ALERT Leonardo Slam Begins In Dallas http://cellphonia.org/LEO50/

Alert: on Friday Oct 19 we will be playing the Leo50 Cellphonia. Please contribute sound, noise and music by phoning toll free    1-972-200-9122 and visiting http://cellphonia.org/LEO50/    the cellphonia opera will be played at the Leonardo 50th Slam party in the ATEC Building on the University of Texas Dallas  campus 6pm on                                                  

+1 (972) 200-9122

+1 (972) 200-9122

Invitation to Leonardo Slam Oct 15-19 Dallas

Colleagues

This is an open invitation to contribute at the Leonardo Slam during the week of Oct 15-19 culminating in the Leonardo 50 Birthday party at UT Dallas. If you want to slam on line or in person just drop me an email at rmalina@alum.mit.edu.

We know slams cant be planned or organised so consider this an enabling invitation. We heard rumours of strange things that might happen.

If you would like to be invited to the birthday party, or know someone in dallas who would-contact me.

 We are also pleased to announce…shh. some of the mystery guests:

The following colleagues will be in attendance and receive Leonardo and ATEC awards: 

Lynn  Hershman, pioneer, former leonardo board member 

Linda Henderson, pioneer artscience historian, leonardo book author

Mihai Nadin, pioneer and leonardo author

Tom Linehan, ATEC founder, Leonardo Editorial Board member.

Magda Stanova, Slovak artist from the region where the Malinas originate.

Roger

Draft subject to disruption due to un anticipated slamming

Oct 15 – Monday             Feminist Engagement with Emerging Technology

 

12:00 – 1:30        Screening: Electronic Diaries

                                ATC 3.225 (open to ATEC Faculty)

 

3:00 – 5:00          Stitch – N – Glitch

ATEC Lobby

“Literally, a glitch is a spike or change in voltage in an electrical circuit which takes place when the circuit suddenly has a new load put on it.” – John Glenn, Into Orbit 

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day 2018, Fashioning Circuits, the Studio for Mediating Play, SPaCE Media, and the Feminist MakerSpace will conduct a “Stitch n’ Glitch.” This performative embroidery event invites participants to contribute stitches to a monstrous embroidery project that reflects on the ways in which feminist media artists glitch dominant systems.  

               

                5:30 – 7:30          Film screening:  Conceiving ADA

Hershman as an Artist working with Emerging Technology an introduction by ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo

SSA Theater (doors open at 5:00 p.m.)

 

Oct 16 – Tuesday              Reality Hacking

 

4:30 – 5:30          Reality Hacking Roundtable – Blurb – Heidi Cooley

Participants – Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL), Future Immersive Environments (FIVE) Lab, Cultural Science Lab

ATC 1.705 – PIRL Lab

 

                6:30 – 8:15          Film screening:  Strange Culture

                                                Introduction by ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo

SSA Theater (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

 

Oct 17 – Wednesday      Art Pushes Science

 

3:00 – 5:00          Art Pushes Science Panel Discussion – Blurb – Roger Malina

ATC 3.209 – ArtSciLab

               

                5:30 – 6:30          Genomic Art / Science

A conversation about Genomic Art: Lynn Hershman Leeson and Charissa Teranova, moderated by ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo

SSA Theater (doors open at 5:00 p.m.)

                                               

7:00 – 8:15          Film screening:  TeknoLust

                                                Introduction by ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo

SSA Theater (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

 

 

Oct 18 – Thursday            Art Pushes Technology

               

6:00 – 7:30          Lynn Hershman Leeson: A presentation of Agent Ruby and DiNA

Lynn Hershman Leeson in conversation with Paul Fishwick, moderated by ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo

ATC Lecture Hall (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

 

 

Oct 19 – Friday                  ATEC Open House: Celebrating Artist in Residence Lynn Hershman Leeson and Leonardo 50th Birthday

 

3:00 – 5:00          Artist’s Talk – Lynn Hershman Leeson

ATC Lecture Hall (doors open at 2:30 p.m.)

