Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 15 February 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, 15 February 2018
c/o Stanford University
LiKaShing building - Room LK130
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.
Where: Stanford University, LiKaShing building - Room LK130
There should be ample parking in the structure on corner of Campus Drive West and Roth Way. (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 6pm.
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Audrey Shafer (Stanford Univ/ Medicine) on "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: The First 200 Years " Why is this novel, known as the first science fiction text, so generative... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Qifeng Chen (Intel Labs) on "Photographic Image Synthesis with Cascaded Refinement Networks". An A.I. approach to synthesizing photographic images... 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: Robert Buelteman (Camera-less photographer) on "Photography after the Digital Revolution: Now What?" Are today's technical marvels providing humanity any greater access in interpreting the world?... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Carlo Sequin (UC Berkeley) on "Homage to Eva Hild" The magic of two-manifold sculptures... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

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See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Archive of past LASERs
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • Robert Buelteman is a fine-art photographer whose works connect audience to subject in an emotionally transcendent manner, in the tradition of eastern wisdom and western revelation. He has published fifteen photographic portfolios over his forty years in photography, and three of these, The Unseen Peninsula (1994), Eighteen Days in June (2000), and Signs of Life (2009) were published as award-winning monographs. In 1999, Buelteman left photographic tradition behind in creating Through the Green Fuse, a portfolio of energetic photograms made without cameras, lenses, or computers. Working directly with large sheets of photographic film, living plants are used as a filter through which high-voltage electricity and fiber-optically-delivered light are passed. Buelteman was invited to be a guest at the world-renowned Santa Fe Institute in 2003. Three years later, he completed work on two new portfolios, Sangre de Cristo, the flora of Santa Fe, and Rancho Corral de Tierra, the flora of his hometown of the North coast of California. From 2010 - 2014 he was a guest at Stanford University’s highly restricted Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Since 2010 his art has been the subject of dozens of essays in 26 languages on six continents around the globe, and can be found in public and private collections worldwide, including the Yale University Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Accel-KKR, Bank of America, Abingworth, Adobe Systems, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Stanford University, Xerox, and Nikon.
    • Qifeng Chen received Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University in 2017, and a bachelor's degree in computer science and maths from HKUST in 2012. He does research in computer vision, deep learning, optimization, and computer graphics at Intel Labs. Three of his papers were selected for full oral presentation in ICCV 2015, CVPR 2016 and ICCV 2017. In 2011, he won the 2nd place worldwide at the ACM-ICPC World Finals. He earned a gold medal at IOI 2007.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Audrey Shafer is Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine / Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System; founder and director, Stanford Medicine & the Muse Program, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics; co-director, Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration; and co-founder of Pegasus Physician Writers. Courses she teaches include Medical Humanities and the Arts, and The Art of Observation Skills. Medicine and the Muse is hosting a yearlong initiative, Frankenstein@200, including film, courses and events. She is the author of The Mailbox, a children's novel on posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans. Her poetry on anesthesia, health humanities and family life has been published in journals and anthologies and heard on NPR.

    Extended abstracts:

    Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published in 1818 but the tale and its monster continue to live and multiply in our media, culture and imagination - from cartoons to the National Theatre. Why is this novel, known as the first science fiction text, so generative? Why, when our Medicine and the Muse program put out feelers for interest in a collaborative, distributed initiative with Frankenstein as the basis, did faculty, staff and students from across Stanford University show up - and volunteer to take on parts of the yearlong project? In this talk, I explore these questions, and how the project, from its many parts, has taken on a life of its own.

    Since its inception in the 19th century, photography has developed towards a single goal: greater and greater accuracy of the photographic image. First called "The Pencil of Nature" by Fox Talbot, the English inventor of the positive/negative form of the medium, image fidelity and faithfulness was, and is, the standard by which photographic technology is measured. So now that photographers are regularly producing images that are measured in Gigapixels, now what? Are these technical marvels providing humanity any greater access in interpreting and gaining insight into the world in which we live?

    In this talk, I will present an approach to synthesizing photographic images conditioned on semantic layouts. Given a semantic label map, our approach produces an image with photographic appearance that conforms to the input layout. The approach thus functions as a rendering engine that takes a two-dimensional semantic specification of the scene and produces a corresponding photographic image. Unlike recent and contemporaneous work, our approach does not rely on adversarial training. We show that photographic images can be synthesized from semantic layouts by a single feedforward network with appropriate structure, trained end-to-end with a direct regression objective.

    Eva Hild is a Swedish artist, who creates a large and highly varied collection of 2-manifold sculptures. Most of them are in ceramic, some of them in metal. Her sculptures are not only a pleasure to look at, but they invite mental exploration of questions such as: How many tunnels are there? How many separate rims are there? Is this a 1-sided or 2-sided surface? These sculptures also inspire me to create similar shapes. I do not possess the skills to create large ceramic pieces myself, so I create CAD models of such surfaces, and the more promising ones I then realize on a 3D printer.

    Photos and videos of this evening


    The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Stanford Deans of Research; Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; Medicine; and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Continuing Studies; and the Office of Science Outreach.