Remembering Harold Cohen

Colleagues

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

http://computer-arts-society.com/static/cas/computerartsthesis/index.html%3Fpage_id=237.html

“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

An Art-Science Career is like Piloting Through Chaos

An Art-Science Career is like Piloting Through Chaos

ROGER MALINA answers to the Mercado Central questions for art-science hybrids and lessons learned:

Astrophysicist, Editor and Publisher and Art Science Researcher

CONTRIBUTION TO THE YASMIN DISCUSSION: Scientist’s Mercado Central Exchange Advice FOR YOUNG ART SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS

We are starting a discussion on the YASMIN discussion list: you can subscribe and contribute to the discussion at

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You can just follow the discussion on this blog,

http://malina.diatrope.com/2016/04/20/mercado-central-art-science-mentoring-advice-for-emerging-young-professionals-with-hybrid-art-science-careers/

 or by subscribing to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/ 

An Art-Science Career is like Piloting Through Chaos

  • 1- What is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities?

I obtained a BSc in Physics at MIT, followed by a PhD in Astronomy at UC Berkeley. I was lucky enough as an undergraduate to be involved in the beginning of x ray astronomy, and got the bug for the ‘thrill of discovery’. I went on to lead a team that built  the telescopes and instruments for a NASA satellite (https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/euve/euvegof.html ) and then operated the satellite. I was then head hunted and started a career in research administration leading to my job as Director of an Astronomical Observatory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marseille_Observatory ) .

I started a career in the art world when my father died in 1982. I was then a postdoc in space astrophysics. My father had started the art-science journal Leonardo in 1966 (http://leonardo.info/isast/leostory.html ). I decided to try and keep it going and started two art-science non profits one in Paris (http://www.olats.org/ ) and one in San Francisco (http://leonardo.info/index.html ). I was 32. I took a conscious risk at a time I was 200% consumed by my scientific career. Since then I have been very involved in the art science world, through publishing, organized workshops and artists residencies in scientific laboratories.

Lesson learned (see end section) This is piloting through chaos. When your personal life, in this case my father’s death,  intrudes on your professional life- think it through and jump, take the risk if there is a connection essential to one’s personal integrity. Initially my work in art was motivated by the memory of my father and his legacy. 35 years later, that instinctive decision to keep Leonardo going has become a core of my motivation in life. I had never run a publication or a nonprofit, but we had the startup mentality and with a group of friends and colleagues it worked.

2- When and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice? 

I distinguish my career in publishing in art science from my new career as an art-science researcher. The later began in 2015 when I started the ArtSciLab at UT dallas (http://artscilab.utdallas.edu/ ) . I am now collaborating in a fascinating art science project (Data Stethoscope) (https://www.utdallas.edu/news/2016/2/12-31902_Collaborative-Minds-Bringing-Sounds-to-Brain-Data-_story-wide.html ), to create in a gaming engine new forms of data representation, including immersive, interactive and sonified data. The collaboration includes a neuroscientist, an astrophysicist, three artists and composer, two gaming company entrepreneurs, a computer scientist and a user experience designer. This is the most difficult research project I have been involved in, certainly since I was at Berkeley in a group inventing extreme ultraviolet astronomy. And the thrill of discovery is there again. I was recruited in Dallas in 2014 by a long colleague Tom Linehan with whom I had worked in 1987 on a Leonardo SIGGRAPH issue (http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Image-Digital-Cinema-Siggraph-Supplemental/dp/B003X5KGIK ). I was 63 when I started my new career.

Lesson learned: when someone shares your obsession, they probably will still share it 30 years later: we kept in touch. Keep in touch with partners in crime!.

Lesson Learned; Art Science research is as difficult as any other field. It takes method, discipline and invention,

3- What have been the major obstacles to overcome?

I have basically kept my separate careers separate until recently (I used to maintain a science CV and separately an Arts CV). But I have been extremely lucky that my art career, which never paid me anything until three years ago after 30 years of volunteer work, is now my full time employment.

The hardest thing has been convincing my scientific colleagues that art-science was more than science illustration or science education outreach, and that the interaction would change the way science is done and what it studies. It has been gratifying to see the STEM to STEAM movement in the last few years where the ideas that hybrids have espoused for decades at least are now getting public discussion and attention. The work of Robert Root Bernstein (https://vimeo.com/157058429 )  has helped me understand the sociology of what is going on. A book I enjoyed recently is Randall Collins The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Sociology-Philosophies-Global-Intellectual/dp/0674001877 )

 

Another hard thing was keeping the Leonardo non-profits going (Leonardo Journal is now celebrating its 50th). Running and keeping going an arts nonprofit is really difficult; we have been lucky to have a dedicated collaborators (I think particularly of the late Steve Wilson and the former Leonardo managing editor Pam Grant Ryan.

4- What have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

It has been exhilarating seeing the success of the art science and art technology creative community. Leonardo has been a witness, a promoter, and a documenter of an international group of pathbreakers that developed so much of the basis for the digital culture that is now emerging.

Some of the proudest moments have been setting up programs and workshops. In the 1990’s Annick Bureaud and I organized a series of space and the arts workshops in Paris (http://www.olats.org/space/space.php ). At the beginning this was a dozen people in my living room with professionals in space and astronautics and professional artists. Innumerable collaborations were spawned by this series of ‘convenings. Lesson learned – if you are working in a hybrid field, often the professionals are invisible to each other. Create situations where they meet each other.

Similarly I worked on setting up a number of artists residencies in science settings beginning in the early 1990s (http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/arts/ACEfellow/information.html ) , but notably the art-science residency program at the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies  (http://malina.diatrope.com/2013/02/25/call-for-art-science-residency-applications-at-imera-in-marseille-france/ )– such residencies are now flowering internationally.  

Lesson learned: all risky innovations require champions inside the organization you want to work with. Find them.


And right now I am really excited by the work I am involved in in data sonification- I think we are path breaking new interesting research methods and awesome art.

5- What would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

I have been lucky, each step in my career grew out of the previous step ( I moved from MIT, to Berkeley, to Marseille, to Dallas and next ?). Again it comes down to the piloting through chaos thing. I can think of mistakes I have made ( hmm we jumped on too quickly on CDI technology. ) In terms of doing things differently, I wish I had read David Bohm’s ‘On Dialogue’  (http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/Chaos-Complexity/dialogue.pdf ) before I was 55.  Figuring out the new context in which one is stepping takes a lot of real exploration and dialogue. I only learned about translation studies after I got to Dallas. It is easy to misread signals from people who are important in the context you are trying to do something a bit unusual in.

6- Any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

If you are working deeply in a hybrid practice – bring people with shared interest together. This can just be a few people in your home city, or begin on line. Dhru Deb who is also in this discussion and is a cancer researcher and artist is doing just that trying to connect the cancer researchers involved in the arts (http://www.leonardo.info/isast/journal/calls/artandcancer.html ) . As I said above- people in this hybrid careers are often not visible to each other (our organisations generally marginalize them in the public presentation of their activities).

Document your work and show it to others. This can be podcasts in the Creative Disturbance platform we just started (http://creativedisturbance.org/ ), or articles in publications or papers at relevant conferences or just a good personal web site. It is so much easier now than 50 years ago to reach and connect with people with shared interests.

Develop a reputation management plan. I never did this and wish I had invested the time articulating what I was trying to do and making this visible across my activities. And with your reputation management plan draw attention to your work (as documented above)

Seek out mentors. Often your close environment may not have older professionals who share your double interest. They probably exist within 50 kilometers of you. Find them.

  1. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant

Much art science practice is collaborative. I believe collaboration can be taught as a skill and practice. The collaboration and management training I received at NASA taught me much – in this case on projects involving scientists, engineers, managers, companies. Art Science collaboration is even more difficult. I don’t think it’s just an implicit skill. I am very impressed with the group working on the Science of Team Science. Check out their best method manuals (http://www.scienceofteamscience.org/scits-a-team-science-resources ) .

I like to say ‘interdisciplinarity is not a discipline’. Each art-science collaboration has complications that arise from the very different research and production cultures. And Art Science Career is like piloting through chaos.

For thirty year I have had a friend and colleague Julian Gresser. When I first met him he was working on ‘strategic alliance’ management. Getting companies to collaborate ( eg Japanese, American and European). If you think art-science collaboration is difficult try those! In the last ten years Julian has written a couple of books about “Piloting Through Chaos” (http://explorerswheel.com/about ). In general I am not a big fan of self-improvement books (and I sometimes find Julian a bit too ‘spiritual’ for me). But his core idea of piloting through chaos using the multiple compasses of ones dividuated self : professional goals and activities, personal, physical and philosophical ( spiritual) structured using the principle of integrity, to re integrate the dividuations seems like common sense when trying to break a path through a world dominated by disciplinary structure and reward systems. 

This set of responses is submitted to : WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE SEEKING TO PURSUE HYBRID ART-SCIENCE CAREERS ?

ANNOUNCING A YASMIN DISCUSSION: Scientist Mercado Central Exchange Advice FOR YOUNG ART SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS

We are starting a discussion on the YASMIN discussion list: you can subscribe and contribute to the discussion at

http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions

You can just follow the discussion on this blog,

http://malina.diatrope.com/2016/04/20/mercado-central-art-science-mentoring-advice-for-emerging-young-professionals-with-hybrid-art-science-careers/

 or by subscribing to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/ 

 

 

 

 

30,000 people have listened to creative disturbance-

colleagues

hope you will vote for creative disturbance for a podcast award

http://www.podcastawards.com/

enter

creative disturbance

http://www.creativedisturbance.org

in the peoples choice category and on other

category

Creative Disturbance has now published over 300 podcasts with 30,000 podcasts being downloaded

Roger Malina

MERCADO CENTRAL: Art-Science Mentoring Advice for emerging young professionals with hybrid art science careers

Dear Colleagues

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE SEEKING TO PURSUE HYBRID ART-SCIENCE CAREERS ?

ANNOUNCING A YASMIN DISCUSSION: Scientist Mercado Central Exchange Advice FOR YOUNG ART SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS

We are starting a discussion on the YASMIN discussion list: you can subscribe and contribute to the discussion at

http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions

You can just follow the discussion on this blog, or by subscribing to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/ 

These art-science professionals will be participating and giving their “lessons learned”

Wendy Silk- Environmental Science
Susan Eriksson- Geosciences
Robert Root-Bernstein Physiology
Roger Malina Astronomy
Guillermo Munoz Nano Science
Francois-Joseph Lapointe Evolutionary Biology
Dhru Deb Medical Research/Cancerology)
Meredith Root-Bernstein: Bioscientist

Ramon Guardans: Environmental Science

Marco Nardelli: Materials Physicist

We are interested in including all areas of science and research engineering and mathematics – specifically professionals who have higher education diplomas in both an art, design or humanities field and a science/math/research engineering and have practiced professionally in both.

On a recent trip to Chicago I gave a talk at the Northwestern University CIERA http://ciera.northwestern.edu/ Center

for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research and Astronomy, I went on to visit the School of Engineering and Applied Mathematics and the next day the Physics Department at Loyola University. As I mentioned in a previous blog post

http://malina.diatrope.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4487&action=edit

I had the pleasure of meeting four young scientists who had hybrid career plans that involved professional activity in both their scientific field and an arts and humanities field. They asked me for career advice. I didnt know what to answer.

