support this project on artists for water and peace

Dear Colleague I supporting this project on artists for water and peace

Support artists for water and peace by contributing to our crowd funding campaign.

This is for SCANZ 2015: water*peace. There are links for more info at the url below. Rather than pay artists a fee we are trying to cover their costs.

Every bit helps, so waltz over to the page and think about make a pledge.


Ian Clothier
Executive Director
For other projects in this area see the Leonardo e-book


Water Is in the Air: Physics, Politics, and Poetics of Water in the Arts 


This ebook explores the ways that artists, from all over the world, working at the cutting edge of science and engineering, create work that addresses critical issues of water in culture and society. Drawing on thirty years of work documented in the Leonardo journal at MIT Press, the authors explore art and climate change and pollution, artificially seeded clouds, water fountains, the physics and poetics of waves, using all types of media (videos, performances, installations, sound art). 

Published in collaboration with the STUDIOLAB consortium, a Europe-wide initiative that merges the studio with the research lab. Funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme ( 

How to embed science and technology more gracefully in society ?

Open Call for Project Stories

Send us your story before August 18 2014

iMinds and Artshare are running the ICT ART CNECT study for DG CONNECT
- European Commission. The study aims at characterizing and connecting
artistic communities of ICT researchers at all levels. From this
analysis, recommendations will be drawn for a DG CONNECT strategy to
engage more broadly with the arts in Horizon 2020 – the EU Framework
Programme for Research and Innovation.

Therefore we need your input on our website !!

Please support our study and your future by telling us your story of a
project that involved Art practice with ICT.

You just have to answer a few questions, send us a video or images. If
selected, you will present your story and the related prototype at the
Bozar Electronics Art Festival, September 25-28 2014. We will cover
your expenses, including the ones related with the exhibition of your

We are looking for fresh or ongoing or unfinished projects that can be
an example of activities in the field of ICT and ART.




Past activities on the contributions of artistic practices to innovative ICT developments, namely ICT&Art 2012, FET-ART and ICT ART CONNECT 2013 demonstrated the worldwide emergence of communities of hybrid researchers. These researchers develop new technological applications responding to specificities of their artistic creativity, creating however potential for innovation outside their original scope.

The recognition of these emergences by the Commission led to the launching of the ICT ART CNECT study, in order to characterize and connect artistic communities of ICT researchers at all levels, including institutions, companies and individuals. The study is creating a map of individuals and institutions engaged in artistic practices within ICT research projects in Europe and world-wide. It will analyse best practices to enhance interaction between artists-researchers and other IT experts and to increase the impact of these interactions on innovation and creativity in Europe. It will not only analyse success stories but also it will identify where are the main needs and demands.

From this analysis, recommendations will be drawn for a DG CONNECT strategy to engage more broadly with the arts in H2020.

The aim is to thereby contribute to enhancing creativity and innovation in society, technology, science, education, and business and to more gracefully better embedding science and technology in society.

ICT ART CNECT is organizing a number of round-tables in the most relevant conferences in the field happening this year: 4th Computer Art Congress, 1-3 September, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ars Electronica, 4-8 September, Linz, Austria and ArtsIT – Fourth International Conference on Arts and Technology, 10-12 November, Istambul, Turkey.

The main event of the study will be ICT ART CONNECT 2014, at BOZAR in the context of BEAF, where results will be presented.

Leonardo at 50 : the first decades


I gave a talk today via skype in Cambridge, UK at Kettle’s Yard conference on

White Heat: art, science and social responsibility in 1960s Britain ( see details below)

My Talk was a reflection of 50 years of the Leonardo Journal- the journal was conceived when my father Frank Malina

met Robert Maxwell, the owner of Pergamon Press, in 1965 – almost fifty years ago.

I present the backgound and context for the creation of the journal, and some reflections on how the situation today

in the art-science-technology community of practice has evolved. When my father created in the Leonardo journal

he made a list on a napkin of the artists he knew who were either working with scientists or engineers, or the artists who also

had careers as scientists-he ran out of names after 50- today the community of practice has increased 100-1000 fold

with many of the art and technology areas now applied to mass entertainment

The power point is available on slideshare: 


I also have a version of the talk with my spoken remarks  on Drop box which I can make available ( drop me

me an email at rmalina(at) and i will share it with you.


My talk is part of a general reflection we are having as part of the Leonardo Pioneers and Pathbreakers project


We recently issued a call for memoirs by pioneers reflecting on their memories of their work in art, science

and technology in the 1960s,70s and we are beginning to receive a number of interesting documents. If you know

someone who was at work in art/sci/tech in the 60s or 70s please encourage them to submit a memoire !


Here is the call 

Roger Malina


WHITE HEAT: art, science and social responsibility in 1960s Britain

26 July, 9.30am – 4pm, £20 (conc. £15)

Advance booking essential as space is limited. Includes lunch and refreshments

Book online or call 01223 748100

Lecture Theatre LT0, Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ and Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.

Download the programme here

An exciting one-day conference exploring the relationships between art, science and society in the 1960s. 50 years on, key figures from this period will join speakers from the fields of art and cultural history, the history and philosophy of science, contemporary art, science, activism and popular culture to revisit one of the most intense periods of intellectual and cultural ferment.

