Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of July 7, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, July 7, 2014
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - 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...

  • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
  • 7:00-7:25: Alan Rath (Digital Video Sculptor) on "Irrational Exuberance" "Irrational" kinetic sculptures vs "Rational" digital videos... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: David Glowacki (Bristol University and Stanford University) on "Modeling Humans as Energy Fields" How to transform people into energy fields and give them a glimpse into the invisible atomic world that surrounds them all the time... 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: Jackie Quinn (Google, formerly Autodesk Bio/Nano Programmable Matter Group) on "Communicating Synthetic Biology" The Synthetic Biology Open Language is an open-source standard for biological design... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Catherine King (International Museum of Women) on "Imagining Equality: Transformational Media Creating Inspiration, Awareness, and Action on Women's Human Rights" Abstract forthcoming... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • David Glowacki is a Royal Society Research Fellow presently based in San Francisco. He holds joint appointments at Stanford University and the University of Bristol (UK). With a Master of Arts in cultural theory and a PhD in chemical physics, he has a growing international reputation spanning both computational nano-physics and interactive digital art, with a growing number of high-profile publications in both areas. David is also the creator of danceroom Spectroscopy (dS), an interactive digital framework that fuses his multi-disciplinary interests, which has been used to create a dance piece entitled Hidden Fields. dS has been displayed at leading European cultural institutions, including Germany's ZKM Centre for Art and Media, London's Barbican Arts Centre, and the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. For more information, see www.glow-wacky.com
  • Catherine King, , Executive Producer at Global Fund for Women, has a passion for the power of media and the arts to create awareness and action on social justice issues. As Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs at the International Museum of Women from 2007-2014, she was responsible for developing award-winning online media projects, social media advocacy campaigns, pop-up installations, public programs, and international partnerships. Major projects included Muslima: Muslim Women's Art & Voices, MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, Economica: Women and the Global Economy, and Women, Power and Politics. Prior to IMOW, Catherine served for six years as Chief Curator of Exhibitions and Programming for the San Francisco Public Library. Before that she led content development for several of the first online education brands including Dummies.com and HungryMinds.com. In previous positions she directed digital storytelling for emerging mobile media platforms at Visible Interactive and Antenna Audio for clients including the Smithsonian Institution, Lucasfilm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Catherine has consulted to the Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and was on staff at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She holds a degree in Art History from Smith College and studied at the Université de Paris (La Sorbonne) and Institut d'Études Politiques.
  • Jackie Quinn is a software engineer by trade, and a synthetic biologist at heart. She currently serves as editor for the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) standard and lead for the SBOL Visual working group. She is interested in the development of biology as an engineering and design field, and loves design languages, programming languages, natural languages, and languages of all sorts. Jackie graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Harvard University in 2012, and has spent the past two years working in Autodesk's Bio/Nano Programmable Matter research group. She has recently transitioned to Google.
  • Alan Rath, a pioneer in the field of electronic art, received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982. His contributions to the field of contemporary sculpture and new media have received significant acknowledgement worldwide. His work is in such major collections as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Hara Museum (Tokyo). Rath lives in San Francisco, CA.
  • Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist 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 "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room

See the campus map and directions

Extended abstracts


The International Museum of Women (IMOW), now part of Global Fund for Women, produces innovative online media projects and advocacy campaigns to create inspiration, awareness and action on vital global issues for women. The recent merger with Global Fund for Women combines IMOW's unique skills and content with Global Fund's deep expertise in women's human rights globally. The merger brings together resources and advocacy for the world's women, fueling the joint organizations ability to illuminate critical issues, tell important stories, reach new audiences and spur wider action for gender equality. Imagining Equality: Your Voices on Women's Human Rights, an online media project launching in July 2014, explores women's human rights through the crowd-sourced art, voices, and stories of women from around the globe. As the United Nations prepares to create a new set of international development goals, Global Fund for Women intends to spark a dynamic, popular conversation about the future of women's rights and the post 2015 agenda for women. Visit the preview site at http://imaginingequality.imow.org/.


Alan Rath will discuss some of his recent "Irrational" kinetic sculptures and contrast them with earlier "Rational" digital video works. His move to "Irrational" work was triggered by the recent proliferation of "Rational" artworks exhibited everywhere and his own boredom with "Rational" methods and processes.


Humans are basically fancy energy fields. That's what modern physics tells us, and that's also the premise of danceroom Spectroscopy (dS), a new multi-award winning technology that utilises 3d capture to transform people into energy fields and give them a glimpse into the invisible atomic world that surrounds them all the time, but which cannot be seen with the naked eye. dS has been used to construct the world's first large scale, interactive atomic dynamics experience. At the frontier of Sci-Art collaborations, dS explores new languages and crossovers on the interface of physics, digital art, interactive technology, and interactive supercomputing. It has a range of scientistic and artistic applications, and has recently been used to create a dance performance entitled Hidden Fields, a piece in which the motion of the dancers' energy fields are used to generate all of the sound and graphics in real-time. In this talk, Glowacki will touch on the scientific origins of the dS project, the technology which makes it possible, the collaborations which it sparked, and show some demos of what it looks like. For more information, see www.danceroom-spec.com


Synthetic Biology is a rapidly evolving field with the potential for huge impact on the future of our food, heath, medicine, environment, and energy landscape. As we come to see biology as a design space and test the limits of what we can engineer, clear communication around design composition and potential impact of our work becomes an essential feature of the research and development landscape. In this talk, Jackie Quinn will introduce the Synthetic Biology Open Language http://www.sbolstandard.org, an open-source standard for biological design specification, and discuss some of the challenges of communicating within and about this emerging field.

Photos and videos of this evening