In our SEAD study: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/page/NSF_SEAD 

Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation: Enabling New Forms of Collaboration among Sciences, Engineering, Arts, and Design  Roger F. Malina, Carol Strohecker, and Carol LaFayette, on behalf of SEAD network contributors

over 200 professionals in our art science technology community of practice were involved in submitting white papers. We discovered that 20% of these professionals had either one higher education degree in art/design or humanities and a second one in science or engineering, or double careers ( and often two CVs) one as a professional in science or engineering and a second one in art/design or humanities.

Robert Root-Bernstein in his longitudinal studies of successful scientists and engineers, discovered that out of all proportion, compared to less successful scientists and engineers, they engaged in extensive avocations in the arts or crafts. (check out the video with robert and meredith root bernstein)

http://www.sunyacc.edu/events/presentation-macarthur-fellow-dr-robert-root-bernstein-arts-foster-scientific-success-and

Robert Thill has been compiling a list of patents filed by artists and is currently working on a book project ( if you are an artist who has filed a patent please do tell Robert !) My exemplar is of course the landscape painter Samuel Morse who happed to invent the …Morse code….

http://malina.diatrope.com/2010/08/28/patents-filed-resulting-from-art-science-collaborations/

So there is it seems to me there is  a sociological fact that there is a significant cohort of hybrid art science professionals, all throughout human history. They are not a majority of professionals who usually have deep disciplinary commitment and focus. It seems from my contacts that this cohort of young hybrid professionals, under the age of 35, is growing. I have argued that this is an unintended consequence of digital culture which creates conditions where artists and scientists often use the same tools, entraining overlapping ontologies and epistemologies. But our institions are in general designed , a good business practice, for the majority of students who are not hybrids.

The result is young hybrid art-science professionals often face insurmountable career obstacles. I am very lucky. after 30 years working as an astrophysicist by day ( and on the payroll of scientific organisations), and working (unpaid ) by night in the art world ( the Leonardo organisations which i founded) – I am now a Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology (paid !) with a dual appointment in the Department of Physics here at the University of Texas at Dallas where I have started a research group called the ArtSciLab. But to my knowledge there are no current tenure track positions which would allow a young professor to practice both in a science department and an arts/design or humanities department ( if you know of any please do announce). Universities have experimented with dual appointments, but promotion and tenure committees are disciplinary and interdisciplinary hybrids are usually penalised. Some universities experiment with team teaching with faculty from different departments, but these experiments almost never become institutionalised and do not outlive their dedicated faculty ( Kathryn Evans compiled a list of art science courses and found that almost none were still being taught  see http://www.utdallas.edu/atec/cdash/  )

These problems are faced with all inter/multi/transdisciplinary professionals ( eg the emergence of Translational Medicine to connect medical researchers and practitioners  – see also the very useful literature developed by the Science of Team Science group whose recommended best practices http://www.nap.edu/catalog/19007/enhancing-the-effectiveness-of-team-science , target scientists, but are often equally applicable to art science collaborations).

Interdisciplinary practices within epistemes are difficult enough ( eg between different disciplines in a School of Natural Science, or a School of Engineering and Computer Science) ( see the literature developed by Allen Repko and colleagues https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/interdisciplinary-research/book246131 ), but when interdisciplinary bridge ‘ways of knowing’ between science/engineering and arts/design and humanities , the obstacles can seem insurmountable.

So what advice to give ? Is every case a special case ( I like to joke that ‘interdisciplinarity is not a discipline) ?

I have been in discussion with a group of art-science hybrids who have agreed to share their advice:

Wendy Silk- Environmental Science
Susan Eriksson- Geosciences
Robert Root-Bernstein Physiology
Roger Malina Astronomy
Guillermo Munoz Nano Science
Francois-Joseph Lapointe Evolutionary Biology
Dhru Deb Medical Research/Cancerology)
Meredith Root-Bernstein: Bioscientist

 

We are starting a discussion on the YASMIN discussion list: you can subscribe and contribute to the discussion at

http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions

You can just follow the discussion on this blog, or by subscribing to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/
Roger Malina
From Francois-Joseph Lapointe

Maybe we could all use the same template to answer specific questions:
1- what is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities ?
2- when and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?
3- what have been the major obstacles to overcome?
4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?
5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?
6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

7. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant

Maybe someone could come up with a better listŠ just my five cents.

FJ Lapointe

 

From Dhru Deb

Truly honored to be in the list as I’m only a postdoc and not a tenured/seasoned faculty. Hence, I probably have more questions like those 5 young scientists than answers to provide. On the other hand, I may provide a fresh perspective of someone who is currently going through the grind himself.

 

1. Science (and Art) background: B.Sc. in Biotechnology, M.Sc. in Bioinformatics, Ph.D. in Cancer Biology, currently a postdoc in Therapeutic Oncology and Internal Medicine. Also currently, a BA (Hons.) visual art student.

 

2. Motivation for hybrid Art-Science: Although I practiced studio based art all my life, art and science were not joined. In 2011, I experienced a personal loss that made me re-evaluate the purpose of my life. This is when I decided to combine scientific methodologies with artistic practices to help advancing prevention, diagnosis and cure for cancer.

 

3. The major obstacles: Finding a job that will allow me to do both cancer research and visual art in parallel.

 

4. Greatest opportunity/breakthrough: Finding I’m not alone. Leonardo/ISAST and its activities: LEAF, LASER, and several other art-science collaborative groups such as ASCI, SciArt Center etc. provide a lot of stimulating networking. I get to meet the descendants of my art-science idols (Alfred Copley’s daughter Una Dora Copley and Frank Malina’s son Roger Malina) and I have “Midnight in Paris” moments. I founded world’s first “Cancer ART-SCI Network” that currently has ~50 members worldwide. I managed and curated a cancer-based-art show recently in Dallas. I am contributing to the science outreach part of several grant applications. With Roger’s help I created a “Art and Cancer” special section to document studies where including artistic practices in mainstream cancer research advanced our understanding. Above all, now I live the life I love.

 

5. What I would have done differently: Nothing. I did the best I could in my own unique situation. I have no regrets.

 

6. Advice for potential footstep walkers: Cancer research must be done in the lab generating reproducible data and analyzing them. But, try to be liberal and open-minded to artist’s perspectives. Supplement your science with philosophy. Miracles will happen.

 

Dhruba Deb, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher, 
Therapeutic Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Founder, Cancer ART-SCI NetworkGuest Editor, “Art and Cancer“, Leonardo, MIT Presshttps://www.linkedin.com/in/dhrubadeb 

From Wendy Silk

Roger et al.,  I think most of this is in the first SEAD white paper. 
https://seadnetwork.wordpress.com/white-paper-abstracts/final-white-papers/opportunities-and-obstacles-facing-scientists-mathematicians-and-engineers-deeply-engaged-in-the-arts-and-design/Use it as you see fit.

OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES FACING SCIENTISTS, MATHEMATICIANS, AND ENGINEERS DEEPLY ENGAGED IN THE ARTS AND DESIGN

Wendy Silk

1. Science background.  I majored in Applied mathematics in biology, did my Ph.D. in botany, and was hired at  U.C. Davis with a mandate to develop a program in modeling of plant-environment interactions.  My training in applied mathematics allowed me to see the relevance of concepts and numerical methods from fluid dynamics to the analysis of plant growth and development. My work, including theory, lab and field studies, has been multi-disciplinary fusing biology, ecology, math, physics, and engineering.

2. Motivation for hybrid art-science.  Since childhood I experienced pleasure and transcendence playing and composing music.  Musical rehearsals and performances led to many friendships and a cherished sense of community. In contrast after decades of teaching science, my great frustration was viewing the boredom and anxiety experienced by many students in the classroom.  Also I saw a strong need to communicate science to nonscientists. Late in my science career I pioneered a course Earth Water Science Song in which students, instead of writing exams, compose and perform songs to communicate their understanding of the course content.

3. The major obstacle has been trivialization by colleagues and censure from politicians who see this teaching method as frivolous, in spite of  research showing the educational effectiveness of engaging learners via the arts.

It has been difficult to get funds to continue and expand our Art-Science fusion program. (But perhaps that is partly because arts in general have much less funding than sciences.)

4. A great accomplishment has been the student engagement in the Art-Science class. Pre- and post-tests show a great deal of science learning.  The students rehearse for hours and watch each other intently.  The class final, a musical show held in an art gallery in town, is well attended.  The students become teachers to the community. They show an increase in self esteem rare in science classes.

Another opportunity was networking supported by an NSF seed grant.  Academics from large research universities, large and small teaching colleges, musicians and composers held several meetings to improve our teaching methods and brainstorm new courses.  Particularly meaningful was the chance to work with professional educators to improve student outcomes.  Merryl Goldberg and her team at California State University, San Marcos, conducted research to show dramatic improvement in standardized test scores when teachers are trained to incorporate arts projects into conventional curricula. Later, interactions with Roger Malina and his extensive network were stimulating.

5.  What I would have done differently. Sometimes I wish I had moved to Art-Science fusion earlier in my career.  I think my teaching would have had a larger impact.  And for me communicating environmental science effectively is an important goal.  However, the tradeoff would have been a decreased involvement in research.  Perhaps the best approach would have been to be twins.

6.  Advice to potential  ArtScientists.  Find congenial academic departments, professional societies, and other networking opportunities (LASERs, online chat rooms) for stimulation and support.  Be prepared to lobby extensively to justify your interests.

 

from Anna Davidson is a hybrid with a PhD in Plant Sciences and and MFA in Studio art

http://www.clayburgcreate.com/annadavidson/ 

  • Anna Davidson “The Beauty of Ambiguity,”  She obtained  master of fine arts candidate in Art Studio at UC Davis. She earlier received her doctorate from UC Davis in the Department of Plant Sciences where she studied plant ecophysiology.

her web site and CV

http://www.clayburgcreate.com/annadavidson/

has separate sections for her work as a scientists and her art practice, that links to her science practice- but her CV links both

http://www.clayburgcreate.com/annadavidson/anna/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AAnna-Davidson-CV.A.S.-9.17.14.new_.pdf 

 

she asks:

Do you happen to know if there is a forum or advertising site that lists jobs/residencies available in Art/Science? I’m on the lookout. Thanks, Anna ?

This same question was asked of me by the young postdoc in Chicago – The Leonardo/ISAST newsletter does post all announcements we receive

( sign up at www.leonardo.info) and we encourage organisations with such ads to use this newsletter- and for a while we tried to aggregate such

art science ads on the ArtsActive art science residency network  http://www.artsactive.net/en/  but unfortunately we were unable to keep

this network going.

If anyone knows of good places to look for advertisements for jobs and residencies in art/science are listed please tell us

Bob Root-Bernstein

1- what is your background as a professional scientist? What is your
background in the arts, design or humanities.

I am a Professor of Physiology at Michigan State University having, many years ago, done my post-doctoral studies with Jonas Salk, M.D., at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA. My doctorate, however, is in the History of Science (from Princeton University), which I did to correct the overly-narrow training I got in Biochemistry (at the same institution). 

