Below is the page for the old Stanford events. From 2014 see also the Interactive Digital Art Festival that mixes high-tech art and tech/science talks.

Stanford Multidisciplinary Multimedia Meeting of Arts, Science and Humanities... SMMMASH!

An Interdisciplinary Tour of the Human Condition in Three Stages
Executive summary: "A multidimensional exploration of universal themes about the human condition by artists, scientists, thinkers and innovators of the Bay Area."
First series 2011-12: Time, Life, Mind (three evenings, one per quarter)
Second series 2012-13: Space, Body, Language (three evenings, one per quarter)

Moderated by Piero Scaruffi (e-mail)


Format of each of the three evenings:
  • Panel with four presenters from four different disciplines.
  • Audio interviews in lieu of introduction to the panelists.
  • Reading material as homework for the audience.
  • Art exhibit before and after the panel.
  • Interaction with the audience.
  • Free and open to the public.
Your part:
  • Listen to the audio interviews below to meet the panelists
  • Consult the "reading material" below to be prepared for the panel
  • Email me questions: we start with the Q/A!
  • Come a bit earlier (6:30pm) to enjoy the art show
  • Enjoy the panel
  • After the panel enjoy the art show and mingle with the artists
  • The day after please send us feedback to improve these events

Past panelists:
  • Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics, pioneered the idea that elementary particles might be represented by a relativistic string, the so-called "string theory." His research interests have stretched from quantum field theory to quantum cosmology. He is the author of "The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design" (2006) and "The Black Hole War-My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics" (2008).
  • Gail Wight, Associate Professor of Art at Stanford University, uses visual art to explore topics in biology and the history of science and technology. Her work engages the cultural impact of scientific practice, and plays with our constant redefinition of self through our epistemologies. Recent projects have explored deep time, and her works of art often involve other living organisms, inviting them to become co-authors in the finished work of art. She has exhibited her work at galleries, museums, and festivals throughout the US and internationally.
  • Pamela Z, composer, performer, and media artist, makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, gesture-activated MIDI controllers, and video. She has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Her multimedia work "Baggage Allowance" (that premiered in 2011) involves vocal performance with electronic processing, found text, recorded interviews, multi-channel sound, interactive video, and sculptural objects.
  • Jan English-Lueck, Professor of Anthropology at San Jose State University, and a Research Affiliate at the Institute for the Future, has written "Chinese Intellectuals on the World Frontier" and "Cultures@SiliconValley" and received the American Anthropological Association's 2006 Diana Forsythe Prize. Her latest book, "Being and Well-being: Health and the Working Bodies of Silicon Valley", was published in 2010.
  • Piero Scaruffi, author, blogger and cultural historian, has wandered from Theoretical Physics to Cognitive Science and the Internet, while writing on music, cinema, and the arts as well as publishing his own poetry. He has published several books and articles including "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006), "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009), "Synthesis: Essays, Photographs, Poems" (2009) and "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011).
  • Paul Rabinow, Professor of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley, Director of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory (ARC), and former Director of Human Practices for the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), is the author of "Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology " (2012); "The Accompaniment: Assembling the Contemporary" (2011); "Marking Time: On the Anthropology of the Contemporary" (2007); "Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment" (2003); "Essays on the Anthropology of Reason" (1996); "Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology" (1993); "French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment" (1989); and "The Foucault Reader" (1984). A former lecturer at the École Normale Superieure (1997) in Paris, he was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1998 and was awarded the visiting Chaire Internationale de Recherche Blaise Pascal at the École Normale Superieure for 2001-2.
  • Christine Peterson is the co- founder and President of Foresight Institute, a public interest group that educates the community and policymakers on coming powerful technologies such as nanotechnology. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the International Council on Nanotechnology and the Editorial Advisory Board of NASA's Nanotech Briefs. Her work is motivated by a desire to help Earth's environment and traditional human communities benefit from advances in technology. She coauthored Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (1991) and Leaping the Abyss: Putting Group Genius to Work (1997).
  • Lynn Hershman Leeson, Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and Emeritus at the University of California at Davis, is a multimedia artist whose works include the first interactive laser artdisk, three award-winning feature films, photographs, sculptures, and interactive installations that use the Internet and artificial intelligence software. "The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson" was published by the University of California Press in 2005. "Women Art Revolution" (2010), based on her own archives recently acquired by Stanford Univ, is a documentary history of the feminist art movement that took 42 years to complete. She was honored by the Digital Art Museum in Berlin with the most distinguished honor for lifetime achievement in the field of new media.
