Posts by: Danielle Siembieda

Reimagining Leonardo

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Announcing the 2016 Scientific Delirium Madness

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A Grammar for Human Agency

From the 2015 SDM Program: “A Grammar for Human Agency” by Deborah Forester. Photo courtesy of Djerassi SDM 2015. Read more in Leonardo 49:3.

We are pleased to launch our artist/scientist residency session with Djerassi Resident Artists Program for the third year. For one month (6 July – 3 August) 11 scientists and artists will be given the gift of time and space at the Djerassi Resident compound in Woodside, CA.

Dubbed Scientific Delirium Madness, the retreat will connect some of the world’s most distinguished scientists with some of the world’s most forward-thinking artists selected from over 185 applicants and nominees. During the course of the residency, choreographers, composers, writers and visual artists will work closely with physicists, biologists and industrial engineers to explore and transform the boundaries of art and science.

The announcement was made by Margot H. Knight, Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, at the Leonardo Art & Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in Berkeley on June 15. Margot H. Knight noted, “An art/science residency is in our organizational DNA,” noted Margot H. Knight, Executive Director of the Djerassi Program. “Our late founder, biochemist Carl Djerassi had an active arts practice as a writer and playwright. Our Silicon Valley location reminds us constantly of the robust interplay between art and science and technology.”

Kimberly Suda, Director of The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) says, “We are  excited about sponsoring a fellow for this year’s Scientific Delirium Madness because we share in the Program’s goals of exploring how art and science are two sides of the ‘creativity and innovation’ coin.” She continues, “The 2015 NAKFI conference is the first year we experimented with the intentional inclusion of art and design into our interdisciplinary mix.  There is still a lot to unpack, but we’ve learned a lot about how creating a safe space for diversity to thrive can inspire new thoughts about how we live today and what we dream for tomorrow.  This residency provides that safe space.”

In addition to collegial time, the retreat will include a regular series of blogs, LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) events organized by noted cultural historian Piero Scaruffi, an Open House/Open Studio public gathering at the Djerassi Program on July 24 and a special insert in the Leonardo journal.

The residency is supported by Leonardo/ISAST, Djerassi Resident Artists Program donors, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and NAKFI (National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.)

THE PARTNERS

Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious artist residencies, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program has accelerated the creative process of more than 2,200 residents since its founding in 1979. Perfectly suited to grant creative thinkers freedom for intense work, the facility sits on an isolated 583-acre ranch amidst native redwood and oak forests, rolling grasslands, and broad Pacific Ocean vistas. Residents connect with and use the inspirational grounds—for hiking, installation and performance areas, and for gathering artist materials. Its mission is to nurture creativity and provide space and uninterrupted time for arts and to protect, preserve and restore—in perpetuity—the natural habitat upon which it sits.

Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) creates opportunities for the powerful exchange of ideas between practitioners in art, science and technology. Through publications, initiatives and public forums, Leonardo facilitates cross-disciplinary research, seeking to catalyze fruitful solutions for the challenges of the 21st century. By enhancing communication among scientists, artists and engineers, Leonardo supports experimental projects and interacts with established institutions of art and science to transform their practices. It has served as a critical content provider in the field of Art/Science through its Publications Program since 1968, currently in partnership with the MIT Press. Through its Engagement Programs, Leonardo has a rich history of collaborative activities and events with like-minded organizations and institutions around the world. Leonardo’s popular LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) lecture/networking gatherings spotlight art and science practitioners and thinkers

The LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series is an international program of Leonardo/ISAST that involves an evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. The Bay Area LASER series was started by cultural historian Piero Scaruffi in January 2008. The Bay Area LASERs now alternate between San Francisco (at USF), Silicon Valley (at Stanford University) and the East Bay (at UC Berkeley). Sister series, coordinated by Leonardo ISAST include Washington D.C, Los Angeles, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, Northern California, London, Austin, TX, North Texas, Kansas,  Zurich, Switzerland, Toronto, ON, and NYC, NY, Tacoma, WA.