2- when and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?

I have always been an artist as well as a scientist. I grew up in a family that made art. My father (one of the first computer programmers) and my mother (a psychologist and nurse) met in an art class and were always making art in their spare time. So I grew up watching my parents make art and emulated them. Both my parents used their artistic and design talents in their “professional” work, which also taught me that there were no such thing as disciplinary boundaries. I was able to pretend that this lack of boundaries existed through my undergraduate education, but when I reached graduate school, three events catalyzed my formal need to address whether such boundaries do, or do not, exist. One was that the President of Princeton University, William Bowen, gave an address to incoming grad students in which he asserted that the only way to succeed as a professional was to put on blinders and do only one thing for the rest of one’s life. “No way!”, I thought!  Next, my dissertation advisor, Thomas Kuhn, wrote an essay proclaiming that art and science were, as C. P. Snow had proclaimed, incommensurable. But then my History of Science studies immediately contradicted Bowen’s and Kuhn’s assertions. Louis Pasteur was a highly talented portraitist, whose artistic ability had clear influences on how he performed his scientific research; Darwin was one of the first to utilize photography for scientific purposes; his colleagues T. H. Huxley and Ernst Haeckel were excellent visual artists (Haeckel professionally) who wrote at length on the need for scientists to first be trained as artists; the physical chemists who I studied for my dissertation on the origins of physical chemistry (J. H. van’t Hoff, Wilhelm Ostwald, and Svante Arrhenius) – all Nobel Prizewinners – were stunning examples of polymaths who argued that scientific imagination is artistic in origin; etc., etc. Given the clear contradictions between the “experts” and the “practitioners”, combined with my own need to be one of these polymathic practitioners, I set out to try to understand, formally, what the issues were and why the contradictions exist. 
3- what have been the major obstacles to overcome?

To do the kind of research I wanted to do, and to work in the polymathic manner in which I wanted to work, I had to find institutions that would support such an odd type of research and its associated methodology. Although I thought I had succeeded several times, in each instance something went wrong. Jonas Salk hired me as a post-doc to help conceive and organize a second Salk Institute to be focused on Human Cultural Evolution, so I proposed comparing the evolution of sciences and of arts as the foci of the institute. Unfortunately, funding was not forthcoming and the enterprise failed. I moved to UCLA, where Robert Gray was the Dean of Fine Arts. He hired me to integrate arts programming with biological sciences (and at the same time hired the programmer who did the animation for the first Tron movie and an engineer-artist). After eighteen months of negotiations with the Deans and Chairs of virtually every program at UCLA, the program was initiated, only to be summarily eliminated by executive fiat by the Chancellor of the University as part of a proposed elimination of the entire College of Fine Arts. I ended up at Michigan State University out of necessity rather than choice, but it has worked out because the place is so big and unwieldy that no one knows what anyone else is doing, which means that anything is possible. It’s not a supportive environment, but its possible to hide what one is doing and work behind the scenes to get things done, so its better than the outright hostility that I’ve met when looking for jobs at most other places.  I also became very involved in the Honors College, which has given me access to really bright undergraduate students with much the same outlook and desires as myself, and many of these students have helped me perform art-science research and projects either as volunteers, or very inexpensively through University-funded undergraduate research programs.

The biggest challenge is, as it always has been, to maintain a professional standing as a working scientist (which means grants, publications, running a lab, training students, etc.) while simultaneously creating artworks and/or doing research on artscience interfaces. While many of the very best scientists understand and appreciate the connections, the typical Dean or Chair or colleague perceives the art aspects of the work as irrelevant or a waste of time and one is punished for not conforming to the idealized notion of a fully committed lab jockey. One strategy is just to be satisfied with average or mediocre ratings from one’s scientific colleagues and take consolation in the rewards of doing the transdisciplinary work (which are often very great!). The other strategy (which can be explored in tandem) is to educate one’s superiors and colleagues about why one does what one does. Some will “get” it; some will not.  Work with the ones who “get” it!

The most important thing is to have clear goals for oneself and to develop personal metrics for one’s success rather than relying on institutionalized or external ones. I have never received credit for any of the artscience work I have done at any university I’ve worked at – and I’ve almost certainly been penalized as a scientist! – but I can take very great satisfaction in seeing research results and ideas that I have spent decades promoting now quoted by people in editorials in major media outlets as if everyone knows these things. In answering the personal questions that bothered me as a graduate student, I’ve clearly helped answer similar questions other people have been grappling with, with the result that society itself is changing its attitudes towards what the correct relations might be between arts and sciences. That’s a form of success that can’t be reflected in a pay raise or 500 square feet of additional lab space!

4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

There have been very few opportunities or breakthroughs for me until very recently that I did not make myself. I organized the first art-science programming at national meetings of the History of Science Society back in the 1980s and also at the AAAS and at Sigma Xi, two major science organizations. Networking and publishing created connections that led to various other conferences and their proceedings. Thank heavens for Roger Malina and LEONARDO, without which there would be no real forum for publishing work in the artscience area. The rise of artscience galleries and the spread of the Exploratorium model within science centers has been a great boon. Recently, my university hired its first “transmedia” artist, Adam W. Brown, who has become an active collaborator and phenomenal organizer of artscience programming on campus as well as nationally and internationally (http://adamwbrown.net).  And decades of research and publishing on the use of arts-related skills, knowledge, structures, analogies, etc. by scientists has finally begun to pay off in the STEM-to-STEAM movement with funding becoming available from NSF, NEA, NEH, the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Education, as well as many state governments.

5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

I would do nothing differently. One has to set a goal and then bob and weave and just keep moving, even if is laterally or back-and-around, to get where one wants to get to.  Nothing new has a direct route. I can’t see how I could have gotten where I am now any faster or more efficiently because where we are now is a result of simply going out and doing what needed to be done at the time.

6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

The process of doing the work creates the path that others can follow. The first pioneers in anything are always alone without a guide and without anyway to learn but through trial and error. If you can’t accept that, don’t start. Don’t expect it to be easy. Don’t expect to be rewarded externally. Don’t try to conform. Be yourself. Work your way. Start now. Don’t stop no matter what.  Find fellow travelers and forge ahead!

  1. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant

Finding collaborators and mentors and like-minded travelers is very important! For many years, Todd Siler (http://toddsilerart.com), who is exactly my age, but trained as an artist-inventor-neuroscientist, was my most important supporter and sounding board. But finding such people is never easy nor is there any simple way to do so. My experience is that you need to contact a dozen people to get two or three to respond to any project  you want to undertake; and of those two or three, you’re lucky if one actually gets interested enough to collaborate or help you move forward in some way. So one of the key aspects of doing artscience work (or of pioneering any new area of practice) is spending a lot of time networking and learning to cut  your losses as quickly as possible. Cultivate people! Keep the ones who appreciate you and who you appreciate! Do what you can, not what you want because the doing will create new opportunities while the wanting brings nothing but frustration.  And never stop! Do what makes your heart leap so that the intrinsic reward of doing it is reward enough. The rest is icing on the cake!

Thank you for the invitation to your discussion group. I offer the
following by way of introduction:

Stephan Thomas Vitas PhD is a psychologist living in Washington DC, with
research interests in cortical mechanisms involved in music, art, and
performance, and auditory applications for cerebral rehabilitation
processes. He is successor of an extended European family of opera singers
and musicians and plays bassoon and piano.

Regards,

S.T.Vitas

An Art-Science Career is like Piloting Through Chaos

ROGER MALINA answers to the Mercado Central questions for art-science hybrids and lessons learned:

 

 

  • 1- What is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities?

I obtained a BSc in Physics at MIT, followed by a PhD in Astronomy at UC Berkeley. I was lucky enough as an undergraduate to be involved in the beginning of x ray astronomy, and got the bug for the ‘thrill of discovery’. I went on to lead a team that built  the telescopes and instruments for a NASA satellite (https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/euve/euvegof.html ) and then operated the satellite. I was then head hunted and started a career in research administration leading to my job as Director of an Astronomical Observatory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marseille_Observatory ) .

I started a career in the art world when my father died in 1982. I was then a postdoc in space astrophysics. My father had started the art-science journal Leonardo in 1966 (http://leonardo.info/isast/leostory.html ). I decided to try and keep it going and started two art-science non profits one in Paris (http://www.olats.org/ ) and one in San Francisco (http://leonardo.info/index.html ). I was 32. I took a conscious risk at a time I was 200% consumed by my scientific career. Since then I have been very involved in the art science world, through publishing, organized workshops and artists residencies in scientific laboratories.

Lesson learned (see end section) This is piloting through chaos. When your personal life, in this case my father’s death,  intrudes on your professional life- think it through and jump, take the risk if there is a connection essential to one’s personal integrity. Initially my work in art was motivated by the memory of my father and his legacy. 35 years later, that instinctive decision to keep Leonardo going has become a core of my motivation in life. I had never run a publication or a nonprofit, but we had the startup mentality and with a group of friends and colleagues it worked.

2- When and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice? 

I distinguish my career in publishing in art science from my new career as an art-science researcher. The later began in 2015 when I started the ArtSciLab at UT dallas (http://artscilab.utdallas.edu/ ) . I am now collaborating in a fascinating art science project (Data Stethoscope) (https://www.utdallas.edu/news/2016/2/12-31902_Collaborative-Minds-Bringing-Sounds-to-Brain-Data-_story-wide.html ), to create in a gaming engine new forms of data representation, including immersive, interactive and sonified data. The collaboration includes a neuroscientist, an astrophysicist, three artists and composer, two gaming company entrepreneurs, a computer scientist and a user experience designer. This is the most difficult research project I have been involved in, certainly since I was at Berkeley in a group inventing extreme ultraviolet astronomy. And the thrill of discovery is there again. I was recruited in Dallas in 2014 by a long colleague Tom Linehan with whom I had worked in 1987 on a Leonardo SIGGRAPH issue (http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Image-Digital-Cinema-Siggraph-Supplemental/dp/B003X5KGIK ). I was 63 when I started my new career.

Lesson learned: when someone shares your obsession, they probably will still share it 30 years later: we kept in touch. Keep in touch with partners in crime!.

Lesson Learned; Art Science research is as difficult as any other field. It takes method, discipline and invention,

3- What have been the major obstacles to overcome?

I have basically kept my separate careers separate until recently (I used to maintain a science CV and separately an Arts CV). But I have been extremely lucky that my art career, which never paid me anything until three years ago after 30 years of volunteer work, is now my full time employment.

The hardest thing has been convincing my scientific colleagues that art-science was more than science illustration or science education outreach, and that the interaction would change the way science is done and what it studies. It has been gratifying to see the STEM to STEAM movement in the last few years where the ideas that hybrids have espoused for decades at least are now getting public discussion and attention. The work of Robert Root Bernstein (https://vimeo.com/157058429 )  has helped me understand the sociology of what is going on. A book I enjoyed recently is Randall Collins The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Sociology-Philosophies-Global-Intellectual/dp/0674001877 )

 

Another hard thing was keeping the Leonardo non-profits going (Leonardo Journal is now celebrating its 50th). Running and keeping going an arts nonprofit is really difficult; we have been lucky to have a dedicated collaborators (I think particularly of the late Steve Wilson and the former Leonardo managing editor Pam Grant Ryan.

