Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of March 10, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, March 10, 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:
    Kathrine Worel (Visual Artist) on "Touch Me There" What is the role of plastic art in the digital age?... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50:
    Ellen Fullman (Musician) on "A Compositional Approach Derived from Material and Ephemeral Elements" Acoustics, engineering and musical composition with the Long String Instrument... 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:
    Jeremy Mende (Visual Designer) on "Confrontational Strategies - The Social Mirror". Two recent art installations use different approaches to the idea of the social mirror.... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00:
    Dawn Sumner (UC Davis/ Earth and Planetary Sciences) on "On the CAVE, Creativity and Curiosity" What can we do with virtual objects that we can't with real ones? A holodeck for scientists... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Ellen Fullman is a composer and performer based in Berkeley, California. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager she became inspired by the sounds native to her region: Delta blues music. At the age of one, she was kissed by Elvis, who said to her, "Hi-ya baby!" Fullman studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute where she learned of the work of Harry Partch. Inspired by Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, she suspended long wires in her loft studio in St. Paul, Minnesota and experimented with different forms of manual articulation. Through an accidental discovery of the longitudinal mode of vibration, in 1980 Fullman invented the Long String Instrument, which has remained at the core of her creative life. The process of refining and articulating this instrument has led her to experimenting with wire alloys and gauges; designing resonators and tuning capos; creating a graphic notation form that defines time by distance walked; and the study of natural tuning and North Indian vocal music, among many other things, in her quest to "Let the strings sing their own song." She has recorded extensively with this unusual instrument and has been the recipient of numerous awards, commissions and residencies including: The DAAD Berlin Residency (2000) and Center for Cultural Innovation Investing in Artists Grants for Artistic Innovation (2013) and Artistic Equipment and Tools (2008). Releases include: Through Glass Panes (Important), Fluctuations, with trombonist Monique Buzzart‚ (Deep Listening) and Ort, recorded with Berlin collaborator J”rg Hiller (Choose Records). For more info go to: www.ellenfullman.com
  • Jeremy Mende is a US designer who lives and works in San Francisco, California. Mr. Mende holds a BA in psychology from UCLA and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2000 he founded MendeDesign, a creative practice that balances commercial projects with visual research and public art. Mr. Mende is an associate professor of design at the California College of the Arts, and in 2010-11, he was the Rome Prize Fellow in Design at the American Academy in Rome. Before his career as a designer, Jeremy skippered a mail packet off the west coast of Nova Scotia.
  • 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.
  • Dawn Sumner is a geobiologist interested in how early life evolved on Earth and whether or not Mars may have once hosted microbial life. She explores life in many different ways, ranging from describing the ancient remains of bacteria from remote areas on Earth to characterizing modern bacterial communities living in ice-covered Antarctica lakes to helping run the Curiosity rover on Mars to developing virtual representations of data for improved scientific interpretations. Dawn has several active collaborations with artists that integrate scientific data with novel implementations of visualization technology. In these collaborations, the merged artistic and scientific visions provide unique insights that benefit both the aesthetic and technical understanding of the natural world. Dawn is based in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, where she has been a professor since 1997.
  • Kathrine Worel is a visual artist and curator, she earned her MFA from the San Francisco art institute in New Genres. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Untied States, China, Italy and Spain as well as being held in numerous private collections. She is a SECA Award nominee and has been awarded residencies from Kala Art Institute and The Garage and will soon be relocating to Tokyo, Japan to explore living in the future.

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

Confrontational Strategies: The Social Mirror.
Contemporary culture tends to reward self-interest. An awareness of our globalized way of life, however, underscores the critical importance of collective thought and action. As credible evidence mounts outlining the interconnected social and environmental issues that face us - sea-level rise, climate disasters, natural resource depletion, extreme economic inequality - I'm interested in how we each reconcile individual well-being with the anthem a collective good. Using different immersive strategies my work involves the creation of social mirrors - confrontational experiences that reflect us back to ourselves - highlighting our level of engagement with, or denial of, the social and environmental realities that surround us.

I will discuss two recent installation projects that use different approaches to this idea of the social mirror. The first, a city-wide installation in Rome entitled 100 Years From Now, placed thousands of provocative text-fragments throughout the city to spur broad online dialogue around our sense of responsibility for a collective future. The second, Narcissus, a collaboration with Bill Hsu, used visitor's biometric data and a reflecting pool of poison to suggest our relationship to a decaying natural system.

We see the world in three dimensions, we pick things up, we gain insights from looking at them. Technology allows us to do the same with virtual objects and abstract data. What can we do with virtual objects that we can't with real ones? What insights can we gain by using our vision to explore relationships rendered in virtual worlds? In my presentation, I will describe some explorations of scientific data and artistic expression with a holodeck for scientists, the UCDavis Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences software and hardware environment (http://KeckCAVES.org). Creativity and curiosity lead and emerge from these explorations in unpredictable ways.

Fullman will discusse her experiences in conceiving, designing and working with the Long String Instrument, an ongoing hybrid of installation and instrument integrating acoustics, engineering and composition.


What is the role of plastic art in the digital age? Can static work be truly "interactive"? With a focus on her Braille installations, Kathrine will explore with the audience how the act of touch is intrinsic to the experiencing and co-generation of this work: an act she has interpreted as both deciphering meaning and manifesting desire.

Photos and videos of this evening