Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 9 August 2017

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, 9 August 2017
Soda Hall (corner of Hearst and LeRoy), Room 405
NOTE: Use the EAST-entrance of SODA Hall entering from LeRoy Avenue.
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 405
NOTE: Use the WEST-entrance of SODA Hall entering from Etcheverry Plaza.
Campus map
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Andrew Blanton (San Jose State Univ) on "Networks as Art and Extended Interface" A philosophical look at the relationship between alchemy and cyberpunk aesthetics of the 1980's... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Erling Wold (Composer) on "The Descent of Opera" Trends in modern opera... 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: Melissa Merencillo (Virtual Reality Designer) on "Where We Are in XR (X Reality: Augmented, Virtual, Mixed and Cinematic Realities)" Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality of the last 12 months... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Brewster Kahle (Founder and director of the Internet Archive) on "Universal Access to All Knowledge" Technological advances, for the first time since the loss of the Library of Alexandria, may allow us to collect all published knowledge... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Archive of past LASERs
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Other LASER series
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • Andrew Blanton is a media artist and percussionist. He received his BM in Music Performance from The University of Denver (2008) and a Masters of Fine Arts in New Media Art at the University of North Texas (2013). He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University in San Jose California teaching data visualization and a Research Fellow in the UT Dallas ArtSciLab in Dallas Texas. His current work focuses on the emergent potential between cross-disciplinary arts and technology, building sound and visual environments through software development, and and building scientifically accurate representations complex data sets as visual and sound compositions. Andrew has advanced expertise in percussion, creative software development, and developing projects in the confluence of art and science.
    • Brewster Kahle is the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet's first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to Amazon.com in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 25 petabytes of data-the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 450 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.
    • Melissa Merencillo is an X-Reality (XR = AR/VR/MR) enthusiast and technophile focusing on social presence, behavioral communication and interaction design in digital reality systems. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from California State University East Bay (2012) and a Master of Arts in Multimedia in Interaction Design also from California State University East Bay (2017). Her work on the collaborative thesis, Project: This Way!, explored the concepts of copresence in VR and was shown at the VR Mixer of the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, and at the symposium, If You Weren't: Playing with Realities in ARG, AR, and VR held at Stanford University in Palo Alto. She is a member of various AR/VR MeetUps and attends industry conferences on AR/VR technology throughout the Bay Area. She is currently the Instructional Support Technician II and Video Lab Coordinator of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay supporting courses in digital video and media production.
    • 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.
    • Erling Wold is a composer, primarily of large and dramatic works. His opera UKSUS is on the life and times of Daniil Kharms. A recording of Certitude and Joy was released on MinMax/Starkland/Naxos. In 2011, his orchestral overture on Certitude and Joy was premiered, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival remounted his adaptation of William Burroughs' Queer. Two of his large works, the Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi for a Cathedral in Switzerland, and his solo opera Mordake, were released on CD. He is cofounder and executive director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. His dance opera Blinde Liebe was performed in Europe and the US with Palindrome Dance of Nurenberg, Germany. His chamber works have been presented in Philadelphia by Relache, in the Bay Area by New Music Works and the Conservatory New Music Ensemble. He was a resident artist at ODC Theater, which presented his opera Sub Pontio Pilato (also performed in Austria), a chamber opera based on William Burroughs' early autobiographical novel Queer, as well as A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, based on the Max Ernst collage novel (European premiere in a German version by the Klagenfurter Ensemble in 2001). He has written a number of pieces for a dancer-controlled interactive video and music system for Palindrome dance. He has also worked with Nesting Dolls in Los Angeles and San Francisco on several theater and dance projects, including 13 Versions of Surrender and I brought my hips to the table. He has co-composed the scores for several Deborah Slater Dance Theater projects with fixed-media sound artist Thom Blum.

    Extended abstracts:

    Starting with an etymological breakdown of alchemy and relating the practice to cyberpunk aesthetics of the 80's and 90's and tying that all to contemporary critical theory/philosophy looking at Merleau-Ponty/Deleuze/Negarestani while showing my work throughout.

    Once considered the stodgiest of art forms, ignored by composers ("Opera Houses? Blow them up!" said Pierre Boulez), and shunned by cutting-edge audiences, modern operas have become chic, with festivals in abundance, and the writing of an opera a rite of passage for newly minted tunesmiths. Erling will talk about what drew him out of his basement studio and into this most social and collaborative world. He will share his productions, performances and adventures here and in Europe, and will touch briefly on the medium's trends. Erling is also a researcher in applications of computers to audio, and he will discuss both his love for technology and his tendency not to use it in his own works.

    I will share first-hand experiences with the evolving technology of AR/VR hardware and software through events and major conferences that took place in the Bay Area this past year. Events include the VRX USA, World's Fair Nano SF, Game Developer's Conference, ALT+CTRL, Silicon Valley VR Expo and XTech Expo. At these events, I demoed technology and spoke with developers and designers who are creating new methods for users to experience digital reality systems in ways that we thought would only exist in futuristic movies. Through VR haptic technology we can feel the 3D objects in VR with our fingers or feel the vibrations of the VR environment through our chest, by using wearable EEG sensors we can visually monitor our brain activity through an app or use our minds to manipulate objects in a game or control drones in flight, there is the ability to now smell in VR environments with microfans and artificial scents embedded in VR headsets, or attend holographic meetings in a virtual space where you can see the actual bodies of other people and not just their artificial avatars. The Bay Area has numerous events and opportunities to experience the possibilities and potential of AR/VR technology. We live in an area where we can learn about where this technology is going and what our future reality may become.

    Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public webpage ever created and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By using mostly existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this, as well as compensate authors, within the current worldwide library budget. Technological advances, for the first time since the loss of the Library of Alexandria, may allow us to collect all published knowledge in a similar way. But now we can take the original goal another step further to make all the published works of humankind accessible to everyone, no matter where they are in the world. Thomas Jefferson's statement that "All that is necessary for a student is access to a library" may be an exaggeration, but access to information is a key ingredient to education and an open society. Will we allow ourselves to re-invent our concept of libraries to expand and to use the new technologies? This is fundamentally a societal and policy issue. These issues are reflected in our governments' spending priorities, and in law.

    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996 with the mission to provide "Universal access to all Knowledge." The organization seeks to preserve the world's cultural heritage and to provide open access to our shared knowledge in the digital era, supporting the work of historians, scholars, journalists, students, the blind and reading disabled, as well as the general public. The Internet Archive's digital collections include more than 25 petabytes of data: 460 billion Web captures, moving images (2.2 million films and videos), audio (2.5 million recordings, 140,000 live concerts), texts (8 million texts including 3 million digital books), software (100,000 items) and television (3 million hours). Each day, 2-3 million visitors use or contribute to the archive, making it one of the world's top 250 sites. It has created new models for digital conservation by forging alliances with more than 450 libraries, universities and national archives around the world. The Internet Archive champions the public benefit of online access to our cultural heritage and the import of adopting open standards for its preservation, discovery and presentation.

    Photos and videos of this evening