4- What have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

It has been exhilarating seeing the success of the art science and art technology creative community. Leonardo has been a witness, a promoter, and a documenter of an international group of pathbreakers that developed so much of the basis for the digital culture that is now emerging.

Some of the proudest moments have been setting up programs and workshops. In the 1990’s Annick Bureaud and I organized a series of space and the arts workshops in Paris (http://www.olats.org/space/space.php ). At the beginning this was a dozen people in my living room with professionals in space and astronautics and professional artists. Innumerable collaborations were spawned by this series of ‘convenings. Lesson learned – if you are working in a hybrid field, often the professionals are invisible to each other. Create situations where they meet each other.

Similarly I worked on setting up a number of artists residencies in science settings beginning in the early 1990s (http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/arts/ACEfellow/information.html ) , but notably the art-science residency program at the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies  (http://malina.diatrope.com/2013/02/25/call-for-art-science-residency-applications-at-imera-in-marseille-france/ )– such residencies are now flowering internationally.  

Lesson learned: all risky innovations require champions inside the organization you want to work with. Find them.


And right now I am really excited by the work I am involved in in data sonification- I think we are path breaking new interesting research methods and awesome art.

5- What would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

I have been lucky, each step in my career grew out of the previous step ( I moved from MIT, to Berkeley, to Marseille, to Dallas and next ?). Again it comes down to the piloting through chaos thing. I can think of mistakes I have made ( hmm we jumped on too quickly on CDI technology. ) In terms of doing things differently, I wish I had read David Bohm’s ‘On Dialogue’  (http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/Chaos-Complexity/dialogue.pdf ) before I was 55.  Figuring out the new context in which one is stepping takes a lot of real exploration and dialogue. I only learned about translation studies after I got to Dallas. It is easy to misread signals from people who are important in the context you are trying to do something a bit unusual in.

6- Any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

If you are working deeply in a hybrid practice – bring people with shared interest together. This can just be a few people in your home city, or begin on line. Dhru Deb who is also in this discussion and is a cancer researcher and artist is doing just that trying to connect the cancer researchers involved in the arts (http://www.leonardo.info/isast/journal/calls/artandcancer.html ) . As I said above- people in this hybrid careers are often not visible to each other (our organisations generally marginalize them in the public presentation of their activities).

Document your work and show it to others. This can be podcasts in the Creative Disturbance platform we just started (http://creativedisturbance.org/ ), or articles in publications or papers at relevant conferences or just a good personal web site. It is so much easier now than 50 years ago to reach and connect with people with shared interests.

Develop a reputation management plan. I never did this and wish I had invested the time articulating what I was trying to do and making this visible across my activities. And with your reputation management plan draw attention to your work (as documented above)

Seek out mentors. Often your close environment may not have older professionals who share your double interest. They probably exist within 50 kilometers of you. Find them.

  1. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant

Much art science practice is collaborative. I believe collaboration can be taught as a skill and practice. The collaboration and management training I received at NASA taught me much – in this case on projects involving scientists, engineers, managers, companies. Art Science collaboration is even more difficult. I don’t think it’s just an implicit skill. I am very impressed with the group working on the Science of Team Science. Check out their best method manuals (http://www.scienceofteamscience.org/scits-a-team-science-resources ) .

I like to say ‘interdisciplinarity is not a discipline’. Each art-science collaboration has complications that arise from the very different research and production cultures. And Art Science Career is like piloting through chaos.

For thirty year I have had a friend and colleague Julian Gresser. When I first met him he was working on ‘strategic alliance’ management. Getting companies to collaborate ( eg Japanese, American and European). If you think art-science collaboration is difficult try those! In the last ten years Julian has written a couple of books about “Piloting Through Chaos” (http://explorerswheel.com/about ). In general I am not a big fan of self-improvement books (and I sometimes find Julian a bit too ‘spiritual’ for me). But his core idea of piloting through chaos using the multiple compasses of ones dividuated self : professional goals and activities, personal, physical and philosophical ( spiritual) structured using the principle of integrity, to re integrate the dividuations seems like common sense when trying to break a path through a world dominated by disciplinary structure and reward systems. 

 

yasminers

ramon guardans, a long time yasminer and scientist sends us this interesting reflection as a working scientist on the art science questions we are raising in Mercado Central

Ramon is Scientific Advisor to the National Reference Centre on Persistent Organic Pollutants Spanish National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention Ministry of the Environment.

He says

Next week im going to Tsokuba in Japan to work for a couple of weeks at the labs in NIES (Nat Inst Env Studies) the people under the Min of  Env that do environmental motoring of chemical substances. Since the 1970s they have been collecting samples all overt the country in land and in the sea, air, water, soil, sediment, invertebrates, fish, birds, mammals and humans, (some of them kept in a mighty sample bank) and the samples were analyzed for a number of substances including isotopes , heavy metals, pesticides and industrial chemicals. So by now for a number of chemicals groups (PCBs, DDTs, HCHs, PCCDFs) field measurements of tested QA&QC are available for a number of sites over several decades (1980/2015) in different media.

he tells us that is about to use gaming engines to explore the scientific data, a recent example of how the arts and design have developed approaches, orginally for entertainment , now routinely being used by scientists

He is about to embark on an integrated study of these data is now possible and relevant to understand pathways mass balances time lags and interactions, at a scientific and policy level this is obviously important, to make sense of the current state of things and think about future developments and potential actions. For many years i have been thinking that the competence and power in the world of games was an optimal environment to explore such data, navigate through them , model past and future developments that can or could have been.

he goes on

In many senses the whole art science dichotomy is quite ridiculous, and toxic and deserves to be subverted, one by making scientist understand that what they do is art and artist that what they do is mostly rational and can be very valuable for scientist.

In my view today what technically specialized groups in society[3]  such as artists, scientists, technicians, administrators, academics, etc (and individual people can belong to or be conversant with many of those guilds) should do is work together to face the obvious challenges facing society. What can we do to overcome the aporia in the simultaneous occurrence of delicate logical thought and criminal violence across the board. Really the theatrical squabbles between guilds and styles of work are interesting but I think should not be the issue, I would argue that the point its not how artist talk to scientists or viceversa it is how artist and scientists cooperate to help in sorting out the mess and trying to avoid predictable mistakes, crimes and disasters. Its not about epistemic or ontological horsetrading its about enhancing critical autonomy and analytical competence, efficacy in undoing violence against women, workers, its on workers rights, fairness, transparency and accountability, in my view that is what art and science are about.

Here is his full text

roger malina

Madrid 25 April 2016

To open the play let me quote from Horkheimer and Adorno 1944 Dialectic of the Enlightenment, a great text I  have been working with recently, lucid and brutal[1]. The basic point in it is : how come such a nice “method of of thinking” (ie, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel etc) has sprouted the kind of crap we are seeing (1944 was crappy indeed). I think much of this puzzlement is sill pertinent today when you see the simultaneous occurrence of delicate logical thought and criminal violence across the board.

Homer, Plato argued, had procured neither public nor private reforms through his much-vaunted art, had neither won a war nor made an invention. (p13)

The making of images was proscribed by Plato as it was by the Jews. Both reason and religion outlaw the principle of magic. Even in its resigned detachment from existence, as art, it remains dishonorable; those who practice it become vagrants, latter-day nomads, who find no domicile among the settled. Nature is no longer to be influenced by likeness but mastered through work.(p13)

According to Schelling, art begins where knowledge leaves humans in the lurch. For him art is “the model of science, and wherever art is, there science must go.” (p14)

I would agree with the later, in fact as I see it for many millenia and in many contemporary configurations producing beauty is an aspect of the social production of knowledge. The construction and reproduction of methods, ideas and objects that stimulate and enhance the collective and individual awareness and understanding. Then of course there is a social division of labor and different people do different things and this division of labor is entangled with different forms of power and agency at a given point in time.

So for instance in the late 1600 the power structures in the European area where moored, and enforced in a world of certitudes and dogmas (aristocracy, church, nation etc), many of these came to be challenged in theoretical terms and this had political consequences about forms of hegemony and power in society. A set of very powerful tools, mechanical engines and calculations proved to be effective and quite detached of the philosophical principles on which the structures of domination were articulated. So railroads, arithmetics and guns had more power than kings and bishops, consequently a political fight was on, and is on, to harness the potential subversive power of straight thinking.

That s how this whole parody of art-science was enacted by the 1700, on one hand you had obedient and disciplined “scientists” (a social division of labor enshrined in hegemonic academic institutions such as the Royal Society) mastering and confining the power of rationality in a politically safe structure where “humanists/artist” can play as free individuals disobedient, undisciplined and powerless, quite on line with the Platonic ideas above.

In most places through history (think of Mesopotamia, the Vedas, Mayas, Yoruba, Inuit, Japan, China ….) there is no distinction or conflict in the practicalities of working through life between art (critical beauty, personal satisfaction in perception) and science (practical efficacy, material satisfaction in action), the distinction invented in the 17h century in Europe is a result of the political use of the distribution of labor to maintain forms of domination, and  that is where the art science dichotomy appears as meaningful. It is not a description of facts its a political project, an ongoing project.

One interesting subplot here is the role of uncertainty. In the “standard model” science is all about decreasing , confining, erasing, uncertainty and consequently deterministic, predictable outcomes are good and unpredictability is bad. I have been searching over decades for environments were uncertainty is seen as constructive, positive, enjoyable. There are a number of environments such as games, sports,  music, poetry and other arts where uncertainty is not only valued but a the core of the process.  This is of some consequence in terms of the ambition of the cognitive process , individually and socially.  Do we want to dominate in certitude and fear[2] or enjoy subtle perception of uncertainty and the challenges and beauty of navigating in it.

In many senses the whole art science dichotomy is quite ridiculous, and toxic and deserves to be subverted, one by making scientist understand that what they do is art and artist that what they do is mostly rational and can be very valuable for scientist.

Obviously a scientifically trained worker does some things in rational ways such as designing experiments , analyzing data or writing a paper, but then much of the in between time is not rational is intuitive, personal and based on feelings, the choice of subjects, dealings with colleagues, method and location of work are certainly not only the result of a logical sequence of postulates, they are a form of art. A worker in art, in the narrow meaning this has in current academic , curatorial and art production and marketing environment, needs much science to work out technical competence in producing her work and getting accreditation as a professional an making a meaningful trajectory.

So the gradient is more in terms of attitude than in terms of competences.

In my view today what technically specialized groups in society[3]  such as artists, scientists, technicians, administrators, academics, etc (and individual people can belong to or be conversant with many of those guilds) should do is work together to face the obvious challenges facing society. What can we do to overcome the aporia in the simultaneous occurrence of delicate logical thought and criminal violence across the board. Really the theatrical squabbles between guilds and styles of work are interesting but I think should not be the issue, I would argue that the point its not how artist talk to scientists or viceversa it is how artist and scientists cooperate to help in sorting out the mess and trying to avoid predictable mistakes, crimes and disasters. Its not about epistemic or ontological horsetrading its about enhancing critical autonomy and analytical competence, efficacy in undoing violence against women, workers, its on workers rights, fairness, transparency and accountability, in my view that is what art and science are about.

