Is Science in Trouble ?

A call to scholars of all types to help redesign science itself:

How to make the in-human sciences humanistic.

Roger Malina Aug 11 2019:

When I arrived at UT Dallas, Dennis Kratz infected me with the idea of ‘hard humanities’; how do we take all the knowledge from the arts, humanities and design, and apply this to improve our societies functioning, but also to improve science and engineering themselves.

This is a call to action to critics, and more importantly generative critiquers and noticers of all types. Hybrids and Amphibians between the disciplines welcome.

The proposition is this: Science is in trouble, we must redesign it; and Artists, Designers and Humanists must be co designers of this redesign with STEM professionals.

  1. Redesign the social embeddings of science.

The current social organization of science is an accident of WW II and the success of physicist and engineers helping win the war. We must re embed science in society through open science, networked science. As sociologist Helga Nowotny said: we need a socially robust science that prioritizes science to enable improved societies. Historian Robert Ilbert called for rehumanising the “inhuman sciences” ( in reference to the French term “sciences humaines” for the humanities.

2.) Redesign the scientific methods:  The methods have always evolved, improved, changed. In contrast to Kuhn’s concept of paradigm shifts, we call rather for transition design as advocated by Terry Irwin. Newton would not recognize what we consider scientific validation in many cases today. Computer simulations now have the status of hypotheses and are difficult to falsify, with the use of ‘consensus’ between different simulations as proof. And similarly we have very different ideas of causality today; it is not conceptually possible to write an equation of climate change; there is no A causes B, but A can cause B if C didn’t happen before and if D happens several times……Phenomena “emerge” from complexity.

  • Free ourselves from the implicit bias created by having only human “beings” create scientific theories and applications.

Astronomers now know that most of the universe does not emit light of any kind (the infamous dark energy and dark matter of unknown nature). For the first time in human history we now have other ‘messengers’ from the cosmos, such as gravitational waves from orbiting black holes. We have been studying the decoration on the universe, not its underlying structures that determine its evolution. Our science is deeply implicitly biased by the use of the human senses and brains.  Curiosity used to be a Christian sin, now it is an atheist’s virtue. AI Beings are now developing hypotheses of their own through deep learning techniques. Cognition is embodied; different beings have different embodiment. Will the science developed by AI Beings overlap with that developed by  HumansH

Please contact if you would like to contribute to the Transition Design of Science itself.


On aug 11 we discussed some of the ideas expressed above during a dinner party at No 17 Rue Emile Dunois. Those present were Wolf Rainer, Annick Bureaud, Dorothea Marciak, Jeff Berner, Jouette Travis and in interaction by phone with Bronac Ferran and Liliane Lijn. I was made uncomfortable by their critiques which included:

1.a: the provocation expresses the implicit bias that it is the scientific method that needs improving to save our kind of life on earth. Annick pointed out that in spite of the stated reliance on combining transdisciplinary ways of knowing, somehow it was still posited that improved science was the ‘best method’. There is no logical demonstration of this point of view.

1 b. Best methods. When Mauricio Mejia and I presented a paper at ISEA in Colombia, our colleague Rejane Spitz responded vehemently that there were no such things as ‘best methods’ in transdisciplinary methods, but many good ones whose efficacy was context dependent. That the use of the term ’best methods’ reflected the scientific bias that scientific ‘truths’ we the same any where in the universe, or indeed in any location in human society. There is no such thing as French scientifique equations and Colombian scientific equations. But what if what needs improving is inter-personal relations ? yes one can be thoughtful and methodical but who has demonstrated that the scientific method is the best our only method to improve the ways we individuals interact with each other ?

  1. C The queen of the sciences. Wolf Rainer remarked that in spite of my interest in rethinking ideas of causality in complex systems, there was still an implication that what was needed was ‘better and improved mathematics’. Scientists tendency to put mathematics on the throne as the queen of the sciences, discarded other methods of modelling, in Paul Fishwick’s use of the term. Paul has advocated the need for ‘aesthetic computing’ methods that draw on the arts, design, social “sciences” and humanities to improve computer science. Maybe mathematics is not the only ‘queen’ that needs improving to enable human survival.

1.d The assertion in the provocation that we need to free science from the bias of the way that humans think, and bring in AI beings and their kind of science was contested. Or at least we need to be clear that we want humans to survive on earth, and that maybe ‘human science’ rather than “AI science’ should be favored because there is an explicit objective of ensuring human survival and not necessarily the survival of AI beings.

1.e Which immediately was attacked by Annick. This way of speaking separates ‘humans’ from the rest of the symbiotic, cybernetic system of organisms and materials ( eg Latour’s emphasis on actor network theory) to understand science making. Humans cannot exist without the microbiome etc etc. Which takes us back to Roy Ascott’s call for ‘moist’ reality. My call to make the sciences more ‘humanistic’ was a contradiction in terms and logical sense.

We welcome further critiques , and maybe suggestions on how to rethink the framework on how to enable the survival of organic life on earth ( while admitting that non organic life forms are also viable). In the mean term I will keep working on improving science itself. Send an email to

Our First Podcast in Tamil on Creative Disturbance: Aadhavan Sibi Mathivanan with Gautam Sharma

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Aadhavan Sibi Mathivanan is proud to announce the creation of the new Creative Disturbance Channel: அ முதல் America வரை 
In this first podcast he is in dialog in Tamil with Gautam Sharma

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Aadhavan Sibi Mathivanan

அ முதல் America வரைC

Visa வில்லங்கம்

அ முதல் America வரை art

முதல் மடல்: ‘அ’ முதல் அமெரிக்காவரை. முதலாவது ‘விசா வில்லங்கம்”. எப்படியெப்படி தப்பு பண்ணலாம் ? விசா பெறுவதில் எத்தனை எத்தனை வில்லங்கம், முட்டுச் சந்து, உதவிக் கரங்கள், எளிமையான தீர்வுகள் ? உரையாடுகிறார்கள் கௌதம் ஷர்மா-ஆதவன் சிபி ! விசா வழிகாட்டும் வாட்சாப் குழுக்கள், தூதரகம் முன் நிற்கும் அனகோண்டா க்யூ வரிசை, ஒற்றை மனிதனாக கண்டம்விட்டு கண்டம் தாவி அமெரிக்கா சென்று சேரும் கொடுமையான முதல் அனுபவம் … எங்களில் எவரும் நண்பர்கள், முகம் தெரியாத முன்னாள் மாணவர்கள் துணையின்றி இந்த பதட்டக் கடலை தாண்டவில்லை. டென்ஷனாக இருக்கிறதா ? எங்களுக்கும் இருந்தது. அதை எப்படிக் கடந்தோம் என்பதுதான் இந்த முதல் காதையின் மய்யக் கரு.

