Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 26 March 2019

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 26 March 2019, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Maraschi 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 Bay Area LASERs.
See also...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Juniper Harrower (UC Santa Cruz) on "Merging art and science to save Joshua trees" An eco-art and social-science approach to understand the ways that climate change impacts key symbiotic interactions... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: JD Beltran (Media Artist) on "Oil paintings, Message Machines, and Snowglobes: Retro-fitting future-facing technology with our Analog Past" How analog forms and materials can remain an integral part of new, digitally-based interactive artworks... 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: Andrew Blanton (San Jose State Univ) on "Sound in the Machine" Research on sound and virtual reality at the crossroads of sound art and computer science... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Ge Wang (Stanford CCRMA) on "Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime" What is the nature of design, and the meaning it holds in human life? ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • JD Beltran is an artist, designer, filmmaker, writer, curator, and educator. Beltran taps into hybrids of interactive technology and unexpected materials, forms, and the analog. Her work blends the narrative and the abstract in an ongoing investigation of how materials, in their innate forms, can tell stories. Her films, photographs, interactive sculptures and collaborations with frequent artistic partner Scott Minneman have been exhibited internationally, including at the the MIT Media Lab, the Kitchen NYC, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, the Getty Institute, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and multiple Zero1 New Media Biennials. Her work with Minneman, an interactive snowglobe, achieved the New Technological Art Association Award as one of the top 20 Art+Technology artworks worldwide, and she's been awarded grants and fellowships from the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation, Artadia, Stochastic Labs, the Workshop Residency, the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
  • Andrew Blanton is a media artist and percussionist. He received his BM in Music Performance from The University of Denver (2008) and a Masters of Fine Arts in New Media Art at the University of North Texas (2013). He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University in San Jose California teaching data visualization and a Research Fellow in the UT Dallas ArtSciLab in Dallas Texas. His current work focuses on the emergent potential between cross-disciplinary arts and technology, building sound and visual environments through software development, and and building scientifically accurate representations complex data sets as visual and sound compositions. Andrew has advanced expertise in percussion, creative software development, and developing projects in the confluence of art and science.
  • Juniper Harrower studies the complexities of species interactions under climate change as both an ecologist and an artist. As a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, her research focuses on the symbiotic interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. She uses current science methods and a multi-media place based art practice to investigate the outcomes of human influence on ecological systems. By approaching her study system through art and science, she hopes to better understand the form and function of the organisms she studies as well as share the hidden beauty of these threatened species interactions with others. Harrower's research is published in both science and art scholarly journals, and has contributed to shaping environmental policy and advising the Department of Fish and Wildlife's review of Joshua trees for endangered species status. Her work is exhibited locally and internationally in galleries and museums, and her research and artistic products have received broad exposure in popular media such as National Geographic, the associated press, podcasts, music festivals and conferences.
  • 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.
  • Ge Wang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He researches artful design of tools, toys, games and social experiences. Ge is the architect of the ChucK music programming language, director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra, co-founder of Smule and designer of the Ocarina and Magic Piano apps for mobile phones. He is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and the author of "Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime", a photo comic book about the ethics and aesthetics of shaping technology. Based on the book, Ge is currently teaching a new critical thinking course at Stanford, "Design that Understands Us." .

Extended abstracts:

Human induced global change has greatly contributed to species loss with profound consequences for humans and other organisms. The iconic Joshua tree is threatened by the changing climate and may be extinct from its namesake park within a century. This loss will have countless impacts on local ecosystems and sociocultural identities. To address such complex issues requires innovative approaches that transcend disciplines and inspire sustainable actions. Now is a critical time to seek shared opportunities for art and ecological research, both for interdisciplinary problem solving as well as greater public reach. But with the rapid pace of climate change and the slow adoption of sustainable actions, how can art-science integrated research enhance our understanding of interspecies connections and support the development of sustainable societies? In this talk, I will discuss my ecological, eco-art, and social science approach to understand the ways that climate change impacts key symbiotic interactions for the distribution of Joshua trees, and how ecological research that is connected to an arts practice could affect social change. I will share my recent science discoveries on Joshua tree reproduction and survival under climate change, and how I engage diverse communities in the experience and discourse of species loss through the creation of a stop motion animation, an online dating site for Joshua trees, and an experimental painted soil study.

Blanton will be presenting his current research on sound and virtual reality as well as past projects working with sound as a medium for art creation. His work approaches sound as a poetic medium for the exploration of sound phenomena. Andrew's sound and compositional practice is a hybrid of experimental classical music, sound art, and computer science.

Beltran takes us through a selective survey of her investigations of culture's fascination with and nostalgia for past forms, products, and the physical, prompting a discussion of how analog forms and materials can remain an integral part of new, digitally-based interactive artworks.

What is the nature of design, and the meaning it holds in human life? What does it mean to design well? To design ethically? How can the shaping of technology reflect our values as human beings? Drawing from Ge's new book ARTFUL DESIGN: TECHNOLOGY IN SEARCH OF THE SUBLIME (a 488-page photo comic!), this talk will examine everyday examples of design - tools, musical instruments, toys, and social experience - to consider how we shape technology and the ways in which technology, in turn, shapes our society and ourselves. This is a meditation on design for engineers, builders, and anyone curious (or concerned) about technology - not only what it does for us, but also what it does *to* us.

Photos and videos of this evening