Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 8 February 2017

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, 8 February 2017
Soda Hall (corner of Hearst and LeRoy), Room 310
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 310
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: Carlo Sequin (UC Berkeley) on "Klein bottles and Super-Bottles" Super-Bottles are topological models that can yield artistic creations... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics) on "Designing Good Robots" In science fiction the robots are either very good, or very bad. But in reality what are we building today, and how can we build robots that do the best things for our future? 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: Marjorie Schwarzer on "An Elephant in the Closet: The history of habitat dioramas" Dioramas should be appreciated as a powerful fusion of art and science... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Carrie Hott (Media Artist) on "Nets for the Unweighable: a Brief History of Nets" From the earliest known nets to the development of the electric grid... 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
    • Carrie Hott (Media Artist) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California. Through her practice, she works to find origins, connect tangents, and locate invisible histories. Her research interests include whales, artificial light, blackouts, lace, nets, tools, and the systems often employed to learn about our surroundings. Hott was born in Fort Collins, Colorado and grew up in the southwestern United States between Arizona, Colorado, and California. She received her BFA in Painting with a minor in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2003, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007. In addition to working in installation, video, and drawing, she regularly completes related projects that include mixed media presentations, classes, and various collaborative endeavors. She is a past founder of Royal NoneSuch Gallery in Oakland and Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn. She is currently one half of JOAN 5000.
    • Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launch, global robotics startup competition, cofounder of Robot Garden hackerspace, mentor at hardware accelerators and startup advisor. As well as being an active angel investor in robotics startups, Andra is a Director at Robohub.org, the global site for news and views on robotics. Andra graduated as an ABC film, television and radio technician in 1986 and obtained a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia, in 1998, where she taught interaction design from 2009 to 2010. She obtained her MA in Human-Robot Culture at the University of Sydney, Australia in 2011, building on a background as a robot geek, STEM educator and film-maker and was selected as an HRI Pioneer in 2010. Andra has keynoted at major conferences including the WebSummit in 2014 and 2015, Pioneers Festival 2014, JavaOne 2014, Solid 2014 and Collision 2015. See JavaOne 2014 Community Keynote highlights: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/live/on-demand/index.html#javaone 52-Insights: "The Future is Here: How Robotics Will Change Our Lives" Interview: http://www.52-insights.com/inspirations/the-future-is-here-how-robotics-will-change-our-lives/
    • 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.
    • Marjorie Schwarzer co-directs the Museum Studies Graduate program at University of San Francisco. An award-winning museum scholar and educator, her book, Riches, Rivals and Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America is in its second printing and she has authored over 50 articles on a range of contemporary museum issues. Check out our blog: http://usfmuse.wordpress.com
    • 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.

    Extended abstracts:

    I will explore many different forms of nets that enlace, trace, and weave in visible and invisible ways. Following the path of a wandering research practice, we will walk a line from the earliest known nets to the development of the electric grid.

    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.

    Habitat dioramas occupy significant square footage in most natural science museums. Yet, their value has been hotly debated. Created before the age of jet travel and the Discovery Channel, and more theatrical than scientifically accurate, are they still relevant as museum exhibitions? Some museum professionals regard dioramas not only as misleading, but boring and static, while visitors have called them creepy displays of dead animals. Perhaps, however, we can appreciate them as a powerful fusion of art and science. "Dioramas," writes former natural science curator Stephen Quinn, "are an illusion created not to deceive us, but ... to tug at our hearts and open our minds." In this talk, drawn from research I conducted for the Oakland Museum of California, I will illustrate this point through discussing the evolution of the diorama as a fascinating artifact that reveals the relationship between urban dwellers and our fantasies about wildlife.

    In science fiction the robots are either very good, or very bad. But in reality what are we building today, and how can we build robots that do the best things for our future? Until recently, helpful robots have been just science fiction. For the last 50 years, real robots have been confined to a few large industries, kept behind closed doors. They haven't been 'socialized' or safe to be around. But advances in technology mean that new 'collaborative robots' are able to work alongside people safely. What sort of robots do we really need?
    Photos and videos of this evening