LASER Talks in Berkeley

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.

8:10-8:35Manuela Travaglianti (UC Berkeley/ Political Science) on "How can we Prevent Election Violence?" Abstract forthcoming.

8:35-9:00:  Mark Stephen Meadows (Botanic). Abstract forthcoming.

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


Mark Stephen Meadows has been active in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and many other high-tech fields. He started working with chatbots in the mid-1990s, including stints at Xerox PARC and SRI Intl. He worked with everything from IBM Watson to Amazon Alexa. His company Construct built the first realtime multi-user 3D environment. is dedicated to RT3D avatars on mobile devices and in AR, basically implementing A.I. characters that speak with you. An early owner of both Bitcoin and Ethereum, Mark has implemented a range of things that allow our avatars to interoperate with the blockchain, such as a voice-to-blockchain bridge. Also a painter, Mark strives to build interactive portraits - talking paintings. He founded Botanic Technologies in 2011 with customers in the US, Australia, and China. His former startup was Id Avatars (formerly Geppetto Avatars), dedicated to conversational avatar platforms for healthcare applications. Mark conducted research at Xerox-PARC (1998-2000), SRI Intl (2000-2001) and at the Waag Center for New Media in Amsterdam (2002-2004). He has published several books, most recently "We, Robot" (2010) and "Iu Avatar" (2006).

Manuela Travaglianti is a Lecturer in the Peace and Conflict Studies and the Global Studies program at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. She studies the the effectiveness of electoral violence prevention programs through experimental and qualitative methods. She teaches classes on post-conflict peace building and global studies in Africa, and advise undergraduate senior capstones in peace and conflict studies. She has collaborated with the United States Institute of Peace. Prior to joining UC Berkeley she was a graduate fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation.

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
387 Soda Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1775
United States

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