Leonardo 50th Anniversary Celebration at Concordia University | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Leonardo 50th Anniversary Celebration at Concordia University

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Join Milieux and Hexagram in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Leonardo and the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology with an afternoon of presentations and moderated discussions about the current uses of artificial intelligence at the intersection of research and artistic creation. The program is a co-presentation of Leonardo, Milieux, and LASER. Hexagram-Montreal.


Co-chaired by Nina Czegledy (Leonardo), Bart Simon and Ricardo Dal Farra (Milieux Institute) and Gisèle Trudel (Hexagram).

The Leonardo 50th Celebration in Montréal is a collaboration between Milieux Institute and Hexagram.

Distinguished speaker, artist and professor Christa Sommerer (University of Art and Design, Linz, Austria) opens the event on the topic of art, artificial intelligence and education, to be followed by an open public discussion.   

The event continues with a round table discussion, with the participation of Roger Malina (Executive Editor of Leonardo Publications, Professor at UT Dallas), Louise Poissant (Scientific Director, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture - FRQSC) and Sofian Audry (artist, Perte de Signal member, Concordia Ph. D. graduate and new hire at the University of Maine). 

The discussion will focus on the role of artificial intelligence in education and research and the challenges it presents for best practices and inter / trans / disciplinary collaboration. The round table discussion is part of the LASER Hexagram Montreal series (Leonardo ArtScience Evening Rendezvous).

The Leonardo 50th Celebrations honour the Leonardo journal of arts sciences and technology founded in 1968 in Paris by kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank Malina. 


1 pm
Keynote address by Christa Sommerer - "Interactive Art - Between Participatory Strategies and Interaction Design"

2:45 pm
L.A.S.E.R. Montreal panel discussion with Roger Malina, Louise Poissant & Sofian Audry
(In French and in English)

5 pm
Musical performance "17 Miyagi Haikus”, a composition by Sandeep Bhagwati, professor of both music and theatre at Concordia University, performed by Felix del Tredici, Joseph A. Browne, Tamar Tabori & Amber Downie-Back on bass trombone and electronics.

5:15 pm – 7 pm


KEYNOTE - Christa Sommerer


Artists and designers in the area of interactive art have been conducting research in human-machine interaction for a number of years now. Interaction and interface design have not only had their roots in human computer engineering but have also seen parallel developments in media art. With products of interactive technologies increasingly spreading into our lives, it is interesting to see where early notions of interactivity and user participation came from and how artists over the past 40 or more years have already looked at the merits and problems of audience involvement. In this lecture artistic, social and political notions of interactivity will be addressed and specific examples of the artistic works by Sommerer and Mignonneau as well as the Interface Cultures Department at the University of Art in Linz will be presented.


Christa Sommerer is an internationally renowned media artist, researcher and pioneer of interactive art.  After working, researching and teaching in the US and Japan for 10 years, she in 2004 together with French  media artist Laurent Mignonneau set up the department for Interface Cultures at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria,  where they are both professors. Sommerer was also an Obel Guest Professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, and a Visiting Professor  at Tsukuba University Department of Empowerment Informatics in Japan. Laurent Mignoneau was also Chaire International  Guest Professor at the Université Paris 8 in Paris, France. Sommerer and Mignonneau created around 30 interactive artworks,  which have been shown in around 250 international exhibitions. They have received numerous awards: the BEEP Award at ARCO Art Fair in Madrid in 2016, the 2012 Wu Guanzhong Art and Science Innovation Prize which was bestowed by the  Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China; the 1994 Golden Nica  Prix Ars Electronica Award; the 1995 Ovation Award of the Interactive Media Festival in Los Angeles; the Multi Media Award'95 of the Multimedia Association Japan, the 2001 World Technology Award of the World Technology Network in London UK and the PRIZE 2008 - uni:invent Award,  which was bestowed by the Ministry of Science and Research in Austria.  More information is available at: http://www.interface.ufg.ac.at/christa-laurent

LASER round table participants, abstracts and bios (in alphabetical order)

Sofian Audry


I will talk about my career as an interdisciplinary artist-researcher within art, science and engineering. I will recount the first few years of my post-secondary education as a computer scientist-researcher at the department of Computer Science and Operational Research of University of Montréal, as well as my first research studies in machine learning at Yoshua Bengio's lab (LISA) and at the Idiap Research Institute (Switzerland). I will follow with my transition into digital art, namely through my collaborations with the Drone Collective and the artist-run centre 'Perte de Signal', as well as through my Masters at UQAM's School of Media. I will discuss my experience of integrating artificial intelligence within my creative approach and the challenges it presents now and in the future.


