Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 9 May 2016

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 9 May 2016, 7pm
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: Stan Shaff (Audium) on "Exploring and expanding the language of space in music composition and performance" Audium, the only theater of its kind in the world, is a space built specifically for choreographing sound in space... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Lydia Degarrod (California College of the Arts) on "Ethnographic Research and Art Making" Collaborative art as an ethnographic tool for learning about subjective experiences... 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: Adam Gazzaley (UCSF/ Neuroscience Imaging Center) on "Technology meets Neuroscience - A Vision of the Future of Brain Health" Enhancing brain function and cognition in both the healthy and impaired... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Lauren Baines (Choreographer) on "Embodied Knowledge: Mirror Neurons, Kinesthetic Empathy, and What Site Dance Can Show Us" Developments in neuroscience have demonstrated that our movements in space are not relegated solely to the sphere of action.... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Lauren Baines is a California-based choreographer, performer, and scholar, who possesses diverse arts management and curation experience. She holds a MFA in Dance from Mills College and a BA and BS from Santa Clara University (triple majoring in Theatre Arts (dance emphasis), Art History, and Psychology). Baines received the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award in 2013 and has been awarded several other grants and residencies both locally and internationally. She has shown work at Dance Mission Theatre, ZERO1 Garage, Montalvo Arts Center, de Saisset Museum, LEVYdance Salon, subZERO Festival, Anne & Mark's Art Party, and in New York festivals. She recently returned from presenting a paper at the Society of Dance History Scholars and Congress on Research in Dance joint conference in Athens, Greece. Baines currently works as an arts consultant and educator for several Bay Area organizations, volunteers on the de Saisset Museum Enhancement Board and genARTS Silicon Valley's Steering Committee, and is producing her dance work throughout the area.
  • Lydia Degarrod, who teaches Critical Studies and Diversity Studies at the California College of the Arts, is both a visual artist and a cultural anthropologist who creates installations that blur the line between ethnography and art in order to convey experiences of extraordinary nature and address issues of social justice. Her latest work, Geographies of the Imagination, explored the inner images of exile. As a cultural anthropologist, she has conducted research and published on shamanism and dream interpretation among the Mapuche, one of the native peoples of Chile, and also studied popular cultures among urban Chileans. As a visual artist, Lydia has exhibited nationally and internationally. She has received awards for her work from the Wing Luke Memorial Museum of Art, Saint John's University, and the Ministry of Culture of Chile. She has been an artist in residence at California State University at Chico, de Young Museum of Art, and the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts. She has taught at Occidental College, Bowdoin College, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.
  • Adam Gazzalay (UCSF/ Neuroscience Imaging Center) is Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the UC San Francisco, the Founding Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and Director of the Gazzaley Lab, a cognitive neuroscience laboratory that he established in 2005 focused on studying the neural mechanisms of memory, attention and perception. A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. He obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. Dr. Gazzaley is co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive, a company developing therapeutic video games, and is also a co-founder and Chief Scientist of JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in experiential technology to improve human performance. Additionally, he is a scientific advisor for over a dozen technology companies including Apple, GE and Nielsen. Dr. Gazzaley has filed multiple patents for his inventions, authored over 100 scientific articles, and delivered almost 500 invited presentations around the world. His research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media. He wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS special "The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley". Dr. Gazzaley has won a number of awards throughout his career, including the Krieg Cortical Scholar Award (1997), Morris Bender Award in Clinical Neurology (1998),Laird Cermak Award (2005), Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award (2005), Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging (2006), Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science (2012), and the 2015 Society for Neuroscience - Science Educator Award.
  • 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.
  • Stan Shaff started out in the 1950s as a trumpet player, composer and teacher. His friendship and collaboration with painter and sculptor Seymour Locks expanded his grounding in the arts. He explored the nature of sound in relation to movement with Ann Halprin's Dancers Workshop; curious about sound bereft of traditional tools and structure, he turned to tape composition, working and performing with composers involved with the Tape Music Center. By the late 1950s, Shaff's work with audio tape led to the need to externally realize sound in the way he conceived of it: as an energy in space. In 1959 Shaff met fellow musician and teacher Douglas McEachern, whose background in electronics enabled him to develop original equipment systems for live, spatial performances. From the first public presentation of these ideas in 1960 through succeeding decades of work with the co-creation and development of the sound theatre AUDIUM - constructed specifically for choreographing sound in space - Shaff has sought to explore and expand the language of space in music composition and performance.

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

I will address the role of art making in the creation of ethnographic knowledge from my dual perspective as both a cultural anthropologist and as a visual artist. I will show how collaborative art making served as an ethnographic tool for learning about subjective experiences, and for creating a medium which made visible both ethnographic knowledge as well as the development of empathy. I will illustrate these findings with interdisciplinary projects I created that combined ethnographic research and visual art."
A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function and cognition in both the healthy and impaired. For the healthy, this should be a core mission of our educational system and for the cognitively impaired this is the primary goal of our medical system. Unfortunately, neither of these systems have effectively met this challenge. I will describe a novel approach out of our lab that uses custom-designed video games to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement via personalized closed-loop systems (Nature 2013; Neuron 4014). I will also share with you the next stage of our research program, which integrates our video games with the latest technological innovations in software (e.g., brain computer interface algorithms, GPU computing, cloud-based analytics) and hardware (e.g., virtual reality, mobile EEG, motion capture, physiological recording devices (watches), transcranial brain stimulation) to further enhance our brain's information processing systems with the ultimate aim of improving quality of life.
Audium, the only theater of its kind in the world, is a space built in 1960 specifically for choreographing sound in space. Use of space as a compositional element in music has received wide attention for decades, especially among electronic and computer musicians. Shaff's contribution lies in his realization that, if one is truly serious about utilizing space in music, one must configure the performance environment in ways that are inconceivable in a typical concert hall. Shaff and McEachern created the AUDIUM theater as an interactive environment for the exploration of sound in space. AUDIUM enables Shaff to develop and produce his finely crafted compositions, utilizing the results of their research.

A dynamic, reflexive relationship exists between bodies and space as humans both respond to and mold the world around them. The body functions as the first site of experience and interaction with the world. Through movement, humans engage in conversation with the world they occupy. In the last decade or so, developments in neuroscience have demonstrated that our understanding and processing of our movements in space, however, are not relegated solely to the sphere of action. Witnessing others in action can trigger neurons in the same brain areas in the observer as in the doer. Dance has alluded to this kinesthetic empathy, or sympathy, since the early 1900s, but now we are better poised to understand the processes behind these experiences. In the light of these findings, and employing the philosophy of embodiment and phenomenology, I have been investigating site dance - dance placed in urban, public settings - as a method by which to engage individuals, empower audiences to recognize their role as active agents shaping the non-static entity of space, and engender new relationships to places within a community.

Photos and videos of this evening