Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 12 September 2016

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, 12 September 2016, 7pm
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room
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: Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics) on "Designing Good Robots" In science fiction the robots are either very good, or very bad. But in reality what are we building today, and how can we build robots that do the best things for our future? Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Nina Waisman (Media Artist) on "Intelligence Moves: Intelligence starts on a small scale (single cell? quantum?)" A multi-disciplinary collaborative think tank on non-human intelligences... 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: Goran Konjevod (Origami Artist) on "Origami Beyond Geometry" New approaches to design of folded objects go beyond just two-dimensional geometry... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Anders Bach Pedersen (Composer) on "Natural Selection in Electro-Acoustic Musical Improvisation" Musical improvisation via software inspired by natural selection and evolution... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Anders Bach Pedersen is a student currently enrolled in the Creative Digital Practice graduate specialization program (MSc) at the IT University in Copenhagen with an undergrad degree in music performance and composition from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. Prior to that Anders studied electro-acoustic composition and programming at IRCAM in Paris and contemporary jazz drumming at The Collective School of Music in New York City in 2009. In the fall of 2016 Anders will be writing his master's thesis on sound synthesis, phenomenology and algorithmic improvisation in connection with an artist residency at Mills College in Oakland, California. Besides studying Anders works as a touring musician, record producer, teacher and most notably as a composer of solo-work and as one-third of the ensemble called Ice Cream Cathedral with which he has toured Europe and the US. He currently teaches Max/MSP programming at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and guest lectures in Digital Media Aesthetics at the IT University in Copenhagen.
  • Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launch, global robotics startup competition, cofounder of Robot Garden hackerspace, mentor at hardware accelerators and startup advisor. As well as being an active angel investor in robotics startups, Andra is a Director at Robohub.org, the global site for news and views on robotics. Andra graduated as an ABC film, television and radio technician in 1986 and obtained a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia, in 1998, where she taught interaction design from 2009 to 2010. She obtained her MA in Human-Robot Culture at the University of Sydney, Australia in 2011, building on a background as a robot geek, STEM educator and film-maker and was selected as an HRI Pioneer in 2010. Andra has keynoted at major conferences including the WebSummit in 2014 and 2015, Pioneers Festival 2014, JavaOne 2014, Solid 2014 and Collision 2015. See JavaOne 2014 Community Keynote highlights: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/live/on-demand/index.html#javaone 52-Insights: "The Future is Here: How Robotics Will Change Our Lives" Interview: http://www.52-insights.com/inspirations/the-future-is-here-how-robotics-will-change-our-lives/
  • Goran Konjevod has been folding paper for over 25 years. He started by following instructions in origami books. In a clear moment in 2005, after having puzzled about it on and off for 10 years, he reverse-engineered an abstract folded piece that he had seen in a book. From then on, he hsa been folding almost exclusively my own designs. He has been exhibiting my works since 2008. In addition to folding paper, he has been working with thin sheets of copper and stainless steel, using a combination of techniques developed by paperfolders and metalsmiths. Recently, he has also experimented with casting bronze and iron sculptures based on paperfolded patterns. His background is in mathematics and computer science (B.S. in Mathematics, University of Zagreb 1995, Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University 2000). He has worked as a professor (of computer science, at Arizona State University) and as a research scientist (at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). He has used paperfolding as a tool to teach, because it is unique in bridging mathematics, engineering, art and science.
  • 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.
  • Nina Waisman (Media Artist) has exhibited in museums, galleries and public spaces internationally; venues include the California Biennial at OCMA, the Museum of Image and Sound in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the CECUT in Tijuana, the House of World Cultures in Berlin, LAXART in Los Angeles, the Zero1 Biennial, ISEA, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Beall Center for Art & Technology; she has a large-scale long-term interactive installation up at The New Children's Museum in San Diego through 2016. She has taught at institutions such as Cal Arts, SFAI, UCSD, Casa Vecina, and recently created and ran a 2-week think tank on non-cerebrocentric intelligence, with scientist-participants from SETI Insitute, NASA, MBARI, and dancers, artists and educators: http://blog.montalvoarts.org/blog/intelligence-starts-on-a-small-scale More info at http://www.ninawaisman.net As a former dancer turned installation artist, Nina Waisman is fascinated by the critical roles that movement and sensation play in forming thought. Scientists call such "embodied thinking" the pre-conscious scaffolding for all human logic. Waisman's interactive sound installations and videos pose questions about such embodied thinking, while focusing on related issues such as surveillance, nanotechnology, machine-human feedback loops, "invisible" laborers, body language and training. She recently completed a year-long research-residency in the SETI Institute's AIR program, from which she will make work exploring non-human intelligences, ranging from the microbial to plant, animal and extra-terrestrial, with an eye to finding relationships between small scale movements (those of single cells and their components) and the so-called "higher" logics built upon those movements.

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room
2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
Fromm Hall is behind the church, best accessed from Parker Ave.

Extended abstracts

This talk investigates an experimental approach to human-computer musical improvisation via programs inspired by natural selection and evolution. Through software performance environments I will explore free improvisation between an artificial agent and a human performer and through the lens of Brian Eno's 1976-paper on variety in the arts. We employ genetic algorithms and neural networks to provide the groundwork for novelty in musical situations. The exchange between the human and non-human actors reveals a constant variety of "modes of listening". I will exemplify this through my own recordings of performances utilizing evolutionary algorithms. Furthermore, I will discuss the aesthetic validity of the musical output of these interactions.
In science fiction the robots are either very good, or very bad. But in reality what are we building today, and how can we build robots that do the best things for our future? Until recently, helpful robots have been just science fiction. For the last 50 years, real robots have been confined to a few large industries, kept behind closed doors. They haven't been 'socialized' or safe to be around. But advances in technology mean that new 'collaborative robots' are able to work alongside people safely. What sort of robots do we really need?

Traditionally, origami designs are based on the geometry of a two-dimensional sheet of paper. Folds made in the sheet are well-defined by individual creases and the sheet is two-dimensional and doesn't stretch. In the last decade or so, however, a number of approaches to design of folded objects have been developed that go beyond just two-dimensional geometry and use crumpling, tension or surfaces that cannot be folded without stretching. I'll describe some of these approaches, with the focus on my favorite, which involves creating complex curved surfaces using only straight line pleats and the tension generated by pleat intersections.

Highlights from a multi-disciplinary collaborative thinktank on non-human intelligences, created by Waisman with generous support from SETI Institute Artist in Residence Program and The Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center. Nina Waisman's yearlong research into non-human intelligences led her to create an intimate, 2-week think-tank in December 2015 at Montalvo, gathering NASA and SETI scientists mixed with artists, dancers, vocalists and other researchers in intelligence. The "Intelligence Moves" thinktank considered non-cerebrocentric perspectives on intelligence and subjectivity, with a deep focus on embodiment and perception, and an eye to finding relationships between small scale movements (those of single cells and their components) and the so-called "higher" logics built upon those movements. Language and art-practices were employed to shuttle scientific and conceptual logics through multiple senses. The think tank as well as an upcoming educational+art project conceived from it - The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences - will be discussed.

Photos and videos of this evening