The symposium takes place in the very lecture theatre where, in 1965, Gustav Metzger gave his iconic lecture/demonstration “The Chemical Revolution in Art”.

The programme includes talks on the 1960s art-world and the legacies of 1960s art practice in contemporary art. Discussions on the publications Studio International and Leonardo Journalwill explore the interdisciplinary links between art and science in the 1960s.  The day will also include a panel discussion on The British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS).

Contributors include Joe BanksAlice BellJonathan BenthallJohn DunbarBronac FerranElizabeth FisherDavid GaleMartin KempNigel Lesmoir-GordonRoger MalinaJerry RavetzJasia ReichardtJonathan RosenheadNeal White andRobert M. Young.

With video contributions from Gustav Metzger.

Following the conference there will be a reception at Kettle’s Yard and a chance to view the exhibition LIFT OFF! from 5-7pm, and a chance to purchase signed copies of the exhibition catalogue. Kettle’s Yard is a short ten minute walk from the Department of Engineering.



Leonardo Editorial Board member Otto Piene has passed away

Leonardo Editorial Board member Otto Piene has passed away

German artist Otto Piene, a long time Leonardo editorial board member has passed away aged 86. He was a key figure in many movements in artscience and technology.

In 1974, Piene was appointed director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies as the successor to Gyorgy Kepes.

Piene was a leading figure in the sky art movement and Leonardo published the sky art manifestoin “Desert Sun/Desert Moon” and the SKY ART ManifestoElizabeth Goldring ( Leonardo, Vol. 20, No. 4, 20th Anniversary Special Issue: Art of the Future:The Future of Art (1987), pp.339-348)


Piene was born in Bad Laasphe, Germany, in 1928 and studied art in Munich and Dusseldorf, as well as taking a degree in philosophy at Cologne University.In 1957 he founded the  movement Group Zero with Heinz Mack The name referred to the countdown for a rocket launch and, according to the group, was meant to evoke “a zone of silence [out of which develops] a new beginning”.”Artists after the war turned against technology, because war is technology,” Piene explained to Art in America magazine in 2010. “Zero was about the pure possibilities for a new beginning.”

The Leonardo community has lost a good friend and colleague.


we repost in his memory the Sky Art Manifesto


Photography was invented and popularized by artists: Niepce, Daguerre, Talbot, Morse. Photography as an art form used by scientists and engineers has  told us more about deep space than  extrapolated data from any other source.

During the last decade and a half photography applied to space has advanced space research more than all previous scientific effort. It is in this tradition that we as artists seek the broadest possible relationship with international space effort. While photography was developed by artists without foreknowledge of its scientific applications, the cumulative thrust of cultural experience and insight gained from the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries leads to our realization that art, scienceand technology complement each other increasingly as this dramatic century comes to a close.
Interaction among scientists, engineers and artists fosters new media and practice in the arts, and thereby, artists communicate with ever-increasing audiences.
To encourage and proliferate art based on integration the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT has for nearly 20 years hosted artists and theorists working individually and collaboratively. Accordingly, a series of international SKY ART Conferences was begun in 1981 and has led to the 1986 Conference, September 29-October 3. One hundred and fifty artists, scientists and students convened and decided to address the space agencies through the following statement which we are pre- senting today at the November 3, 1986 Paris Conference on Culture in Space.
Our reach into space constitutes an infinite extension of human life, imagination and creativity.
The ascent into the sky is mirrored by the descent into inner space as it reflects the cosmos.
Our release from gravity represents a fundamental shift in human consciousness-flight and release which open a new
dimension of humanity.
From the ancient past, artists have formed images and dreams, fired the imagination, built structures of aspiration to give the world wings to fly, and the vision to see new societies in the sky. We live in their cumulative light.
Not only here on earth but there in space we must see, touch, feel and think in order to transport soul and spirit.

Thus a threshold is crossed where the radiance of art brings expanded awareness into reciprocity with the earth.
As I stood in the contemplation of the garden of space I had the feeling that I was looking into the ultimate depths, the most secret regions of my own being; and I smiled because it never had occurred to me that I could be so pure, so great, so fair!

My heart burst into singing with a song of grace for the universe. All of these constellations are yours, they exist in you; outside your love they have no reality. (Milosz).
We see international implications of our art as fomenting a global consciousness through large-scale display, tele education/discovery and exploratory play.
Sky artists enthusiastically seek productive alliances with all space agencies.

We are asking for the establishment of national and international councils that will advocate specific artistic projects to the appropriate institutions and agencies.
Additionally, these councils will assist with the implementation of far-reaching artistic endeavors that will embody subtle and humane purposes.
We pledge our imaginations and skills, our probing spirit and expressive powers in this effort to seek the widest horizon for human insight and experience.
Interacting with existing vehicles and systems first, then developing special methods, use and implements
The artist as creator and framer of exemplary phenomena and messages goes
into space there to beam signals back to earth
The artist as explorer of the inner self continues the dialogue with the universe in space

The artist as frontier poet with the artist’s sensory instrumentarium goes into space to widen human perspective on the ‘new
world’-sky and space
The artist travels between worlds to harvest tales and images and pass them on to many in places near and far.
Otto Piene
Elizabeth Goldring
Lowry Burgess
Senior Consultant
Paris, November 3, 1986

What is there to celebrate about the first human landing on the moon ?

