Whats going on in South Sudan. Cairo, Kenya, South Africa= Virtual Africa Illuminates the Dark Culture


If you havent been following the Virtual Africa Channel on Creative Disturbance platform http://creativedisturbance.org/channel/virtual-africa/, producer Yvan Tina has been connecting all over the African Continent and its diasporas – an AfroFuturism channel is about to be launched. I have ironically called the world hidden from the first pages of search engines- the ‘dark culture’ in analogy to ‘dark matter’ – astronomers have been studiyng matter that emits light since the beginning of humanity, but it turns out most of the universe is made from dark matter that emits no light. We are suffering from a similar myopia as the web privileges the most visible sites, and with the law of networks the big nodes get bigger.

I just returned from Colombia South America, http://malina.diatrope.com/2016/05/19/join-us-in-columbia-june-2017-and-make-constructive-art-science-technology-trouble/  and came away impressed with the vitality and originality of the work of the art science technology community.

Part of the mission of the Creative Disturbance platform is to enable ‘intellectual dating’ or helping people meet each other and collaborate  and its rewarding to see the intellectual dating taking place !

We have created a google group for all those in Colombia planning to attend ISEA 2017 in Manizales , or for those outside who are planning to come- it you are interested in joining this networking group send me an email at rmalina(at)alum.mit.edu

In the meantime find out whats going on in Virtual Africa: South Sudan, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and more


Hollywood of South Sudan.. PeaceHackCamp…

Striving to become the “Hollywood of South Sudan”, Kapital Movie Industry is a network of visionary young artists, documentarists, Graphic Designers, Filmmakers, Web Designers, Film Directors and Visual Effect Artists who are interested in telling the story of their new country and helping to build its future. With the PeaceHackCamp they organize each year, the aim to engage with youth using graphic technology, cinema and video to promote peace in South Sudan. In this podcast, Bakahika Bruno, KMIC’s operational manger, talks about his visions for the future of African cinema and the technical (and economical) difficulties they encounter in order for new talents to emerge.



In Christina de Middel’s website, one can read the following: “In 1964 a Zambian science teacher named Edwuard Makuka decided to train the first African crew to travel to the moon. His plan was to use an aluminium rocket to put a woman, two cats and a missionary into Space”. Unfortunately the project never came to fruition but the expression, coined by Makuka, has been adopted in space culture. This podcast is an interview of Mandla Maseko, the first black African to travel into space, more than fifty years after Edwuard Makuka’s initiative.


Young Designer in Cario makes the world a better place

Nora Abushadi is a talented designer who has been developing several projects touching, for example, upon the implementation of a multi-sensorial dining experience in Cairo and a speculative design for costume and stage designers, or even the destruction of literary culture by islamic extremists. Nora is a Virtual Africa Fellowship and has been awarded the Creative Disturbance Grants intended for international students.


Land Of Milk and Honey repays their debt in Kenya

The journey from our homes in Kenya to the US, also known to many as the “land of milk and honey,” is embarked on as an opportunity to excel in our chosen industries. In excelling, Dr. Jakki Opollo has exceeded all milestones and stands out in a sea of nurses as a top nurse. She has been a nurse for 14 years and currently serves as the Director of Professional Practice & Nursing Research at Parkland Health & Hospital System. In this podcast she sheds light on how emerging media plays a significant role in the health industry.


Roger Malina

Join us in Columbia June 2017 and make constructive art science technology trouble


I am just leaving Columbia after two weeks days of exciting work in Manizales, Bogota and Medellin, Columbia. All I can tell you is that

there is something unusual going on here with a perfect storm of social communities and the art science technology community. In Manizales it was

Balance Unbalance conference on art and climate change ( http://www.balance-unbalance2016.org/ ), in Bogota the work of the Planetarium and

their developing projects on art, science technology and the city ( http://www.planetariodebogota.gov.co/ ) and in Medellin the Communicating

Astronomy with the Public conference ( http://www.planetariomedellin.org/cap2016/english-version/ ) hosted by the ExploraParque

http://www.parqueexplora.org/ ) with their Collaboratorio iniative  http://www.parqueexplora.org/colaboratorio ) with the vibrant hacker and

maker community that is deeply social embedded in a country that is emerging from the dark ages of drug cartel and guerilla warfare.

