Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of April 8, 2015

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, April 8, 2015
Soda Hall (corner of Hearst and LeRoy), Room 306 HP Auditorium
NOTE: Use the WEST-entrance of SODA Hall entering from Etcheverry Plaza.
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

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. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking. This event is kindly sponsored by the Minerva Foundation.
Where: UC Berkeley
Soda Hall, Room 306 HP Auditorium
NOTE: Use the WEST-entrance of SODA Hall entering from Etcheverry Plaza.
Campus map
What (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Lily Alexander (UC Santa Cruz) on "Counterculture, Collectivity, and the Aesthetics of Early Communications Art at the Western Front and Beyond" The confluence of avant-garde performance, postmodern dance, experimental video and sound in the early development of communications media projects... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Melanie Swan (Founder, Institute for Blockchain Studies) on "Bitcoin/Blockchain Technology Explained" Not just Cryptocurrencies, Economics, and Markets; Applications in Art, Health, and Literacy... Read more
  • 8:10-8:35: Amy Ho (Projection Artist) on "The Space We Inhabit" A brief history of the topic of space from an artist's perspective... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Other LASER series
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
      Lily Alexander (UC Santa Cruz) is currently a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at UC Santa Cruz where her dissertation research focuses on intersecting histories and theories from the political and social movements of the 1960s and early 1970s, with the development of certain participatory forms of media art. She is also a curator, and recent shows she has worked on have included (e)MERGE, a ZERO1 2012 Biennial exhibition of emerging California artists working at the intersection of art and technology; Liquescent, an exhibition of both historic and new work by sound artist Bill Fontana's held at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in New York and I've Got Something on Your Mind, the UCSC Digital Arts and New Media 2012 MFA show. Further, she is the director of the Prof. Christopher Alexander and Center for Environmental Structure (CES) Archives where she is spearheading a project to create a digital archive of Prof. Alexander's large body of work. In recent months, she worked on the selection and preparation of archival material from several historical, low-cost housing CES projects for inclusion in the US Pavilion's exhibition OfficeUS at the 2014 Venice Biennale, as well as selected and prepared archival material for the exhibition ReEnchant the World, an architectural exhibition that opened at La Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, in conjunction with the 2014 LOCUS Award for Sustainable Architecture, under the umbrella of UNESCO. Previously, she spent nine months as a research fellow at the Catherine Clark Gallery, where she was writing about several of the artists in the gallery's innovative media program. Before moving to California for her PhD work, she lived in New York where she was the online contributing editor for the contemporary art magazine Whitewall. She also spent a couple of years working as the head researcher for the Hans Hofmann Catalogue Raisonne Project, after receiving her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History at Christies in New York.
    • Amy Ho builds video and spatial installations that bring attention to our existence as both physical and psychological beings. She received her undergraduate degree in Art Practice from UC Berkeley and her MFA from Mills College. Amy was selected for the ProArts Gallery 2x2 Solos series in 2012, and is a recipient of a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artists Grant for 2013. Amy will be doing residencies at Kala Art Institute and Studio Kura in 2014. She currently works and lives in the Bay Area and is represented by Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.
    • Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist 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 "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.
    • Melanie Swan is a science and technology innovator and philosopher at the MS Futures Group. She is the founder of the Institute for Blockchain Studies . She founded the participatory medicine research organization DIYgenomics in 2010. Ms. Swan's educational background includes an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania , a BA in French and Economics from Georgetown University , and recent coursework in philosophy in the Contemporary Continental Philosophy MA Program at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University London and Université Paris 8, and in biology, nanotechnology, physics, and computer science. She is a faculty member at Singularity University and the University of the Commons , an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies , and a contributor to the Edge's Annual Essay Question .

    Extended abstracts:

    In the years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the wave of social movements across the globe, including the civil rights movements, the free speech as well as free space movements, and protests against the Vietnam War emerged in conjunction with an intensification of artistic explorations into new medial forms of expression. Amidst this flurry of artistic experimentation, an international network of artists became interested specifically in making art that used, adapted, analyzed, critiqued and transformed the channels of media and communications technologies. Connected through communications channels developed by artists influenced by or involved with, for example, artistic networks such as Fluxus and the New York Correspondence School (Mail Art) of Ray Johnson, these artists shared art and ideas across a world divided by the Cold War. Towards the end of the 1970s and early 1980s there had been major developments in telecommunication technologies, with the development of telematics (the combination of computers with telecommunications), increased public access to satellites, and the dawn of the personal computer. As a growing number of artists embraced these new technologies, an effervescence of communications projects that engaged with novel mechanisms of communication ensued. In this short talk I will be discussing my recent research at the historic artist's space Western Front in Vancouver, Canada. This was one of the global nodes that either directed or took part in a number of the more well known communications projects such as The World in 24 Hours that was organized by Robert Adrian X for Ars Electronica in 1982. While some of the histories that have come out of this period have focused on the new technologies that were being used, or the philosophical underpinnings of work by pioneers such as Roy Ascott, I will be delving into the actual work that was collaboratively produced during these events, with the participation of artists such as Mona Hatoum, Hank Bull, and Willoughby Sharp. Because of the difficulty of accessing the documentation of such events, still stored primarily on videotape, the actual artistic content of such technological networks has often been elusive. In my talk I will be exploring the role of countercultural movements, specifically the move to collectivity, and the subsequent confluence of avant-garde performance, postmodern dance, experimental video and sound in the early development of these communications media projects. I am especially interested in considering the role that such intermedia 'situations' had in the development of artistic approaches towards using communications technologies, in particular in the emphasis on multi-sensory perception, the role of the nonverbal in communication, and the total phenomenological experience of such mass communications interventions or 'sculptures.'

    The blockchain concept may be one of the most transformative ideas to impact the world since the Internet. It represents a new organizing paradigm for all activity and integrates humans and technology. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are merely one application of the blockchain concept. The blockchain is a public transaction ledger built in a network structure based on cryptographic principles so there does not need to be a centralized intermediary. Any kind of asset (art, car, home, financial contract) may be encoded into the blockchain and transacted, validated, or preserved in a much more efficient manner than at present including ideas, health data, financial assets, automobiles, and government documents. Blockchain technology applies well beyond cryptocurrencies, economics, and markets to all venues of human information processing, collaboration, and interaction including art, health, and literacy.
    Amy Ho

    The Space We Inhabit will delve into the history of the topic of space from an artist's perspective. Space represents the most immediate way in which we interact with our environment and has been a subject of interest in many fields of research. We will take a look at how various thinkers and areas of study have dealt with space and how this has influenced my own practice as an artist working with space as my subject.

    Photos and videos of this evening