Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of October 9, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, October 9, 2014
c/o Stanford University
Li Ka Shing Center, Room 120
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. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
Where: Stanford University, Li Ka Shing Center, Room 120
Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge at Stanford University School of Medicine: room ?. Good map and driving directions here. There should be ample parking in the structure on corner of Campus Drive West and Roth Way. (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 4pm.
  • 7:00-7:25: Andrea Stevenson Won (Stanford's Communication Dept) on "The Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab" Understanding the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Margot Knight (Djerassi Resident Artists Program) on "Scientific Delirium Madness" A retreat that linked artists and scientists for 30 days of collegial interaction... 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: Patricia G Lange (California College of the Arts) on "Evaluating Techno-Aesthetics in Video" Demystifying the aesthetic gap between amateurs and professionals... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Piero Scaruffi (Cultural historian) on "Silicon Valley's Best Kept Secret" It is often the most unlikely place that becomes the site of the next scientific/technological and cultural boom, and the reasons for its success are not the obvious ones, otherwise previous generations would have guessed it... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Stanford events calendar
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Other LASER series
  • The LAST festival
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings
  • Since November of 2011, Margot Knight is Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, her seventh job in the arts and humanities in 35 years. Each position has incorporated the things she loves--history, challenges, artists, scholars, education and access. She has the privilege to oversees one of the foremost artist communities on the planet AND is encouraged to pursue her own literary pursuits. Previous positions include the presidencies of United Arts of Central Florida and United Arts of Raleigh & Wake County, executive director of the Idaho Commission on the Arts and Washington State University's Oral History Office and staff positions with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Washington Commission for the Humanities. She serves on the Private Sector Council for Americans for the Arts and is a proud recipient of the Michael Newton Award. A frequent consultant, speaker and grants panelist, she has also served on over 25 chamber of commerce, tourism, regional planning and cultural boards, including the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Visit Orlando, and Florida Cultural Alliance.
  • Patricia G Lange is an Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. Recognized as an expert in studies of new media and YouTube, her work focuses on technical identity performance and use of video to creatively express the self. Her new book is called Kids on YouTube: Technical Identities and Digital Literacies (Left Coast Press, 2014), which draws on a two-year, deeply engaged ethnographic project on YouTube and video bloggers to explore how video is used in informal learning environments. She also released her ethnographic film, Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media (2013), which was screened in Paris earlier this year at Ethnografilm, an international film festival showcasing films that visually depict social worlds." Hey Watch This! provides a unique diachronic look at the rise and fall of YouTube as a social media site, and offers a poignant look at how video makers envision their digital legacies. At CCA, she teaches courses in anthropology of technology; digital cultures; new media and civic engagement; space, place and time; and ethnography for design. Prior to joining CCA, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. More information may be found on her websites: https://www.cca.edu/academics/faculty/plange and patriciaglange.org.
  • 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.
  • Andrea Stevenson Won (Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab) received the MS degree in biomedical visualization from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2005. She is currently working toward the PhD degree at the Department of Communication, Stanford University. Her research interests include mediated self-representation and capturing, assessing and manipulating body movements to affect outcomes.
    Extended abstracts:

    Margot H. Knight, executive director of Djerassi Resident Artists Program will share what was learned during the July 2014 retreat that linked artists and scientists for 30 days of collegial interaction and exploration. She will also discuss plans for 2015's Scientific Delirium Madness 2.0.
    The mission of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Researchers in the lab are most concerned with understanding the social interaction that occurs within the confines of VR, and the majority of our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared towards developing new ways to produce these VR simulations. Our research programs tend to fall under one of three larger questions: 1. What new social issues arise from the use of immersive VR communication systems? 2. How can VR be used as a basic research tool to study the nuances of face-to-face interaction? 3.How can VR be applied to improve everyday life, such as legal practices, and communications systems.
    Popular discourses often rigidly distinguish amateurs from professionals in terms of technical and aesthetic competencies. Amateurs are accused of being innocent of the technical aspects of making videos and unconcerned with their reputations as media makers. This talk will explore and ultimately challenge these assumptions. Using a combination of images from videos and accompanying textual descriptions and comments, this talk will provide evidence that video makers are often quite concerned with the aesthetic and technical flaws they observe in their own work. Creators often comment on and self-critique their execution of technical characteristics such as lighting, white balance, and camera angles. Video makers use rhetorical framings such as apologies and explanations to persuade viewers that creators actually possess important technical knowledge, visual literacies, and aesthetic taste-whether or not these distinctions are visible in the visual image. Such rhetorical framings enable video makers to propose identities of technical competence, and to display sensitivity to viewers' aesthetic expectations. Rather than being synchronically frozen in time, video makers' skills are in flux, and many video makers indicate a wish to improve their abilities. Rhetorical framings about desired visual competencies ultimately acknowledge how technical and aesthetic characteristics and skills are deeply intertwined.
    It is often the most unlikely place that becomes the site of the next scientific/technological and cultural boom, and the reasons for its success are not the obvious ones, otherwise previous generations would have guessed it. Technology does not exist in a vacuum. The cultural environment is important in shaping the mindset that later will be reflected in the industry. Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum: it happened in a rich cultural environment whose values contrasted sharply with the values of the leading financial, technological and scientific centers of the time, all of which ended up "losing" out to Silicon Valley. Over the last two months i have given lectures on this topic in both Europe and China to explain why their approaches to creating their own Silicon Valley are unlikely to work.
    Photos and videos of this evening