Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of May 2012

Constructive Interference of the Arts and Sciences

San Francisco, 14 May 2012
c/o University of San Francisco
See below

An event about Artists and Scientists who work/think/imagine/engage at the intersections of the Arts and Science.

Chaired by Piero Scaruffi (p@scaruffi.com) and Tami Spector
Part of a series of cultural events

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. See below for location and agenda.

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.

See also...

  • The Tenth International Conference on Neuroesthetics
  • Interdisciplinary panels
  • DASERs
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Antarctic Science and the Cultural Arts
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings

    • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
    • 7:00-7:25:
    • Shan Shan Sheng on "Reinterpreting the Great Wall of China for the age of globalization" An artist's view of the critical intersection of Chinese and Western culture Read more
    • 7:25-7:50:
    • Sean Gourley (Quid) on "A global intelligence platform: the new AI - not Artificial Intelligence, but instead Augmented Intelligence" How to Augment our Intelligence as Algorithms Take Over the World. 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:
    • Mark Feldman (Stanford) on "Urban Ecology: New York City's Visionary Urbanism" With most of the world's population living in cities, creating green cities has become essential Read more
    • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

    • Mark Feldman is a scholar of US culture and a lecturer in Stanford University's Program in Writing and Rhetoric, with interests in urban studies, environmental humanities, ecocriticism, and visual culture. In 2009-10 he was a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, pursuing initial research for "Urban Ecology: New York City's Visionary Urbanism." "Urban Ecology" explores how artists, landscape architects, and educators are reimagining New York City, greening the streets and changing perceptions of nature. A native New Yorker, this project stems from his long-standing fascination with this city and environmentalism. Mark's first book manuscript ("Still Wild: The Human and the Animal in American Literary Naturalism") reconsiders literary naturalism's preoccupation with animality, arguing that it was part of a serious and modern attempt to rethink what it meant to be human in an evolutionary age. Mark teaches "The Rhetoric of Urban Life" (an introduction to thinking and writing about cities) and "Speaking About Art: Narrating the Cantor's Collections." Mark also directs, along with John Peterson, a sustainability blog, SUSSingSustinability@Stanford that fosters creative communication (written and visual) of environmental issues.
    • Sean Gourley, Quid co-founder and CTO, did research into the mathematics of war for his PhD thesis at Balliol College, Oxford. His findings appeared as the featured article in "Nature" (December 2009) and were the subject of a popular TED talk (2009). His work on statistical analysis, probability, and algorithm development applied to complex systems and large datasets inspired the creation of Quid. Sean is a Rhodes Scholar PhD in Physics (Complexity) from the University of Oxford; his is undergraduate degree in Physics is from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
    • Shan Shan Sheng has artworks installed in four of the world's tallest buildings, as well as other major works of architecture. Born in Shanghai, Sheng came to United States in 1982 to pursue her academic and artistic interests by attending Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and continued to Harvard University as an artist-in-residence for two years. Now she lives and works in San Francisco. In 1989, she was an official artist for the Asian Art Festival in Chicago. She has spent the last 18 years working in the public art field. She has now completed over 25 large-scale projects in the states of California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, New Mexico, Utah, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and the cities of Chicago,Miami, Denver, Nashville, Cleveland and Charlotte as well as the international cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, London and Venice. Her public art project "Ocean Wave" at port of Miami was awarded the best public art project by Americans for the Arts in 2007. In 2009, Sheng's artwork "Bamboo Forest" at a high speed train station in Taiwan was awarded the best public art project. Sheng has held over thirty one-woman shows in Europe, Asia and America. Most recently, her "Open Wall" project was included in the 53rd Venice Biennale. In 2010 this project was exhibited at the Shanghai World Expo. Her works appear in selected public collections around the world including Harvard University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, China National Art Museum, Beijing, Shanghai International Convention Center, Amoco Building in Chicago, Art Museum of South Texas, Berengo Collection, Venice, Italy and Shanghai Art Museum.
    • 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). He has also written extensively about cinema, literature and the visual arts.

    Address and directions:

    University of San Francisco
    2130 Fulton Street
    SF, CA 94117
    Room: Fromm (FR) building, Maraschi room

    See the campus map and directions

    Extended abstracts

    Unlocking the Power of Play; Situational Design Applications in the Civic Realm. The mission of Nonchalance, a San Francisco based Situational Design agency, is to provoke discovery through visceral experience and pervasive play. This is achieved this by means of interactive narrative, game design, augmented reality, automated environments, event production, installation art, spatial navigation and cultural curation. They are best known for their award winning independent projects The Jejune Institute and Oaklandish.