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1 book that made Roger happy, 1 that made him unhappy; 1 that he has yet to read, so his future state of mind is un-prestatable due to constraint closure.

A World Beyond Physics: The emergence of evolution and Life; Stuart A. Kauffman, Oxford University Press, 2019 ISBN 978-0-19-087133-8

Reviewed by Roger F. Malina, Professor of Physics and Art and Technology, UT Dallas

A book that made Roger happy.

It is not often a book just makes me happy. As I read this book on a transatlantic flight, I leafed back and forth trying to make sense of this mixture of fact and speculation and just plain lack of closure. Kauffman has been on my radar for decades, and was one of the people who alerted me to the end of physics as the queen of the sciences. Its primacy for the last 70 years was an accident of history, particularly of WWI, rather than of logic, or the methods, we call scientific at the moment.

 The sciences of complexity have been one way that sciences are being redesigned, at least in its methods , if not its social embedding. However, the Santa Fe Institute, where Kauffman worked for a while, is indeed a new kind of research institute embedded in open society that treats the arts and sciences as combined ways of knowing. New ideas about causality are emerging and being applied, he argues. In Kauffman’s phrase we must face the fact that some phenomena, including life forms, are ‘unprestatable”. One of the stimuli for his current line of thinking is the work of Mael Motevil and Matteo Mossio on “constraint closure”


Read it again so it makes sense: un pre-state-able. Not unpredictable. Unprestatable. Not the same idea.

This book is almost an exemplar of Edward Said’s ideas on the ‘late style’ of older `creatives´ (Kauffman announces he is 79). There is no closure here on the nature of life and the scientific explanations of its development on earth and elsewhere in the universe. He states, very accurately, that there are xx billion places in the universe where what we call life, or self-organizing systems, must have originated. The discovery, using astro-physics, that there are more planets than stars in the universe shifts our gaze and that the search for life, like our own, is profoundly mistaken. There are billions of life forms, but none will be like our own and of a kind we can converse with and most will not be on planets (my conclusion).

 In the closing sections, Kauffman extends the discussion to the evolution of the economy. As with life, the economy, he argues, is another example of the emergence of the ‘adjacent possibles’ enabled by the phenomenon of auto-poesis through constraint closure. He concludes: “To think that this (life or the economy) is a Newtonian-Laplacian machine, derivable in some way from set of axioms, seems deeply wrong. Life, and we among it, is so rich in its inheritance and prospects that we can. I think, be captured by no entailing laws”. In his words the future of life, and the economy, are ‘Unprestatable”. 

But read this book and you might get wise, and wisely mad , realizing that the real world isn’t satisfied by physics. Or as we are doing in the UTDallas ArtSciLab try and develop the artscience methods that successfully combine various ways of knowing needed to understand the world at different scales of time, size, and complexity. Like Kauffman I am convinced that physics works enough of the time that it is worth funding; too bad it took astronomere 100,000 years to figure out most of the universe didnt emit light of any kind. For the key problems of climate change and the redesign of our human cultures and economic methods we must go way beyond physics, and in other ways one of which Kauffman elaborates. But this is needed also to understand all three undeniable biggies that Kaufmann enumerates: the origin of the universe, of life forms and of consciousness.

A book that made Roger sad.

The Universe Speaks in Numbers: How modern math reveals nature’s deepest secrets. 

Graham Farmelo. Basic Books.Hachette. USA. ISBN 9781541673922.

By coincidence, serendipity, or some higher mathematical logic (or constraint closure ?), I started this passionate book by Graham Farmelo. He goes into the deep end of the age-old disputes on the roles and natures of mathematics in helping us understand the world around and in us. It would be great to have Farmelo and Kauffman arm-wrestle on the three undeniable biggies cited above. Why mathematics can or should inform our understanding of phenomena, simple and complex, is presumably un-prestatable in Kauffman neologism. Farmelo in exquisite detail takes us through the debates on whether mathematics is the queen of the sciences or whether one stupid fact can derail the most beautiful mathematics. The book culminates in the work of the large hadron collider, the unresolved debates about string theory. He ends on a pacifist note: “As we have seen in the relatively recent past it has become clearer than ever that physicists have not one but two ways of improving their fundamental of how nature works: by collecting data from experiments and by discovering the mathematics that best describes the underlying order of the cosmos. The Universe is whispering its secrets to us in stereo.”