Foot Prints or Boot Prints: What is there to celebrate about the first human landing on the moon ?


Check out my discussion with historian patrick mcray  at:


July 16-24 marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission. This reminded me of a conversation I had a few years ago with my colleague Roger Malina. It led to this jointly authored post.


roger malina

In praise of smarter STEM thinking


I thank those of you who commented on my draft review of the Levy Leblond text, and also the linked in discussion that this stimulated.


I append the finalised version of my text that will be published in Leonardo Reviews

Since i posted the draft the US Census Bureau published its STEM census with some

conclusions that re inform the argument that there is no STEM shortage- 74% of those who

graduate with STEM university degrees go on to careers outside of STEM professions- if

there were a shortage halving the number of STEM graduates who leave the field ( eg by raising

salaries in STEM) would be a start ! STEM shortages are in very specific sub disciplines


here is the US Census summary


As revealed recently by the US Census Bureau ( )

“The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math — commonly referred to as STEM — are not employed in STEM occupations. In addition, men continue to be overrepresented in STEM, especially in computer and engineering occupations. About 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men.

Approximately 14 percent of engineers were women, where they were most underrepresented of all the STEM fields. Representation of women was higher among mathematicians and statisticians (45 percent), life scientists (47 percent) and social scientists (63 percent). “

All comments welcome


and here is my finalised text on Levy-Leblond’s article in Alliage

roger malina


Is too much STEM a bad thing ?: rebuttal in partial agreement with Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond

Roger F Malina

Review and reflections triggered by:

« La culture scientifique: pour quoi faire ?” by Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond, Alliage No 73, Printemps 2014 p17.  (Alliage is a French language journal of Culture, Science and Technology edited by Levy-Leblond).

Physicist Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond in a carefully argued contrarian essay asks the question, painful for me as a scientist, whether too much scientific culture can be a bad thing, or at least whether we are selling STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education) with fundamentally flawed argumentation.

He quotes three political leaders in France (Filipetti, Fioraso, Gallois) who in a recent public event re affirmed that the promotion of science and engineering, or STEM in US vocabulary, is essential for three reasons: democratic, cultural and economic. The traditional argument for STEM is often deployed with three sets of arguments:

1.  We seek to have educated citizenry who can make informed voting and other governance decisions on the many societal questions that involve STEM. Therefore more STEM is a good thing.

2. We need trained workforces for new industries that are emerging driven by STEM innovation. There is a STEM workforce shortage. Therefore more STEM funding is a good thing.

3. Modern culture must appropriate STEM discoveries and knowledge to create contemporary cultures that are scientifically robust. Therefore more STEM funding is a good thing.

In France the promotion of ‘scientific culture’ is a ‘regal’ function of the state. Similarly in recent decades in the USA science outreach is funded by the government as part of a commitment to public education.

Levy-Leblond asks brutally whether the very idea of ‘scientific culture’ is not an oxymoron and promoting, out of context of other areas of knowledge, it may be counterproductive.

Does a Scientific Culture exist?

Levy-Leblond’s first questioning, then, concerns the concept of “scientific culture” and its promotion, or STEM outreach and communication.
For one Levy-Leblond argues that within culture, sub dividing domains such as scientific culture one may end up sterilizing the possible added value from culture that scientific ideas undergo through cultural mutation and transformation. The impact of the Galilean hypothesis, with its huge cultural impact, did not come from ‘science outreach’ but total re contextualization and transformation in the process of cultural embedding. Helga Nowotny ( ), former President of the European Research Commission, has made a similar call for ‘socially robust’ science which address not science education but the social embedding of science as the key problem.

The promotion of ‘scientific culture’ Levy-Leblond argues assumes that such a thing exists. For one he argues that the mercantile finality of governmental and industrial financing of science results in a deep ‘de-culturation’ of scientific circles; that in effect basic science is devalued in the current environment of commercialization of techno-science.

He goes further and argues that most scientists are largely culturally ignorant. The training of scientists no longer includes the history or philosophy of science; most scientists have caricatural notions of the cultural meaning of their disciplines. He says the idea of a meaningful ‘scientific culture’ shared by scientists is an empty promise ( and reading him one almost feels that the last person one would want to do science outreach is a scientist that has been trained in recent years, because their training promotes cultural ignorance ).

The situation it seems to me is more a situation of a complex network of evolving sub-cultures and there are regional and temporal differences. The idea of a homogeneous ‘scientific culture’ which needs to be spread harks back to the misleading ideas of C.P.Snow who artificially dichotomized the question. Similarly attempting to isolate ‘basic’ or ‘fundamental’ science, curiosity driven and self-critical, from applied science, as ideological and mercantile, over-simplifies the way that ideas originate, are confirmed and used.