With Ricardo Dal Farra, Andres Burbano ( Leonardo LEAF international Liaison) we are mobilising to attend ISEA 2017 here and to help make some

unusual things happen that make local sense. If you would like to join us in brainstorming contact me or you cal also join the redcatsur discussion

list on art science technology in latin america ( https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/redcatsur )

Felipe Londono, Rector of the University of Caldas in Manizales will be hosting ISEA 2017 June 12-16 2017


ISEA 2017 invites to reflect on the contributions that art, design, and technology provide as alternatives for social development based on respect for natural biodiversity and having pacific coexistence of the communities. ISEA 2017 welcomes submissions in three broad categories: academic (papers, posters, panels, and institutional presentations), creative (artworks, installations, performances, and design cases) and learning (workshops and tutorials).
Roger Malina


Roger Malina in Medellin Colombia on Wicked Problems in Art Science Technology


check out Roger Malina at minute 13 on this video

Conclusions of day 1-Cross Fertilising the arts, sciences and new technologies


A 45 minte overview on whats going on in art science technology today 

Roger Malina



New Art-Sci-Tech PhD and Masters Students Unite ! tell us about your thesis work ! June 30 deadline


June 30 Deadline

LABS is a comprehensive database of abstracts of Ph.d, Masters and MFA theses in the emerging intersection between art, science and technology. Persons who have received advanced degress in arts (visual, sound, performing, text), computer sciences, the sciences and/or technology which in some way investigate philosophical, historical, critical or applications of science or technology to the arts are invited to submit an abstract of their thesis for publication consideration in this database.

The LABS Peer Reviewers for 2016-2017:

  • Alan Boldon is the Deputy Head of the school and Head of Research at the University of Brighton, Faculty of Arts and Head of Cultural Engagement and Innovation for the College of Arts and Humanities.
  • Yiannis Colakides is the Co-Director of NeMe (New Media), Limassol, Cyprus.
  • Angus Forbes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Illinois at Chicago where he directs the Creative Coding Research Group within the Electronic Visualization Laboratory.
  • Copper Frances Giloth is Associate Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she teaches courses in Intermedia.
  • Lawrence Harvey is Associate Professor in the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Tom Leeser is the Program Director of the Art and Technology Program in the School of Art and the Director of the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.
  • Iannis Zannos is Professor of audio and interactive media arts at the Department of Audiovisual Arts and at the postgraduate course in Arts and Technologies of Sound of the Music Department at the Ionian University, Corfu.
  • Ionat Zurr is a researcher and Academic Coordinator of SymbiotecA, Center of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, University of Western Australia

The English abstracts will be placed on-line at Pomona College, Claremont, California, so that interested persons can access them at no cost. An international Peer Review Panel (PRP) made up of academics and artists will review the abstracts; the PRP is chaired by Emerita Professor Sheila Pinkel of Pomona College. In addition to being published in the database, a selection of Abstracts selected by this panel for their special relevance will be published quarterly in Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA), Leonardo’s peer reviewed e-journal, and authors of abstracts most highly ranked by the panel will also be invited to submit an article for publication consideration in Leonardo Journal. Authors of theses interested in having their thesis abstract considered for publication should fill out the Thesis Abstract Submittal form.

For any questions of corrections, please email the Pomona College Instructional Technology Group.

Welcome to Texas Judge John Marshall to Creating a Disturbance


One of the pleasures of moving to Texas has been to develop a friendship with Texas Judge John Marshall.


I dont know what prejudices you have but Judge Marshall will dispel all of them ( check out the link above)

Senior Judge, Fourteenth Judicial District of Texas.

But Elected Member of the International Academy of Astronautics,

Which is where I am met him !  Texas Judge an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Go figure. He worked on the Apollo program and is a co-author of a history of the Apollo Program B.A., History, J.D., SMU, member Mexican Academy of International Law. ( Donald Trump go figure). This is what we call intellectual dating on Creative Disturbance where we have just published our first podcast with him.


