LASER Talks at Cambridge, UK

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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 40 cities around the world.


CHAIRS: Satinder Gill,Chrysi Nanou and Prerona Prasad


Cambridge LASER presents "The Known World"

March 25th 6-8pm GMT Find your timezone HERE


The Cambridge LASER talks (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendez-vous) questions the separation and propagation of art and science as distinct categories of knowing and being. We ask, 'What is creativity in science and the arts? What is experimental practice in art, science, or philosophy?

Where do scientific and artistic attitudes, inquiries,methods overlap? How do they differ and complement each other? Can such understanding help shape our technological, urban, economic,and environmental futures for an ecologically and socially sustainable life and wellbeing.


In this Cambridge LASER, we bring together musicians, scientists, and data scientists to discuss the processes of creativity and discovery and analysis of environmental data. It is the first in a series that will address the concept of data: how we collect, perceive, analyse, construct, make sense of and translate data, in various thematic contexts.

This Cambridge LASER responds to a concert curated by musician and music psychologist Chrysi Nanou, entitled “The Known World”. It features works for piano, celetto and mixed media created using environmental data sets and sounds.

Four composers bring their distinct voices to raise awareness to ongoing environmental changes through sound and music, in particular, of three distinct locations unfolding their ecosystem: underneath the Arctic ice on the Alaskan coast, Svalbard coastline, and San Francisco’s Crissy Field. These pieces together create an instantly compelling palette, one that simultaneously combines current technologies with ideas, materials and traditions inspired by the natural world.

Electronic sounds mixed with water, ice crackling, animal cries, hand-made instruments and sonic objects along with a technologically reimagined piano and cello, create a kind of harmony with contrasting lyrical improvisations and the overhead whine, purr and rumble of the nearby urban environment.

Programme

Welcome/Introductions

Satinder P Gill - Centre for Music and Science (Cambridge) and Managing Editor, AI& Society

Why the Art and Science of data?

Prerona Prasad - Curator, The Heong Gallery, Downing College (Cambridge).

Introducing The Heong Gallery.

Talks/Performances

Chrysi Nanou - Centre for Music and Science, and Centre for Music Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) (Stanford). Nanou is a performer, curator, and teacher of piano performance. Her work gives special emphasis to performance practices for today's acoustic and electro-acoustic contemporary music.

Introducing The New World project and performing Iceprints, composed by Matthew Burtner.

Matthew Burtner - Eleanor Shea Professor of Music in Composition and Computer Technologies, University of Virginia. Co-Director of Coastal Futures Conservatory, Director of the Alaska-based EcoSono non-profit organisation. 

Composing Iceprints.

The Metered Tide by Chris Chafe for celetto and tidal data.

Chris Chafe - Director of the Centre for Music Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Duca Family Professor of Humanities and Science, University of Stanford. Chafe's works include gallery and museum music installations which are now into their second decade with "musifications" resulting from collaborations with artists, scientists and MD's. Recent work includes the Earth Symphony, the Brain Stethoscope Project (Gnosisong), PolarTide for the 2013 Venice Biennale, Tomato Quintet for the translife:media Festival at the National Art Museum of China.

Composing the Metered Tide. 

frostbYte - Music by Daniel Blinkhorn.

Aaron O'Connor - Founding Director of The Arctic Circle:  an artist and scientist expeditionary residency program sailing annually in the high-Arctic since 2009. O'Connor is also the founding director of Open Bay Centre, a wilderness conservancy and art & science centre for research in the North Pacific Discovery Islands.  

The Arctic Circle Foundation. 

Victoria Vesna - Artist and Professor in Design Media Arts (UCLA), Director of the Art|Sci Centre in the School of Arts and California NanoSystems Institute. Vesna's work involves long-term collaborations with composers, nano-scientists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary biologists. With her installations she investigates how communications technologies affect collective behaviour and perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. 

Noise Aquarium and [Alien] Stardust 

Richard Wolfson - Benjamin F. Wissler Emeritus Professor of Physics, Middlebury College, where he also taught in the Environmental Studies Program and at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey. Wolfson's research involves the sun, climate change and solar energy. Author of numerous books and textbooks including Energy, Environment and the Climate

A Conversation - Jonathan Impett and Chrysi Nanou reflect on the processes of composing and performing to data. 

Jonathan Impett - Director of Research, Orpheus Institute (Gent), and Associate Professor, Middlesex University (London). Impett's professional and research activities cover many aspects of contemporary musical practice, as trumpet player, composer and theorist. 

 

Music Pieces can be found here. Please do enjoy listening to them before the event, and most definitely afterwards. 

 

About the Noise Aquarium - "The ecological crisis is a human crisis. Oceans must not be considered as flat blue surfaces which serve as dropping holes where we an let vanish all our anthropogenic remains. There are vast amounts of organisms that live down there and some suffer and die out from our waste and noise. Current literature and studies have demonstrated how different noise sources influence large marine life with shocking examples such as stranded whales and dolphins. However, little have highlighted the possible impact on marvelous microscopic organisms such as plankton, and this is the focus of the Noise Aquarium. 

Utilising 3D models obtained with scientific imaging, we have created 3D enlarged plankton to appear as large as whales and spatialize the noise created by fossil fuel fracking, shipping and other anthropogenic noise created by our collective consumer culture. The goal is to immerse the audience in the experience and show that we are all implicated with our lack of balance. 

In the physical installation, participants attempt to balance themselves on an interactive pedestal, and if they manage to center themselves, one of the seven plankton species appear in large scale and we hear a whale song in the distance. Most of the time, however, we generate the anthropogenic noise. In the online version developed during the pandemic, we used binaural sound of spatialized hydrophone recordings and AR imagery to engage the audience in an artist led meditation. 

This is highly interdisciplinary artist led effort with biologists, chemists, nano-toxicologists and an animator all working together towards a common goal - to raise awareness that 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by plankton." (Victoria Vesna)

SPONSORS:

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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 40 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks

 

When
March 25th, 2021 6:00 PM through  8:00 PM
Location
Online / Cambridge,
United Kingdom