The complexities of the interactions of scientific and larger culture is described for instance by Patrick McCray in his book The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future   (see my review at . There McCray unpacks how high technology and the popular imagination become joined at the hip, but also the emergence of a new kind of marketing of science.

One of the problems of course is the ‘impedance mis-match” with teaching institutions structured around demarcated disciplinary areas, and the use of science in society which is inherently multi and inter-disciplinary. The current debate of STEM and STEAM is a microcosm of the debate.
STEM and Economic Growth?

Levy- Leblond’s second strand concerns STEM and societal benefits.

Levy-Leblond takes on the received knowledge that more STEM will lead to economic growth. That we need a growing workforce that is STEM trained to take advantage of the innovation coming out of STEM research and development. This line of argumentation relies on traditional ‘triple helix’ innovation theory which couples the work of fundamental science in universities funded by governments that is translated into technological developments and then commercialized by companies who then create jobs; voila!

Levy-Leblond points out that this virtuous circle a) almost never works- most new fundamental science does not result in any new jobs b) the best cases take many decades (DNA discovered in 1954, and the biotech industry only just taking root, general relativity exists since the 1920s but the first commercially meaningful use in GPS systems is very recent, eighty years between the invention of the laser and supermarket scanners).

So promising that more STEM investment will result in more jobs in the next twenty years flies in the face of the data. Most of the disruptive technologies of recent decades have been more in the regime of social innovations and global market economics that scientific ones. And the coupling of the techno-sciences to commercial application is a social translation problem as has been discovered and highlighted by the need to create the field of ‘translational medicine’. He argues that you could cut funding in fundamental science and barely impact the commercial application of techno-science of the next few decades. I think he over simplifies the problem as if fundamental science and applied science were not inseparably joined at the hip. In my own experience working as an astronomer I developed with my colleagues new technologies (detectors, data analysis systems) and even though the funding for space science has strategic governmental objectives apart from basic science, the basic science was driving our agenda.

Levy-Leblond also attacks the widely held arguments about the shortage of STEM trained professionals (a topic of much current debate see for instance the work of Hal Salzman who states in the Journal of the US National Academy of Science:  “Despite naysayers, the nation is producing more than enough quality workers in scientific and engineering fields—and policymakers and industry leaders should proceed accordingly.” ).  A more recent book by  Michael Teitelbaum ( ) concludes:

“• First, that the alarms about widespread shortages or shortfalls in the number of U.S. scientists and engineers are quite inconsistent with nearly all available evidence;

• Second, that similar claims of the past were politically successful but resulted in a series of booms and busts that did harm to the U.S. science and engineering enterprise and made careers in these fields increasingly unattractive; and

• Third, that the clear signs of malaise in the U.S. science and engineering workforce are structural in origin and cannot be cured simply by providing additional funding. To the contrary, recent efforts of this kind have proved to be destabilizing, and advocates should be careful what they wish for.”

(Teitelbaum, Michael S. (2014-03-30). Falling Behind?: Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent (p. 3). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.).

As revealed recently by the US Census Bureau ( )

“The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math — commonly referred to as STEM — are not employed in STEM occupations. In addition, men continue to be overrepresented in STEM, especially in computer and engineering occupations. About 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men.

Approximately 14 percent of engineers were women, where they were most underrepresented of all the STEM fields. Representation of women was higher among mathematicians and statisticians (45 percent), life scientists (47 percent) and social scientists (63 percent). “


Clearly the metaphor of the STEM pipeline is not a good one to understand the various sociological factors involved in how STEM and society are linked.


Levy-Leblond argues in addition that many science educators have promoted this argument in order to protect jobs in university science departments; the boom and bust cycle of STEM funding builds up unsustainable programs. And as Salzman points out that the lack of significant growth in salaries for STEM graduates gives the lie to a shortage (and that often it is global re distribution of workforces that is used to address local shortages).

Levy-Leblond also quotes de Solla Price that the value of having a significant of STEM experts in a society is not because of the knowledge they have that will lead to job creation, but rather that we need sufficient STEM graduates who can respond to new issues (climate change) and can also train the future generation of STEM graduates and notes that the current level of STEM graduates which indeed has stagnated may be sufficient.

We don’t need to increase the total number, but perhaps focus on very specific areas the T and E of STEM, and we need to address the systemic problems (under recruitment of women and minorities, boom and bust cycles, conservatism of peer review processes, unattractive career paths coupled to the current stresses in university business models such as growth of student debt and dependency on non-tenured short term researchers and faculty, scientific fraud). So not more STEM funding, but targeting on systemic internal problems in STEM.


Do we need a STEM educated citizenry?

Levy-Leblond argues that the societal issues that confront governments and which involve issues of governance and citizen involvement in general do not require better science educated citizens as such.

To form an opinion on climate change, nuclear power, genetically modified organisms the questions don’t involve understanding the detailed science of nuclear fission, how genes jump or how CO2 is captured in oceans. Rather they are not scientific questions but technical ones (can one build protection around a nuclear power plants against tsunamis), risk assessment associated with geologic locations and human use. What is needed is not Scientific Culture but first Engineering Culture. Beyond this most of these societal questions that involve STEM areas are really questions of social and political science and economics; the transformation of energy production in Germany has been not one of a science educated citizenry, but one of politically and economically informed decision making.