    Urban Ecology. With most of the world's population living in cities, creating green cities is essential, both for their immediate environmental impacts and how they shape our environmental habits and attitudes. Urban Ecology: New York City's Visionary Urbanism explores how artists, landscape architects, and educators are reimagining New York City, greening the streets and changing perceptions of nature. I analyze pragmatic projects (such as Fresh Kills Park and habitat restoration efforts); as well as more quixotic interventions (such as art projects by Mierle Ukeles, Tattfoo Tan, Walter De Maria, and Public Farm 1 by WORK Architecture). Together these are dramatically changing the built and imagined city. While "Urban Ecology" is not a history, it begins with New York City in the 1970s and early 80s, on the verge of bankruptcy and with neighborhoods literally on fire. Rather than continue to decay, New York has since experienced a profound cultural and natural rebirth. The project moves from elements of urban ecological existence (fire, earth, air, water) to processes and life forms (trees, farming and foraging, animals, garbage). Rather than offer a rigid typology, this organization helps us see cities in a fresh light. These categories are also universal and can provide ways of reimagining other cities, whether Chicago or London or San Francisco.

    How to Augment our Intelligence as Algorithms Take Over the World. Financial markets provide liquidity to the world, in today's society the markets should be considered a public utility something more akin to clean water than the modern day casino that they have become. However financial markets, unlike water, are incredibly complex. Indeed the majority of financial transactions are algorithmic trades made by algorithms or nonhuman software agents. These trades happen at the sub 600ms time frame, beyond the limits of human decision making. This type of trading is called high frequency trading, and the world that it inhabits is the new financial ecosystem. There are predatory algorithms, parasitic algorithms, and algorithms that are preyed upon. These algorithms are not smart at the moment, only capable of processing a few bytes of information and generating a few cents per trade. But they are getting smarter. They are now starting to process unstructured news, the kinds of news that humans read, and they are making decisions that generate more profit. This high speed algorithmic world is not however isolated from the human time-scales of the world we live in. The instability of micro-second crashes is highly correlated with global macro instability. Indeed the 10 stocks with the most micro crashes were all major financial institutions that had massive volatility on a human time scale. The high frequency financial ecosystem is incredibly important, important perhaps as access to water. Yet instability in this system is correlated with instability in the world we humans inhabit. So it is too important to regulate out of existence and too damaging to leave unregulated. We must control a system that is beyond our understanding. To do this we have two choices, we can create software to augment our human abilities. The software equivalent of a robotic exoskeleton. Or we can create fully autonomous algorithmic agents, a new set of algorithmic species, and set them loose into the sub micro second world. Perhaps we can control the system by competing within it. Either way, within the next few years a robot will have read this text, processed it and made a trade before you've even got past the first sentence -- in another 3 more, the machine will be the one writing the article in the first place.

    Reinterpreting the Great Wall of China for the age of globalization. Open Wall is a large-scale glass installation re-interpreting a section of the Great Wall for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Sheng's Open Wall installation captures an interval of China's heritage, translating this historic structure as a temporary zone of glass architecture. This installation represents the newfound openness of contemporary China and engages the contemporary moment as a pivotal moment of global exchange. The sculpture, which is meant to be a reconstruct of the great wall of china, indicates moments of transparency and opacity, marking this critical intersection of Chinese and Western culture. Located along venice's historic grand canal, the temporary pavilion was made up of 2,200 stacked glass bricks, each brick representing the number of years which it took to build the great wall. The glass blocks become a kind of cultural currency which can be moved, redistributed, subtracted and added duration of the installation, expressing the transitory process of globalization. Each brick was engraved with a date and its corresponding chinese lunar year. the dates meant to signify historical moments which have been witnessed by the Great Wall. 564 BC was the year the Great Wall's construction began and 1254 AD was the birth year of Marco Polo, China's link to Venice. The Open Wall project employed glass bricks which are the same size as those that were used to build the Great Wall. The bricks of the Great Wall, when laid out lengthwise edge to edge, could span the entire globe.

    Photos and videos

    Sponsored by:

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
    the University of Illinois' eDREAM Institute,
    the University of Calabria's Evolutionary Systems Group,
    Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology,
    School of Visual Arts Computer Art Department,
    and USF Dean's Office of Arts and Science.