigating the ecological implications of Antarctic ozone depletion. Over the past 30 years, she has made the trip to Antarctica over 20 times. From 1986 - 2016 her research has been conducted at Palmer and McMurdo Stations, and aboard several research cruises in the Bellingshausen Sea and the Ross Sea. Since 1994 she has also been an instructor for the NSF advanced international integrative biology course taught at McMurdo Station and Palmer Station for early career scientists from across the world. She served for two years as the associate program manager for the Biology and Medicine Program at the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. She has served as a U.S. representative to the Group on Life Sciences for the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and is currently the second US delegate to SCAR. She is also (since 2011) a private sector advisor for the US delegation to the Committee on Environmental Protection under the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • 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.

Address and directions:

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

Extended abstracts

Can photography act as a stimulus for social change? Can it help create a virtual community of spectators who will be aroused by the imagery to take responsibility for issues both close at hand and in distant parts of the globe? In traveling extensively, photographing for NGOs in Kenya, Rwanda, El Salvador, Nepal and the USA, I have compiled a set of images that help create community on a large scale. At a time when our country is retreating into xenophobia, promoting fear and exaggerating differences between people, my work has a different aim. I look closely at the emotions and concerns that bind us, the shared hopes that connect wildly diverse groups of people. This photographic journey will introduce you to the Batwa (forest pygmies) of western Rwanda, the slum dwellers of Nairobi, and the in-country migrants from rural areas of Kenya to large towns. All of these movements take place against the backdrop of AIDS and its impact on families before anti-retroviral drugs were available in Africa. Completing this photographic story, we will examine projects that actually work for the locals — grassroots-based NGOs that create sustainable change in their communities.

Abstract forthcoming

Abstract forthcoming


For the past decade, artist Amanda Hughen has created visual representations of cellular transformation by layering fragmented imagery from architecture, biology, and consumer goods. Her work refers to the loaded gun theory of illness: genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. In years of researching disease and cellular mutation for this project, and as the topic became more personal because of her own genetic makeup, she faced a huge amount of information on the subject in science journals and news media. Multiple articles on a similar topic often contained contradictions, redactions, and institutional agendas. Defeated by the limitations of scientific certainty and by the bias of news media, she has recently turned her gaze to mainstream media, namely, the newspaper of record: the New York Times. In her current series of work, Hughen magnifies, dissects, and layers forms, words, and images found in the printed pages of the New York Times as her search for answers takes a quixotic, absurdist turn.

Photos and videos of this evening