Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 9 January 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 9 January 2018, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Berman Room
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and Tami Spector

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.

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. The event is free and open to everybody. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
See below for location and agenda.
Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs.
See also...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Piero Scaruffi (Author and LASER founder) on "Science, Tech and Art in Modern China" In a few years China is likely to be the largest economy in the world, but it is not clear what impact this will have on science, tech and art ... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Jennifer Berry (Beekeeper and Media Artist) on "Industrial Evolution" What do innovations in design and technology mean to the non-human animals of the planet?... 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: Tamira Elul (Touro University) on "Patterns in Nature and Art" Applying morphometric tools used in cell and developmental biology to discern patterns in nature and art... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Ian Winters (Media Artist) on "Summer, Winter, Spring - Observing the Seasons" A time lapse performance-film observing the seasons of San Francisco... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Jennifer Berry is an artist and biologist who works in the ecotone of urban design and wildlife. As a field biologist and educator, Jennifer highlights the adaptations that nature makes to thrive in cities and altered landscapes, and how the decisions humans make for themselves can ultimately create opportunities for partnership or signal doom for urban animal populations. In her art practice, Jennifer builds artificial environments and then invites wildlife to participate to alter sculptural forms in a collaborative partnership. In working with living organisms, Jennifer seeks to encourage her audiences to consider other animals in our race to evolve beyond the corporal and temporal limitations within which we currently struggle as a species.
  • Tamira Elul is an Associate Professor at Touro University California and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Berkeley. She teachers Cell Biology, Histology and Biophysical Neurobiology, as well as Art of Observation and Vision and Art. Her research focuses on molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the structural development of the nervous system. In recent years, she has pursued several interdisciplinary research projects determining novel patterns in nature and art. She received her B.A. and Ph.D in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • 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 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.
  • Ian Winters is a video & media artist working at the intersections of physical performance, installations / architectural form, and time-based media. In addition to individual work he often collaborates with composers, directors, and choreographers to create staged and site-specific media environments through performance, visual and acoustic media. He teaches and lectures widely on intersection of live media, installation, and performance and is a 2018-2019 visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex Digital Humanities Lab. Recent residencies enclude a master artist residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts and residencies at at Djerassi, Sussex University, Duke, Amherst and Earthdance. Recent collaborations include projects with Myra Melford, Netia Jones, Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, Chitresh Das, Pamela Z, Robert Moses Kin, Francis Ford Coppola, Shotgun Players, Shadowlight Puppet Theater, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, LightBulb Ensemble, DSDT, ODC Dance/ Brenda Way, Lenora Lee Dance, Evelyn Ficarra, blindsight and others. His work (either solo or as a video/media designer) has been seen at many venues worldwide including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ft. Mason Center for the Arts, Zellerbach Hall, the Barbican, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, Zero-1 Gallery, ODC, Z-Space, The Asian Art Museum, Center for New Music-SF, The Kitchen, EMPAC, London City University, The Phoenix- Brighton, Attenborough Centre for the Arts, Conservatory Electro-acoustic Center, Journees de l'Electroacoustique in Paris, London Cutting Edge Festival, OPEN Cinema Festival (RU), CNMAT, Highways, Shotgun Players, The Magic, Luckman Center for Arts (LA).

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
Fromm Hall is behind the church, best accessed from Parker Ave.

Extended abstracts

I will present three art-science research projects, in which we applied morphometric tools used in cell and developmental biology to discern patterns in nature and art. In the first project, we used mathematics to specify similarities between forms in paintings of the Abstract Painter, Sam Francis, and cells in microscopic images of biological tissues. In the second project, the visual programming language Processing was used to make animations of cell dynamics underlying development of the embryonic spinal cord and of the primary visual projection. In the third project, we are employing fractal analysis to analyze branching patterns in three structures found in greatly divergent scales and contexts in nature- a Purkinje Neuron, a Slime Mold and a River Delta.

"Summer, Winter, Spring" is a time lapse performance-film observing the seasons of San Francisco’s UN Plaza / Civic Center through a combined film, performance and live music score created using two years of time-lapse performances in UN Plaza. The project features several collaborators and performers including choreographers Daiane Lopes da Silva (Kinetech Arts), paige starling sorvillo (blindsight), Mary Armentrout (Milkbar); composers Heather Frasch and Evelyn Ficarra along with live percussion by Suki O’Kane and additional performance by Norman Gee, plus many, many guest performers in the films.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous that i founded in 2008, i want to spend 20 minutes talking about the nation that is likely to dominate the next ten years: China. I have spent most of 2016 and 2017 in China, and three of my books have been translated there. In 2014 the Communist Party launched the Internet+ program to create Silicon Valleys all over China and in 2017 the Communist Party made Artificial Intelligence a national priority. I will briefly assess China's progress in scientific disciplines and new technologies. Does China only copy? What has it invented/created that is truly original? Should the West fear that Chinese companies will dominate all sectors? Several Western pundits argue that China needs to become a nation that "invents", not only "copies". My theory is slightly different: China is deliberately using the West as its research center, free of charge. China has no motivation to invest in basic research because it can simply wait for the West to do it and then exploit the results. The "Thousand Talents program" is specifically designed to bring back Chinese-born academics and workers who trained overseas, i.e. to bring back to China the Chinese who learn about the West's most advanced research. At the same time the art world of China is experiencing its own boom: why? and what for? Why would a notoriously censorship-prone regime tolerate and even nurture modern art? (download the slides)

What do innovations in design and technology mean to the non-human animals of the planet, and when does nature become unnatural? The industrial revolution changed every aspect of human life for western civilization, from our cultures and how we organize ourselves to our biological rhythms and resource allocation. Our lives continue to change as new technologies alter the way we move, communicate and think. Many scientists who study earth systems and geological time have come to the agreement that the effect of human technology on the plant has ushered in a new epoch they call the Anthropocene. There has been much focus on the loss of species, but the selective pressure humans exert is speeding up evolution and speciation at an unprecedented rate. How has nature adapted to these changes, and are there ways that nature has benefited from technology? What will the future be like for the other species on the planet, and when does nature transcend the natural?

Photos and videos of this evening