Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of March 14, 2016

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, March 14, 2016
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...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Jenn Smith (Mills College) on "Family Matters in Wild Mammals" Cooperation is common in mammalian societies... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Philip Sabes (UCSF/ Neuroscience) on "Brain-Machine Interfaces" Brain-Machine Interfaces offer the promise of helping disabled patients... 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: Vanessa Sigurdson (Autodesk Artist in Residence) on "Autodesk Artist in Residence" The Pier 9 AIR program at Autodesk... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: John Law (Cacophony Society, Burning Man) on "Chaos, Cacophony and the Counterculture - How the San Francisco Underground made your life weirder" The Suicide Club, the Cacophony Society and the Burning Man Festival were typical of the spontaneous creativity of the Bay Area... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • John Law (Cacophony Society, Burning Man) was a member of the Suicide Club, a primary member and principal organizer of the Cacophony Society, and a co-founder of the Burning Man festival. He co-authored "Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society" (2013) and has spoken internationally about the San Francisco counterculture.
  • Philip Sabes (UCSF/ Neuroscience) is a neuroscientist and neural engineer and a Professor of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Sabes' laboratory works to understand how the brain controls movement, and in particular the role of sensory information and learning. His lab also applies their scientific findings toward the development of Brain Machine Interfaces to help people with severe sensory and motor loss, such as spinal cord injury. Dr. Sabes currently holds the Jack D. and DeLoris Lange Endowed Chair in Cell Physiology at UCSF.
  • 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.
  • Vanessa Sigurdson (Autodesk) is the Artist in Residence (AIR) Program Manager at Autodesk's Pier 9 Workshop. With over a decade of experience in design and digital fabrication, Vanessa has worked with artists and fabrication companies worldwide to combine modern technologies with traditional art making practices. Vanessa joined Autodesk in 2013, and has facilitated over 100 artist in exploring new methods of creating their work. Since then, her clan of wacky and diverse AiRs have been re-inventing the word `craft' and changing how we look at art today.
  • Jenn Smith is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Mills College. Her research integrates perspectives from evolutionary ecology, animal behavior, and physiology in an effort to understand how natural selection and current conditions shape decision-making in mammals. She combines naturalistic observations on free-living mammals with field experiments, genetic and endocrine analyses, and social network statistics to test evolutionary theory. Her work focusing on understanding the evolution of cooperation, leadership and social structures to reveal commonalities among mammalian societies. Her research includes studies of leadership roles in spotted hyenas in Kenya (covered by BBC News), the origins of cooperation in human societies , cover by NPR, and, most recently, a local field project focuses on, The Behavioral Ecology California Ground Squirrels at Briones Park.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
Fromm Hall is behind the church, best accessed from Parker Ave.

Extended abstracts

A quick walk through some of the fringe movements of the Bay Area that contributed to keep alive its creative spirit during the 1990s and 2000s.
Brain-Machine Interfaces offer the promise of helping disabled patients by allowing them to control prosthetic limbs, computer interfaces, or other devices directly from the neural signals in their brain. Two key challenges remain before these devices will be widely available in the clinic: the development of practical and reliable physical interfaces and the achievement of performance levels nearing those of natural movement control. The second of these will require not only effective "read-out" of intended movements, but also "write-in" of sensory feedback. I will talk about the basic science and recent technical advances in this field, including work from my lab.
The Pier 9 Artists in Residence (AIR) program gives artists, makers, and fabricators a chance to work with us in our digital fabrication workshops at Autodesk. Our artists explore, create, and document cutting-edge projects, and share them with the DIY community.

Cooperation is common in mammalian societies, including those of humans. Yet, it is remains unclear why individuals should sustain personal costs to help others. One novel solution to this evolutionary puzzle is the possibility that kin selection might favor helpful behaviors directed towards genetic relatives if individuals indirectly pass on genes shared with their relatives. Here, I first report on recent methodological advances for studying kinship among wild mammals. I then synthesize evidence for cooperation among kin in social mammals by d raw from my research on long-term field studies of cooperation in female-dominated hyenas living in Kenya, yellow-bellied marmots in Rocky Mountains, and California grounds squirrels in the San Francisco Bay Area. In doing so, I elucidate the relative influences of evolutionary and ecological forces favoring cooperation via kin selection in social mammals.

Photos and videos of this evening