 

7:00 p.m.             Reception

                                                ATC Lobby

 

7:30 p.m.             Welcome to ATEC Open House

                                                Special Recognition Award

                                                Leonardo 50th Birthday Celebration

                                                Leonardo Pioneer Award Ceremony

                                                ATC Media Wall and Steps

               

8:30 – 10:00         ATEC Open House

Featuring performances and installations by

3D Studio –  – Andrew Scott

Animation and Games Demos – Blurb – Todd Fechter

LabSynthE –  – xtine burrough

Leonardo Slam –  – Roger Malina

Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL) Film Montage –  – Sean / Eva

The Alexa Dialogues– Blurb – Dean Terry

 

 

 

SALLY MENDIOLA

Director of Communications

School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication

The University of Texas at Dallas

 

(972) 883-7567   |   sally.mendiola@utdallas.edu   |   www.utdallas.edu/atec

 

INVITATION TO LEO50 BIRTHDAY PARTY Oct19 Dallas

colleagues

you are hereby invited to the Leonardo 50th Birthday party to be held Oct 19 in Dallas at the University of Texas, ATEC school. RSVP Here and we will send you more details:

https://www.paperlesspost.com/flyer/go/QjwKgvwiW1NRlZflpMA4

 

or send me an email at RMALINA@ALUM.MIT.edu

The party is from 5pm to 10 pm and includes some unexpected strange activities through the LEONARDO SLAM: http://malina.diatrope.com/2018/09/23/open-call-for-village-idiots-dallas-leo50-birthday-party-slam-fri-oct-19-2018/

More seriously we will make Leonardo Pioneer Awards to Linda Henderson, Lynn Hershman, Mihai Nadin and an Emerging Leonardo Award to who will be present.

Feel free to share this invitation

Roger Malina

 

Open call for Village Idiots: Dallas Leo50 Birthday Party Slam Fri Oct 19 2018

Open call for Village Idiots at the Leonardo Slam at UTDallas ATEC Friday Oct 19 2018. HELP US REDEFINE THE CRUCIAL ROLE THAT CAN BE PLAYED BY SO CALLED VILLAGE IDIOTS
IN THE MIDDLE AGES. In the art science technology our pioneers were often treated as ‘idiots’ or not confirming to the social norms of our institutions. Some times these pioneers laid the ground work for the STEM to STEAM movement today. Sometimes they were just crazy and they didnt change the history of ideas.

If you consider yourself a village idiot and would like to be invited (read to end to know if you qualify to attend as a village idiot).

UTD Dallas ATEC will be hosting a Leonardo 50th anniversary party and leonardo slam – all villagers invited including village idiots. My classics educated colleague Cassini Nazir enlightened me that one of the things we need is more village idiots:

The village idiot  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Village_idiot ):

The village idiot was long considered an acceptable social role, a unique individual who was dependent yet contributed to the social fabric of his community.[4] As early as Byzantine times, the “village idiot” was treated as an acceptable form of disabled individual compatible with then-prevailing normative conceptions of social order. The concept of a “village savant” or “village genius” is closely related, often tied to the concept of pre-industrial anti-intellectualism, as both figures are subjects of both pity and derision.[5] The social roles of the two are combined and applied, especially in the sociopolitical context, in the European medieval/Renaissance court jester.

So if you consider yourself a village idiot, and would like to be invited to the Leo50th birthday party at ATEC on  Friday evening October 19 2018 drop me an email at rmalina@alum.mit.edu – and village idiots are invited to slam publicly. Who knows maybe this village gathering will help change the history of ideas and contribute to overcoming the tragedy of the internet. I will try to participate in the poetry slamming, if you would like to join the slam contact me rmalina@alum.mit.edu.

Other Leonardo Village 50th birthday parties are listed at:  https://www.leonardo.info/50th-anniversary    

contact the organisers to make sure village idiots are invited, but I am pretty sure they are.

PLEASE REDISTURB CREATIVE DISTURBANCE

REDISTURB CREATIVE DISTURBANCE

synonyms:

disarrangemuddlerearrangedisorganizedisorder, mix up, 

We are pleased to note that we now have podcasts in 14 different languages on the Creative Disturbance podcast platform- and over 100,000 downloads of podcasts

https://creativedisturbance.org/disturbances/

The Creative Disturbance team is starting a project REDISTURB to redesign the creative disturbance project- we look for your ideas, critiques and general slams

 send to rmalina@alum.mit.edu and i will make sure you disturb the creative disturbance team

and hope you will participate in the leonardo slams at ars electronica next week –

https://www.leonardo.info/opportunity/leonardo-slam-at-ars-electronica 

PLEASE SLAM LEONARDO !

roger malina

Announcing the 1st Leonardo Slam at Ars Electronica.. do something weird

Leonardo SLAM

http://www.interface.ufg.ac.at/leonardo-slam/

Info

The Leonardo Slam is an event for cross contamination of ideas, a short open public gathering based on the format of poetry slam, but more free-form: an individual or group may present work, words, stories, video, sound, ideas about work, work about ideas, work about work, ideas about ideas, work about nothing, ideas about music, music about performances, apples about oranges, oranges about history, history about histories, dance about architecture, et cetera.

