Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of October 2011

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Stanford, 5 October 2011
c/o Stanford University
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

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 Stanford Continuing Studies 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.

Please RSVP to p@scaruffi.com . Admission is limited.

Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.

In order to facilitate the networking, feel free to send me the URL of a webpage that describes your work or the organization you work for. I will publish a list on this webpage before the day of the event so that everybody can check what everybody else is doing. (Not mandatory, just suggested).

When: 5 October 2011

Where: Stanford University (Stanford Events)
Building/Room: Pigott Hall (Building 260, Language Corner) Room 113, across from the Clock Tower (Stanford map)
Parking: Pigott Hall is exactly half way between the Oval (dead end of University Ave if you are coming from El Camino Real) and the large parking lot at Tresidder Union (Lagunita & Mayfield) if you are coming from Foothill Expressway. Parking is free at Stanford after 4pm (read the fine free on the parking signs).


  • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
  • 7:00-7:25:
  • Henrik Bennetsen (Katalabs) on "What the next phase of the web could mean" The HTML5 and WebGL standards and the inclusion of richer technologies such as 3D is likely to cause the Web to truly move beyond the Gutenberg paradigm... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50:
  • Rachel Beth Egenhoefer (USF) on "Knitting Code" In Virtual Knitting users are able to knit with custom made electronic knitting needles in both physical and virtual space at the same time, constructing both tangible and intangible cloth... Read more
  • 7:50-8:05: 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.
  • 8:05-8:30:
  • Trudy Myrrh Reagan (Visual Artist) on "Essential Mysteries" A series of paintings that focus on indeterminate areas that scientists love to explore but can never fully explain... Read more
  • 8:30-8:55:
  • Wayne Vitale (Gamelan Sekar Jaya) on "Between Ancient Texts and Three Screens" An ancient Hindu text was given new dimensions in the multimedia event "Makrokosma Bali" by an Indonesian gamelan ensemble and a team of US-based visual, audio and software artists... Read more
  • 8:55: Piero Scaruffi on the next Leonardo Art/Science evening I will simply preview the line-up of speakers for the next Leonardo evening.
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, more socializing You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • An Interdisciplinary Tour of the Human Condition (Stanford Univ)
  • Headlands Center for the Arts' open house on Oct 16
  • Pasadena Art Science Festival
  • DASERs
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Bay Area Science Festival
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings
    • Henrik Bennetsen is the CEO of Katalabs and maintains a strong interest in 3D collaborative spaces and open source technology. In a previous life Henrik was a professional musician and still has a strong side interest in creative self expression augmented by technology.
    • Rachel Beth Egenhoefer is an artist, designer, writer, and educator. Her work explores the intersections between textiles, technology, and the body on historical, constructional and conceptual levels; and often incorporates tactile elements such as candy, knitting, and machines to represent intangible computer codes and conceptual spaces. Egenhoefer is currently an Assistant Professor in Design in the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.
    • Gertrude Reagan was born in Washington, DC in 1936, and spent her early years in the Southern Appalachians where her father was doing geology. She moved to California in 1954. In 1956, Gyorgy Kepes' book "The New Landscape" celebrated images from science as art. It validated images like her father's geologic maps as subjects for her work. Myrrh began mining science and natural patterns for art ideas by finding analogs in crafts media for natural patterns. In 1981, she founded YLEM: Artists Using Science and Technology, which held forums and had a publication for 28 years. She now conducts a special interest group in patterns in nature and visual math.
    • 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). An avid traveler, he has visited 135 countries of the world. His latest book is A History of Silicon Valley, coauthored with Arun Rao, and his first ebook was "A Brief History of Knowledge" (2011), available on Kindle.
    • Wayne Vitale is a composer, performer, teacher, recording engineer, and instrument conservator in the field of Balinese music. He directed Gamelan Sekar Jaya (www.gsj.org), a group of sixty musicians and dancers recognized internationally for its cross-cultural work, for more than 18 years. His gamelan compositions have directly impacted the evolution of Balinese kebyar music. His recording label, Vital Records (www.vitalrecords.ws), releases critically acclaimed CDs of Balinese music. He is currently Robert M. Trotter Visiting Professar at the University of Oregon; and is also working with the famed gamelan ensemble from the village of Tunjuk, Bali, to create MAKROKOSMA BALI (2011).

    Extended abstracts

    In its first two decades the web has had a profound impact on how we work and collaborate. With the emerging HTML5 and WebGL standards we are poised to see a broad wave of change in the coming years. The inclusion of richer technologies such as 3D in the population of native web citizens is likely to see us truly move beyond the Gutenberg paradigm. Katalab's team ranges from a cultural historian to computer scientists. They are held together by a shared passion to make what we do online more creative and collaborative. Katalabs grew out of research into architecting and building projects on the open source Sirikata platform at Stanford. Katalab believes the Web can be made better through real-time, synchronized collaboration and communication environments built at the intersection of 2D and 3D. These will be delivered through the browser you already use and loaded by simply clicking a link.