And the social and political sciences are crucial; the problem he argues is not the science education level of our citizenry, but the way modern democracies operate, or rather malfunction, and in particular the various quango, industrial and governmental entities that make go/no-go decisions on introducing new technologies into societal use. The lessons around nuclear power plant accidents are not those that would be addressed by a more scientifically educated citizenry, but rather how to reform the various systems of expertise that lead to governmental or industrial decisions to adopt disruptive technologies at acceptable risk.

Is Art-Science a viable vehicle for developing Scientific Culture?

Levy-Leblond comes back to the question of the promotion of ‘scientific culture’ and he again re-iterates that one of the fundamental problems is the cultural ignorance of scientists themselves, who he argues are ignorant about their own science in a cultural context but also of the activities of cultural professionals today (outside of commercial or popular arts).

He takes anew a ‘pot-shot” at the emerging and developing art-science movement. (In a previous blog I wrote a rebuttal to Levy-Leblond’s book “Science is not Art”. Levy-Leblond  argued in that book that light and free “brief encounters” (a reference to the classical film by David Lean, Brief Encounter, 1945) between individual scientists and artists are likely to be more culturally relevant that collective and institutionalized endeavors ».

He states that the art science movements “are paved with good intentions which one doesn’t know whether they will lead to hell or even purgatory because they consist of collaborations between scientists who lack cultural knowledge and artists who lack scientific understanding ….one just has to think of the fable of the French fable of the blind man and the paralytic, used ironically of an unpromising partnership. Levy-Leblond goes on to wink that maybe the problem is more culture in scientists rather than more science in culture. In this argument he connects with some of the current discussions on the STEM to STEAM movement, or the need to integrate the arts, design and humanities into STEM strategies.

I obviously beg to disagree with Levy-Leblond and his attack of the growing institutionalization of the art science movement. As in emerging disciplines there are exceptional achievements (the work of Brandon Ballangee, Ruth West, or David Dunn, or Jane Prophet, or Francois-Joseph Lapointe to name a few) and also much routine or misguided or uninteresting work. We saw the same dilution effect as the art and technology movement became institutionalized in new media and gaming programs. I am happy to oppose my optimism to Levy-Leblond’s pessimism and argue that the current institutionalization of the art-science movement is in the large a positive development.

Finally Levy-Leblond points out that indeed if critical thinking and assessment of evidence is part of the contribution of STEM education and outreach- that this argument was used centuries ago in the development of the Enlightenment and again during the age of scientific positivism in the 19th century, He quotes from d”Alembert  in the 18th century where he promises that” the learning of mathematics and geometry will in itself lead a whole nation to become enlightened, perhaps the only way that certain parts of Europe currently under oppressive governments will become liberated”. This nineteenth century proto STEM optimism indeed seems oversold today given the history of carnage of the twentieth century. Levy-Leblond acidly points out that we should not forget that science also offers the possibility of developing un- or economically counterproductive outcomes ( such as reducing employment, destabilizing regional economies) as well as destructive outcomes though the military uses of techno-science.

In Praise of Amatorat and the New Amateurs

The closing section of Levy-Leblond’s essay turns away from the jeremiad and proposes interesting pro-active proposals. He argues that one of the problems science faces today is the social disconnection of its professionals. He argues that what makes the arts and music culturally vital and living is the existence both of expert artists and musicians but also a whole range of different ways that citizens engage in the arts and music as non-professionals. This continuity of practice from elite and professional to popular and broadly practiced, he argues allows the arts to be socially grounded as demonstrated by the very vital popular music culture on line for instance.

He goes on to note that some scientific disciplines have maintained a lively and sustainable spectrum of professional and amateur practitioners. Astronomy and the vital continuing contributions of amateur astronomers is one. But also in some of the natural sciences such as ornithology and bird watching. But indeed there is no such thing as an amateur quantum or particle physicist; perhaps the CERN artist in residency program will break open the concrete? On the other hand the bio-art bio-hacking movement are opening whole new avenues of collaborations between professional biologists and artists (see the Leonardo book e-book “Meta-Life: Biotechnologies, Synthetic Biology, ALife and the Arts” ).

Finally Levy-Leblond notes the birth and rapid development of the citizen science movement which gives him reason for optimism- which ranges from data taking, to problem solving. (He wonders whether in many cases the scientific are not basically exploiting cheap labor rather than engaging in scientific collaboration with amateurs).

I note that there is a recent proliferation of  ‘smart citizen’ initiatives which merge the citizen science and hacker/maker cultures : ,  these are setting up a system to distribute DYI technologies with ambitions of enabling social action enabled by local taken data. Another example is the Barcelona Fab Lab ) which seeks to develop a Smart Citizen platform “to generate participatory processes of people in the cities. Connecting data, people and knowledge, the objective of the platform is to serve as a node for building productive and open indicators, and distributed tools, and thereafter the collective construction of the city for its own inhabitants”. STEM institutions are rapidly developing initiatives that couple to the maker and hacker movements through Fab Labs, Maker spaces, Accelerators ( see also for instance Design For America  now in twenty US campuses.)