He is among other things an expert on cyber ethics. In a ruling in a texas court he ruled against a bank. The plaintiff complained that an ATM machine took his money but didnt deliver the cash. Judge Marshall asked to cross examine the witness, the ATM machine. The  Bank demurred- so the Judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff. 
Roger Malina







Do you own a Frank Malina art work ? Please contact us for inclusion in Catalogue Raisonne


We are delighted to announce that a Frank Malina committee has been created and a ‘catalogue raisonne’ of all the artworks of FRANK MALINA is being prepared. All owners of art works by Frank Malina are invited to contact the RCM Gallery in Paris via camille@rcmgalerie.com

The committee will issue certificates of authentification  and can also help provide evaluations of the work, or renovation or reparation of kinetic art works.


La galerie RCM a le plaisir d’annoncer la création du Comité Frank MALINA et la préparation du catalogue raisonné des œuvres de l’artiste. Nous invitons toute personne possédant des œuvres de Frank Malina à contacter la galerie.

Galerie RCM, 32 rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, www.rcmgalerie.com, Tél. +33. (0)1. 40. 15. 00. 23, camille@rcmgalerie.com



Roger Malina




frank malina brain wavesBRAIN WAVES (1)FJM cosmos


Dark Culture, why astronomers are embarassed and cutting down the tree of knowledge In Manizales, Colombia

Dark Culture, why astronomers are embarassed and cutting down the tree of knowledge in Manizales, Colombia

Roger Malina  http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3399-3865 

Manizales, Columbia May 13 2016

I am writing this in Manizales, Columbia during the Balance Un-Balance conference on Art and Climate Change ( http://www.balance-unbalance2016.org/ ). I gave a talk (http://www.slideshare.net/rmaliina/malina-bunb-manizales-2015 ) where I talked about the power and danger of metaphors. In particular I talked about the ‘tree of knowledge’ metaphor which has proved useful for many people for many thousands of years. But it is a real problem for working on certain kinds of problems.

In a tree metaphor, the leaves on different branches don’t talk together. But to solve climate change we need to have the scientists working in close collaboration with the artists and humanists, but also with the community leaders the politicians and the economists. This is very difficult when you organize yourself mostly around disciplines. For some problems the tree metaphor and disciplinary approaches are crucial and successful. But sometimes we need to work in a different metaphorical framework. The community of practice at the Balance Un-Balance conference was a hybrid mixture of artists, scientists and engineers, designer but also social actors like the Red Cross and economists. Tree structures are the wrong structures to enable these kinds of different people to mix.

Today the network metaphor is very powerful, because so many people are familiar with the network because of the internet, but also airline networks, disease spread networks and so on. In a network, nodes interconnect based on function. This is how it works in the brain where different regions in the brain interconnect depending on function. I am in an art science team studying this in Dallas with neuroscientists and musicians and an art historian and computer scientists. So maybe we need a network of networks metaphor.

Flying over Columbia, another related metaphor is the ‘field of fields’ metaphor. We know in ecology and agriculture that monocultures can be dangerous for survival of an ecological or agricultural system. So maybe we can think of knowledge in a ‘field of field’ metaphor? Some fields are fertile, others fallow, there is a variety of sizes. We know the value of wild areas. You can re organize the fields if conditions change.There are gates between some fields and fences around others. So how would we organize human networks within a field of fields metaphor. How would we structure organisations so they can be adaptive like fields of fields ?

In Manizales I also tried to explain why astronomers are so unhappy today. Astronomy was one of the first disciplines to be transformed by the big data revolution. Forty years what have astronomers discovered? That most of the universe is dark and does not emit light of any type (perhaps 95% of the content in the universe is either dark matter or dark energy). It is very embarrassing for astronomers. For centuries, and millennia, we have been studying the night sky with our eyes and telescopes, but we now know we have been studying the ‘decoration’ on the universe. The overall evolution and structure of the universe is driven by the dark universe, and we don’t know how to study it and its nature is currently mysterious. The decoration is interesting, but by just studying the decoration there are many things you can’t know. It is the same with human culture.

So by analogy I coined the term “dark culture’. Today all the humanities and politics of our planet is being transformed by big data. New industries are dominating the economics. We now talk of ‘deep learning’ through the use of big data to study and understand human activities, and even anticipating them. We know that for controlling climate change we must use big data. But what if 95% of what really matters to drive the structure and evolution of our human societies is ‘dark’ and isn’t captured in the big data today? How do we invent new observations and instruments that can study the dark culture and collect data on human things that are currently dark and maybe don’t emit light? What are important things are by their nature uncapturable in big data systems, how do we combine different approaches so that we can avoid the catastrophes of climate change?. How do we work in a fields of fields?