This made me deeply unhappy. Here we go again with false dichotomies that the artscience researchers are struggling to dispel. First he takes sides on the age old argument on whether mathematics is a human invention or a discovery of absolute truth. I don’t think this argument has been resolved; what is clear from Sarukkai’s ethics of curiosity argument is that the way mathematics develops is totally, lets say –largely, conditioned by human curiosity. The inevitable conclusion is that mathematics in extraterrestrial species will overlap but not be identical to human invented or discovered mathematics. In addition there are other ways than mathematics and experiment that humans try to make sense of the worlds around them. Kauffman would argue that the processes of evolution result in “successful” beings that reason in certain ways and not others, and I would argue that current mathematics knowledge is an ‘accident’ of the evolutionary path that our reasoning species have taken.  Mike Punt and I argued endlessly about these issues in the special issue of Leonardo Reviews Quarterly ( )  where I argued about the un-knowables ( eg what happens inside a black hole), the un-observables, un-translateables and I would now also use Kaufman’s concept of ‘un-prestatables’) and how the way our bodies and minds are constructed, shapes, and constrains our thinking processes so fundamentally that I just don’t see how the mathematics vs experiment can be resolved through this false thinking dichotomy. We need to combine multiple ways of ‘knowing’ or ‘making sense’ of ourselves and the worlds we are part of, not just two. I have never seen a mathematical proof that there can only be two ways of knowing Mr Farmelo !

 In our ArtSciLab,,  we are struggling with what we mean by ‘transdisciplinary’ approaches to making sense. Fundamental to our thinking is that there are multiple ways of making sense that range from the cognitive sciences reading of signals emitted by our brain structures, to the phenomenological, to the purely mathematical to the messy, contextually experimental to many others.

So I am now confronted by the ‘fact’ that I have here compared and contrasted TWO books, why “two” (and why both by men of the human species). As I have argued elsewhere false dichotomies of the kind that Farmelo farms are one unprestatable consequence of our being a species that is bilaterally symmetric (thanks Stelarc, obviously if we were three handed we would be obsessed with tri-symmetrical structures). 

As Einstein said, I paraphrase:  our ideas are as independent of the nature and shape of our bodies, as our clothes are. 

Fortunately, Helga Nowotny has laid the groundwork for complexifying these discussions with her seminal thinking on transdisciplinarity ( )  and more recently on the ‘cunning of uncertainty” ).

Yes, the sciences are in desperate need of redesigning. The scientific method is evolving, for example with the emergence of AI beings that reason, and the social embedding of science is becoming more ‘robust’ as Nowotny argues with the open science , co working and artscience movements. I forget what its called when you are both happy and unhappy at the same time, ambivalent ( why not tri-valent). But we all function on the spectrum of wisdom and madness and in between, and beyond to make sense, so we can survive due to our own  individual constraint closures.

Roger Malina

Are Barabasi’s Laws&Formulas for Success Applicable to Transdisciplinary ArtScience Practice ?



It is with pleasure that I recommend the new book

Albert-László Barabási : The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. Little Brown – 2018 ISBN-13: 9780316505499

Reviewed by: Roger F. Malina, February 9 2019


Reviews and critiques by; Sharath Chandra Ram, Isabel Meirelles, Wolf Rainer

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, in this new book, provides unusual and compelling evidence on the patterns that underlie common sense of ‘success’. He chooses to call these insights  “laws”, with formulas ; I will question those descriptors later in the review. But as an astronomer, and observational scientist, I resonate deeply with the way he collects his data, analyses patterns and then develops tools to frame an understanding of how those patterns emerge.  Yes, if you want to both excel and succeed, read this book.

One caveat, from my background in astronomy, is that as a profession we invested a huge amount of time over the centuries looking at patterns of stars, moving stars, and later morphology of galaxies. Some of these patterns turned out to be irrelevant to understanding the underlying structures; constellations for instance, or the study of the moon and planets to explicate human behaviors. And during my own professional career we learned, thanks to Vera Rubin and many others, that dark matter, which does not emit light, was dominant in explaining the structure and evolution of galaxies. The patterns and morphologies that astronomers were obsessed with were relevant but not fundamental. Similarly my colleagues including Saul Perlmutter, found compelling evidence that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate due to an unknown ‘dark energy’. Not a common sense result, at least at the time I was getting my education

This background made me a skeptical reader of Barabasi’s claim to have found the ‘formulas’ and “laws’ for individual  human and group success. The self help industry is littered with unsubstantiated claims; be careful when searching on line for the laws of success !.But for me Barabasi reframes our thinking about all these questions, brings to bear his expertise in complex network science and data science to create guidelines on how to convert performance into success; both terms he defines clearly, in fields as separate as jazz performers and nobel prize winning biologists. And the book is peppered with fascinating vignettes, such as the mistaken identity incident that transformed Einstein from an excellent scientist to a successful world renowned one. But other exemplars of these laws include  why an average basketball player can transform a team into a superteam, and how a smart coach can spot what the average player can bring to group success.

Let me list Barabasi five laws:

  1. Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.
  2. Performance is bounded but success is unbounded.
  3. Previous success x fitness = future success.
  4. While team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will receive credit for the groups achievements.
  5. With persistence success can come at any time.

First reaction as I read was “hmm nothing new here, Sounds like common sense”.  But as I read, the more and more I became convinced that this book was reframing the way I think about the ArtSciLab (  )  at UTDallas. Cassini Nazir and I co-direct this lab as part of a network of labs in ATEC School at UTDallas . In this lab we have emerging professionals from the “arts” and “sciences” working together, in a designed heterogeneous collaboration lab ; and the performance and success criteria for each of the different professions could not be more different – from the unquantifiable performance criteria in some of the arts, to the citation driven metrics of performance in many of the sciences. Our difficulties in translating performance into success in these transdisciplinary practices has led me to joke that astronomy had been so easy.  With its well defined performance and success criteria that a whole community of practice shares, there is a perhaps a ‘formula’ for success in astronomy.

Alex Topete in the ArtSciLab is now leading our HERMES project to collect data on the structures and methods of inter and transdisciplinary research labs, and translate this into ‘apprenticeship’ training. We hope the HERMES approach will help us develop similar ‘common sense’ on how to help our colleagues both perform well and also succeed in their chosen hybrid professions that are often excluded from the silo structures of our institutions. Barabasi’s previous books were already part of our apprenticeship reading, but this book is fundamental and will reshape our approaches.

Let me finish with a few reflexions, not criticisms, of this excellent book.