  • Jeremy Bailenson, the founder and Director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) as well as Associate Professor of Communication, is a cognitive psychologist who focuses on digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive Virtual Reality. He is the co-author of "Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution" (2011).
  • Deborah Aschheim, specializes in installations based on invisible networks of perception and thought. Her work exploring the subject of memory has led her to collaborate with musicians and neuroscientists. She has exhibited installations at venues across the country including a personal retrospective, "Deborah Aschheim: feeling-of-knowing" at San Diego State University Art Gallery (2011).
  • Chris Chafe, director of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), is a composer, improvisor, cellist, and music researcher with an interest in computers and interactive performance. He is an active performer, particularly in the SoundWIRE project of real-time Internet concertizing with collaborators distributed over the world. He has released the CD "Arco Logic" (2001).
  • James McClelland, Chair of Stanford's Department of Psychology and founding Director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Computation, has applied connectionist models to problems in Cognitive Neuroscience and was a co-founder with David E. Rumelhart of the influential Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) research group. They wrote together "Parallel Distributed Processing" (1986).
  • Jaron Lanier pioneered Virtual Reality in the early 1980s and was the Lead Scientist of the National Tele-immersion Initiative (1997-2001). Lanier's compositions, that include the symphony "Mirror/Storm" (1998), the triple concerto "The Navigator Tree" (2000) and the ballet "Earthquake" (2006) have been performed worldwide. His book "You Are Not A Gadget" (2010) was named one of the 10 best books of the year in the NY Times. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010.
  • Chris McKay is Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama, Namib, & Sahara deserts to study life in these Mars-like environments. He was a co-investigator on the Huygens probe to Saturn's moon Titan in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory mission in 2012.
  • Anne Fougeron has provided architectural services in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Her firm's breadth of work is impressive, ranging from feasibility studies to building rehabilitation to new construction projects in the institutional, commercial, health-care and residential sectors. She is personally involved in all aspects of a project, from inception to completion, serving as the main client point-of-contact. As a result, her projects have been recipients of 45 design awards both local and national and have been featured in national and international publications. The firm's work has been featured in Fougeron Architecture: Opposition/Composition, a recently published monograph that showcases fourteen projects.
  • George Legrady is an internationally-acclaimed multimedia artist and Professor of Interactive Media at UC Santa Barbara. He has previously held fulltime appointments at the Merz Akademie, Institute for Visual Communication, Stuttgart, the Conceptual Design/Information Arts program, San Francisco State University, University of Southern California, and the University of Western Ontario. A pioneer of interactive digital art, Legrady's installations have featured in festivals around the world, from China to Europe, since the 1980s. A complete list can be found on his website http://www.georgelegrady.com His creative work has received numerous awards both in North America and Europe.
  • Antara Bhardwaj is a North Indian classical dancer of the Chitresh Das Dance Company, founded by Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, with whom she has studied since the age of nine. She has become a leading exponent of Pandit Das' innovation of Kathak Yoga, a mind, body practice that involves the dancer to become her own instrument, a combination of singing, playing the harmonium and dancing complex mathematical permutations all at the same time. Besides the USA, she has toured extensively in India, notably at the National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai), Birla Sabhagar (Kolkata), Shaniwar Wada Festival of Pune, and Kathak Kendra (India's National Institution of Kathak Dance). She is also an accomplished musical accompanist, trained vocally by Smt. Shweta Jhaveri (disciple of Pandit Jasraj). She is also a prolific filmmaker and producer. A documentary feature film titled "Upaj: Improvise" brings her two worlds of film and dance together.
  • Sarah Cahill is a pianist who has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano, and has performed chamber music with several chamber groups including the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. She has recorded for the New Albion, CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, and Artifact labels. She has a weekly radio show, Then & Now, in San Francisco. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the Berkeley Art Museum. Her most recent project, A Sweeter Music, premiered in the Cal Performances series in Berkeley in January 2009 and continued to New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall, Rothko Chapel, and venues around the country, with newly commissioned works on the theme of peace by Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Yoko Ono, Frederic Rzewski, etc. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, and Evan Ziporyn.