In 1992 our family friend, historian of technology, Dan Boorstin made a strange recommendation to NASA at the world space congress. He suggested they stop taking more data for a while and think about it. He pointed out that most data is never analysed, just stored. He argued that we are moving from a data poor to a data rich culture, and we don’t understand the implications. He said all the data Charles Darwin needed to transform our understanding of life, was in a series of note books that fit on his shelf. Today we are immersed in data, we have become a data culture, but maybe we are data rich and meaning poor, Dan Boorstin said. The hard problem, the wicked problem, is making meaning from data. But also understanding that much of culture is dark, and will never be captured by data. Dan called this an epistemological transformation.

To continue the dark culture metaphor, we know that in the countryside of Columbia there are fields on the sunny side of the valley that can be understood by studying what is illuminated by light, but others are on the shadowed side, or under the canopies of forests- and you need to go there to understand what is going on where light does not penetrate.

So dark culture is a complex mixture of cultures we have big data on, that maybe one day we will get data on, but others that maybe have to be studied in other ways that will never be captured in big databases.

At the Balance Un Balance conference Felipe Londono, the Rector of the University of Caldas in Manizales, host of the conference, announced an ambitious 21st expedition project, Caldas: Expedición Siglo XXI. It is named after scientist and humanist Francisco José de Caldas y Tenorio, who died 200 years ago this year and after whom the University is named. Caldas was part of several scientific expeditions including the ones with José Celestino Mutis and Alexander von Humboldt. He traveled across the New Kingdom of Granada exploring the newfound land, studying florafauna, geographymeteorology and cartography. Caldas contributed, not only to discover the huge wealth of Colombia, but  also fought for Columbian independence, and today he is remembered for his direct participation in the events that caused the cry of national independence, on July 20, 1810.

The themes of the Caldas regional expedition are to inventory and study the regional strengths in agricultural sciences, biodiversity and natural resources, natural sciences, engineering, technology and development, social innovation, law and social sciences, economy and society, health sciences ,  arts and humanities , design and culture, memory and heritage, education and pedagogical practices, climate change  and  the  construction of peace. Suggested inventory of resources, include the establishment of databases from GIS and big data sources, but also using open science and citizen approaches to bring in local and indigenous knowledge that escapes big data system. And the expedition would be resolutely in a network approach between organisations and groups with a variety of groundings and contexts in the local society. Ambitious perhaps, but no more so than the expeditions of the 18th and 19th centuries. And who knows perhaps contribute to the new movements of cultural independence to overcome the dangers of the networked big data global economy.

As a post-script I can’t help but mention that recently Scot Gresham Lancaster in our ArtSciLab in Dallas has started working on a communication system between forests on different continents; the project is an art project. The communication would draw on recent discoveries on the mycelial networks that link the root systems of trees; it has been discovered for instance that several percent of the carbon content of a given tree has actually been drawn from other trees vial the mycelial networks. So maybe what the tree of knowledge needs is a good dose of fungal networking ! Lets spread mushrooms in our universities.


Intellectual dating in Manizales Columbia- Tariq Emam meets Roger Malina


In our Creative Disturbance project ( www.creativedisturbance.org ) one of our goals has been to set up an intellectual dating

service- how to enhance serendipity and synchronicity on line. The idea being to provoke connections between people who

happen to share peripheral mutual interests or obsessions. The kind of accidental encounters where you are sitting next

to someone on a bus and start talking and discover you have a mutual interest that results in a long term productive

collaboration. On Creative Disturbance we have been recording podcasts of people thinking aloud, and we know that

this has led to a number of connections, we just welcomed a new podcast producer who is a Chinese Australian woman in Sweden

who happens to play on line computer games with one of the creative disturbance production team in Dallas. Cassini Nazir our

designer on Creative Disturbance checked out all the available dating software, and its useless. You can never itemize

the peripheral obsessions you have that are only activated through a chance encounter. And the social media platforms

are useless. I have stopped connecting with the people suggested by linked in or the other systems.
Any way here is what just happened. I am currently in Manizales Columbia at the amazing Balance Un Balance conference

http://www.balance-unbalance2016.org/ – I gave a talk  ( http://www.slideshare.net/rmaliina/malina-bunb-manizales-2015

