Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 14 November 2017

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 14 November 2017, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Cowell Hall - Room 313
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: Jeff Johnson (USF/ Computer Science) on "Designing Technology for an Aging Population" Designers and developers need to design digital products and online services that are accessible to a large and growing segment of the population... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50:
  • 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: Stephanie Brown (USF/ Museum Studies) on "Authenticity, apples, and the art market: The mystery of 1939.34.3" What does it mean for a work of art to be considered a forgery, and what does the idea of authenticity in art imply?... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Damian Madray (DXLabs) on "Evolution of Design with Culture Thinking" We design our world, while our world acts back on us and designs us... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Stephanie Brown has worked in museums as an executive director, curator, historian, and archivist. Her work has ranged from designing and implementing collections plans to curating exhibitions to institutional strategic planning. She is currently the guest curator for the Haggin Museum's reinstallation and reinterpretation of its permanent art collection. Stephanie's professional and academic interests include curatorial practice, material culture studies, and public history. Stephanie is on the Museum Studies faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she also teaches in the Art History/Arts Management program. Previously, she taught Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University and was Executive Director of the Chevy Chase Historical Society in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Dr. Brown also served as Associate Curator for American Material Culture and Historian at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C. Stephanie has a B.A. in History from Williams College and a Ph.D. in European History from Stanford University.
  • Jeff Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. He is also a principal at Wiser Usability, a consultancy focused on elder usability. After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale and Stanford Universities, he worked as a UI designer, implementer, manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun. He has previously taught at Stanford University, Mills College, and the University of Canterbury. He is a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy and a recipient of SIGCHI's Lifetime Achievement in Practice Award. He has authored articles on a variety of topics in HCI, as well as the books GUI Bloopers (1st and 2nd eds.), Web Bloopers, Designing with the Mind in Mind (1st and 2nd eds.), Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design (with Austin Henderson), and Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population (with Kate Finn).
  • Damian Madray is the founder and creative director at TheGlint, an experimental lab for artists to explore and play with all modalities of art to create experiences that can transform and connect. Here he's a culture anthropologist who is (re)designing the art of dialogue with experiences and a social alchemist creating experiences that is meant to break down social barriers, bring guests into vulnerability and connect them in meaningful ways. He's the founder of Presence, a startup aimed at altering the way we gather to be truly social with a platform for artists to create intentional experiences. He moved to the Bay Area six years ago coming from Canada where he studied design and is originally from Guyana, a small Caribbean country. Damian has an amazing career in design that spans a decade and is considered one of the leading design thinkers in Silicon Valley. He's a design partner at DXLabs where he heads up design and help fortune 500 companies discover and launch new business ideas using exponential technologies. As a student of design, philosophy and culture, he's exploring the intersection of these topics having written many thought pieces on designing culture. His work has been featured in 500 Startups, New York Times, Bold Italics, Huffington Post, Slate, WSJ & Financial Times.
  • 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 "Thinking about Thought". 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 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Malloy LL4
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080

Extended abstracts

What does it mean for a work of art to be considered a forgery, and what does the idea of authenticity in art imply? What does it mean for an artwork to be real, and why do we value the real so highly? And what is the role of museums in determining what's authentic and what isn't? In 1929, collector Eila Haggin McKee bought what she thought was a painting by Gauguin. The painting hung in Stockton's Haggin Museum for over seventy-five years.before it was labeled a forgery. In this talk, drawn from research I have conducted for the Haggin, I will examine the history of ownership of this painting before 1929, and the tumultuous art world of 1890s Paris that may have seen its creation. Finally, through this painting's particular story, I will investigate the ways that scholars determine authenticity, and the relationship between museums, as guardians of the real, and their public.

Life in today's developed world is heavily reliant on digital technology, to the point where people can hardly avoid using it. Unfortunately, most new technology is not designed to accomodate older adults' lack of experience in the digital domain, or the changes that people often experience as they age. Some technologists have argued that this problem will fade away as today's young "digital natives" age. This talk argues the opposite: the problem will not go away, and in fact will worsen as life-spans increase unless designers and developers take care to design digital products and online services that are accessible to this large and growing segment of the population.

There's this remarkable design theory by Marie Ann Willis called Ontological Design that postulates "design is pervasive - we design our world, while our world acts back on us and designs us”. In my conversations with many elite Silicon Valley's designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs at Instagram, Facebook, Apple and many other leading companies, I've learned that many of us have never heard of this theory. It struck me really hard that the people who are creating products that impact our behaviors don't even consider this theory much less think about how what they design is designing us. The strange thing is, not a single person argues with this theory as it seems obvious when we put it this way - the iPhone has changed how we interact in our society, Facebook has changed the meaning of friends and so on. This talk explores ontological design as a theory, the profoundness of design and explores culture-thinking as a possible framework we can use in our design process to design better feedback loops.

Photos and videos of this evening