NAKFI (National Academies Keck Futures Initiative) is designed to enable scientists from different disciplines to focus on new questions, upon which they can base entirely new research, and to encourage and reward outstanding communication between scientists as well as between the scientific enterprise and the public.  The goal of the Keck Futures Initiative – launched in 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, with the support from W.M. Keck Foundation — is to stimulate new modes of scientific inquiry and break down barriers to interdisciplinary research in funding agencies, academic and other research settings, publication and academia.

Meet the SDM 2016 Residents

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Laura Boudou, Marseille, France, is a contemporary dancer and choreographer. Since 2013, she has performed professionally with choreographers in France, including Edmond Russo, Samir El Yamni, Barbara Amar, Lionel Hoche, Patrice Barthès, Nicolas Hubert, and Dominique Guilhaudin. Boudou’s choreographic work examines the sharing and negotiation of differences within human relationships, to build deeper understanding and intimacy.  Recent creations include B333 (2016), Voile de croissance (2012), 2 en 1 (2010), and Les Caves (2008), Boudou is excited to join choreographer Teoma Naccarato and composer John MacCallum, collaborating as a performer during the residency at Djerassi.

David Bowen, Duluth, MN. Media Artist.  Bowen’s work is concerned with aesthetics that result from interactive, reactive and generative processes as they relate to intersections between natural and mechanical systems. His work has been exhibited at Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria; Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, Spain; Somerset House, London, UK; Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; Americas Gallery, New York, NY; Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain; Saint-Ex Centre Culturel Numérique, Reims, France; Buda Factory, Kortrijk, Belgium; Friche la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France; Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Art, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea; and Ars Electronica, Berlin, Germany. He received a McKnight Visual Arts Fellowship, Minneapolis, MN (2014) and an Artist Initiative Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, St. Paul, MN. Bowen is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Physical Computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He received his BFA from Herron School of Art, and his MFA from the University of Minnesota.

Asa Calow, Manchester, UK. Creative Technologist. With over a decade’s industry experience he has worked on a range of social and commercial projects: from intranet web services for 3i and AstraZeneca through to hardware prototyping and co-design with hard to reach communities in North West England and data-driven textual analysis technology for a Yorkshire based startup. Current pre-occupations include: data‚ its analysis and visualisation, new methods for data collection/curation (“making the invisible visible”) and the current crop of realtime data technologies; Open Source hardware & manufacturing and the hardware-mobile interface; the application of human centred design in new environments. He is super excited to be part of the Code For Europe project‚ to collaborate with fellow European technologists, apply his expertise to building something new for some of Manchester’s greatest institutions The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and carry out some interesting “civic hacks”! In his other life he is a founder/director of the Manchester Digital Laboratory, a community space for science, technology and art in Manchester City Centre which hosts meetups and workshops on everything from WordPress and Arduino through to DSLR film-making, 3D printing, “girl geeks”, coding for under-18s and more. He is also the organizer of DIYbio Manchester, “an institution for the do-it-yourself biologist”, as well as being a keen cook and accomplished home mixologist.

Matteo Farinella, New York, NY. Neuroscientist. Farinella is a neuroscientist, cartoonist and illustrator. After completing a PhD in neuroscience at University College London in 2013, Matteo has been creating comics and illustrations to make science accessible to a wider audience. He is the author of Neurocomic (Nobrow 2013) a scientific graphic novel published with the support of the Wellcome Trust, and he has collaborated with universities and educational institutions around the world to visualize academic research. In 2016 Matteo will join Columbia University as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, where he will investigate the role of ‘visual narratives’ in science communication. Working with science journalists, educators and cognitive neuroscientists, his project aims to understand how these tools may affect the public perception of science and increase scientific literacy.

John MacCallum, Oakland, CA. Composer. MacCallum held a position as Musical Applications Programmer at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) from 2008-2011. While there, he designed a number of software tools including one useful for composing and performing music with multiple, independent, smoothly-varying tempos, which resulted in his composition Aberration (2010) for percussion trio, the recording of which was supported by a grant from the American Composer’s Forum, and The Delicate Texture of Time (2012-13) for eight players commissioned by the Eco Ensemble with a grant from the Mellon Foundation. In addition to his interest in polytemporal music, MacCallum’s compositional work is heavily reliant on technology both as a compositional tool and as an integral aspect of the performance of a piece. His works often employ carefully constrained algorithms that are allowed to evolve differently and yet predictably each time they are performed. He received his BM in Theory/Composition from the University of the Pacific, his MM in Composition from McGill University, his PhD in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley, and Postdoc, TerraSwarm Research Center (Computer Science), UC Berkeley.

