Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of February 2024

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Stanford, 13 February 2024 at 12pm California time
Online on Zoom
A series chaired by Piero Scaruffi
Free and open to everybody

The LASERs (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) are an international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole international series and the dates for the Bay Area. Send an email to "scaruffi at stanford dot edu" if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs.
Kafka died 100 years ago, in 1924, leaving behind a meager literary corpus but his influence on the culture of the century has few equals. We'll pay our interdisciplinary tribute to Kafka with talks from three eminent scholars.

Click here to register or here.

Stanley Corngold (Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University) is one of the world’s experts on Kafka, having published extensively on his work, including several translations, most recently “Expeditions to Kafka”. In 2009 Corngold co-founded and directed the Princeton Kafka Network with Oxford and Humboldt Universities.

Ken Krimstein writes and draws cartoons for The New Yorker Magazine as well as gag cartoons for Harvard Business Review and many other publications. He recently embarked on a graphic narrative aboutthe pivotal year in Prague when Einstein became “Einstein,” Kafka became “Kafka,” and everything changed forever, which resulted in the book “Einstein in Kafkaland - How Albert Fell Down the Rabbit Hole and Came Up with the Universe”.

Media artist Claire Pentecost, Professor Emeritus at the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited and lectured internationally. Her installations often address the blurred line between the natural and the artificial, focusing for many years on anthropogenic changes in the indivisible living entity that animates our planet.

If you missed this event, you can view it by clicking on the image:

  • Stanley Corngold (Princeton Univ, Emeritus) on "Franz Kafka in 2024"
  • Ken Krimstein (New Yorker) on "Einstein in Kafkaland"
  • Claire Pentecost (Media Artist & Art Inst of Chicago, Emeritus) on "Kafka, the Comfortless Muse"

  • Stanley Corngold has published widely on modern German writers and thinkers (e.g.,Dilthey, Nietzsche, Musil, Kraus, Mann, Benjamin, Adorno, among others), but for the most part he has translated and written on the work of Franz Kafka. With Benno Wagner and Jack Greenberg, he co-edited, with commentary, a translation of Kafka’s main office writings, which describes the place of these documents in the history of worker’s compensation insurance as well as their importance for an understanding of Kafka’s novels and stories. On his retirement in 2009, Corngold received the Howard T. Behrman Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities at Princeton. In fall 2009, he conducted four seminars on his own work at King's College, Cambridge, where he was a Visiting Fellow; in fall 2010, he was a Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. Together with Benno Wagner, he published "Franz Kafka: The Ghosts in the Machine", which again highlights Kafka's professional experience as an influential insurance lawyer. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Between 2009-2012, together with Michael Jennings, Corngold founded and directed the Princeton Kafka Network with Oxford and Humboldt Universities. With Jennings, he also co-edited a special issue of Monatshefte devoted to papers given at the Kafka Network at Princeton in 2010. With Ruth Gross, Corngold co-edited a volume of essays in 2011 on Kafka titled Kafka for the Twenty-First Century; in 2012, he translated Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther. Since then, he has published a Norton Critical Edition of the same eighteenth-century novel (2012) and a Modern Library edition of Kafka’s Metamorphosis (2013). In 2018, Princeton brought out his intellectual biography "Walter Kaufmann—Philosopher, Humanist, Heretic"; and he recently published two new books: "The Mind in Exile: Thomas Mann in Princeton" (Princeton University Press, 2022) and "Weimar in Princeton: Thomas Mann and the Kahler Circle" (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022). His latest book, titled "Expeditions to Kafka", consisting of new and selected essays, appeared with Bloomsbury Academic in 2023. He now writes regularly for the journal First of the Month.
  • Ken Krimstein is a graphic novelist, a writer, a biographer, and a cartoonist for The New Yorker. His 2018 book The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt has been translated into nine languages and won a Bernard Brommell award for biography, the first graphic narrative to do so. His 2021 book When I Grow Up - The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers was named an NPR Best Book of the Year, and is coming out in France in January. His next book, Einstein in Kafkaland - How Albert Fell Down the Rabbit Hole and Came Up with the Universe comes out later this year. He has been full-time faculty in the College of Communication at DePaul University, and has taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The School of Visual Arts in New York, and The Spertus Institute. He earned a BA in History at Grinnell College and a MA from Medill at Northwestern.
  • Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer who researches the living matters of the unified multi-dimensional being that animates the critical zone of our planet. Pentecost’s work is driven by research and inspired by questions of form. She advocates for the role of the amateur in the production and interpretation of knowledge, while a longstanding interest in nature and artificiality predicates her recent responses to anthropogenic climate change. Her soil-erg project of 2012 considered the material of soil as a commodity, proposing a soil-based currency system. She is a founding member of Deep Time Chicago, a collective exploring cultural change in response to ecological crisis, and the Anthropocene Commons, an international research network. Pentecost has exhibited work at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; 13th Istanbul Biennial; White Chapel Gallery, London; 3rd Mongolian Land Art Biennial; Sursock Museum, Beirut; Times Museum; Guangzhou; MCA Chicago; MSU Broad Museum; Museum of Contemporary Photography; DePaul Art Museum; Corcoran Museum; Milwaukee Art Museum; Transmediale 05; and many others. She is represented by Higher Pictures Generation, New York, and is Professor Emeritus at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she taught for 25 years. With Brian Holmes she directs Watershed Art&Ecology, an experimental cultural space.
  • 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. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.

Photos and videos of this evening


The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Stanford Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine; by Chemical Engineering and by Continuing Studies.