Beyond the Two Cultures A crisis in Data Representation. The next morning a young composer and sound artist Tariq Emam


He asks me for the copy of my talk as he is interested in some of my presentation on creating ‘data forests” where

we have been building interactive visualisations and sonifications where you can wander through the data in an oculus

and hear the data as you approach and wander through it ( yeah we have data frogs). We start chatting. He is doing a PhD  at the University of Hull

on music by composition called the Yorkshire Sound Scape Project http://cargocollective.com/tariqemam/Yorkshire-Soundscape-Project

We start talking and it turns out he has been recording sound scales in the Yorkshire Dales- well it turns out my mother Marjorie

Duckwork was born in Elslack, Yorkshire – about 2o miles from where he has been recording. And I went to a secondary school

nearby for four years. We get into a deep discussion because in our project at the University of Texas at Dallas we are sonifying

data, we have a number of mutual interests. I ask him where he was born and he says Scarborough, which is where my aunt Thyra used to have

an apartment , and our family used to go there in the summer 60 years ago. I have childhood memories of playing on the beach ( in cold english

summer). Ok so here is a zero probability event. An american living in Texas meets an Englishman in Manizales Columbia and discover they share

an esoteric interest and passion on experimental sonification. My colleague David Peat teaches a course and has written extensively

on Synchronicity http://www.fdavidpeat.com/ideas/synchronicity.htm . Ok so I am a confirmed atheist and positivist/scientific realist and I have

never had much truck with David Peat’s work on Synchronicity. Or is it a zero  chance encounter. With big data developments on social

networks, and deep learning algorithms one can maybe start anticipating chance encounters after all given our individual obsessions it could

maybe be anticipated with non zero probability that we would both attend this conference in Manizales, Columbia. So if anyone has software

we can install on Creative Disturbance- we would be very keen to talk to you so that we can give a real intellectual dating service. All  I can say

is to date I have had so few on line chance encounters of value that I would rather just travel to Columbia. By the way, the President of the University

of Caldas in Manizales, Felipe Londono is doing an amazing job here creating an innovative program that promotes transdisciplinary work in

art/design/science/technology. Yeah I met him for coffee 15 years ago in a cafe in Lose Angeles during a SIGGRAPH program when he was a young

architecture and design professor. Put that in your deep learning software.

Roger Malina




dinner with Andre ? roger is visiting Manizales, Bogota, Medellin Columbia…


over the next ten days I am on my first trip to Columbia – first to manizales for the Balance Unbalance Conference, then to Bogota where I am speaking at the Planetarium and then to Medellin to the International Astronomical Union meeting on astronomy education- am keen and available to meet colleagues ! contact me

Roger Malina

Remembering Harold Cohen


we have some sad news today of the passing of Harold Cohen
that frieder nake informs us of

By all criteria harold cohen was an exemplar of the kind
if hybrid practice that we have been discussing on the
YASMIN Mercado Central list


“Cohen was a noted abstract painter during the 1960s, but following a retrospective at the Whitechapel in 1967 he became disenchanted with the British art scene and went to America to teach at UC San Diego. There, he was introduced to computers and gradually developed the program AARON, which has been the focus of his artistic activity for over twenty-five years. AARON developed from a fascination with the process of line-making and how enclosed forms, or shapes, were drawn on paper; initially Cohen did not approach his programming as an artistic activity, but rather a disciplined research into the grammar of conceptual space. He initially saw AARON as a program that emulated what humans did; then as an autonomous entity. As the program’s complexity increased, Cohen added more forms to its repertoire, eventually ending up with human figures and giving the program an increasingly sophisticated understanding of their positioning in space. Part of its fascination lay in the way that AARON’s images looked subjectively like sketches” op cit

His practice, as an artist, pioneered a number of theoretical
and technical innovations that has proved to be both pioneering
and influential on the direction of art-science-technology research
and art making while developing an intese and prestigious art practice

if any of you knew harold cohen for their memories
and comments from those who knew and admired his work

as we dicuss in the Mercado Central on the YASMIN discussion list- lessons learned and advice for young professional careers who want to pursue  careers that bridge

the science/engineering and arts/design/humanities= cohen’s career is an exemplar

roger malina