Christine Metzger, San Francisco, CA. Geologist. Metzger is the first tenure-track assistant professor of Earth and environmental science at California College of the Arts, an independent four-year college of art and design in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Metzger is currently the principal investigator of a 3-year, interdisciplinary $200,000 National Science Foundation grant: Exploring Science in the Studio, which funds continued efforts to embed scientists and science into the art and design studio curriculum. Additionally, Dr. Metzger has developed many interdisciplinary courses that bring science to arts and design students, such as Bad Science at the Movies, an introductory geology class as seen via the lens of Hollywood disaster movies (recently the subject of a LASER talk at USF in March 2015); Life on Earth through Time, a history of four-billion years of life history that incorporates illustration and other creative work; Hazards & Resources; California & the Environment; and a Climate Change seminar. In her research, Dr. Metzger is interested in using paleosols (ancient soils) as a proxy for understanding how landscapes and ecosystems respond to environmental changes. She has pursued her field and laboratory research globally, in Antarctica, Australia, Argentina, Europe, and the United States. Her recent work involves field studies of 16-million year old paleosols in Argentina and Australia that formed during the Middle Miocene Thermal Maximum, a period of ancient climatic warming analogous to modern global warming. She is currently working on refining and expanding the Miocene Soil Database (MSDB), a new, robust dataset of paleosol type and location for this warm period, providing a potentially useful source of information for modelers of modern and future climate change.

Teoma Naccarato, Montreal, Canada / London, UK, is a choreographer and interdisciplinary arts researcher. She presently lives in London, where she is pursuing a practice-based PhD at the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University. Her work for stage, installation, and page explores the appropriation of surveillance and biomedical technologies as a means to complexify attitudes and approaches towards embodiment. She is interested in promiscuous encounters between performers, human and nonhuman, which inspire intimacy, vulnerability, and uncertainty. Naccarato has shared choreography across North and South America and Europe, with recent presentations of Experience #1167Synchronism, and X: Duet for Dancer and Kinect.. While in residence, Naccarato will collaborate with composer John MacCallum and dancer Laura Boudou, deepening their ongoing project:Choreography and Composition of Internal Time.

Juanita Rockwell, Baltimore, MD. Writer. Rockwell is a writer/director specializing in the development of new work, with over 100 different projects in theatre, opera, radio, film, multimedia, puppetry, dance, song and site-specific performance produced in a dozen cities worldwide. Produced writing includes The Circle (commissioned site-specific audiowalk, banished? productions, DC) Between Trains (play with songs, Gas & Electric Arts, Phila) Immortal: The Gilgamesh Variations (Tablet 1 of 11, multi-playwright adaptation, The Bushwick Starr, NYC) Playing Dead (commissioned translation from Brothers Presnyakov w/Yury Urnov, Single Carrot, Baltimore) The World Is Round (libretto and direction of James Sellars opera, adapted from Gertrude Stein, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford) and Waterwalk: Surface And Depth (libretto for gamelan opera by Robert Macht, commissioned to inaugurate a stone labyrinth for healing at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital, Baltimore). As Artistic Director of Company One Theater (Hartford) for six years, she directed dozens of premieres of early works by leading experimental playwrights including Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel and Erik Ehn; and was Founding Director of Towson University’s Theatre MFA for the self-generative artist for twelve years. Awards include: Fulbright Scholar; National Endowment for the Arts Access to Excellence Grant with Gas & Electric Arts (Phila); and a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Playwriting. Recent residencies include The Studios of Key West & Wildacres Retreat Center (2013). She is a professional member of Dramatists Guild and Society of Directors and Choreographers. Rockwell received her BS in Theatre and Semiotics, Colorado College and her MFA in Directing, University of Connecticut.

