Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of June 11, 2015

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, June 11, 2015
c/o Stanford University
Li Ka Shing Center, Room 120
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

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. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
Where: Stanford University, Li Ka Shing Center, Room 120
Good map and driving directions here. There should be ample parking in the structure on corner of Campus Drive West and Roth Way. (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 4pm.
What (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Tito Jankowski (Biocurious) on "Are You BioCurious? Amateur biotech from Entertainment to Entrepreneurship" BioCurious was the first community Biotech lab in the world, with the motto "experiment with friends"... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Bruno Olshausen (Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at UC Berkeley) on "Modeling the Neural Basis of Visual Perception, and Implications for Technology and Art" Biological vision systems have evolved the ability to acquire information about the environment from measurements of light intensity... 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:
  • Paul DeMarinis (Stanford/ Music) on "Erased Dots and Rotten Dashes" Making music out of anomalies... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Maria McVarish (Stanford/ Modern Thought and Literature) on "Mapping the Uncharted: Non-Cartesian Spaces" San Jose's Winchester Mystery House offers a rich case study in how ghosts come to haunt the spatial and psychical "hollows" of popular culture... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
    • Paul DeMarinis has been working as an electronic media artist since 1971 and has created numerous performance works, sound and computer installations and interactive electronic inventions. One of the first artists to use computers in performance, he has performed internationally, at The Kitchen, Festival d'Automne a Paris, Het Apollohuis in Holland and at Ars Electronica in Linz and created music for Merce Cunningham Dance Co. His interactive audio artworks have been exhibited at the I.C.C. in Tokyo, Bravin Post Lee Gallery in New York, The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the 2006 Shanghai Biennale. He has received major awards and fellowships in both Visual Arts and Music from The National Endowment for the Arts, N.Y.F.A., N.Y.S.C.A., the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and was awarded the Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Ars Electronica in 2006. Much of his recent work deals with the areas of overlap between human communication and technology. Major installations include "The Edison Effect" which uses optics and computers to make new sounds by scanning ancient phonograph records with lasers, "Gray Matter" which uses the interaction of flesh and electricity to make music, "The Messenger" that examines the myths of electricity in communication and recent works such as "RainDance" and "Firebirds" that use fire and water to create the sounds of music and language. Public artworks include large scale interactive installations at Park Tower Hall in Tokyo, at the Olympics in Atlanta and at Expo in Lisbon and an interactive audio environment at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at The Exploratorium and at Xerox PARC and is currently a Professor of Art at Stanford University in California.
    • Tito Jankowski (Biocurious) is one of 6 co-founders of BioCurious, the first world's first community biotech lab in Sunnyvale. He is a proponent of open source hardware, biotech hackerspaces, and synthetic biology and his work is covered by the New York Times, Wired, Nature, and GQ France, and "Maker Pro" by Maker Media. He's also the co-founder of Pearl Biotech, which makes tools for working with DNA, and an evangelist with Crowd Supply, helping open source products get crowdfunded.
    • Maria McVarish (Stanford) is an architect, artist, and visual researcher practicing in San Francisco. She has lectured in architecture at UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design and, since 1996, has taught interdisciplinary studies, critical theory, and design at CCA. Recent and upcoming public lectures include "Hazard Figures: Heritage, Memorial and Wasting in Appalachia" at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (April 2012); "Imaginary Spaces," at San Jose State University (November 2009); "in Visible Memory," at Syracuse University (October 2008); and "Design in the Unconscious" for the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (June 2007). Her essays, drawings, and sculpture have been published in Memory Connection journal, Diacritics, Zyzzava, How(ever), and Architecture California, the journal of the American Institute of Architects. Her architectural work has been featured in California Home and Design, Southface journal and CNN's television series Earth-Wise. She is currently a doctoral student in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford (not teaching at CCA).
    • Bruno Olshausen received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology. He did his postdoctoral work in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University, and at the Center for Biological and Computational Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty at the University of California at Davis in 1996, and in 2005 joined UC Berkeley, where he is currently Professor of Neuroscience and Optometry. He also directs the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, a multidisciplinary group focusing on building mathematical and computational models of brain function.
    • 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 "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.

    Extended abstracts:


    Bill Gates is quoted as saying that if he were just starting his career today, he would be a biohacker. 5 years ago, we opened the first community biotech lab in the world, BioCurious with the motto "experiment with friends". We're a community of amateurs, scientists, engineers who are curious about biotechnology. Come learn about how this new model for innovation is reinventing the field of biotechnology, and how you can apply this creative approach to your own work.

    The Winchester Mystery House, an historic residence of approximately 160 rooms located at the outskirts of San Jose, California, offers a rich case study in how ghosts come to haunt the spatial and psychical "hollows" of popular culture. Whether you visit the place in person (and spend upwards of $33 for the privilege) or watch one of the many documentaries about it, you're likely to get the same explanation for its "mystery:" the mansion, with its elaborately enfolded interiors, is reputed to be the haunted result of a grieving woman's madness. When architectural space deviates from convention, as it does in the Winchester house, we are confronted by the profound and vacuous emptiness of `space' itself, as the (conceptual) absence against which substance is always posited. In this brief talk, I will discuss Sarah Winchester's remarkable achievement as a `non-Cartesian' space.
    Bruno Olshausen.
    Biological vision systems have evolved the magnificent ability to acquire information about the surrounding environment from measurements of light intensity. How this is done by neurons in the brain remains a profound mystery, and it has evaded the best efforts of engineers to emulate this ability in computers. Here I will discuss current efforts to model the computational processes occurring in the visual system. As we gain more understanding of these internal processes it leads us to improved technologies for the transmission and display of visual information, as well as more effective algorithms for image understanding. New mathematical models of the structure of natural images and how they are encoded by the brain may also lead us to a new understanding of artistic style and aesthetics.
    Photos and videos of this evening