First, I find the use of the words ‘formula’ and ‘law’ problematic, perhaps because of the way these words are used popularly. Barabasi’s use is very specific, they are the formalisms that can be used to predictably describe the patterns in the data that he and others have found. So far so good. But if there is any take home message that I have taken from the sciences of complexity, it is that we need many ideas of causality and be careful about our implicit biases. Not only the A causes B  implication of Barabasi’s third law. Whether in understanding the emerging structures in the Universe or the health of ecologies, or human well-being,  we know that emerging behaviors often  arise from low level rules of interaction, as well as the implication of network morphologies, not necessarily from ‘laws’ of the systemic behaviour  And in many systems (eg climate change) you can model the systems extrapolate future behaviour and develop equations that describe well the data collected in the past, but future behaviour maybe be disrupted by causalities that are of the kind A causes B, if C didn’t happen and D happened 100 years ago. Never mind the impact of sporadic events such as unusual solar cycles, asteroid impact or out of the ordinary volcanic eruptions. Kathryn Hayles has usefully complexified the differences between prediction and retrodiction; Barabasi, I think, with the use of the words ‘law’ and ‘formula’ may mislead some readers. The laws of success as explicated by Barabasi are in a different epistemological framework than the Newtonian laws of gravity. This in my view complexifies how one can translate these laws into daily practice.

The other reflection concerns the sociology of human behavior in institutions. A book that influenced my thinking and practice is Randall Collins book “ The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change”. One of the take home messages of the book is that the history of successful ideas is often dominated by ‘office politics’ rather than the excellence of the ideas or individuals. Collins studies schools of philosophy over the millennia in China, Asia, Japan, the West and finds, like Barabasi, patterns that seem to replicate, though in a less data driven quantifiable way than does Barabasi. For instance the common situation of personal disagreement between a PhD advisor and an excellent PhD students leads the student to leave rather than continue to collaborate; the student leads a new school of philosophy that is more successful than that of his mentor. Another example would be the current discussions of how the careers of many young professionals have been strongly influenced by sexual and or psychological harassment in institutions that are historically reticent to punish excellent acadmeic performers for poor or criminal personal behaviors on campus. Barabasi does discuss many examples of what I am calling ‘office politics’, but maybe there is a possible 6th law.

Certainly as part of the community of practice, including our ArtSciLab, that is trying to create research that bridges the arts and sciences, sometimes called STEM to STEAM, we face these issues. We are well aware how office politics has negatively influenced the success of some of our most brilliant colleagues. Sometimes the social structure of institutions is “incompatible” with the success of certain excellent ideas because the way incentives, such as promotion and tenure, function to reinforce ‘silo-ed’ thinking. As a result, our community of practice is still marked by intellectual and geographic migrants, “geniuses’ who have often been abandoned and forgotten. The innovation and creativity research community, including the science of team science area that Barabasi develops, is fast moving as we seek to translate  and combine “sciences” with “arts” into useful medical practices and other social outcomes.

Another thought. The 68-year-old that I am was of course encouraged by Barabasi’s 5th Law: Success can come at any time. He analyses in depths the age at which celebrated figures did their outstanding work; yes, most do this before their 30s. But he complexifies this with examples and data of how on the tail of this distribution there are many examples of successful and exceptional achievements in later years. He illustrates this work with the way John Fenn carried out his ground-breaking work in his sixties and received the Nobel prize in his later 80s. He develops the idea of the “‘Q’factor”, the ability to translate ideas into discoveries and quantifies a number of common sense ideas. But more importantly he develops the idea of how to develop ones ‘Q’ factor, through collaboration methodologies, a fundamental concept in the UT Dallas ArtSciLab. And his discussion ties in nicely with Edward Said’s ideals in his book “On Late Style” and the SOTA (Students Older than Average) being led by Linda Anderson in our ArtSciLab. Michael Punt introduced me to this line of argument as part of the COGNOVO program, on cognitive innovation, at the University of Plymouth. The idea that the brain and body have multiple ‘modes of operations , and that these ‘modes’ can be altered, or their use modified by experience or by age or other factors. The popular press on toggling between “quick thinking’ and “slow thinking’, or “thing small” and “think big” ties into this in some way. Said’s ideas helb reshape the way we think about involving older professionals in innovation work.

Said’s full book is at: and I note in passing that it feeds into my colleague Nina Czegledy’s insistence that in transdisciplinar work we need to invent new mechanisms of inter-generational communication and collaboration. This hallmark of the community of Practice that uses the Leonardo SAST and OLATS organisations for part of their professional needs, as Nina discovered as she led our 50th anniversary ‘village’ birthday parties.

In conclusion we will be adding Barabasi’s new book to our transdisciplinary apprenticeship source material.

Disclaimer. I have met Barabasi a few times during my career. As he explains before becoming a successful scientist, he tried to be a sculptor. This hybrid interest has led him to talk at a Leonardo art-science event in Prague. Later I reached out to Barabasi when I was recruited at UT Dallas to ask if he had recommendations for emerging professionals that I might help recruit. This led to the UTD hiring of historian Max Schich. Max Schich and Isabel Meirelles went on to lead the influential Arts, Humanities and Complex Network symposia at the network science conferences. When Max Schich, an art historian, arrived in Dallas, he published an article in Science which now has an Altmetrics score of nearly 500, and his YouTube video has 1.5 million downloads, yes 1.5 million; certainly a measure of success for an art historian! For me, this anecdote exemplifies Barabasi’s practice over the decades, and illustrates well the laws and formulas Barabasi now proposes in his book under review here: The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, Little Brown –

2018. I apologise for referring frequently to how I found the ideas of Barabasi’s book applicable to our ArtSciLab and would be interested in if other transdisciplinary researchers find the ideas applicable in their case.


