LASER Talks in San Francisco | Leonardo/ISAST

LASER Talks in San Francisco

LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) is Leonardo/ISAST's international program of evening gatherings that brings artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations.

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CHAIRS: Tami Spector and Piero Scaruffi


  • 7:00-7:25:  Ellen Peel (SFSU/ Literature) on "Imagining the Constructed Body: From Statues to Cyborgs"
  • 7:25-7:50:  Dasha Ortenberg (Architect) on "Transformative Potentials of Speculative Mapping"
  • 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:  Gabrielle Hecht (Stanford/ Nuclear Security) on "TBA"
  • 8:35-9:00:  Kristina Dutton (Media Artist) on "A Musician Contemplates Gesture and Silence"

  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

Speaker Bios

  • Kristina Dutton (Media Artist) is a violinist, composer, and educator. Dutton works in a wide range of musical settings, moving freely between improvisation, new music, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Dutton began her musical studies on piano and violin at the age of three. Conservatory trained, she has performed on more than 30 albums of various genres, appeared with numerous orchestras, and a handful of internationally acclaimed rock groups. Her music has been featured on international labels ranging from pop to new music, experimental to indie. In recent years her interest has focused on composition inspired by science, the natural world, and visual works. Most recently she travelled to Iceland with producer Jason K Cupp to create a series of violin and vocal field recordings in various dome shaped settings including caves, a sound sculpture, and the Reykjavik Art Museum Dome. Her current work includes collaborative projects with geneticist Dr. Arnaud Martin of George Washington University, and the Sonya Rapaport Legacy Trust on a musical reimagining of the famed Bay Area artist's visual oeuvre. Recent film works include the UC Berkeley Integrative Biology Lab's short on the life stages of cephalopods showing at the Imagine Science Film Festival, and artist/filmmaker Kim Anno's upcoming trailer and feature-length film, 90 Miles from Paradise.
  • Gabrielle Hecht is Professor of Nuclear Security at Stanford University, where she is affiliated with the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and the Department of History. She is also Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. Before returning to Stanford in 2017, Hecht taught at the University of Michigan for 18 years, where she served as Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, associate director of the University of Michigan's African Studies Center, and in other posts. Hecht has written two award-winning books about nuclear things. Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade (2012) offers new perspectives on the global nuclear order. An abridged version appeared in French as Uranium Africain, une histoire globale (Le Seuil 2016). Hecht's first book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity (1998 & 2009), explores how the French embedded nuclear policy in reactor technology. She is currently beginning a book on technology and power in Africa, as well as a series of essays on radioactive and other forms of waste, tentatively titled Toxic Tales from the African Anthropocene. Hecht has been a visiting scholar in universities in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. Hecht's work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the South African and Dutch national research foundations, among others.
  • Dasha Ortenberg believes deeply in design's ability to stimulate critical thought, highlight the weirdness of individuals, and the reveal uncanny overlaps of (sub-)cultures. Her cross-scalar and cross-media approach to space is the result of a perpetual fascination with modes of human communication, collaboration, and cohabitation. Having emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, she is driven by a deep gratitude to the United States for having provided the opportunity to pursue her passions and understand her heritage, and works to promote and propagate such opportunities for others. Dasha holds degrees in Art History and Linguistics (UC Berkeley), and Architecture (Harvard GSD). Her formal education is supplemented by a variegated work experience, which includes radio, dance, and archival conservation. In her conceptual projects, pedagogical pursuits, and work for art and architectural practices she strives to combine traditional and contemporary technologies to transform individual narratives and historic cross-currents into socially-impactful spatial experiences. She leverages the media of documentation, representation, and fabrication to highlight juxtapositions and create conversations that encourage mutual understanding. Her project, A Franchise of Difference, transformed documentation of interviews and sites from a 7,000-mile road trip into architectural concepts. She works as a designer at Anderson Brule Architects. As an artist with the ZERO1 American Arts Incubator in March 2018, she developed, taught and administrated the "Rhetorical City" program at L'Uzine in Casablanca, Morocco. She is also developing and directing the 2018 events cycle "Structures of Power," -- which explores the structures of traditional power and methods of empowerment -- for the Women in Architecture group of Silicon Valley.
  • Ellen Peel is Professor in the Department of Comparative and World Literature at San Francisco State University. She teaches and conducts research in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction (French, English); twentieth- and twenty-first century fiction (English, U.S.); literary theory and criticism (especially narrative, feminist, psychoanalytic, reader response, rhetorical); women's literature; science fiction and utopian literature; and surveys of Western and world literature. Her publications include Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism: A Rhetoric of Feminist Utopian Fiction (Ohio State University Press, 2002). "Imagining the Constructed Body: From Statues to Cyborgs" appeared in the MLA volume Teaching World Literature (2009). Recent publications include "Narrative Causes: Inside and Out" (in Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions) and "The Conundrum of Feminism in Doris Lessing's Fiction" (in Feminine Issues: In the Writing of British Female Authors). She is working on a book about the constructed body in literature and film.
  • 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 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.






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LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) Talks is Leonardo's international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations. LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are in over 30 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website

The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

November 13th, 2018 7:00 PM   through   9:00 PM
2497 Golden Gate Ave
University Center 4th Floor Lounge
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94118
United States

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