  • Oussama Khatib, Head of the Stanford Robotics Lab. received his Doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering from Sup'Aero in France in 1980. He is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. He is Co-Editor of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics series, and has served on the Editorial Boards of several journals as well as Chair or Co-Chair for numerous international conferences. He co-edited the Springer Handbook of Robotics, which received the PROSE Award for Excellence in Physical Sciences & Mathematics and was also the winner in the category Engineering & Technology. He is the President of the International Foundation of Robotics Research (IFRR) and a recipient of the Japan Robot Association (JARA) Award in Research and Development.
  • Ken Goldberg, an inventor and multimedia artist working at the intersection of art, robotics, and social media, teaches and supervises research in Robotics, Automation, Art, and New Media at UC Berkeley. He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 where he is craigslist Distinguished Professor of New Media. He is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, with secondary appointments in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, Art Practice, and the School of Information. Ken also holds an appointment in the UC San Francisco Medical School's Department of Radiation Oncology. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Co-Founder of the African Robotics Network (AFRON), Co-Founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), Co-Founder and CTO of Hybrid Wisdom Labs, Co-Founder of the Moxie Institute, and Founding Director of UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Lecture Series. Ken's art installations, based on his research, have been exhibited internationally. Ken was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1995 by President Clinton, the National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 1994, the Joseph Engelberger Robotics Award in 2000, and elected IEEE Fellow in 2005. Details on artwork: http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/art
  • Lera Boroditsky, raised in Minsk in the former Soviet Union, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University . Boroditsky's research centers on the nature of mental representation and how knowledge emerges out of the interactions of mind, world, and language. One focus has been to investigate the ways that languages and cultures shape human thinking. Her research has been widely featured in the media. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, from the Marr Prize by the Cognitive Science Society to the NSF Career Award, and was named one of "25 visionaries changing the world" by Utne Reader.
  • Curt Frank is a Professor in Chemical Engineering at Stanford. He was the founding Director of the Center on Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies from 1994 to 2010. He was also the Chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2001 to 2006. In collaboration with his wife Sara Loesch-Frank, a calligrapher, artist, and art teacher, Curt has taught an Introductory Sophomore Seminar on "Art, Chemistry, and Madness: the Science of Art Materials" for the past six years. Curt lectures on a series of historical palettes: Paleolithic art, Egyptian art, Greco-Roman art, Medieval art, Renaissance art, Industrial art, and Contemporary art.
  • Amy X Neuburg's career bridges the boundaries between classical, experimental and popular musics. Her 'avant-cabaret' songs combine her interests in poetry and language, expressive use of music technology (with an emphasis on live looping), and exploration of multiple genres using the many colors of her four-octave vocal range. She has performed at venues as diverse as the Other Minds and Bang on a Can new music festivals, the Berlin International Poetry Festival and the Wellington and Christchurch Jazz Festivals (NZ). Commissions for voices and chamber ensembles (often with looping electronics) include Robin Cox Ensemble, Present Music, Santa Cruz New Music Works, Solstice Vocal Ensemble, Christchurch Arts Centre chorus, Pacific Mozart Ensemble and Del Sol String Quartet. She has also composed extensively for theater and visual media, including Mondomedia's irreverent Piki & Poko web animations and numerous onstage collaborations with modern dancers. A classically trained vocalist, Amy has been featured in contemporary operas and recordings including works by Robert Ashley, Culture Clash and Guillermo Galindo. She performs regularly with her Cello ChiXtet, a cello trio with live electronics.
  • Jeanne Finley, a Professor of Media Studies at the California College of the Arts, is a media artist who works in experimental and documentary forms including film, video, photography, installation, internet, and site specific public works. Her work has been exhibited in international institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, SF and NY Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum and the George Pompidou Center. She has been the recipient of many grants including a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Cal Arts/Alpert Award, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Since 1989 she has worked in collaboration with John Muse on many installation and video projects including Flatland, 2007, Clockwork, 2006, and Catapult, 2005. Finley's film and video credits include: Lost, 2006, Loss Prevention, 2000, O Night Without Objects, a Trilogy, 1998, A.R.M. Around Moscow , 1993, Involuntary Conversion, 1991 and Nomads at the 25 Door, 1991. These tapes have won awards at international festivals such as the San Francisco, Atlanta, Berlin Video Festival, Toronto, and World Wide Video Festival.


See also the Leonardo Art Science Evenings (LASERs) and the Audio interviews.
Piero Scaruffi's website