Oct 5 :YOU are invited to play chess against blindfolded Texas Chess Champion Zurabi Javakhadre in Dallas

Announcing Re-Imagining ChessNine Evenings Reunion 3  Oct 5 2011 

Nine Evenings Three: Theater and Engineering 

GOOD MOVES: A group exhibition and auction dedicated to the game of chess September 6—October 5, 2019  Press Release The Power Station, Dallas  is proud to present ‘Good Moves’, an exhibition dedicated to the game of chess. ‘Good Moves’ features artist made chess sets and other chess related artworks, that further develop the aesthetic legacy of the game, while collectively serving a worthy purpose. All works included in ‘Good Moves’ are to be auctioned at the close of the exhibition to endow a chess program at Vogel Alcove*, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization on a mission to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. The auction is open. Attendance at the oct 5 performance is free 

The Re-Imagining Chess performance led by the UTD ArtSciLab will be Saturday October 5th at the Power Station Gallery, Dallas ,

Background: Recently ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo, presented a proposal for the four pillars of excellence of our new school of Art Technology and Emerging Communication:  

These are the result of three years of consultation and ideation among the 50 faculty and 1500 students of the school. The co-design has been carried out together with other schools in the university and the university administration, as well as our local community of for profit, non-profit, civic organizations, schools and other communities of practice. 

The four pillars of this proposed taxonomy of excellence for ATEC are: 

  • Ethics, Technology and Community Engagement 
  • Designing Culture 
  • Innovative demonstration of emerging technologies 
  • Creative Technologies Research 

As with all taxonomies there is no best taxonomy, but many good ones depending on the context. Other organizations have other ways of framing their values and ideas about what excellence could be. These are not intended to be slogans, but rather thinking tools, open to critique and evolution. In the ArtSciLab we are currently using Terry Irwin’s Transition Design Methods:   

And in particular we use artmaking as a research method to improve our data sonification software, Data Stethoscope. We have developed new ways of converting data into sound  for general use in helping people make quicker and better decisions. 

DataStethoscope allows you to hear information in the data that cannot be easily visualised. 

Our ArtSciLab collaborators and members would be interested in your critiques and divergent thoughts- email to 

One comment that came in was that the “Designing Culture”, in the singular, went against one of our lab’s explicit values of heterogeneity. Heterogeneous groups will come up with different ideas, often better ones, than homogeneous ones.   We need more than one culture.

This has been researched and documented by the science of team science .  

 This leads to our belief that there are not “best” practices but that there are many “good“ practices that are context dependent.  

So “designing cultureS” might better embody the value of heterogeneity than “Designing Culture” in the singular. 

The possible benefits of hetero-phily rather than homo-phily are elaborated with new insights by Mathew O. Jackson in his new book “The human network; How your social position determines your power, beliefs and behaviors.  

Jackson draws on the most current sciences of network and sciences of complexities. I insist on the plural, as he does, because there is not one science of networks but several. 

 I note that ATEC art historian Max Schich has demonstrated the validity of this theoretical approaches to new kinds of art histories that use network analysis of data ( ) published in Nature A Network Framework of Cultural History (Science Magazine, 2014) _) 

If this sounds terribly academic, we are going through preparations for the art performance as a research method for Data Stethosope   and we hope to address how we contribute to each of the four pillars of ATEC.

On October 5, Saturday in Dallas, Texas we will be performing an interactive multimedia performance, which hopefully demonstrates how we practice how we theorize. It is entitled:  


The team is led by Scot Gresham Lancaster (  colleagues and friends. It will be performed at the Dallas Power Station Gallery  ( ) as part of the Good Moves art exhibit: 


A group exhibition and auction dedicated to the game of chess September 6—October 5, 2019 Press Release The Power Station is proud to present ‘Good Moves’, an exhibition dedicated to the game of chess. ‘Good Moves’ features artist made chess sets and other chess related artworks, that further develop the aesthetic legacy of the game, while collectively serving a worthy purpose. All works included in ‘Good Moves’ are to be auctioned at the close of the exhibition to endow a chess program at Vogel Alcove*, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization on a mission to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. The auction is open. 

The reimagined chess playing will be led by  ArtSciLab Texas Chess Grand Champion Zura Javakhadze) ( ). 

Zura will be playing blindfolded against members of the audience. Each move and board position will be converted to sound using techniques of data sonification based on the ArtSciLab Taxonomy of DataSonification . ( we can provide this white paper on request) .One possible application of this innovative demonstration of emerging technologies will be to help humans that are differently abled in their vision cognitive and observational skills; we hope to use these approaches on our new esports research on cyber-athletes. 

The ArtSciLab Data Stethoscope project (, initially funded or supported by DARPA, Microsoft, the Edith O Donnell Foundation and others, is now in experimental trials in applications ranging from business analytics to medical diagnostic imaging. Yes we are looking for funding. 

The ArtSciLab at UTD Dallas ( ) was established in 2013/14 by Cassini Nazir and myself at the behest of Tom Linehan ( ) . We take this opportunity to acknowledge the vision and enthusiasm that Tom has shared and infected us with through his own networks of friends and colleagues. 

Oh yes. Why Re-Imagining Chess: REUNION THREE ? 

Reunion 1; was a chess game during Nine Evenings ; Theater and Engineering

between Marcel Duchamp and John Cage using the first electronic chess board in 1968. ( )  

Reunion TWO was performed in Seattle in 2018 by our team led by Scot  , Gagan Wig, Tim Perkis, Andrew Blanton and myself, 

This blog post developed in collaboration with Wolf Rainer whose pioneering work with children in refugee camps , , is an exemplar of pillar 1. 

Critique from Wolf Dieter Peter Rainer: 


I appreciate your mentioning of my education work with displaced Indo-Chinese refugee communities (Khmer and Sino-Khmer) on the Thai-Cambodian border. 

First of all, the very words: ‘designing culture(s)’ makes my hair stand up on end as the phrase reeks of a kind of ‘hybris’(hubris ?) which only people who don’t know the meaning (and history) of the meaning of words (etymology) could possibly come up with. 