    Rachel Beth Egenhoefer's work explores the intersections between textiles, technology and the body, on historical, constructional and conceptual levels. Her work often incorporates tactile elements such as candy, knitting and machines to represent intangible computer codes and conceptual spaces. Her most recent work has focused on her perceived return of the Arts & Crafts Movement in light of Sustainability, and how design can be used to change social systems for the better. Knit cloth is tangibly constructed from series of knit and purl stitches. Code is constructed from intangible sets of zeros and ones strung together. This has been the basis for much of my work as an artist working across textiles and technology. In some of my recent works I began working with the idea of motion, the motion to knitting, typing, wearing cloth, working at a computer and translating what these motions could look like. Two projects to be shown and discussed include Virtual Knitting and KNiiTTiiNG. In Virtual Knitting users are able to knit with custom made electronic knitting needles in both physical and virtual space at the same time, constructing both tangible and intangible cloth. KNiiTTiiNG uses the Nintendo Wii to knit with.
    The "Essential Mysteries" series of paintings, created by Trudy Myrrh Reagan ("Myrrh") over a period of 18 years, treat those indeterminate areas that scientists love to explore but can never fully explain. She has been attracted to certain boundary states, between pure energy and a universe with matter, between non-life and life, neurons and imagination. These are emergent properties, organized in a novel way to produce, for example, an effect like photosynthesis. She has also been attracted to "criticality," that feature of complex systems that makes the efficient functions of digestion, of forest ecologies or human economies possible, yet vulnerable to disruption. Myrrh paints on flat rounds of plexiglas, taking advantage of the dynamic range between the "white" of the plastic, the stained-glass like arylic paints, and dense, opaque black. She uses nine abstract images and two representational ones of her own invention as metaphors to explore these themes. For instance, a brain made of squirming figures drawn from classical art is titled, "An Essential Mystery: Brains Imagine."
    Composer Wayne Vitale collaborated with a renowned 25-musician gamelan ensemble from Bali, Indonesia and US-based visual, audio, and set designers to create Makrokosma Bali. The work combined new music for gamelan orchestra with projected video and still imagery, ambient sounds, and lighting design in an integrated multimedia set. The premiere series took place at the Asian Art Museum on May 13-15, 2011, in conjunction with the special exhibition "Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance", the most ambitious presentation of Balinese arts in US history. Makrokosma Bali combines and contrasts the sound worlds, musical aesthetics, living culture, and ancient Hindu cosmology of Bali with conceptions of the universe-from macro (the cosmos) to micro (a human cell)-from a Western perspective, realized through contemporary video technologies. Still and moving video imagery are cast onto multiple screens and surfaces-including the musicians and instruments themselves-around, above, and within the musical ensemble. The ensemble was the internationally renowned Sekaa Gong Taruna Mekar, from the village of Tunjuk, Bali. They will play a gamelan orchestra of bronze gongs, metallophones, and drums. The new score by Vitale and I Made Arnawa, director of the Tunjuk group, explored a variety of textures and materials. The live music was combined with ambient digital soundscapes, including sounds from a Balinese temple and night sounds of the rice fields, as well as sounds drawn from sources outside of Bali. This rich sonic canvas, delivered by sound engineer Greg Kuhn, was synchronized with visual projections by video artist Eric Koziol and lighting designer Allen Willner. Live video processing-including the use of musical sound to move, influence, and manipulate video imagery-was created by Ian Winters. The result was a spatially complex "hyper-movie," utilizing three screens and multiple projectors, exploring the interplay of light and image with live music and digital-audio soundscapes. Thematically, Makrokosma Bali contrasted the cultural values and cosmology of Bali, Indonesia with conceptions of the universe from Western perspectives. The island's Hindu culture, more than a millennium old, but living, vibrant, and rapidly evolving, embraces a far-reaching philosophy of the universe and human kind's role within it. Bali's cosmology of balance, interdependence and complementary opposites (in Balinese: rwa bhineda, the principle of duality) was expressed through the dramatic presentation of video imagery of people, landscapes, village life, temples, artistic endeavors, and ceremonies. This panoply of images, ranging from scenes of ceremonial grandeur to the forging of red-hot bronze by gongsmiths, was juxtaposed with images and animations of the cosmos-the solar system, galaxies-and imagery from life in the US, spanning the gamut from a drop of water to aspects of industrialized society.