Levy-Leblond also notes positive developments with associations of medical associations engaging the participation of patient organisations in the research projects. He advocates investment in amateur and citizen scientific activities as one of the ways of developing a meaningful concept around scientific culture.

Levy-Leblond’s advocacy of a new amateur picks up on ideas in France developed at length in a 2012 special issue of Alliage ( ) on “Amateur”. In that issue Bernard Stiegler ( ) argued for the term French term “amatorat’ rather than ‘amateur” to cover the whole range of new engaged citizen activities from citizen science, to hacker and maker culture, to patient and environmental monitoring groups and in the US the STEM to STEAM movement. In a very real sense the advocacy of a broadened concept of smart, STEM enabled, citizens is one element of a response to Nowotny’s call for socially robust science ( )

So is too much STEM a bad thing? Levy-Leblond urges us to be careful in our received knowledge and public argumentation for the funding of STEM, STEAM, and science education outreach in general. He argues that the coupling between fundamental and basic science and the T end E of STEM is fragile in a societal environment where short term economic finalities are the determinants of STEM investment. His warning about the lack of culture of most scientists because of the way that scientists are educated is contrarian but worth thinking about: adding ethics courses to STEM education is not a substitute for teaching science as a culturally embedded set of disciplines.

I think his warnings need to be taken seriously, though the whole ecology that couples science, technology, math and society is a complex dynamic network and it is inconceivable to view STEM strategies that amputate the S. Recent trends in development countries of their funding of basic science however gives pause. And I highly recommend to art-science practitioners that they understand Levy-Leblond’s reticence about the artscience movement. As the STEM to STEAM movement gains steam we need to integrate Levy-Leblond’s critiques.


« La culture scientifique: pour quoi faire ?” by Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond, Alliage No 73, Printemps 2014 p17.  (Alliage is a French language journal of Culture, Science and Technology edited by Levy-Leblond) . This issue is not on line yet but will be available in fall 2014.

Non-french readers can find some of Levy-Leblond’s writing in English in  La science en mal de culture/Science in Want of Culture, Futuribles, 2004. ( )



Foot Prints or Boot Prints: What is there to celebrate about the first human landing on the moon ?

Celebrating the first humans on the moon ? July 19 is the forty fifth anniversary
here is the celebration in Dallas, Texas on July 19

would be interested in thoughts about what there is to celebrate about the first human
landing on the moon
foot prints or boot prints ?

- In cooperation with the National Space Society of North Texas, the Museum once again celebrates space exploration with MOON DAY, July 19, 2014.  Come and experience a full day of family-oriented activities, demonstrations, and programs, marking the 45th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing (the actual landing was on July 20).THE FIRST 250 CHILDREN to arrive will receive a free “Lunar Sample Bag” courtesy of Moonlite Printing & Graphics of Carrollton, full of magazines, stickers, activity books, posters and other materials of interest to space flight enthusiasts of all ages.

here is a comment from peter swan:


Peter Swan, Ph.D

International Space Elevator Consortium BoD

The American people achieved something monumental when they came together and supported, actively participated in, or just watched the Apollo lift-off, flight, Lunar landing, and return. Over 500 million people around the world watched while we held our breath. Werner Von Braun put it in perspective the night before the liftoff of Apollo 11: “What we will have attained when Neil Armstrong steps down upon the Moon is a completely new step in the evolution of man. For the first time, life will leave its planetary cradle, and the ultimate destiny of man will no longer be confined to those familiar continents that we have known so long.” [Life Magazine, 1969]. Neil Armstrong stated it beautifully with the well known words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” In addition, the words left on the moon are meaningful: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.” After the flight, Neil Armstrong praised the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the project. 

Now we need the help of the hundreds of thousands of people to come together and celebrate this remarkable event. Who will lead the planning to celebrate the 50th Anniversary? Who will invest in America’s achievement? Here are some questions that should be discussed in the near future:

• Who should lead the year-long celebration of this Earth shaking event?
• Should there be congressional recognition and support?
• How shall we share this event with the people of the globe?
• What events should be planned during the year 2019?
• Should there be a new memorial on the mall?
• How will the national agencies celebrate? [NASA?/USAF?] 
• How shall corporate entities celebrate?
• How shall towns, counties & states celebrate?
• How shall individuals be recognized?
• Should there be an oral history program focused upon July 1969?

As one who has gone through two major organizational recognitions of 50 years of success, I KNOW that most do not plan early enough nor with enough resources. I am bringing this topic to the table to help people recognize the need and spread the word within the organizations effected. I say:

Start Planning NOW for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.




OVER 25 EXHIBITORS will offer fascinating displays and activities such as a close-up look at a meteorite, robotics demonstrations, space art, re-creating Moon craters, and a SAFE look directly at the sun through specially-equipped telescopes.

THREE PORTABLE PLANETARIUMS will be featured this year, all with different programs, to give visitors a glimpse of the night sky throughout the day!

FASCINATING PROGRAMS for all ages will include a look at life on Mars, “Cosmic Chemistry,” and the story of how Dr. James Carter of the University of Texas at Dallas developed simulated moon soil—presented by Dr. Carter himself!