Did Martin Luther want to design or re-design culture? Probably not. or maybe yes, depending on what you mean by culture (and the Catholic church). 

Did Claudius (aka Julian the Apostate) want to design or re-design culture? Maybe yes, maybe no, again, it depends what you mean by culture. In this case, antiquity and Christianity were already a hybrid Culture with a capital ‘C’. 

Probably, if you want to “design or re-design” culture’, you have to try to influence and have control of institutions (Kuhn, et. Al). 

Did Martin Luther King ‘re-design’ culture? Probably yes, but not for long and certainly not without the assist of Lyndon B. Johnson. 

When I found myself in a refugee camp in a Thai border area no-man’s land with a displaced Cambodian population of some 80.000 persons, locked into  a space of perhaps 25 football fields, certainly, whatever the meaning of ‘culture’ may  be, the Cambodian refugees knew what it meant: Cambodian language schools, Cambodian Buddhist temples, etc. 

It seems to me that what some people think of when they speak of ‘designing culture’ is basically about designing gadgets (which may change a culture, to be sure): the steam engine, stone age tools, bronze age tools, gun powder, digitalisation, etc. 

If Francisco Pizarro in 1532 hadn’t brought his guns, horses and his roman catholic spanish culture to Peru, the Aztecs might have had a better chance to keep on designing ‘their own culture’ as they saw fit. Whoever survived Pizarro’s visit was only able to pass on a crude re-semblance of what they had before. 

In the USA, the modern pre-occupation with ‘culture’ began with Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Meade, et. al. They introduced the terms and the academic disciplines of ‘cultural anthropology’ and ‘social anthropology’ in the US. They redefined ‘culture’ both with a small and a big ‘C for most Americans, especially those persons who are now in the Seventies. 

Was puberty a testosterone-driven biological given for all human beings?  No, said Margaret Meade, after studying Samoan teenagers. Did she change the nature-nurture debate. Yes. Did she change the culture? Who knows? Probably some sexual mores. Cultural change may take a very long time, and then again, maybe not. Institutions and governments in power often manage quick changes. See the reformation, but then again, there came the ‘restoration’, depending who was next in power. 

There is an interesting article by Louis Menand in the August 26th 2019 issue of the New Yorker on the subject of ‘culture’ and the US culture wars. It’s a review of Charles King’s new book ‘Gods of the Upper Air’.

According to my taste, we should bake smaller ‘muffins’ in our discussion of  designing or re-designing ‘culture’ or ‘the history of ideas, etc.’ 

Making a ‘contribution to knowledge’ used to be a good-enough purpose in academia. I think we should keep it that way 

Wolf Rainer 

Re-Imagining Chess: Reunion 3: A multimedia experimental AI chess performance in Dallas Power Station art gallery

Watch this space- on october 5 saturday 2019 in dallas texas

On october 5 you are invited to the experimental multimedia AI assisted performance:

RE-IMAGINING CHESS at the Dallas Power Station : as part of the Good Moves Art Exhibit. There is a public auction open to benefit the Vogel Alcove for homeless children in dallas. Texas grand master chess champion Zurabi Javakhadze will be playing blindfolded with members of the audience aided by data sonification of the chess moves using data stethoscope software developed by the artscilab. oh yes – new versions with sound will be up too-this is just to tease will have to come to the performance to hear the live music and data sonification. AI software is used to assist the blinded chess player. we are also looking for blind chess players to play against the texas grandmaster chess player and encourage you to buy the artworks in the on line auction.

. roger malina

Experimental Publi-shing and Curate-ing (EXPUCU) OCTOPUS

 Experimental Publi-shing and Curate-ing (EXPUCU)     OCTOPUS

Exciting new publishing experiment by ALEXANDRA FREEMAN

“What would science look like if we started again?

The idea of Octopus is to create a single place for all scientific research to be published… freely open to all to read and language agnostic.

Instead of publishing ‘papers’, the unit of publication will be smaller: a piece in the chain from problem -> hypothesis -> method/protocol -> data -> analysis -> interpretation -> real world application. “

Contact: if you have started publishing on Octopus , we are watching how Octopus develops to see if we could adopt some of Octopus’ good practices for our own Experimental Publi-shing and Curate-ing Projects. These include,

which is publishing multi-lingually and multi-modally

learn more about our Experimental Publi-shing and Curate-ing Initiative at the ArtSciLab UTDallas

PS. this is a recommendation to an unrelated initiative

Escape from the Earth and Human Foibles


I need to give you advance warning of a book about to come out, which describes the work of my father Frank Malina and his leadership of the team that launched the first human made object to reach outer space.

Ironically his mistreatment by the US governement of the time, during the so called “Mc Carthy” period, led to his becoming a political refugee in France. He became a full time artist, funded through the start up aerospace company Aeorojet that he co-founded. He became an early pioneer of the art and technology movement that now seems like basic cultural common sense today.

He founded the Leonardo artscitech publications that have championed and documented the work of transdisciplinary misfits whose work naturally crosses the arts, sciences and emerging technologies.

Escape from Earth:
A Secret History of the Space Rocket

by Fraser MacDonald

taken from

“”The long-buried truth about the dawn of the Space Age: lies, spies, socialism, and sex magick.
Los Angeles, 1930s:
 Everyone knows that rockets are just toys, the stuff of cranks and pulp magazines. Nevertheless, an earnest engineering student named Frank Malina sets out to prove the doubters wrong. With the help of his friend Jack Parsons, a grandiose and occult-obsessed explosives enthusiast, Malina embarks on a journey that takes him from junk yards and desert lots to the heights of the military-industrial complex.