Present or demonstrate an artwork, give a serious presentation, give a parody presentation, read a manifesto, tell an anecdote, involve the audience, improvise a song. There is no limit on the form of the presentation other than having a non negative duration and not being too long.

Leonardo Archive Material: Assorted materials from the Leonardo Archive are here for reference and inspiration. Presentations need not be directly related to this material, but feel free to seed your clouds with it. Readings based on this material may receive special consideration.

Presentations may be given in any language.

Sign up is encouraged in order to reserve a spot for presentations. If you register, you are guaranteed a slot. If you do not register, then you still may be able to present depending on space & time, but without guarantee.

Spectator spots allocated on first come first serve basis.

Microphone, audio & video playback equipment will be provided.

Prizes will be awarded according to a set of criteria perhaps including, but not limited to:

  • Originality

  • Creativity

  • Presentation Style

  • Orderliness

  • Disorderliness

  • Compliance to IEEE 1872-2015

  • Public Involvement

  • Sense of Humor

  • How Appropriately the Wine Pairs With the Cheese

  • Balance

  • Most Jargon

  • Most Inappropriate Combination of Topics

  • Audience Prize

  • The Sleeper Award

  • Most Creative use of PowerPoint

  • Best Soundtrack

  • Loudest

Free Pizza & Beer.

Address further questions to the.leonardo.slam@gmail.com.

Sponsored by Interface Cultures/Kuntuniversität Linz.

Fake News ? Dark Matter is Greasy..Astronomers too clean to find it ? Calling for Grease Monkeys

Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Content of Interstellar

colleagues

I have no idea if this is fake news or not but indeed cold grease particles emit light at wavelengths and brightnesses we can’t detect. So maybe some dark matter is made of grease ?? Astronomers need help from grease monkeys ?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-28/milky-way-galaxy-contains-space-grease/9921076 

The Milky Way contains about 10 billion trillion trillion tonnes of greasy matter — or enough for 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter — according to research from a joint study by astronomers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Ege University in Turkey

the finding were published in the royal astronomy society ( I am a member so I know its not fake, hmm am pretty sure) monthly notices

https://academic.oup.com/mnras/advance-article/doi/10.1093/mnras/sty1582/5039660

In previous blogs i have argued that we need to make science’ intimate’ because so much that we know about is not accessible to human senses, even augmented and extended. Well here is the proof in the pudding ! we need grease monkeys to help us understand the structure of the universe

roger

here is the non fake abstract as  validated by myself as being from credible researchers

Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Content of Interstellar Dust 

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, sty1582,https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sty1582
Published:
18 June 2018

Abstract

There is considerable uncertainty as to the amount of carbon incorporated in interstellar dust. The aliphatic component of the carbonaceous dust is of particular interest because it produces a significant 3.4 μm absorption feature when viewed against a background radiation source. The optical depth of the 3.4 μm absorption feature is related to the number of aliphatic carbon C-H bonds along the line of sight. It is possible to estimate the column density of carbon locked up in the aliphatic hydrocarbon component of interstellar dust from quantitative analysis of the 3.4 μm interstellar absorption feature providing that the absorption coefficient of aliphatic hydrocarbons incorporated in the interstellar dust is known. We report laboratory analogues of interstellar dust by experimentally mimicking interstellar/circumstellar conditions. The resultant spectra of these dust analogues closely match those from astronomical observations. Measurements of the absorption coefficient of aliphatic hydrocarbons incorporated in the analogues were carried out by a procedure combining FTIR and 13C NMR spectroscopies. The absorption coefficients obtained for both interstellar analogues were found to be in close agreement (4.76(8) × 10−18 cm group−1 and 4.69(14) × 10−18 cm group−1), less than half those obtained in studies using small aliphatic molecules. The results thus obtained permit direct calibration of the astronomical observations, providing rigorous estimates of the amount of aliphatic carbon in the interstellar medium.

Leonardo Organisations begin publishing in Mandarin !

Colleagues

First Leonardo Publications in Mandarin

As I have been thinking aloud for a while, I think we are in a linguistic transformation :  we soon will read most things with translations engines to a language we understand, think or work in.

And vice versa, we will write in the language that we think and work in, and others will use translation engines to read us. This thought popped up in the seminars I teach at UTDallas where I discovered that many of the non native english students read systematically with translation engines, and then if interested further tried reading the texts in english.

