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:  Lisa K Blatt (Photographer) on "Seeing the Invisible"'

Photography and video to explore how landscape may be defined by what is not visible... Read more

7:25-7:50:  Adrienne Mayor (Stanford/ Classics and History and Philosophy of Science) on "Gods and Robots"

Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence?... 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:   Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics) on "Postponing the Robocalypse"

8:35-9:00:  Jules Litman-Cleper (Media Artist) on "Unsimulatableness: that which cannot be simulated"

Earth Centered Communication Technology, Organic Computation, ... Read more
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience


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, 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 in USA, China, Australia, Canada, etc. She is also a Visiting Scholar with the UC's CITRIS People and Robots Research Group.

Lisa K Blatt often works in extreme landscapes and examines site, sight, and social and political issues. Cindy Sherman chose and wrote about Blatt, when asked which one photographer Sherman thought was doing groundbreaking work (Smithsonian Magazine (March 2012)). Blatt's art has been exhibited widely internationally, including many museums. Her work has been in the Shanghai Biennial, China, the Havana Biennial, Cuba, Museo de Tigre, Argentina, Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Iceland (solo), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Contemporary Art Platform and Freud Museum, London, Kunstverein Haus, Germany, Wexner Center, Ohio, Mills College Art Museum Oakland (solo), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Bellingham National Museum, Washington, Santa Cruz Museum, San Diego International Airport, Phillips Museum, Washington, DC and Sean Kelly in New York. Her work has received many positive reviews and has been awarded many grants and residencies including from: the National Science Foundation (Antarctica), NASA and Carnegie Mellon, the Kitteredge Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Anderson Ranch, the Neon Museum, The Center for Cultural Innovation Creative Capacity Fund Grant, and the Djerassi Foundation. In 2018, Sandra S. Phillips, Photo Curator Emerita at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, nominated Blatt for both the MACK First Book Award (London) and the Gardner prize (Harvard). Her work is in public and private collections. It has been commissioned for the Sierra Fund's Tribute Trail in California and the J. Michael Bishop Art Collection at University of California, San Francisco, together with 19 other artists including Richard Serra.

Jules Litman-Cleper is a new media artist and theorist born and raised in the Bay Area. Jules is interested in unpacking simulation as a way of knowing, the formation and deformation of patterns in organic systems, perceptual and mathematical aspects of randomness and ecologies: their flows of information, spatial dynamics and protection. These inquiries unfold through visual art, mixed-media installation, writing, sound, research and experimentation. They have taught classes and exhibited work at Krowswork, Aggregate Space, New York Studio School, with performances at The Lab, ATA, CCRMA and more.

Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science, investigates natural knowledge contained in myths and oral traditions. Mayor's most recent book is "Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology" (2018). Other books include "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World" (2014) and a biography of Mithradates VI, "The Poison King," a National Book Award finalist (2009). Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor's two books on pre-Darwinian fossil traditions in classical antiquity and in Native America opened a new field within the emerging discipline of Geomythology, and her book on the origins of biological weapons uncovered the ancient roots of biochemical warfare. A research scholar in Classics and the History and Philosophy of Science Program, she is currently a Berggruen Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford.

Danielle Wright is the Executive Director of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of commercial refrigeration. For the past decade, she has worked in energy efficiency and sustainability of the built environment with a special focus on refrigeration. Her goal is to create solutions that produce positive business outcomes and environmental benefits.




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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.

January 14th, 2020 7:00 PM   through   9:30 PM
2130 Fulton Street
University Center 402/403
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94118
United States

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