Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 14 January 2020

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
14 January 2020, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and Tami Spector

The LASERs 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 series and the dates for the Bay Area.

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: Lisa K Blatt (Photographer and Video Artist) on "Seeing the Invisible"' Photography and video to explore how landscape may be defined by what is not visible... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Adrienne Mayor (Stanford/ Classics and History and Philosophy of Science) on "Gods and Robots" Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence?... 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: Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics) on "Postponing the Robopocalypse" A reality check on what robots can really do... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Jules Litman-Cleper (Media Artist) on "Unsimulatableness: that which cannot be simulated" Earth Centered Communication Technology, Organic Computation, ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Lisa K Blatt often works in extreme landscapes and examines site, sight, and social and political issues. Cindy Sherman chose and wrote about Blatt, when asked which one photographer Sherman thought was doing groundbreaking work (Smithsonian Magazine (March 2012)). Blatt's art has been exhibited widely internationally, including many museums. Her work has been in the Shanghai Biennial, China, the Havana Biennial, Cuba, Museo de Tigre, Argentina, Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Iceland (solo), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Contemporary Art Platform and Freud Museum, London, Kunstverein Haus, Germany, Wexner Center, Ohio, Mills College Art Museum Oakland (solo), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Bellingham National Museum, Washington, Santa Cruz Museum, San Diego International Airport, Phillips Museum, Washington, DC and Sean Kelly in New York. Her work has received many positive reviews and has been awarded many grants and residencies including from: the National Science Foundation (Antarctica), NASA and Carnegie Mellon, the Kitteredge Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Anderson Ranch, the Neon Museum, The Center for Cultural Innovation Creative Capacity Fund Grant, and the Djerassi Foundation. In 2018, Sandra S. Phillips, Photo Curator Emerita at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, nominated Blatt for both the MACK First Book Award (London) and the Gardner prize (Harvard). Her work is in public and private collections. It has been commissioned for the Sierra Fund's Tribute Trail in California and the J. Michael Bishop Art Collection at University of California, San Francisco, together with 19 other artists including Richard Serra.
  • 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 in USA, China, Australia, Canada, etc. She is also a Visiting Scholar with the UC's CITRIS People and Robots Research Group.
  • Jules Litman-Cleper is a new media artist and theorist born and raised in the Bay Area. Jules is interested in unpacking simulation as a way of knowing, the formation and deformation of patterns in organic systems, perceptual and mathematical aspects of randomness and ecologies: their flows of information, spatial dynamics and protection. These inquiries unfold through visual art, mixed-media installation, writing, sound, research and experimentation. They have taught classes and exhibited work at Krowswork, Aggregate Space, New York Studio School, with performances at The Lab, ATA, CCRMA and more.
  • Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science, investigates natural knowledge contained in myths and oral traditions. Mayor's most recent book is "Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology" (2018). Other books include "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World" (2014) and a biography of Mithradates VI, "The Poison King," a National Book Award finalist (2009). Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor's two books on pre-Darwinian fossil traditions in classical antiquity and in Native America opened a new field within the emerging discipline of Geomythology, and her book on the origins of biological weapons uncovered the ancient roots of biochemical warfare. A research scholar in Classics and the History and Philosophy of Science Program, she is currently a Berggruen Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford.
  • 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.

Extended abstracts:

Landscapes attract Blatt with their light, beauty, simplicity. She stay for their darkness, complexity, and secrets. Blatt's photography and video explore how landscape may be defined by what is not visible, what is memory or what is trace. Referencing landscape artists, light and space artists, politics and pop culture, Blatt's work considers perceptually how one sees and how site and sight are mediated by culture, media and politics. She will discuss a few bodies of work, including her "heatscapes" which she shot at one of the clearest lakes in the world, in Chile, where she camped with international scientists, including from NASA, for a month.

Frankly, robots are rather boring, whereas what we see in the media focuses on exotic robots unlikely to occur in the real world. Being head of tSilicon Valley Robotics, the largest cluster of real robotics innovation and commercialization in the world, I can give you the inside scoop on what robots are fact, and what robots are fiction. And some tips for how society can avoid the much feared robopocalypse.

This is a general artist talk in which I will briefly cover the main themes driving my artistic work and scientific-ish research on: "Generativity," "Organic Computation" and "Unsimulatableness." I'll then show some images of works from projects called "Earth Centered Communication Technology" and "the Primacy of Plants" and talk about how these relate to the themes.

Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence? Long before technology made self-moving devices possible, concepts of artificial life--and qualms about replicating nature--were explored in ancient mythology. Beings that were "made, not born" featured in Greek myths about Jason and the Argonauts, the bronze robot Talos, the sorceress Medea, the craftsman Daedalus, the fire-bringer Prometheus, and Pandora, the artificial woman fabricated by the god of technology Hephaestus,-and in ancient legends of India and China. From the age of myth to the proliferation of real automata in Hellenistic times, the impulse to create artificial life is timeless.

Photos and videos of this evening