LASER Talks in Brussels: Black Holes | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

LASER Talks in Brussels: Black Holes

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The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 50 cities around the world.


Laser Talks Brussels: Black Holes

While the back flap of Kip Thorne’s famous book Black Holes and Time Warps (1994) states ‘BLACK HOLES down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return’, the first image of a black hole only dates from 2019. This Laser Talk will focus on philosophical, scientific and cultural perspectives on black holes, exploring questions about the nature of reality, the interconnectivity of the cosmos and the limits of human knowledge. Historical research in the field of astronomy questions issues linked to cultural memory and collective heritage. The talk aims to gain insight into scientific research and artistic thinking around this matter.

With Valery VERMEULEN and Stéphane Detournay

Chaired by: Alexandra Dementieva

Moderated by: Edith Doove


EVENT INFO When: Thursday 20 June at 7 pm CET.

Where: Nadine – Laboratory for Contemporary Arts, 📍Nieuwbrug 3, 1000 Brussels 

Livestream via YouTube


Dr. Valery Vermeulen is a Belgian electronic musician, mathematician, music producer, visiting professor at KASK & Conservatorium – School of Arts Ghent (BE), guest lecturer at Master ArtScience Interfaculty KABK Den Hague (NL) and researcher at Antwerp University (BE). He holds a Phd in Mathematics and MA Music Composition. In his practice Vermeulen focuses on the intersection between music, math and physics. Topics in his work cover a broad range of disciplines including algorithmic music composition, (generative) sound synthesis, AI, biofeedback, psychofysiology, astrophysics, theoretical physics, econometrics, data sonification and data visualisation. 

Vermeulen's work has been featured extensively in global news outlets and magazines such as Music Radar, Tech Radar, BBC6, The Wire, Electronic Sound Magazine, Neural, 15 Questions, New Scientist, DJ Mag, Mixmag, Trax Magazine, Future Music, FazeMag, on national radio channels Deutschland Funk, Radio Eins, Yle Radio1, Radio Canada, The Wire on Air, VRT Radio1 , VRT Radio2, Studio Brussels and on VRT Max. 

In 2021 Vermeulen released the black hole album Mikromedas AdS/CFT 001 on the label Ash International, a subsidiary of the renowned Touch label. The album was picked up internationally and was awarded in 2022 with an Honorary Mention for the STARTS Prize-Ars Electronica issued on behalf of the European Commission. 

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Dr. Stéphane Detournay is a FNRS research associate and professor at Université Libre de Bruxelles and the International Solvay Institutes. He was the holder of a Marie Curie Fellowship, is an honorary BAEF alumni, and received the 2016 Adolphe Wetrems and 2020 De Donder Prizes from the Belgian Royal Academy of Science. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Milan, UC Santa Barbara and Harvard University. His research interests lie in the area of high-energy and gravitational physics, with particular focus on quantum aspects of black holes. He is also interested in outreach, and in establishing connexions between arts and sciences, being in mixing sciences, music and smoky cocktails (, throwing cellists into a black hole to check how it sounds (, or discussing the nature of reality with illusionists

Alexandra Dementieva is a multimedia artist, based in Brussels. The idea of interaction between the viewer and an artwork, mediated by technologically progressive visualization methods, lies at the core of her work. In her installations she uses various art forms on an equal basis: dance, music, cinema and performance. Akin to an explorer she raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means, that is by taking a subjective stance behind a camera. Her installations focus on the role of the viewer and her/his interaction with an artwork and bring forth ways of provoking the viewer’s involvement thus allowing hidden mechanisms of human behaviour to be revealed. 

Edith Doove (PhD) is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations. She holds a PhD as member of Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University where she is a postdoctoral advisor. Since 2018 she lives and works in France, currently in Rouen where she teaches at ESADHaR (École supérieure d’art et design Le Havre Rouen). She was the curator visual arts for the arts festival Watou in 2023 and currently prepares an exhibition and publication on the Research Group and their influence on art education for the Stadsmuseum and PXL School of Arts in Hasselt (autumn 2024). 

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In collaboration with Namur University

June 20th, 2024 from  7:00 PM to  9:30 PM
Hybrid / Brussels, BRU
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