Malina designs the first American rocket to reach space and establishes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But trouble soon finds him: the FBI suspects Malina of being a communist. And when some classified documents go missing, will his comrades prove as dependable as his engineering?
Drawing on an astonishing array of untapped sources, including FBI documents and private archives, Escape From Earth tells the inspiring true story of Malina’s achievements–and the political fear that’s kept them hidden. At its heart, this is an Icarus tale: a real life fable about the miracle of human ingenuity and the frailty of dreams. “”

Frank Malina’s best friend at the time at Caltech, was Qian Xuesen who was expelled against his will back to china, around the time my father became a political refugee in France. Qian Xuesen went on to found and head the Chinese Space Program.

My father’sPhd advisor was Theodore Von Karman . In a wonderful irony of history, the Chinese recently landed the first rover on the back side of the moon.

And they landed in the Von Karman crater !!! Arthur C Clarke, a good friend of Frank Malina named one of the spaceship captains in his books after Frank Malina. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

History is cruel, but perhaps this book will help develop a different narrative of the space age at a time that the leadership of space exploration is transitioning from the western powers to the eastern powers and commercial companies. Frank Malina was a co founder of UNESCO, and part of a generation that advocated that outer space should be the common heritage of human kind- an idealistic vision that our current systems seem unable to grapple with.

Leonardo for a number of years has held space and the arts workshops , in collaboration with the International Federation of Astronautics Technical Activities Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

Ironically in ealier workshops there was much discussion of the “Space Option” argued by space artist Arthur Woods, , arguing that human survival might require emigration from earth. With the near term crisis of climate change , within the next generation, space tourism is unlikely to be the approach needed to make space a common heritage of mankind.

Yes indeed
“At its heart, this is an Icarus tale: a real life fable about the miracle of human ingenuity and the frailty of dreams. “” but also the victory of mathematics as a tool for human survival. Von Karman is particularly known for demonstrating that mathematics could be use to understand and use turbulent and complex phenomena ;this made rocketry possible for human aims at a time when mathematics was not fully part of “STEM”. Today we debate the integration of the arts and humanities into STEM, or STEAM. Yes history is cruel, but perhaps reality is more exciting than fiction.

The multidisciplinary, and somewhat weird, team that founded a succesful aerospace start up company, led to the founding of JPL, the Leonardo artscitech movement. My father advocated ‘a high degree of tolerance for strange people’. Sometimes they are geniuses expelled from the Academy, and yes sometimes they are nut cases. Bucky Fuller was part of the Leonardo founding group, now we name molecules after a strange person !

Roger Malina

Space Artists of the Universe Meet at MIT oct 28/29 2019

colleagues in the space exploration and the arts villages- am
delighted to announce
this major conference on the arts and space explortion !
roger malina


The International Academy of Astronautics is holding the Second
Symposium on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics for
Space on October 28-29, 2019 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
The theme is “STEAM for Space Leaders of Tomorrow.” This symposium is
organized under the auspices of the IAA Multi-commission Study Group
6.16 on “STEM/STEAM for Space Grand Challenges.” The first day will
involve presentations by experts and leaders from academia, government
and business. The next morning visits are planned to laboratories,
centers and institutes involved in space-related activities at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Participants will be free to
visit MIT faculty in the afternoon.

Possible Topics:

Programs to enhance STEAM education for space, e.g. communications,
earth observation, transportation, space physics, life sciences, space
technology, planetary science. Multi-disciplinary and
multi-institutional efforts. Contributions of national and
international space agencies and organizations. Development of
qualified scientists, engineers and leaders for future space
activities. Educational trends and expected new space fields.
Innovations in STEAM education for Space. Interactions of Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with the creative Arts.
Challenges in improving STEAM education.

Co-Chairs: Liya Regel (IAA), Wesley Harris (NAE, IAA)

IAA Study Group members: Oleg M. Alifanov, Guy Andre Boy, Guobiao Cai,
Duarte Carlos, Yulin Deng, Amalia Ercoli Finzi, Norbert Frischauf,
Alon Gany, Jordi Gutierrez, Michèle Lavagna, Qiusheng Liu, Inessa B.
Kozlovskaya, Roger F. Malina, Giovanni Maizza, Jancy C. McPhee,
Valanathan Munsami, Carol Oliver, Oleg Orlov, Amelia Ortiz-Gil,
Radhika Ramachandran, Giuseppe G. Reibaldi, Alejandro J. Roman M.,
Irina B. Vavilova, Oleg Ventskovsky, Fengyuan Zhuang

For more detailed information, please contact

the IAA Office:

28-29 October 2019, MIT Cambridge, USA

INVITATION:Tale of Thirty Thinking Systems: Art Science Education at US National Academy of Science


If you are attending the US National Academy of Science Convening on April 12

on the Integration of Arts, Humanities, and STEMM in Higher Education

We invite you to discuss, critique and collaborate with us on our TOTTS initiative

The initiative for teaching and learning art and science in the way that brains work

we look forward to meeting you there

details below of TOTTS


ToTTS Team:

Tale of Two (or maybe Thirty ?) Thinking Systems (ToTTS):

The initiative for teaching and learning art and science in the way that brains work

Lauren Bernal, Eun Ah Lee, Kathryn Evans, Linda Anderson, Alex Topete, and Roger Malina
The University of Texas at Dallas

Our brains do not always think in a single, straightforward way. Previous studies suggest different ways of “thinking,” for example, one is fast, intuitive and implicit thinking and another is slow, reasonable and explicit thinking. Traditionally, teaching science mainly focuses on slow, reason-based, and explicit thinking, while teaching art usually encourage fast, intuitive, and implicit thinking. This traditional pedagogical approach, however, might not optimize the utility of how our brains work. Art-based teaching of science or science-based teaching of art can encourage multi-layered thinking systems by activating multi-modal sensory system, by engaging attention using novel and incongruent concepts or by
facilitating to take divergent paths of cognitive processing. This transdisciplinary teaching will bring more fruitful learning outcomes because it helps the way that our brains work. We have been developing and implementing programs, courses, and studies to pursue this transdisciplinary teaching and  initiatives to the campus and toward extended communities:
CDASH (Curriculum Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities), a compendium of art-science courses that allow
for the study of the international impact of art-science teaching and provide a platform for instructors of art-science curricula.
TASTA (TAlk Science Through the Arts), a STEM Education Approach based on cross-disciplinary collaboration between high school students and undergraduate mentors. Study the Students, Teach the Teachers, using arts-based workshops as intervention to enhance thinking skills in both high school and college student populations, and informing teaching practices. Teaching Creativity and Innovation Through the Arts, using arts-based learning to develop different methods to teach arts appreciation to STEM and business majors that enhance creative thinking.
HERMES (Highly Effective Research Merging Epistemic Research), researching how researchers and expert practitioners work together in inter- and trans-disciplinary contexts to tackle complex problems with creative solutions, ranging from the
environment, to new ways of learning to technology and societies.

