Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of May 5, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, May 5, 2014
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - FR 110 - Maier 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: Terry Johnson (UC Berkeley) on "Synthetic Biology: Teaching Old Cells New Tricks" Synthetic biology aims to design cells capable of drug synthesis... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Chhoti Rao (USF) on "India's Contemporary Art Scene" In our age of globalization much attention is focused on Asia... 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: 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
  • 8:35-9:00: Ashley Bellouin (Musician) on "In Search of an Eternal Present" Music that invites the audience to experience an eternal present... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Ashley Bellouin's work explores the merging of sound art, electro-acoustic composition, and instrument building. She focuses on the studies of sonology, psychoacoustics, and the interaction between sound and architecture. Her compositions emphasize and exploit the sonic potential contained within a single musical gesture, regularly using electronics to develop latent qualities. Spatialization, beat frequencies, auditory illusions, and microtonal tunings are frequent compositional tools. Ashley holds an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College, where she was awarded the Frog Peak Collective Experimental Music Award. She has presented her work at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Soundwave ((5)) Festival, the 26th Annual SEAMUS National Conference, the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, UC Santa Cruz, and Stanford University, among other venues. She has additionally been awarded a YBCAway grant from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and has held residencies at the Paul Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency Center, the UC Berkeley Center for New Media, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Ashley previously worked for Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments and currently works for Dave Smith Instruments in San Francisco.
  • Terry Johnson has a master's degree in chemical engineering from MIT and is currently teaching Bioengineering at UC Berkeley. He hopes that by doing so, he will be giving students the tools that they will need to repair him as he gets older. He teaches courses in a wide range of subjects, displaying a versatility that has prevented him from achieving any actual expertise. In 2010 he received the Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching, and was one of the recipients of Berkeley's 2013 Distinguished Teaching Awards. He is also co-author of the popular science book "How to Defeat Your Own Clone (and other tips for surviving the biotech revolution)."
  • 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.
  • Born and raised in Bombay, India, Chhoti Rao has been a resident of San Francisco since late 2007. She has attended Universities in the US and the UK here she studied History, Art History and Decorative Arts. Currently she is a Master's candidate in Museum Studies at the University of San Francisco and is driven by her passion for the visual arts, its practice, presentation and interpretation across the globe. With fifteen plus years in the art industry spent as an auction house manager and art consultant she is now shifting her focus from art sales to art appreciation in the international museum field. Implementing this transition by volunteering at the Asian Art Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and interning at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2011 Ms. Rao worked closely with the Visual Arts team at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to develop and produce the exhibition, The Matter Within, showcasing contemporary art of India. She has also served on the special events committee of ArtSpan, a Bay Area non-profit organization supporting local artists and has worked extensively with the SFMOMA's auxiliary group SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art). Her current projects include compiling an important private collection database, speaking engagements on contemporary art from India, contributing to a book on art and globalization in the 21st century, organizing art and museum tours in San Francisco and working on her Master's thesis involving Exhibition Histories: Representing the Other.
  • 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.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 110 - Maier Room

See the campus map and directions

Extended abstracts

In our present age of globalization much attention is focused on Asia, its politics, its economies, it markets and also its art worlds. As countries like China and India emerge as art powerhouses, Cho Rao aims to give a brief survey of the state of the arts in India today while highlighting the modern day practices of several artists. Shedding some light on the diverse components that constitute India's art world, from artists and artist collectives, to art galleries, art fairs and auction houses to museums and biennials, to curating and art reporting, as well as national and international collaborations and events.
We are surrounded by microorganisms. Your intestines contain 100 trillion of them; ten microorganisms for every human cell in your body. The oceans contain as many as a million bacteria in every milliliter. In this abundant diversity, there are untold potential solutions to real, human problems. Synthetic biology aims to design cells capable of drug synthesis, producing building materials that repair themselves, or the elimination of environmental wastes. We'll discuss how engineers, biologists, and chemists are working to make these increasingly complex designs possible.
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.
The perception of stasis or vertical time is analyzed in relation to select musical compositions: Phill Niblock's "A Trombone Piece," Eliane Radigue's "Adnos III," Ashley Bellouin's "Hummen" and "Bourdon." All four pieces invite the audience to experience an eternal present, where distinctions between past, present, and future are blurred, by suppressing obvious temporal cues and making grand, macro-level changes in form imperceptible. The experienced duration is emphasized, rather than the clock measured duration. It is within this frame, when time seems suspended, that one has the ability to wholly focus on the subtle properties of sound and how they interact within space. Such concentration creates a meditative state, resulting in a heightened awareness of the self and the environment, along with increased synesthetic and phenomenologic sensations. Ideas drawn from studies of consciousness, phenomenology, metaphysics, and time are addressed to better understand the nature of such perceptions.
Photos and videos of this evening