BUILD AND LAUNCH A MODEL ROCKET!—Our younger visitors can attend a model rocket-building class courtesy of the Dallas Area Rocket Society from 1:30-3:15 p.m.  A $25.00 fee includes all materials including a beginner’s level model rocket and engine, a one-year membership to the Dallas Area Rocket Society, and an opportunity to launch the model rocket at a supervised Dallas Area Rocket Society launch event.  Students can enroll in advance or sign up at the door.  Call (214) 350-4215 for details.

GIRL SCOUTS, BOY SCOUTS, AND CUB SCOUTS can meet various badge and pin requirements through participation in specific Moon Day activities.  No registration is required, and the qualifying activities are presented throughout the entire day.

CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (CPE) CREDITS  can be earned by DISD teachers attending any one of several presentations throughout the day—get a head start on your 2014-2015 requirements!

Jasia Reichardt on Re-Collecting

this post is for the YASMIN discussion list discussion on Collecting and Archiving New Media

Art:  from Jasia Reichardt  who curated Cybernetic Serendipity

 an exhibition of cybernetic art curated by Jasia Reichardt, shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 1968- and then touring the United States.


MORE ABOUT ARCHIVES from Jasia Reichardt


Archives have their limitations. They consist of documents and other records of past events. They don’t reconstruct the past, merely record it. And in so doing, their contents provide the material for us to understand, imagine, or perhaps recall something we have witnessed, or even been a part of.


Favourite archival documents of my choice would include Turing’s diagram of the Universal Turing Machine;

JR 1





the design for a mechanical garden by the Polish poet, Tytus Czyżewski;


jr 2



and the description in The Scientist Speculates (1962), by the mathematician, I.J. Good of intelligent machines populating the world and replacing themselves continually by more intelligent ones. He thought that this might happen in 1978. There was no picture.


Finally, I treasure the series of images of Nam June Paik’s event in New York in 1982, during which his robot K-456 was run over.


JR 3




On the impossibility of Trans-Disciplinary Research in Universities


A while back  ( ) we started a discussion initiated by Lewis Pyenson who has served twice as a university Dean and draws conclusions about the difficulties of setting up and operating inter-trans disciplinary programs in universities


At the end of this post we have a response from Sundar Sarukkai at Manipaul University in India who has also served as a dean and describes the ‘polytechnisation’ of universities in India which often have no schools of Social Science or Humanitites- and we publish here Lewi’s response


we would welcome reader commentaries which we will be publishing in the leonardo journal together with Pyenson’s text


roger malina


Why is it so difficult to establish and run Trans-disciplinary programs in Universities

We have published in Leonardo Journal an article by Lewis Pyenson.

Entitled: Realization in Arts and Sciences

Lewis Pyenson is Professor of History at Western Michigan University, and was Graduate Dean from 2006-2010.  Before then he served as Graduate Dean at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Professor of History at Université de Montréal.

After many years of experience dealing with disciplinary disputes, his conclusion is that embracing the liberal arts might best succeed under guidance from administrators who are themselves accomplished across a wide range of the humanities and the natural sciences.

Here is Sundar’s response:

Response to “Realization in Arts and Sciences”, Lewis Pyenson

Sundar Sarukkai


When art is placed within an academic context, how is it understood by non-artists? Today’s academic world is largely about disciplines that are primarily about ‘knowledge’. Generally speaking, disciplines make meaning only in contexts and this is especially true of the study of art within universities. Given that universities are programmatically aligned along the axis of particular notions of knowledge, the greatest challenge to the understanding of art in contemporary academics is the understanding of art within the context of knowledge. Literature studies now flits between anthropology, sociology, philosophy and other disciplines. This ‘mutation’ of literature and the formation of new boundaries of literature as a discipline is a response to the academic pressure of foregrounding the activity of knowledge. So it is not a surprise that the theme of ‘literature as/and knowledge’ has now become an accepted theme within literature studies.

The difficulty in making sense of art through the context of knowledge is not just an academic phenomenon but also a societal one. Public perception and response from parents and peers to art education strongly reflects this difficulty in understanding art as an academic discipline. Universities today are legitimizing themselves either through the rhetoric of creating new knowledge (as embodied in the idea of research) or through imparting certain skills. The function of art, so much still caught up in the rhetoric of giving pleasure, runs counter to the perceived functions of disciplines like science, which are seen to be primarily concerned with ‘truth’. In spite of philosophical attempts to recapture the sense of truth within art – and indeed make the truth of art more supreme to the truths of science – this project of associating truth with art remains at the academic periphery.

One of the biggest challenges to establishing meaningful art-science programs within universities lies not only in the ambiguity of this interface but also in the ambiguity in not knowing what the university really stands for today.  If the universities, as in India, for example, have become a mechanism for generating a workforce or to give functional degrees to students then it is no wonder that there is almost no presence of art-science initiatives in these places. If  universities, like in France as I was recently informed, believes that they are places not of inclusion but of exclusion (reportedly over half the students drop out of the university system in France after one or two years) then again these notions of quality and rigour influence the perception and establishment of arts education in universities. So the real issue is as much about the changing nature of global education in universities.