________________________________

[1]    Max Horkheimer and Theodor W.Adorno. 2002 Dialectic of Enlightment, Philosophical Fragments. Ed Gunzelin Schmid Noerr, Translated Edmund Jephcott Stanford  University Press, Stanford, California. 2002.282pp.

[2]    Enlightenment is mythical fear radicalized. The pure immanence of positivism, its ultimate product, is nothing other than a form of universal taboo. Nothing is allowed to remain outside, since the mere idea of the “outside” is the real source of fear. (Horkeimer, Adorno 1944 p11)

[3]    On division of linguistic labor see for instance the beautiful Hilary Putnam 1973 Meaning and Reference. The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 70, No. 19, Seventieth Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division. (Nov. 8, 1973), pp. 699-711.

 

 

Super short bio: Marco Nardelli

I am a University Distinguished Research Professor at the University of North Texas, a computational materials physicist, a composer, flutist and a member of iARTA, the Initiative for Advanced Research in Technology and the Arts. My music has been premiered, among others, by the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, London’s C.O.M.A. group, the Accessible Contemporary Music ensemble of Chicago, the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra, GaTech’s Sonic Generator, ICMC and the NOVA Ensemble. I am a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, a founding member of the AFLOW Consortium and a Parma Recordings artist.

  • what is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities ?

As a scientist, my research activities are focused on the application of ab initio electronic structure techniques to the theoretical study of important aspects of the physics of materials. Current research programs in my group focus on various aspects in the fields of computational materials and high performance simulations, such as: materials and processes for energy and environment applications, nano-catalysis, molecular electronics at the nanoscale and quantum electronic and thermal transport in molecules and molecular materials; design of novel electronic devices; physics and chemistry at interfaces and surfaces; theoretical developments of ab initio DFT-based methods, high-throughput techniques in materials genomics and computational materials design. My group is a member of the AFLOW consortium, a distributed materials genome properties repository from high-throughput ab-initio calculation, and one of the representative members of the QUANTUM ESPRESSO Foundation, a foundation that fosters and supports the design, implementation, maintenance, and free dissemination of high-quality, high-performance open-source scientific software for ab-initio quantum numerical modeling of materials.

As for my arts background, I have been a musician and a composer well before I become a physicist and materials scientist. I started to study music at a very young age and I have been always fascinated by the connections between music and mathematics. Actually, thanks to the teachings of my first mentor, Mo. Pablo Colino at the Accademia Filarmonica Romana in Rome, Italy, I actually learned to spell my first notes as numbers. Over the years I never abandoned this broad perspective and I used it in many of my compositions. One example is “Tzolk’in”, a piece for three marimbas entirely based on the structure of the Mayan calendar. The composition exploits the interlocking structure of the Tzolk’in calendar, where 20 melodic units are superimposed to 13 different meter regions, creating a cycle where pitch and rhythmic structures follow each other for 260 four-beat units for a total duration of 13 min. This piece, which won a honorable mention at the II Louisiana State University Percussion Society’s Percussion Ensemble Composition Contest and first prize in the Volta Trio composition competition in 2010, is indeed very mathematical! You can actually watch a full performance of the piece here http://ermes.unt.edu/tzolkin.htm. However, I would say that my most recent project , materialssoundmusic, is definitely a high point of my quest of merging music, mathematics and science in a coherent artistic message.

  • when and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?

As I mentioned above, I have always been interested in all aspects of music and science (I have also developed a course on the Physics of Music), but the turning point recently has been the design, development and realization of my project materialssoundmusic (at www.materialssoundmusic.com). materialssoundmusic is a new computer-aided data-driven composition (CADDC) environment based on the sonification and remix of scientific data streams. Sonification of scientific data, i.e. the perceptualization of information through acoustic means, not only provides a useful alternative and complement to visual data representation, but provides also the raw data for potential artistic remixes and further musical interpretation. The materialssoundmusic project starts with the sonification of the materials property data from the online computational materials science repository AFLOWLIB.org. Databases such AFLOWLIB.org are of enormous scientific and technological value because they provide the materials scientists with complete compilations of materials properties that can be used for materials discovery, development and rational design. The initial process of sonification provides an abstract representation of the data that can be used for navigation and data mining of the database on scientific grounds. From there, the data stream is open for elaboration as principal element of a data-driven compositional environment.

  • what have been the major obstacles to overcome?

I am not sure about obstacles so far, but I can see obstacles ahead. And as it happens, all boils down to funding. I have ideas that will cost money to realize (see the Crystal Gallery, below), and as far as I know there is very limited funding to support art and science initiatives. I always try to have a paragraph or two in my proposals where I talk about data sonification (the scientific aspect of my musical work). But it is very little… As a community we have to rally behind major funding agencies and demonstrate that art and science project have an intrinsic value that should be supported.

4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

I think that the greatest opportunity has been the realization that notwithstanding the impact of materials science in our everyday lives, the appreciation of the general public for this particular aspect of science and technology is quite feeble, and the interest on materials and their properties is not receiving the curiosity and engagement that they deserve. We are familiar with the intricacies and vastness of the universe but we give little thought to the universe of processes that happen constantly inside the materials that surround us and on which we depend for almost everything. Part of the reason is that over millennia we have developed a familiarity with celestial objects, seen as obeying mathematical and musical laws, and we have embodied a synergy between the scientific and artistic interpretation of our universe. A similar concept has never existed for the world of materials. materialssoundmusic is meant to engage and educate the public on the inner reality of crystalline structures and materials properties via a range of art and science collaborations originating from the sonification of materials property data and their use in musical composition. These compositions are meant to provide an immersive experience when they are embedded in installations like the Crystal Galleries (see figure below). You can hear one of these soundscapes in my piece “EleKtrIoN (music of diamond)” [soundcloud.com/materialssoundmusic/elektrion-I]. While EleKtrIoN is a relatively faithful representation (or sonification) of the electronic structure data of diamond, in other compositions I use the materials data much more freely, as a sculptor would use clay (the raw data) to mold any object or create any design. These compositions, like “Contrappunto” (for player piano and electronics)

[soundcloud.com/materialssoundmusic/contrappunto], “Ricercare” (for flute, player piano, electronics and live data stream)

[soundcloud.com/materialssoundmusic/ricercare] “Amargosa Triptych” (for piano),

[soundcloud.com/materialssoundmusic/amargosa-triptych],

and “Music for 88 keys (to Conlon Nancarrow, in memoriam)” for player piano and electronics [soundcloud.com/materialssoundmusic/sets/music-for-88-keys],

are the result of this personal compositional approach and would be ideal candidates for performance in one of my Crystal Galleries.

Conceptual drawing for Crystal Gallery #1 based on the geometry and electronic structure of Diamond. The electron densities (plastic balloons) are the results of Density Functional Theory calculations on the AFLOWLIB database entry C1_ICSD_52054. These are the same data that have been used for creating the composition EleKtrIoN.

5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

This is hard to say. Probably nothing, or maybe small things here and there. Being both a musician and a scientist gives me a great freedom and independence. I know both realms quite well (at least in my respective fields) and I do not have to depend on anybody else, if I so choose. This is a great advantage.

6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

Just follow your passion. Without passion there is no Science and no Art.

Hello Yasminists, ,Natasha Vita  Moore

Reading the posts inspired me to reply:

1- what is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities
?

* Scientist:  MSc.  Work: Discovered the long-term memory ability of AWA and
AWB neurons in C. elegans nematode after vitrification (cryonic suspension)
and resuscitation. (2015). Over 15,000 downloads in first 3 weeks. MIT
picked up on it
https://www.technologyreview.com/contributor/natasha-vita-more/

* Arts:  BFA.  Works: Paintings, performance, film, video:  All pertaining
to consciousness and human enhancement. Created whole body prosthesis (Primo
Posthuman) are viable concept (1996).

* Design:  Ph.D. – Works: Theory of life expansion (extension across time
and space) of personal identity existing across multiple platforms
(substrates) as multiple rather than fractured, with the inclusion of a new
meaning of body (not disembodied) as essential for sustainability and to
counter theory of existential risk.  All life exists within a system. Human
biology calls this a body. The entire ecology of Earth is a system, a series
of bodies of life.

2- when and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?

* Around 1979, which I left Telluride Colorado and became a filmmaker in
residence at the University of Colorado and made “Breaking Away”, sculpting
my body into Red Rocks.  The narrative focused on relationship between body
and ecology, as a metaphor for Tesla  who engineered the water plant for
energy in Telluride.  Just prior to this, I was a participant in “Arts &
Sciences ’79” produced by Ricard Lowenberg where I composed a work the
Observatory based on constellation at that time of year and in that
atmospheric local.  In 1997, my ideas were put in writing and included
onboard the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft mission to orbit Saturn carried my
art manifesto on it stating a desire for a more humane world.

3- what have been the major obstacles to overcome?

* In the arts: Being a woman, being an artist, and being a transhumanist.
The latter is due to the overreaching bias of Postmodernists in academics
and the bias of the Bioart field (especially in Australia) and through
curators.  My work is early bioart, yet I have been blocked from
participating in many exhibitions and writings (except for the amazing work
chaired by Leonel Moura called  INSIDE [art and science] in Lisbon,
Portugal. http://inside-lx.wix.com/insidearteciencia
* In the sciences: Nothing, other than hard work.
* In technology: Being a woman, being an artist.  Spend a decade going to
conferences, events, etc. to learn as much as possible about biotechnology,
nanotechnology, robotics, and artificial general intelligence.

4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

* Scientific breakthrough. Working with C. elegans nematode:  trained simple
animal to imprint olfactory smell associated with chemical.  Vitrified
(cryonic suspension). Resuscitated (warmed up and brought back to life).
Tested to see if the simple animals retained imprinting.  They did.  This
was the first time this science was approached, tested, and proven.
* Working with world leading scientists and technologists to develop Primo
Posthuman, and then to take it through the iterative process of evolving,
based on emerging sciences and technologies, to become its current state of
innovation as Whole Body Prosthetic – Platform Diverse with a what I call
Substrate Autonomous Persons (continuation of identity acorss time and
space) as a new “normal” rather than abnormal or splintered or fractured
identity).
*Invitation to SportAccord Convention in Russia to talk on the future of the
Olympics and introducing what a concept for  Super Olympics.
*Invitation to TOPOS conference in Tokyo to meet about the growing
population of people over 60 and the reduction of births, and to work to
brainstorm how Japan can deal with this by coming up with what I call the
“Regenerative Generation” where retirement can be a choice, but a type of
time out and that the workforce can be seen as generating wisdom,
experience, and nurturing.  People need a purpose in life and to contribute
to the socio-economic stability of their communities.

5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

That being a woman and artist need not segregate me from high-level fields
such as biotechnology, nanotech, AI/AGI and contributing to the mechanics of
humanity, rather than being an subjective practice or as entertainment. That
it can be edutainment.

6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

Get it done! Just do it!  Get a PhD!  Don’t let people who are biased hurt
your feelings and be kind to them. They are just doing what they think is
best and their lack of knowledge is inexperience or fear of the unknown. Be
kind. Be generous. Pay it forward.

7. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant

Modestly, no.

