LASER Talks in Berkeley | Leonardo/ISAST

LASER Talks in Berkeley

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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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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 20 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.


7:00-7:25 Andrew Blanton (San Jose State Univ) on "Alchemy, Cyberpunk Aesthetics and Digital Art." A philosophical look at the relationship between alchemy and cyberpunk aesthetics of the 1980's.

7:25-7:50:  Erling Wold (Composer) on "The Descent of Opera." Trends in modern opera.

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.

8:10-8:35Melissa Merencillo (Virtual Reality Designer) on "Where We Are in XR (X Reality: Augmented, Virtual, Mixed and Cinematic Realities).

8:35-9:00:  Brewster Kahle (Founder and director of the Internet Archive) on "Universal Access to All Knowledge."

9:00-9:30: Discussions, networking. You can mingle with the speakers and the audience.


Brewster Kahle is the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet's first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 25 petabytes of data-the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 450 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.

Melissa Merencillo is an X-Reality (XR = AR/VR/MR) enthusiast and technophile focusing on social presence, behavioral communication and interaction design in digital reality systems. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from California State University East Bay (2012) and a Master of Arts in Multimedia in Interaction Design also from California State University East Bay (2017). Her work on the collaborative thesis, Project: This Way!, explored the concepts of copresence in VR and was shown at the VR Mixer of the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, and at the symposium, If You Weren't: Playing with Realities in ARG, AR, and VR held at Stanford University in Palo Alto. She is a member of various AR/VR MeetUps and attends industry conferences on AR/VR technology throughout the Bay Area. She is currently the Instructional Support Technician II and Video Lab Coordinator of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay supporting courses in digital video and media production.

Erling Wold is a composer, primarily of large and dramatic works. His opera UKSUS is on the life and times of Daniil Kharms. A recording of Certitude and Joy was released on MinMax/Starkland/Naxos. In 2011, his orchestral overture on Certitude and Joy was premiered, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival remounted his adaptation of William Burroughs' Queer. Two of his large works, the Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi for a Cathedral in Switzerland, and his solo opera Mordake, were released on CD. He is cofounder and executive director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. His dance opera Blinde Liebe was performed in Europe and the US with Palindrome Dance of Nurenberg, Germany. His chamber works have been presented in Philadelphia by Relache, in the Bay Area by New Music Works and the Conservatory New Music Ensemble. He was a resident artist at ODC Theater, which presented his opera Sub Pontio Pilato (also performed in Austria), a chamber opera based on William Burroughs' early autobiographical novel Queer, as well as A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, based on the Max Ernst collage novel (European premiere in a German version by the Klagenfurter Ensemble in 2001). He has written a number of pieces for a dancer-controlled interactive video and music system for Palindrome dance. He has also worked with Nesting Dolls in Los Angeles and San Francisco on several theater and dance projects, including 13 Versions of Surrender and I brought my hips to the table. He has co-composed the scores for several Deborah Slater Dance Theater projects with fixed-media sound artist Thom Blum.

Andrew Blanton is a media artist and composer. He received his BM in Music Performance from The University of Denver (2008) and a Masters of Fine Arts in New Media Art at the University of North Texas (2013). He is currently a Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University in San Jose California and a research fellow in the UT Dallas ArtSciLab in Dallas, Texas. His current work focuses on the emergent potential between cross-disciplinary arts and technology, building sound environments through software development, and writing music for those environments.


August 9th, 2017 7:00 PM   through   9:00 PM
Soda Hall
Room TBA
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1775
United States

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