Increasingly, globally universities are primarily seen as producers of a workforce. Courses are becoming more specialized and more skill-based. There is a tendency for universities to polytechnicize themselves when they start offering highly specialised technical courses. The idea of polytechnic universities came as a response to the overtly knowledge-based, theoretically oriented universities education. Polytechnics were clearly seen as skill training institutions where students could be taught, for example, how to repair things, without the necessary engineering knowledge that was taught in the university. However, with the advent of new courses in universities, this distinction is being constantly put under erasure.

In India, there are clear symptoms of the polytechnization of art programs. Successful programs in art often train students in commercial art, graphic art and the like. Good students from theatre very often join the film or TV industry. These trends influence what is being taught as art and why art is being taught.

In such a scenario, three questions become important. One, what is the relevance of art education within the broad idea of contemporary university education? Two, what kind of knowledge production arises through artistic projects? Three, what kind of societal impact comes through the application of art?

I will conclude by emphasising two points. First is the role of university administrators in supporting such programs within the university. It is definitely the case that artistically-challenged administrators can be great inhibitors to such programs within a university. Although I do believe that being an artist or engaging more seriously with art is not necessary for being a sympathetic administrator, it is nonetheless useful for a person to have knowledge about art in general and also about art practice. We do not expect administrators to know economics in order to support a program in economics and the reason this is not happening with art is primarily because of the lack of knowledge about what an arts program is all about. It is not only arts that is in this position; recently, the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University (who was a scientist) went and sat in classes in literature and social sciences to evaluate what these subjects were about!

Second, art-science is still dominantly seen as an artistic practice. While there are influential texts on this subject, the discourse of art-science has still not been established as an autonomous one. For this to happen within universities, there has to be a decisive shift towards the creation of a theoretical discourse around art-science, one which will also deal with questions of knowledge inherent in these practices.




Lets Forget C.P.Snow and Art vs Science

Here is my response to this invitation: FORGET ARTvs SCIENCE


Julia Buntaine  wrote:
> For our August anniversary issue, we want to switch things up a little bit
> and hear from our readers. We would like to pose ONE QUESTION to the
> community and publish your thoughts! From a personal story to professional
> experience, any and all opinions are valid. Here’s our question:
> How would you describe the nature of the relationship between science and
> art?

Lets Forget C.P. Snow and the Art vs Science Dualism

I think framing the question in terms of the relationship between science and art is a notion that we need to discard, even though the Leonardo Journal has advocated this for fifty years : its an idea whose time has passed.

I think C.P.Snow falsely ‘dichotomised’ the question ( even though he himself was more sublte about it).

Lets stop talking about the relationship between science and art and lets talk about the problems we want to work on and how to bring in the network of knowledge we need. In the recent US National Science Foundation SEAD study ( ) we found that 20% of the 200 peoplewho contributed to the study were ‘hybrids’; they had one higher education degree in science or engineering, and another in arts, design or humanities; or they had dual professions. Robert Root-Bernstein in his longitudinal studies of the most successful scientists and engineers finds that , out of all proportion to less successful scientists, they have engaged in avocations in the arts since an early age. The only people who still think art vs science are funding agencies and university promotion committees !! The hacker and maker movement, citizen science and smart citizen movements make clear that in their daily life people draw on various sources of knowledge to pursue their passions.

Nano scientist Jim Gimzewski recently stated that instead of thinking of inter or multidisciplinarity we need to think integratively- I dont like art-science or artscience either because it fails to integrate other parts of the puzzle-but i use the term and have recently founded an ArtSciLab ( ).Roy Ascott thirty years ago advocated we stop using the word “art” because it was misleading in terms of our objectives; the word art is now framed by the art market and art museums but the kind of work we are now involved in escapes those institutional frames. In their recent Leonardo Book “Re-Collection: Art, New Media and Social Memory” ( Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito insist that the new media arts are social activities that need to be embedded in the creation of social memory, which are not practices that art institutions are expert at; we need to draw on the social sciences and anthropology among other approaches

So lets find other ways than thinking about bridging the arts and sciences, and think of metaphors that have to do with the dynamic network of knowledge rather than frozen ontologies in the forms of trees of knowledge.

C.P. Snow was on the founding editorial board of Leonardo Journal and a friend of my father Frank Malina the founding editor; Leonardo Journal was conceived fifty years ago coming out of discussions between people like Snow, Jacob Bronowski, Julian Huxley, Buckminster Fuller, Joseph Needham. If you re read C.P. Snow you will see that his concern was less the art vs science, but the issue of economic development in developing countries and how the techno-sciences could fuel that development..That issue is still with us.

Roger F MalinaOn Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM, SciArt in America <> wrote:
> Hello!
> For our August anniversary issue, we want to switch things up a little bit
> and hear from our readers. We would like to pose ONE QUESTION to the
> community and publish your thoughts! From a personal story to professional
> experience, any and all opinions are valid. Here’s our question:
> How would you describe the nature of the relationship between science and
> art?
> Take care!
> Julia Buntaine
> Editor-in-Chief, SciArt in America