Natasha

 

Hello Roger,

so nice to hear from you! We met long time ago at Mutamorphosis, Prague and then again shortly in Montpellier for a nice event on sustainability&art, maybe 2009? Well, great to see that you are still working hard!

So here are my answers:

1- what is your background as a scientist? In the arts, design or humanities ?

 

I hold a Msc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, a Master in Bioethics and a Master in Cognitive Science and Interactive Media. Ops, well, the last one is between science, technology, design & culture, so things already become blurring… In arts I have training in music (private school) and currently training for 5 years as an actor in an independent theatre company. Many other little courses opened me to different approaches that I am trying to apply to contemporary art.

I am currently working as Technical Director for a private R&D and production center in the pharma&beauty sector, based in Italy, while working with an NGO called MetaArte Associazione Arte&Cultura as an actor and organizer. Sometimes I create contemporary art installations. I am interested in complex systems.


2- when and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?
I was running on two tracks since high school, studying science but playing with my band in the meanwhile. Then I slowly started reasoning on the two of them togheter, as ways to internalize the world around us and externalize the world inside us. I cooperated with a small local NGO trying to organize international events dealing with art&nanotechnologies, and finally discovered that there is a whole world of art/science professionals at Mutamorphosis, Prague, 2007. It was real!

3- what have been the major obstacles to overcome?

 

I don’t think I overcame them yet! In my country nowadays it is really hard to define yourself as an artist. Imagine a sciartist! Biggest difficult I am facing is to keep credible to the scientific community e.g. working both as a toxicologist and performing street art with stilts. And to keep credible to the arts community making art and surviving by working in an industry.That’s why I keep the two professional tracks separate, and created a stage name, Antonio Irre, for my artistic works. And time, oh time. That’s another big difficulty when you work on different fronts. And identity… sometimes you just get lost. Really lost. Other difficulties are much more fun, e.g. create a work of art and science that goes beyond art&technology, but these are the challenges that I like. But they takes time. Oh, time!

4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

 

My parents gave me much liberty in my choices, allowing me to explore different approaches, to create my personal track. Even if it was/is quite strange! Then, things happen if you go for them long enough.

5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

 

I don’t know enough yet.

6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

 

Keep exploring, read, read, read, and then do, work on your weak points, approch things that are very far from you and your world, connect the dots. Don’t follow this track if you want a life full of friends & spare time & other amenities. But consider that it is a useful track, a cross-contamination that greatly improves creativity and smart thinking. Ah, create nets! E.g. adding me on FB as Antonio Irre.

Well, thank you for the invitation, I have not a big experience, still trying to grasp how to manage and what to do with that, but I am happy to share my thoughts with you all.
Hope to meet you around soon!

Greetings,
Antonio Catalano

From Leif Brush

Happy to respond. I’ll be forwarding the remainder of my promised Pioneers
’60-”80s

*1**-what is your background In arts and its practice?*

* On through1940s grade school studies, three influential teachers prompted
and assisted my grounded educational directions; and, these foundations
became my  direction-finding impetus;  and, ultimately I bequeathed my
undergrad challenges toward  art, science, humanitarian initiatives, and
the inevitable pathways, which was fraught from multiple hurdles.
Inspirational foundation fr three grade School Teachers and Scientists:
Karl Jansky’s rotating radio wave antenna and George Owen Squier’s**:
**”**Researching
the possibility that whole forests could be used as radio
stations—broadcasting weather reports, news from the front lines of war,
and much else besides—is described by Scientific American as performing
“tree radio work.**”*

*2–when and how did you become involved in art/science practice? *

*My main question? the world is wired for what?*

*Concentrating on the W W W W H & Ws, exploring conceptually and
experientially between1969 to 1980s.  Initial art pivots fr * *a. *
lithography * b. *ats satellite * c.*satellite perspectives * d. *natural
analog wave forms* e. *Gibbs Fjord monitors w/satellite relaying* f. *three
year old American elm sapling * g. *scanning electron microscope *h. *early
terrain instruments * i. *self broadcasting Birch  *j. levitating  sounding
sculpture  k. *walker art center hene laser, Intel 8080 microprocessor
*l. *segues
to final Analog to Digital inter activities, and group funded wifi-based
project collaborations.

* Audible Construct’s students’ class analog monitoring projects Lake
Michigan gusts  *

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/SAICRoofc.69-72.jpg
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/SAICRoofc.69-72.jpg>  *

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/SAICroofhexagram-69_72.jpg
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/SAICroofhexagram-69_72.jpg>*

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/hxgtower.jpg
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/hxgtower.jpg>*

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/Hexagram1971.mp4

http://www.academia.edu/21632765/An_Audible-Constructs_Primer

*3— what have been the major obstacles to overcome?*

*At my back,disappointing post high school experiences, having struggled
following my post orphanage months in Chicago and,  finally $ earning my
way- as a draft dogger in Canada, where I became an radio apprentice for
the CBC in Winnipeg. Two years later i relented, registered for the draft,
and was later honorably discharged.*

*4– what have been the greatest opportunities*

*    and breakthroughs? *

MEADOW PIANO http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesc1.html#anchor33428

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesc1.html#anchor252178
http://www.leonardo.info/isast/spec.projects/art-science-environment_bib.html
Brush, “Monitoring Nature’s Sounds with Terrain-Based Constructions” (
*Leonardo* 17:1)

BAFFIN ISLANDS http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/GibbsFjord1.jpg

TREES, LAKE SUPERIOR ICE FLOES and other natural phenomena –
http://continuo.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/musicworks-30-sound-constructions/

WINDRIBBON http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesf1.html

WINDSCUBE –http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesd1.html#anchor213267

TREES AS CO-AUTHORS http://www.d.umn.edu/%7Elbrush/lbarchivesf2.html
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesf2.html>

sound sculptures 1964-1975 –http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesYONY
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesYONY.html>

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesb.html#anchor143814
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesYONY.html>

Belgium installation http://www.musica.be/en/windribbon-leif-brush

AllMusic Review by “Blue” Gene Tyranny

Since 1968, Leif BRUSH made sound installations and performances in
galleries and public places around the world using his Terrain instruments
— The Minnesota Permanent Forest Terrain Instruments: The Signal Disc,
Whistler, Wind Ribbons, Rain drop triggers, Tree leave Filters, Tree harps
Networking, Modified Treeways — and an array of accelerometer xyz sensors
(solar-powered amplifiers) connected to Intel 8080 microprocessor,
controlled and updated via FM up/down loads – via KSJN Minneapolis and
using telephone wires to connect local speaker-placed spaces in the one
acre environment,which amplified and articulated natural phenomena.
Mysterious and beautiful.

Google Books

https://books.google.com/books?id=sHuXQtYrNPYC&pg=PT148&lpg=PT148&dq=leonardo+environment+leif+brush&source=bl&ots=pJ6SmQ0kFK&sig=ZpPlh6dbQyodc8-v4BCyIhNTEaE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwib5urXxazMAhWI3SYKHc5UDVAQ6AEIMDAD#v=onepage&q=leonardo%20environment%20leif%20brush&f=false

“New music in the area of conflict of science and technology ”

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/Jorn%20P.%20Hiekel.pdf

Terraplane performance http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/BraubSixtant.jpg The
Braun Sixtant dirigible receives data from a variety of sensors and
simultaneously resends these analog mirrorings- which are varied aural
surface layerings, including the escarpment’s face together with an array
of terrain sound and vibrations for multiplex input- and utilizing radar,
satellite andFM-transmitting/receiving channels. Together in tandem with
visual counterparts, these terrain surfaces are observed by stationary
cameras in the dirigible. Imaging this vision uses heat-imaging sensors
together with a fish-eye video lens. Incoming inputs are mixed together in
the dirigible. This fusion merging of sound and image is intended to
provide a perceptually faux holographic whole. This spatial capture,
necessarily, includes enrichments from nuanced sound playings of earthen
features, whose anomolies may be wind-disturbed, emphasizing aural/visual
textures and expected wide ranging fluxed soundings. Realtime describes his
challenge: these aural and visual counterparts from exisiing inputs are
combined (multiplexed) in the Braun Sixtant and are instantly re-relayed to
the ground-to-satellite uplink. This whole context is simultaneously handed
over (uploaded) to Westar IV satellite and thereafter may be demultiplexed
(decoded) and downloaded into the black set top box for re-construction
into multiple speakers of all the sound and vision details.

DAWN  1980  CHORUS http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/TransCanada_c.80.pdf

*5– what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?*

*Want 10 additional years.*

*6– any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?*

*Crowd source and conceptualize interactive Art-Science recycled across
applications and local community boundaries.*

*7. Add other questions and your responses you think are relevant *

*Douglas Kahn contrasts the early military use of trees as antennas by
Squier, better known as the inventor of Muzak, with the use of trees in the
performative telecommunications of the American artist Leif Brush beginning
in the 1960s, as a way to ask about energies, communications and
survivability in the Warm War.*

*a.**t*errestrial winds, natural phenomena

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/71-72playing.jpg

*b**.* ats satellite

*c. *world stage satellite perspectives

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/asatellite68.jpg*
<http://www.utdallas.edu/ah/people/faculty_detail.php?faculty_id=376>

*d**.  *comprehending/understanding & sorting natural phenomena’s analog
wave forms via

Michigan hexagram roof monitor

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/SAICroofhexagram-69_72.jpg*
<http://www.utdallas.edu/ah/people/faculty_detail.php?faculty_id=376>

*e**. *Gibbs Fjord monitors w/satellite relaying

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/GibbsFjord1.jpg

*f**. *An three year old American elm sapling was removed from our front
lawn and allowed to dry before being subjected to a mildly vibrating
miniature motor. It was attached to its base with a rubber cushion (for
dampening). This specimen appeared to me to be a miniature of its full and
mature growth. In effect, I felt that some vibrations would generally be in
the analog frequency ranges of a mature tree. I plan on obtaining aural and
visual signatures in future projects.

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/ditheredElmimage.jpg

*g.*scanning electron microscope

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/MapleleafSEM.jpg

*h.**terrain instruments defined*

*http://weblackwhole.net/Aspects%20Of%20The%20Terrain%20Instruments%20.pdf
<http://weblackwhole.net/Aspects%20Of%20The%20Terrain%20Instruments%20.pdf>*

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/terraininstruments.html
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/terraininstruments.html>*

*conceptual and terrain instrument prototypes *

*http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesb.html
<http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesb.html>*

*1980 *Terraplane Chorography II: International. Listening (1980, New Music
America, Walker Art Center, loring. Park, Minneapolis
*New Music America: 1980: Selected Highlights, Program 2*

*http://radiom.org/detail.php?omid=NMA.1980.06.XX.02.A
<http://radiom.org/detail.php?omid=NMA.1980.06.XX.02.A>*
http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/Walkerlaser.jpg
http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/TIwcubed.jpg

Terrain Instrumenthttp://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/terraininstruments.html

*i.* self broadcasting Birch

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesf2.html#anchor823475

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/selffbroadcastingv2.jpg

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/lbarchivesf1.html#anchor385911

j. levitating sound sculpture

k. performance walker art center mineapolis mod-laser, Intel 8080
microprocessor

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/LBw_TI202.jpg

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/terraplanelaser.jpg

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/Walkerlaser.jpg

http://www.d.umn.edu/~lbrush/202.jpg

l. segues to final A to D projects

http://classic.rhizome.org/commissions/proposal/2588/

Tackling collaborative iniatives, in particular, the social net-worker’s
ethical, humanitarian and creative challenge re one to many ‘for 0common
good”; U.S.G. neighborhood and leadership subsidies for solar roofs,
appliances, e.g.,12 volt refrigerators based on the evolving global Nano
revolution, .gov and commerce upgrades.

why

a pioneering .edu endeavor- seeks unique collaborative global
artists-scientists, like-minded and path-searching people- via global,
zeroing school newspaper ads; Skype and, as foundation, an epicentral
platform from which to eventually segue a World Playing wiki resulting =as
orchestral leader of a prototypical Mesh node http://projectmeshnet.org/.
As catalyst-teacher re this projection, the expected base goal would be to
demonstrate humanitarian values and explore perceptions among one mind and
many- in all forms of two-way human interactions.