Hannah Star Rogers. Charlottesville, VA. Rogers grew up in rural Alabama and received her Ph.D. at Cornell University. She teaches writing at Columbia University and the University of Virginia. Rogers has organized programs on creative science writing at Mountain Lake Biological Station and the ABCRC Environmental Science Marine Station on the eastern shore. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, The Carolina Quarterly, Catch & Release, and The Southern Women’s Review. She has received the National Park Service writing residency in both Acadia, Maine and the Everglades, FL. Her scholarly publications have appeared in Configurations, Photomediations, and A New Synthesis. She also works as a curator and her exhibit Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott, received an exhibits prize from the British Society for the History of Science and resulted in an invited lecture at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. She is the Director of Research and Collaboration for Arizona State University’s Emerge: Artists and Scientists Redesign the Future. 

Maja Spasova, London, UK and Berlin, DE. Visual Artist. Spasova is a researcher and an activist, modernistic and rebellious. She has located many of her projects in urban public spaces. Creating relations and processes where sound is an essential component, her art contemplates the fundamental conditions of life. She has exhibited at the International Biennale ARTEC, Japan; the Venice Biennial; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Germany; Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennial, Senegal; Vandalorum Museum, Sweden and many more. Spasova’s commissions include site-specific installation Bright Shiny Me by Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, site-specific installation My Darling by Stockholm Culture Festival and site-specific installation Winged by Swedish National Art Council. She has received numerous art awards and grants such as IASPIS, Sweden; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany; DRAC, France. Recently she was Artist-in-Residence at the Bogliasco Foundation. Spasova’s published work includes monograph Maja Spasova, Drawings (Arena, Sweden, 2014), the double CD-album Maja Af Svea with remixes of sound works (by OlofBright, Sweden, 2009). She received her education from the Academy of Fine Art, Sofia, Bulgaria and the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Weidong Yang, San Francisco, CA. Physicist. Yang received Ph. D. in Physics and M.S. in Computer and Information Science from University of Oregon. His Ph. D. dissertation was Electronic Structure and Optical Properties of Self-Assembled InAs Quantum Dots. He continued research on Quantum Dots in Paul Alivasatos Lab in UC. Berkeley. From 2002 to 2011, Weidong Yang worked in Semiconductor industry as scientist and product manager. He invented Diffraction Based Overlay to detect sub-angstrom mis-alignment in IC process, two order of magnitude more precise than state-of-the-art. In 2013 Weidong Yang founded Kinetech Arts, a non-profit Dance and Science company that was named the Best Sci-Art Collective by SFWeekly in 2014. As a dancer, Weidong Yang has performed with professional companies like Kunst-Stoff in 2012. As a choreographer he has created a 10 male contemporary dance in 2011 that was performed in theaters around San Francisco. In 2014 Weidong Yang founded Kineviz, developing new human data interface for data insights and analytics. Weidong Yang has been awarded 11 US patents and over 30 peer reviewed publications.

Adam Zaretsky, West Hurley, NY. Biologist. Zaretsky is a Wet-Lab Art Practitioner mixing Ecology, Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Body Performance and Gastronomy. Zaretsky stages lively, hands-on bioart production labs based on topics such as: foreign species invasion (pure/impure), radical food science (edible/inedible), jazz bioinformatics (code/flesh), tissue culture (undead/semi-alive), transgenic design issues (traits/desires), interactive ethology (person/machine/non-human) and physiology (performance/stress). A former researcher at the MIT department of biology, for the past decade Zaretsky has been teaching an experimental bioart class called VivoArts at: San Francisco State University (SFSU), SymbioticA (UWA), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), University of Leiden’s The Arts and Genomic Centre (TAGC) and with the Waag Society. He has also taught DIY-IGM (Do-It-Yourself Inherited Genetic Modification of the Human Genome) at New York University (NYU) and Carnegie Melon University (CMU). He also runs a public life arts school: VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.) His art practice focuses on an array of legal, ethical, social and libidinal implications of biotechnological materials and methods with a focus on transgenic humans. Adam is currently Media Arts Faculty in the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist College. Zaretsky received his BFA in Studio Art from the University of California at Davis, his MFA in Art and Technology from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his PhD in Integrated Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.