Incentivising Transdisciplinary Individuals and Teams: Donate to the Marjorie Duckworth Fund as a nudge


Our community of practice, or networks of villages face a number of obstacles to crossing the arts, sciences and technologies. Among these are the ways that most institutions are organised around “Disciplines” or narrow “Professions”. Ranging from physics to marketing to everything in between.

I hate to tell you but the earth’s ecology does not care what discipline you are from, or who funded you, as we all work to address climate change and the unsustaibable societies we have all built together.

Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Leonardo networks of villages ( ). One of the realisations that hit home was how many members of these villages are risk takers bridging disciplines, and how their institutions do everything they can to discourage them. Yes we need disciplinary experts, amazing physicist and marketing specialists. But for many of the problems we work on we need mechanisms to bridge them. We need hybrid individuals team, all the way from amphibians, to axelotls.

We are beginning a new series of crowdfunding campaigns to raise some mulla to help provide incentives to change the way our institutions think. Mulla can be either in kind, ideas and work, or cash mulla.

Four years ago we did a kickstarter campaign and raised mulla to help transdisciplinary individuals make their work visible. We did this through the Creative Disturbance ‘intellectual dating’ service, or podcast platform. We have now awarded numerous small scholarships to students across the planet who have now published their work on . As part of this Dr Yvan Tina relaunched the Leonardo Virtual Africa Project: . 

Yes the problem is not only institutional but deeply cultural. Our ecology doesnt care if you are from Angola or Brazil or India when the rain forests are decimated. We need to work cross culturally.

As a first step in trying to design a transition in our Leonardo work ( using Terry Irwin’s Transition Design methods), we are starting small a call for donations to the new Marjorie Duckworth Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas: .

This runs today April 2 and we hope you will make a symbolic donation as the donations will be matched.

Make the donation to the Marjorie Duckworth fund. Marjorie Malina nee Duckworth among other things married Frank Malina: https: // .  

She was a university graduate in London in the 30s economics, served in the British Army, was part of the founding team of UNESCO and throughout her life contributed to finding ways of preventing WWIII.

The fund initially will be used to reward students who insist on carrying out work that crosses departmental silos ( cognitive science to art to marketing ? yes opera singers can contribute to solving problems as well as nurses).

But also our systems emphasise the recognition of individuals when most transdisciplinary problems require teams. Awards will go to teams of students who work on a common problem crossing disciplines, which often encounters hostility from university departments.

Alex Topete runs the UTD ARTSCILAB Hermes Project ( ) and he will be overseeing the use of the funds.

One of Marjorie Duckworth’s grand-daughters, Giselle Malina is leading the coordination of the crowdfunding:

Alex Topete in the ArtSciLab is now leading our HERMES project to collect data on the structures and methods of inter and transdisciplinary research labs, and translate this into ‘apprenticeship’ training on EdX -watch this space. We hope the HERMES approach will help us develop similar ‘common sense’ on how to help our colleagues both perform well and also succeed in their chosen hybrid professions that are often excluded from the silo structures of our institutions.

Beyond this first step we will create funds for students across institutional boundaries ( eg universities in the same city) and also for students across the planet using the Creative Disturbance and Virtual Africa methodology:

We will provide more details over the coming weeks and years, but more importantly we would like to connect with related initiatives and ideas that you may be leading. If you want to go  quickly alone, if you want to go far go together, as they say in Africa, to cross the sahara desert that the earth is becoming as global warming surges.

Please make a contribution  April 2 to:



About Marjorie Malina

Marjorie Duckworth Malina was born 28 April 1918 in Elslack, Yorkshire, England. The daughter of John James Duckworth and Mary Anne Bolton, she was the youngest of four; her sisters were Thyra, Annie and Mary Duckworth. She attended the University of London, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1939. She trained in accountancy while working in her father’s textile company, JJ Duckworth Ltd. During World War II she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, reaching the rank of captain, and with the antiaircraft batteries operated by women that helped defend Britain during the war.

Shortly after the war she applied to work at UNESCO, a newly founded organization, after hearing a radio broadcast by Julian Huxley, and was hired in the personnel department in 1947. There she me Frank Malina, then Deputy Director for Science of UNESCO, and they married in 1949. Frank and Marjorie bought a house in Boulogne Billancourt, and raised two sons, Roger and Alan. The Malina home was the birthplace of the journal Leonardo and the Leonardo Network and a center of art-science debate in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s. It was also the studio where Frank Malina worked as a pioneer in the kinetic art movement. The steady flow of guests and visitors included astronautical pioneers, artists and scholars including Jacob Bronowski, Frank Popper, Academician Sedov, Roy Ascott and Leonardo editorial board members. Numerous friends and colleagues enjoyed the hospitality of Marjorie Duckworth Malina. She worked tirelessly for the success of the Leonardo project and was an ardent defender of the ideals of international collaboration. Marjorie passed away in March 2006.

In honor of Marjorie Duckworth Malina, Leonardo has begun the Marjorie Duckworth Malina Fund in support of the Leonardo special project on Smart Textiles and New Textiles Technology.