Who

A predetermined number of contributors – yet to be identified by this
process – would coalesce the prototypical neighborhood to neighborhood
fluxing of the inherent toward node-construction, which would coalesce and
transmit from multiple terrestrial vantages; among its objectives would be
to; (a) mirror an unimaginable phenomena re physical and organic aspects of
the natural world- in an effort to include eye-ear parity; (while
acknowledging the intuitive perceptions of prehistoric people, (b)
elucidate intertwined thinking beyond borders and countries, achieving a
meticulously new coin from which to formulate international commerce, its
corporate stewardship, and sponsorship.

What How

includes (wifi/laser) optical aspects and vital Nano-“commerce/interactive,
global humanitarian, and feedback-partnerships.
http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/2012/02/re-yasmindiscussions-networking-50.html

http://malina.diatrope.com/2012/02/18/leonardo-education-and-art-forum-at-us-college-art-association/

http://malina.diatrope.com/2012/03/22/new-leonardo-thinks-posting-art-and-the-brain-what-does-the-evidence-tell-us-by-amy-ione

Leif

Guillermo Munoz

1- What is your background as a professional scientist? What is your
background in the arts, design or humanities.

I have a PhD in Physics, and i´m researcher in single semiconductor
nanostructure spectroscopy, which belongs to a large interdisciplinar field
of study involving Applied Physics, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Quantum
Optics, Solid State Physics, … I carried all my career near Valencia
(with some short stays in Edinburgh and Florence), but now I going to
continuous my science research at Sydney for a couple of years.

I don´t have formal studies about art, design or humanities, apart from
some isolated courses. However, i´ve been collaborating as a teacher in the
Visual Arts and Multimedia Master of Fine Arts department of the
Universitat Politecnica de Valencia along the last years. I collaborate
with Salome Cuesta in the Art & Science lectures and develop a lecture
about Communications, Networks and Devices. At the same time, last year
i´ve been pleased to be part of the artists and scientist group at Djerassi
along the 2.0 Scientific Delirium Madness residency, where the “gift of
time “ between my colleagues was very productive, enjoyable and rich.

2- When and how did you become involved in a hybrid art/science practice?

I have been involved in some arts from my childhood (I play guitar and I
like to write (Spanish)), in my student days I put some effort to try to
study some art and philosophy lectures to try to complement my physics
studies. I always found science lectures without context. For me it always
was important the concept, but at the same time the history of the concept,
the context of the concept, and the creativity process that allows the
possibility of the concept. In some sense it was always flying around the
idea of science as part of culture. By some interesting platforms and
journals, like Leonardo, Yasmin, Metode, Artnodes, Laboratorio de Luz,
Master de Artes Visuales y Multimedia…, I found this Art & Science
collaboration opportunities.

I´ve been working many aspects of science communication and science
collaboration between disciplines. I´m part of the group Piratas de la
Ciencia, located in Valencia, where we made many efforts to link different
disciplines in our activities, which are not merely science popularization
activities. We always been interested in multidisciplinary discussion
forums, and introduce science activity in life, but in a bi-directional
way: to be speakers and at the same time public in these forums. At the
same time we are very interested in this activity as a science activists,
as we understands that social issues must be visualized and highlighted. As
an example, yesterdar we ended a one month course called “science between
disciplines”, where we collaborated with new media artists, lawyers,
cookers, philosophers, … to speak about chemistry, visual representation,
genetics, communication, not only as a science topics, as interdisciplinary
topics. We use our city instalations, and, I must say that we always end
our forums drinking some bears and eating some tapas in the Mercado Central
de Valencia, that is the origin of the name of this discussion. I think
this is a visual example of our intentions: try to speak about connections
between science, art, engineering, legal issues, medicine, communication, …
informally and pleasantly in an exchange place.

3- what have been the major obstacles to overcome?

As Roger said, the major obstacle was to develop two CVs. Of course your
science CV must be great, because if not your science supervisors are not
going to allow you to use time outside conventional science. So, the major
obstacle is that all of this activity is not understood as science activity
(even it is). This means that we use most of our free time to do it.
However, for me is a refreshing activity, and give me good feedback to
conventional science work. So, in this sense, even this art/sci work is
outside the conventional CV and the expected science work, the energy
focused there gives me new ideas, strengths, social linkings, collaboration
platforms, and vital energy, which finally is translated to my conventional
science work. However, even I would like to be always optimistic, to be
honest I must say that it is kind of maddening when you receive these
science evaluation forms from projects or fellowships and this work is just
not taken into consideration.

4- what have been the greatest opportunities/breakthroughs?

When I started to discover that art&sci was a real activity and there were
many people in my country and outside I was just fascinating. I could not
believe that, in fact, there were so many people working and feeling this
interest in the interdisciplinary connections. This was a great surprise,
and not i´m really happy that the community becomes larger and stronger (=
with more project proposals). So, the first opportunity for me was to work
in a fashion that I though that was not possible (because in school and
university is usually not showed). If this was not possible i´m sure I will
not be happy with my physics studies, as I need physics but linked with
different inputs. At the same time, this art/sci forum gives you freedom of
thinking and a great reservoir of links, ideas and data. This is just what
I understand that science research needs.

At the same time, there are concrete opportunities. The use of same
technology, and the inclusion of the social dimension in science, arts and
humanities allows to work in similar spaces (Fablabs), or with similar
strategies (Do It Yourself or Citizen Science examples). I´ve been
fascinating about the following example: Quantum Moves.

https://www.scienceathome.org/games/quantum-moves/game

This is a gamification project from Ahrus University (Denmark) about moving
single atoms with laser light traps. The users (from internet and without
any quantum mechanics background) must move the atom with high fidelity and
short times. All the user plays were recording. Finally, with the data from
users, the research team increased the speed limit to move single atoms
with high fidelity, and publish it in Nature. I recommend to read the link,
where more information can be found. For me this is a great example where
even so focused research and apparently (and it is) very technical and far
from everyday work, can be enhanced by this strategies, where comes from
video-game context, citizen science, and need great and strong
interdisciplinary art, science and humanities teams.

5- what would you do differently, knowing then what you know now?

First, to learn English. Communication is the key in much of the research,
but in the interdisciplinary connections even more. At the same time, to be
confused with people is so easy, because rules are different in each
discipline. You must take special care to details, and things that are
usually true or well accepted in your discipline are not well considered in
another. May be it would have been better not to do some activity than to
do it alone. To do it alone make no sense. And for sure, I MUST have great
time doing it. This is not usually paid, this is not under my CV, I can
accept stress (each activity require it), but this must not be painful
anytime.

6- any advices to someone who may want to walk in your footstep?

As everything in life, do it if you believe in it.  I think empathy is
important in the interdisciplinary relations, helps you to try to
understand the different strategies and procedures (it is hard job, but
with great reward). And understand that collaboration and communication are
the keys to a good interdisciplinary project.

This set of responses is submitted to : WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE SEEKING TO PURSUE HYBRID ART-SCIENCE CAREERS ?

ANNOUNCING A YASMIN DISCUSSION: Scientist Mercado Central Exchange Advice FOR YOUNG ART SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS

We are starting a discussion on the YASMIN discussion list: you can subscribe and contribute to the discussion at

http://estia.media.uoa.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions

You can just follow the discussion on this blog,

http://malina.diatrope.com/2016/04/20/mercado-central-art-science-mentoring-advice-for-emerging-young-professionals-with-hybrid-art-science-careers/

 or by subscribing to http://yasminlist.blogspot.com/ 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Disturbance in Turkey ? Check out (Key Work ) Anahtar Sözcükler

Colleagues

We are pleased to announce of a Turkish podcast channel on the Creative Disturbance Art/Science and Technology science. The channel was proposed by two of our new Creative Disturbance awardees from the Kickstarter fund that enable our multilingual Creative Disturbance podcast platform. The two Ph D Students are:

Hasan Cenk Dereli is a PhD Candidate in Architecture working with urban politics and proactive design ideas.His personal creative productions define a practice span from radio production, music, design research to events organization. He is also one of the members and project coordinators of probono architecture practice Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği (Architecture For All Association) and founder and manager his design practice named NOBON.

and

Sarphan Uzunoğlu 

Lecturer at Kadir Has University, PhD candidate at Galatasaray University, contributes to journo.com.tr

The faculty advisor for the project is:

Altug Akin is an Associate Professor at Izmir University of Economics, Turkey. Among his research interests are global-international communication, media production and journalism. Altug Akin completed his doctoral studies in audio-visual communication at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain; and masters’ studies in journalism studies at the Stockholm University and in information systems at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden. Parallel to his academic career, Altug Akin has been contributing to several media outlets, including Radyo Boğaziçi, Radyo Eksen, Swedish Public Service Radio (SR) and the BBC World Service Turkish Section. He currently teaches at the Department of Media and Communication at Izmir University of Economics, practices freelance journalism, and translates literature from Spanish to Turkish.

Channel: Anahtar Sözcükler (Key Works)
Conversations with creators of stimulating works from Turkey’s fields of culture, technology and art. Our key words are creativity, possibilities and Turkey

Produced by

Altuğ Akın, H. Cenk Dereli and Sarphan Uzunoğlu
First Podcast:  In Turkish

Anahtar Sözcükler’e başlarken [TR]

http://creativedisturbance.org/podcast/anahtar-sozcuklere-baslarken-tr/

The first program of Key Words is about the micro frame of the series and the basis on which future podcasts will be about. Altuğ Akın, Hasan Cenk Dereli ve Sarphan Uzunoğlu, from Key Words team, discuss their perspectives on the series and Key Words

Sarphan Uzunoğlu and Hasan Cenk Dereli join the other Creative Disturbers who have received our creative disturbance kickstarted grants:

Patrícia Correia, Ana Rita Fonseca, Sam Meyler in Lisbon are now producing the ROOTS OF CURIOSITY channel:  http://creativedisturbance.org/channel/roots-of-curiosity/ 

Nora Abushadi in Cairo just published her first pocast:

http://creativedisturbance.org/podcast/being-a-young-designer-in-cairo-eng/ 

We will be announcing other creative disturbers – we are still looking for masters or PhD students in Asia, South America, Eastern Europe. The Creative Disturber grants are $1000 and provide for the awardee to publish podcasts with people in their creative community. If interested contact me,

Roger Malina

 

Dr Clarisse Bardiot appointed Research Fellow in the UTD ArtSciLab Experimental Publishing Initiative

Colleagues

I am pleased to announce that

Dr Clarisse Bardiot appointed Research Fellow in the UTD ArtSciLab Experimental Publishing Initiative:

Inferring collaboration networks and models from the corpus of Leonardo Journal articles.

