Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 14 May 2019

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
14 May 2019, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - Berman 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 LASERs.
See also...

Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Hughen/Starkweather (Visual Artists) on "Shifting Shorelines" A series of works in which they examine the complex factors that contribute to changing shorelines... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Peter Maravelis (City Lights) on "Schizo-curation: Transcending the boundaries of spectatorship" The relationship between audience, artist/writer/musician, and curator in the age of fake news... 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: Omar Miranda (USF) on "Digitizing Spoken Poetry in the Age of Social Media" An emerging online social community dedicated to creating and sharing original audio recordings of poetry... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Stephan Crawford (Founding director for the ClimateMusic Project) on "Climate Music" Science-guided music that viscerally communicates the urgency of the climate crisis... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Stephan Crawford works across different media, from sculpture and mixed media to cross-disciplinary collaborations. His work often reflects humanity’s interaction with the environment. He founded and co-leads The ClimateMusic Project (CMP), a multi-disciplinary collaborative communicating the urgency of action on climate change by combining climate science with the emotional power of music to drive action. Since its inception in 2015, CMP has reached thousands of people via live concerts in the U.S. and abroad, and has garnered international media coverage, including profiles by the BBC, The Verge, La Reppublica, Citylab, and NEON. Stephan holds graduate degrees in environmental management and international affairs. He left a distinguished parallel career in public service in 2017 to focus on CMP and his studio practice. Please visit www.climatemusic.org and www.sc2arts.com
  • Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather have been working together for over 10 years as the collaborative Hughen/Starkweather. These San Francisco visual artists create abstract artworks based on data. Each project focuses on a specific location or topic and begins with extensive research including current and historic maps and photographs; scientific and numerical data; and interviews with local community members and specialists from a variety of backgrounds. Based on this gathered information, Hughen/Starkweather create abstract artworks that layer past, present, and future narratives to create complex new forms. By allowing the artworks to resonate with the collected data without presenting it in a didactic way, the artists do not attempt to offer concrete information, but hope to prompt questions and new perspectives.
  • Peter Maravelis is a native San Franciscan with a life-long involvement in the art and literary scenes. He programs the events calendar at City Lights Bookstore and is editor of San Francisco Noir and San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics. He produces the noir reading and performance series, Subterranean SF. Together with international and academic partners he has produced numerous festivals celebrating the European avante-garde. These include Dada World Fair, Carnival Pataphysique, Fantomas By The Bay, Haunted Reflections: Walter Benjamin in San Francisco, Subtle Channels: An Oulipo Laboratory, Trajectories of the Catastrophic: The Life and Work of Paul Virilio, and others. He's been known to occasionally moonlight with private investigators.
  • Omar Miranda is Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco where he teaches and researches the literatures of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. His book manuscript in progress, An Age of Exile: Romanticism, Celebrity, and Performance, examines the revolutionary possibilities of exile and literary form in the Romantic period. He is the editor of "Lord Byron's Manfred: A Commemorative Bicentennial Edition," a special volume of essays in Romantic Circles dedicated to Byron's play. He has published essays in European Romantic Review and Romantic Circles, book chapters in Lord Byron in Context (Cambridge UP) and The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth Century Novel, and book reviews in the BARS Bulletin and Review 19.
  • 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.

Extended abstracts:

Can the emotional power of music help to motivate action on one of the biggest threats facing humanity? That's what The ClimateMusic Project (ClimateMusic.org) is betting on as it creates science-guided music that viscerally communicates the urgency of the climate crisis. In his talk, What do we want the future to sound like?, the Project's Founder and Executive Producer, Stephan Crawford, will recount how this unique collaborative spanning the sciences, arts, and technology came to be, and how its "hearts and minds" approach works to convert new emotional awareness in audiences into intellectual insight and a motivation to act. He'll also share video clips of current works and will provide a glimpse of what the Project still has under wraps.

This talk will discuss an emerging online social community dedicated to creating and sharing original audio recordings of poetry. Produced collaboratively by literary scholars, computer scientists, and graphic design artists, the platform of spoken verse is user-generated and brings together original audio recordings of poems of all ages and cultures. The project aims to transform and diversify access to the world of poetry for artists, scholars, instructors, students, and poetry enthusiasts.

An exploration of the relationship between audience, artist/writer/musician, and curator in the age of fake news. Schizo-curation explores the development of cultural programs that communicate core ideas from avante-garde currents. Many of the methods employ breaking down the boundaries of spectatorship, blurring, cracking, distorting, and subverting the smooth surface of consensus reality. Serendipitous alignments are utilized to breach the borders of consumer-narcosis and encourage participants to heightened states of receptivity and engagement. The work of Gilles Deleuze, Walter Benjamin, Georges Bataille, Marcel Maus, Donna Haraway, Alfred Jarry, and others is explored in the context of real-time pataphysical derives that rework physical as well as psychological landscapes.


Since 2014, Hughen/Starkweather have been working on Shifting Shorelines, a series of works in which they examine the complex factors that contribute to changing shorelines, including climate change, residential and commercial development, industry, and natural disasters. The artists research specific locations through data, maps, photographs, oral histories and interviews with community members and specialists, including scientists, cartographers, poets, biologists, urban planners, local residents, and others. Hughen will also discuss their recent series Black Gold, which examines the environmental impacts of the industrial food system, focusing on food packaging and food waste. The term Black Gold refers simultaneously to compost (which sequesters carbon in the soil, removing it from the atmosphere) and to petroleum (a primary ingredient in plastic). The artists' research included questions such as: What are the environmental and biological impacts of individual choices about food consumption, including food packaging, disposal, and transport? Can composting food instead of sending it to landfill mitigate climate change? The resulting abstract works on paper utilize the outlines of discarded plastic food packaging to create new forms referencing landscapes, molecular structures, and biochemical and biological processes.

Photos and videos of this evening