Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 22 January 2019

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 22 January 2019, 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: Patricia G. Lange (California College of the Arts) on "Is Ranting Ever a Good Idea?" Forms of civic engagement, which include collective identification of problems, are increasingly moving to online spaces... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Reza Zadeh (Stanford Institute for Computational Mathematics) on "Computer Vision Made Simple" Machines are opening their eyes via neural networks... 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: Rhonda Holberton (Media Artist) on "Best of Both Worlds: Physical Ramifications of Digitally Engineered Reality(s)" The creators of virtual worlds should take into account the collective needs of the physical one... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Chip Lord (Media Artist) on "Space, Time, and Architecture" Climate projects by Ant Farm and Chip Lord ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Rhonda Holberton's multimedia installations make use of digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of art production. Holberton received her MFA from Stanford University and her BFA from the California College of the Arts. She was a distinguished lecturer at Stanford University and is currently a professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University. Holberton was a CAMAC Artist in Residence at Marnay-sur-Seine, France and awarded a Fondation T‚not Fellowship, Paris, France. Her recent solo exhibitions include Transfer Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (San Francisco, CA), City Limits Gallery and Royal Nonesuch (Oakland, CA), and the Berkeley Art Center (Berkeley, CA). Holberton's 3D Animation, Best of Both Worlds, was recently acquired by SFMOMA and her work is included many notable private collections. She was recently nominated for a three person exhibition for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, curated by SFMOMA's Curator Jenny Gheith. Holberton has been included in exhibitions at the Yerba Center Center for the Arts, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and the San Francisco Arts Commission and was selected for a solo presentation in ZONA MACO SUR 2016 in Mexico City. Her work has been featured in Paper Journal, Terremoto Magazine, PLASMA, SFAQ, Art in America, Art Practical and Daily Serving, among others. Holberton is represented by CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions.
  • Patricia G Lange is an Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts (CCA). Her work focuses on technical identity performance and use of video to express the self. She is the author of Kids on YouTube: Technical Identities and Digital Literacies (Routledge, 2014). She also produced and directed the film Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media (2013) which provides a diachronic look at the rise and fall of YouTube as a social media site. Hey Watch This! was screened in Paris at Ethnografilm (2014), an international film festival showcasing films that visually depict social worlds. Her work has appeared in seminal collections such as The YouTube Reader and Video Vortex Reader: Responses to YouTube, as well as numerous publications and journals. She was also named an early influential vlogger and invited to reflect on her work in the Online Lives 2.0 issue of Biography. She also teaches undergraduate courses in: digital cultures; anthropology of technology; new media and civic action; space, place & time; and ethnography for design.
  • Chip Lord (Media Artist) holds a M.Arch degree from Tulane University, and was a founding partner of Ant Farm in 1968. With Ant Farm he produced the video art classics Media Burn and The Eternal Frame and the public sculpture, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo Texas. His work moves between video, photography and installation, often in collaboration with other artists. Video works by Lord are in the collections of MOMA, New York; SFMOMA; The Pompidou Centre, Paris; the Tate Modern, London; LACMA; the FRAC Centre, Orleans, FR; and other museums. He lives in San Francisco and is Professor Emeritus in the Film & Digital Media Department at U C Santa Cruz.
  • 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.
  • Reza Zadeh is CEO at Matroid and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. His work focuses on Machine Learning, Distributed Computing, and Discrete Applied Mathematics. Reza received his PhD in Computational Mathematics from Stanford under the supervision of Gunnar Carlsson. His awards include a KDD Best Paper Award and the Gene Golub Outstanding Thesis Award. He has served on the Technical Advisory Boards of Microsoft and Databricks. As part of his research, Reza built the Machine Learning Algorithms behind Twitter's who-to-follow system, the first product to use Machine Learning at Twitter. Reza is the initial creator of the Linear Algebra Package in Apache Spark. Through Apache Spark, Reza's work has been incorporated into industrial and academic cluster computing environments. In addition to research, Reza designed and teaches two PhD-level classes at Stanford: Distributed Algorithms and Optimization (CME 323), and Discrete Mathematics and Algorithms (CME 305).

Extended abstracts:

In today's political climate, concerns abound about appropriate ways to express the self and discuss problems in meaningful ways. Ranting is a diverse genre that since the time of Cicero has been associated with attack and invective. At the same time, research has shown that ranting as a genre offers disempowered ranters psychical relief. Many rants on YouTube address problems that are collectively experienced but not always easy to solve. Drawing on clips of rants and analyses of ranting as a genre, this talk will explore why YouTubers choose to rant about problems they experience on the site. It will analyze whether viewers see rants as inappropriate emotional forms or as necessary first steps towards action. Forms of civic engagement, which include collective identification of problems, are increasingly moving to online spaces. It is therefore vital that online platforms are shaped to meet the growing demand for working out issues of collective concern online. But what happens when such platforms challenge vernacular expression, such as through rapacious copyright removals of videos, excessively commercial orientation of promoted content, and layouts and designs that inhibit rather than promote individual and collaborative expression? Ranters on YouTube use productive forms of the genre not just to release individual emotions but to propose and create change.

A chronotropic talk that visits “environmental” projects by Ant Farm from the 1970’s and zooms through Lord’s video works in order to land on recent video portraits of various cities in the Anthropocene. Projects shown include Cadillac Ranch, of course, but also Clean Air Pod, Aerosol Arsenal, and Miami Beach Elegy in relation to the current climate emergency.

We are living through a crisis of reality. Recent world-wide elections have revealed many people living in parallel, but rarely overlapping, realities. Today, ubiquitous screens mediate bodily experiences of the physical world. In turn, we are beginning to see digital content shaping material reality. Technologies to deliver Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will soon become as common as smartphones are today. At the same time, the material environment and physical bodies living within it are approaching a critical moment of climate-induced destabilization that can only be mitigated by collective action. If VR can create a situation in which the user's entire environment is determined by the creators of the virtual world, then it is imperative that the creators of virtual worlds take into account the collective needs of the physical one.

How Computers are opening their eyes via Neural Networks. We will cover a quick introduction to convolutional neural networks followed by live demos to show their capabilities.

Photos and videos of this evening