Clarisse Bardiot is a researcher, publisher and curator, who has been
working in the fields of digital performances history, digital humanities,
documentation and preservation of time based media art works, and digital
publishing.

After her PhD on Digital Performances (Les Theatres virtuels,
2005, Sorbonne-Nouvelle/CNRS), Clarisse Bardiot became an associate
professor at the Valenciennes University (France) in 2006. In 2005, she was
granted the scholar-in-residence bursary awarded by the Daniel Langlois
Foundation in Montreal for a research project on 9 Evenings, Theatre &
Engineering. Then, she contributed to the international DOCAM project on
Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage. In 2009 à 2010
she coordinated two European projects. In 2011, she founded Subjectile, a
publishing company dealing with printed and digital books. In 2015, she was
granted the financial support of MESHS to develop a network on the arts in
the field of digital humanities (DORRA-DH). She was elected on the
coordination committee of Humanistica. In 2016, she was selected to
contribute to the « culture analytics » long program at UCLA/IPAM. Since
2012, she has received many grants to develop Rekall, an open source
environment to analyse, document and preserve time based media art.

> www.clarissebardiot.info
> www.rekall.fr
> www.subjectile.com

Inferring collaboration networks and models from the corpus of Leonardo Journal articles

Further to her interest and analysis on artists and engineers collaboration in 9 evenings: Theatre and Engineering, and in the context of the « Culture analytics » long program at UCLA/IPAM, Clarisse Bardiot gathered 10 people coming from the humanities, applied mathematics and computer science to work on the analysis of the Leonardo Journal. Using different methodologies  (metadata extraction, social network analysis, data mining, images analysis, topic modeling…) applied to the Leonardo Journal dataset, would it be possible to infer models of art/science/technology – artists/scientists/engineers collaborations? Leonardo Journal has now been published for 50 years and is ranked the 4th art journal in google scholar. Over 15,000 artists, scientists, engineers and scholars have been authors on Leonardo Journal articles.

Radio Interview about the suicide squad = american pioneers including my father who launched first object to reach outer space

Colleagues

I am pleased to bring to your attention

Radio Interview with Ewen Chardronnet ( in french) about the rocket pioneers , known as the ‘suicide squad”

including my father Frank Malina  and Jack Parsons who was involved in white magic and Tsien Hsue-shen (1911-) Father of Chinese spaceflight. Leading rocket theoretician, falsely expelled from USA as Red in 1955.

who knows where creativity and innovation comes from ! unfortunately history is cruel and american rocketry remembers the nazi team under von braun…who the US protected from the Nuremberg trials..but every rocket going into space has a heritage tracing back to the young and strange group known as the Suicide Squad

Radio Interview (in french) about the suicide squad = american pioneers including my father who launched first object to reach outer space (ironically as the second stage to a captured V2)

http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20160415-sont-pionniers-conquete-spatiale-americaine

Nous avons tous en tête les missions Apollo menées par la NASA à partir de 1961 et surtout les images du premier homme sur la lune en 1969…

Pourtant, l’histoire de l’aérospatiale américaine a débuté bien plus tôt, dès les années trente.Entre 1935 et 1955, un petit groupe d’hommes et de femmes, inventeurs visionnaires, a posé les bases de l’exploration spatiale. Qui sont ces pionniers ? Quels furent leurs engagements politiques ?

Pourquoi ont-ils été malmenés par le pouvoir ? Quels furent leurs liens avec l’ésotérisme, la science-fiction, le monde de l’art ? Pourquoi ne sont-ils pas devenus des héros ?
Avec Ewen Chardronnet, auteur de Mojave Epiphanie (Editions Inculte)

 

His book ( in french) Mojave Epiphanie is now available

http://www.inculte.fr/catalogue/mojave-epiphanie/

 

Roger Malina

 

Afronauts ! come to disturbing party wed april 13 in DFW for Yuri’s night

colleagues

listen, after midnight, to our podcast with the first AFRONAUT in south africa details below

but

if you are in the DFW metroplex tomorrow night Wednesday april 13

come party with us

party at Yuri’s night in Dallas APRIL 13 8-2am
Wizard’s Sports Cafe – 747 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX 75080
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yuris-night-with-creative-disturbance-tickets-22806282204

and check out the Yuri’s night podcasts at

www.creativedisturbance.org

including the podcast with the first AFRONAUT !!

 

http://creativedisturbance.org/podcast/the-new-afronaut-2/

roger malina

Hic et Nunc; Quam Progredi in Art and Science, career advice for art-science hybrids ?

Colleagues

Today I had an intense discussion with my friend and colleague Annick Bureaud in Paris. We were discussing the art/science and art/technology community, and the changes and new developments we have seen over the decades. We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the initial contract that founded the Leonardo Journal at Pergamon Press (and now with the MIT Press) and started discussing what’s new now that was different fifty years ago. I brought up on how I am on a campaign to move beyond the CP Snow idea of Two Cultures and no longer using of Leonardo da Vinci as an exemplar because it seems to me their ideas/situations are not very helpful in the current situation.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog I am currently reading http://malina.diatrope.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4462&action=edit

Creating Consilience: Integrating the Sciences and the Humanities (Co-Edited with Mark Collard) Oxford University Press, New Directions in Cognitive Science Series, 2011. edited by Edward Gilman Slingerland III and  Mark Collard.

Which I find to be a really intelligent discussion of the current problems and opportunities for the emerging ‘field of fields’ of art, science and technology. Slingerland re thinks the consilience argument arguing rather for integrative common grounds (such as integrating over time scales of study, or physical scales). They advocate a “second wave consilience that aims to move beyond eliminative reductionism to respect emergent levels of truth (pp.24-28), move beyond the nature-nurture debate to recognize the importance of gene-culture co-evolution (pp.28-30), and move beyond disciplinary chauvinism to recognize that consilience is a two-way street (pp.30-34)”. They foreground that underlying assumptions such as ‘mind-body’ dualism must inevitably be examined.

So whats new ? over the last few years I have been struck by the emergence of a cohort of art-science professionals under the age of 30/35 whose professional activities are fundamentally hybrid. One of these is in Valencia Spain: Guillermo Munoz whose practice bridges nanosciences and the arts. Four of these are in Chicago ( apologise for sharing their names but I was enthralled by their vision of their hybrid professional activities including Aushra Abouzeid, Postdoctoral Fellow, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University. She For example, she assisted in a course run jointly between Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The “Data Visualization Collective” had engineering and art undergraduates working in teams to build gallery installations exploring data from a variety of biological and geographic sources. Two Astrophysics students Kyle Kreven, whose works bridges astrophysical modeling of star clusters and professional music and composition, and Michalel Zevin who is part of the LIGO consortium, but heavily involved in their citizen project ( https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/gravity-spy/ where you can analyse LIGO gravitational wave data) and also in sound and music. At Loyola University I visited with Physics student Sebastian Agignoae who is working with his Physics and Music professors to create a work of architectural visual music. And in March I met with PhD student Emile de Visscher ( in the SACRe art science phd program that groups several paris universities and art and design schools) but also Eric Arnal-Burtschy who is, as an artist with a scientific background about to start and art science/astrophysics phd. My rolodex on this cohort of emerging professionals would include the PhD students in the COGNOVO Marie Curie program which houses PhD students in arts, sciences and humanities, young professionals in Chile, Mexico that I have met who it seems to me are emblematic of an important growing international phenomenon. I would add Dhru Deb, now a member of the editorial board of Leonardo Journal, who as a cancer researcher is developing a hybrid art-science practice, building an art science and cancer network of cancerologists. All I know is my rolodex is exploding with emerging professional scientists= in a way that I have not seen before.

Several asked for career advice, which got me thinking. Until recently hybrids kept two C.Vs,one for their science activities, one for their art activities- but things are changing. I am becoming interested in ‘inter-generational’ transmission practices- with all the new developments/new best on collaborative practices. It does seem to me that we are in a new situation and we should stop using CP Snow and Leonardo Da Vinci who are the wrong exemplars for our new situation.

In a separate interesting discussion with Nicola Triscott, founder of ArtsCatalyst in London- where she raised the issue of how ironically in the art science movement the artists are better organised than the scientists, who in generally are more segregated in their disciplinary ghettos and rarely meet the other scientists, in different disciplines who have art science practices.

It does seem to me that as Leonardo the organisations prepare their 50th anniversary, we are indeed in a new situation- how to respond to the needs and ambitions of this emerging cohort of young art-science professionals – what are the right networking mechanisms ( for the Creative Disturbance we called this the intellectual dating service – we havent figured out how to do it..ideas ??).  The wrong model is probably the professional society with their conferences and publications – as I like to argue ‘inter-disciplinarity’ is not a discipline- the wrong answer is to create a new disciplinary structure around art science practices. How does one create professional structures in a ‘field of fields. How to use social media intelligently to ‘organise’ serendipity to make it more likely ? The thing is surely to organise through a professional organisation patterned on 19 and 20th century ones.

If any emerging art science professional have ideas on how we can self organise  and Leonardo can help build useful infrastructures- I am really interested. Fifty years ago my father Frank Malina when he established Leonardo starting thinking of creating an art-science society. He made a list of the scientists he knew who had professional activities in  both the sciences/engineering and the arts and ran out after a dozen names ( A.L.Copley the biorheologist and abstract expressionist was on the list,  as was Claude Berge mathematician and member of OULIPO ). My list is now an order magnitude larger than his.

As part of our thinking MITPress , UTDallas are launching the ARTECA platform which we hope will experiment in new ways of meeting the needs of the art science emerging professionals – beginning with career advice !! we are beta right now but will be releasing the platform in a few months: subscribe to keep informed at http://arteca.mit.edu/ . If you would like to be a betatester and get free access- contact me !

 

Annick Bureaud in our discussions referred to her collective http://www.nunc.com/en/  which asks the simple question: what shall we do here and now, hic et nunc. How do we avoid backing into the future. How do we invent new social forms needed for the emerging group of art science hybrid professionals under 35 !  Help us develop career advice !

Roger Malina

Straight Talk about Art and Biology And Virtual Africa from Yvan Tina

https://www.academia.edu/24034782/STRAIGHT_TALK_with_Yvan_Tina
Colleagues

I am delighted to bring to your attention this excellent interview with Yvan Tina, one of the PhD students in the ArtSciLab at University of Texas at Dallas ( which I direct).

Yvan Tina is a researcher whose work investigates the possible convergences of biotechnology, synthetic biology, and artificial life with the performing arts. He is a member of the international, multilingual podcast platform Creative Disturbance, where he regularly contributes to Meta–Life and Virtual Africa. His insights provide a bridge between the sometimes disparate domains of art and science—a perspective increasingly necessary with the rapid emergence of new materials and technologie

 

full text at: https://www.academia.edu/24034782/STRAIGHT_TALK_with_Yvan_Tina
Roger Malina