Sofian Audry is a new media artist, computer scientist, researcher, and educator. Through his interdisciplinary practice and research, he works at the crossroad between artificial intelligence and new media art, developing artistic works and new tools for creators. Sofian is Assistant Professor in the New Media department at University of Maine (Orono, ME). He holds a Ph. D. in Humanities from Concordia University (Montréal, 2011) as well as master degrees in both Computer Science (machine learning) (M.Sc., University of Montréal, 2003) and Communication (interactive media) (M.A., UQAM, 2010). Recently, Audry held a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT (2017). His work and research have been presented in multiple events and venues in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Roger Malina


Title : Looking back and looking forward through the eyes of the Leonardo Journal as it turns 50.

The Leonardo Journal was founded in 1968 by Frank Malina and a group of artists,scientists and researchers. These included Buckminster Fuller, C.P. Snow, Jacob Bronowski, C.H.Waddington, J.J. Gibson, Gyorgy Kepes and Lancelot Law Whyte. At the time artists were told 'if you have to plug it in, it can’t be art'. Fifty years later, artists have appropriated, redirected, and contributed innovations to emerging media from digital to biological to space technology. Today artists and designers are contributing, as part of the STEM to STEAM discussion (science, technology, engineering, mathematics to science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics), to the redesign of science itself, both the scientific methods and the social embedding of science.


Roger Malina is an art-science researcher, astronomer and editor. His UTD ArtSciLab focuses on research that involves close collaboration between scientists and artists, in particular developing data exploration and data performance. The lab also carries out research in experimental publishing in collaboration with MIT Press and Leonardo/ISAST and OLATS. He is former director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence (OAMP) in Marseille, and was a member of its observational cosmology group, which carried out investigations on dark matter and dark energy. He is the Executive Editor of the Leonardo Publications at MIT Press, including the new arteca.mit.edu art science technology platform. Roger Malina obtained his BS in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972, and his Ph. D. in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979.

Louise Poissant


Several artistic projects assisted by artificial intelligence are inspired by the behaviour and sensory-motor properties of animals, insects and plants. The example that will be discussed is SCUTIGERA, a project of the Observatories of the inaccessible series developed by Nicolas Reeves and the team at NXI Gestatio. By increasing human cognitive functions, artificial intelligence also directly increases the sensory, proprioceptive and motor capacities of individuals, or contributes self-regulating robots whose behaviour is adaptive in various environments. This presentation does not focus on the extensive field of works produced autonomously by robots or programs. It rather brings to light a few of the works opened by robots that give us access to the imperceptible. Sensory extensions that reveal registers that are beyond the human sensory apparatus, some of these creatures have the ability to learn from their results. As such, they literally realize Paul Klee’s famous quote : “Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible.”


Louise Poissant, Ph. D. in philosophy, is the Scientific Director of Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) since 2015. She was Dean of the Faculty of Arts at UQAM from 2006 to 2015 and professor of aesthetics at the École des arts visuels et médiatiques from 1989 to 2006. From 2001 to 2006, she led the Centre interuniversitaire des arts médiatiques (CIAM) affiliated to Hexagram. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the author of numerous books and articles in the field of media arts published in various journals in Canada, France, Brazil and the United States. Among other achievements, she edited and supervised the writing and the translation of the Dictionary of the Media Arts published by PUQ in French, and by the Journal Leonardo, MIT Press in English. The electronic version is available since 1997. She co-edited a series on Media Arts in collaboration with TV Ontario and TÉLUQ and co-directed a series of video portraits of artists with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Sofian Audry, Samuel St-Aubin & Stephen Kelly, Vessels, 2013. Presented at LABoral, Gijón, Spain. Photo: Beatriz Orviz.


October 6th, 2017 from  1:00 PM to  7:00 PM
1515 Rue Sainte-Catherine W.
EV Building, 11.455
Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia
Montreal, QC H3G 2W1
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