Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 11 October 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, 11 October 2018
LiKaShing building - Room LK120
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, LiKaShing building - Room LK120
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 6pm.
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Fabio Barry (Stanford/ Art History) on "Where Do White Temples Come From?" The Acropolis was an anomaly... the Greeks strove to build in light... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Carrie Partch (UCSC/ Biochemistry) on "Morning Larks and Night Owls: Differences in Human Circadian Rhythms Shed Light on How our Clock Works" How molecular clocks measure time on a daily basis and use this information to coordinate and control our biology... 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: David McConville (Buckminster Fuller Institute) on "Beyond the "Whole Earth" Remote sensing technologies increasingly serve as humanity's sensory prosthetics... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: 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
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

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See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Archive of past LASERs
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • Fabio Barry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History and, by courtesy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Stanford University. Originally trained as an architect, his research and teaching still gravitates to this art form, although he is deeply interested in painting and sculpture of all periods as well as archaeology. Much of his published research has concentrated on artistic production in Rome, particularly Baroque architecture, treating themes from liturgy to light metaphysics. His most recent work, published or in press, has been on medieval and antique subjects, particularly sculpture. An ongoing interest, the subject of his PhD, is the imagery of marble in the visual arts and literature from antiquity until the age of enlightenment, in which he attempts to identify the evocative qualities of materials (the "Material Imagination") before the era of mass production and standardization distanced materials from the realm of nature and myth.
    • 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.
    • David McConville is co-founder of Spherical, an integrative design and research studio based in Oakland, CA. His research explores how attempts to visualize the world enact new perceptions of it. David currently serves as chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, which catalyzes comprehensive design approaches to complex global challenges. He is co-founder The Elumenati, a design and engineering firm developing immersive display environments. He has a PhD in Art and Media from the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth.
    • Carrie Partch first studied the biochemical basis of circadian rhythms during her graduate training with Nobel Laureate Aziz Sancar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed postdoctoral training in biophysics and circadian rhythms with Kevin Gardner and Joe Takahashi at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, starting at UC Santa Cruz in 2011. Since then, her lab has integrated biochemistry, biophysics, and cellular studies of circadian rhythms to identify how proteins of the clock work together to keep time and control cellular health. In 2016, she was awarded the Junior Faculty Research Award by the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and in 2018, she was the recipient of the Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award from the Biophysical Society for her lab's integration of cellular and biophysical studies leading to new insights into the molecular basis of circadian rhythms.
    • 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:

    We take for granted that the ancient world was teeming with brilliant white temples. But we have forgotten that the Acropolis was an anomaly, that the marble temples derived from monumental statuary, and that the Greeks strove to build in light.


    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.

    Half a century ago, photographs of Earth from space were first broadcast around the world. Initially celebrated for their sublime beauty, they have since transformed into ambivalent icons representing both planetary consciousness and existential angst. Today, remote sensing technologies increasingly serve as humanity's sensory prosthetics, expanding potential interpretations of the meaning of the "whole Earth." They illuminate phenomena across previously invisible spatial, temporal, and spectral scales, revealing the complexity and interconnectedness of Earth's systems. In this presentation, I explore how visualizations of satellite observations can transform perceptions of our home planet and their paradoxical effects on collective sensemaking.

    On a deep biological level, our lives are intimately tied to Earth's 24-hour solar cycle. Molecular clocks in our cells coordinate physiology and behavior on a circadian (about a day) basis, using light to align our internal biology with the external solar day. Disruption of circadian rhythms can lead to metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature aging. Our lab is interested in understanding how molecular clocks measure time on a daily basis and use this information to coordinate and control our biology. In this presentation, I'll speak about recent advances from our lab linking early bird and night owl behavior in people to the biochemistry of the molecular clock and touch on some new therapeutic strategies that we are pursuing to leverage circadian control over physiology in order to improve human health and wellbeing.

    Photos and videos of this evening


    The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Stanford Deans of Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; Medicine; and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Continuing Studies; and the Office of Science Outreach.