It was re-inforced in discussions with my niece Sophia Malina who works for an interesting start-up company: Unbabel is a platform that enables multilingual communication across 28 languages.
Accelerating the shift towards a world without language barriers, international businesses trust Unbabel’s mix of artificial intelligence and a global community of 50,000 linguists to enable trustworthy,seamless, scalable translations between them and their customers.( https://unbabel.com/ )

You will see that Unbabel pays translators to help the poor uneducated AI learn:  https://unbabel.com/translators/ 

And the profession of transdisciplinary translation is growing and is better paid, and maybe perhaps the disruptions being caused by AI will for once lead to better more interesting jobs that the ones they eliminate ! :

http://context.reverso.net/translation/english-arabic/transdisciplinary

We now have podcasts in 15 languages on creativedisturbance.org

Our first podcast channel in Mandarin is produced by  Siying Duan in Shanghai

Elephant Says / [CN]大象说

And we are migrating the best ones to ARTECA.MIT.EDU  using post publication peer review experiments.

We have just published on http://arteca.mit.edu  our first project in Mandarin with Tsinghua University, as a joint project with ZHUANGSHI Magazine. It is sponsored by the Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University, covering studies on graphic design, product design, exhibition design, information design, architectural design, environmental design, furniture design, textile design, fashion design, craft arts, public art and theoretical research.

Here it is:  http://arteca.mit.edu/journal/zhuangshi-%E8%A3%85%E9%A5%B0

with my introduction, in Mandarin, translated by a human translator, I think :

科学本体的再设计: 庆祝《莱奥纳多》创刊50周年暨将艺术和设计 与科学、技术和医学相结合的新兴职业的出现 – Re-designing Science Itself: Celebrating 50 Years of the Leonardo Journal and the Emerging Professions that Link the Arts and Design with Science, Technology and Medicine 

With particular thanks to Lee, Kuo-Wei who led the work to enable publishing in Mandarin on ARTECA ( PS he is job hunting, would be happy to write a letter of recommendation for him!)

If you can’t access it for free, let me explain how we are trying to avoid the tragedy of the internet, so that arteca will have as little fake work as possible and you can know the provenance of the material.

a) We give free access to any author who has published or presented in any of the Leonardo publications or projects. Contact me.

b) We give free access to anyone who helps us make sure the content is trustworthy,  that includes peer reviewers and other advisors.

c) We give free access to anyone who has helped steer the pertinence of the content, as advisory board members any Leonardo publication or project.

This community of practice is 15,000 people strong across the planet.

Finally- we allow institutions to buy institutional subscriptions so all their employees, faculty, students. staff can get access.

This is part of our business model and we need your help to make this project sustainable ( all suggestions welcome !)(I am not a businessman):

a) Free access to anyone who contributes to the content, quality and pertinence of the content. This is a gift exchange model where we all share what we do with no exchange of money. Potentially this is a 15,000 person ‘global village green’ ( as our predecessors did by building gates to avoid the tragedy of the commons in the middle ages).

b) Paid access via institutions who pay so all they members can get free access whether for teaching or research purposes. We need your help convincing your university library to be a paying subscriber. I can make a 60 day free library subscription to your institutional library if you contact me at rmalina@alum.mit.edu  that way your students and faculty can try it out next semester. HELP !!

We don’t promise to do no evil, but we will help you figure out who is !

Roger Malina

 

 

 

Invitation to Leo50 birthday party tonight June 26 in Aveiro Portugal at ISDH

Colleagues

Leo50 Birthday Party Invitation in Aveiro, Portugal

Today June 26 2018

For other Leo50 Birthday parties, if you cant make it to Fabrica tonite :  https://www.leonardo.info/50th-anniversary 

Announcing the Aveiro Proposal: A modest start

How to start redesigning Science itself- both the scientific methods and the social embedding of science. 25% of science budgets to go to In-Reach .Election of 10% of members of Science Academies from the arts, design and humanities.

Everyone is welcome physically or virtually to the Leonardo50 birthday party  TONIGHT in Aveiro at the intense ISDH  art and holography gathering of an optimistic tribe of artists, scientists and engineers

We will all gather here at the Fabrica: https://www.ua.pt/fabrica/ 

The Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva de Aveirois installed in the building of the former Companhia Aveirense de Moagens. It is a partnership between the University of Aveiro and Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture , whose main objective is the dissemination of science and the promotion of scientific and technological culture. To get an idea of the ambience:

Further details at : Universidade de Aveiro recebe maior conferência mundial de holografia https://uaonline.ua.pt/pub/detail.asp?c=54896&lg=pt

I had the pleasure of giving a keynote- I have loaded up my ppt slides at

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-IoDb8WJqeI2O3Dg-Sjyys2Q8jzVWCKkHTOhHosrIqM 

One of the intense pleasures of this gathering is the amazing mix of pioneers and young emerging pioneers from all over the planet- with this shared phantasmal ( Fox Harrell has convinced me see https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/phantasmal-media ) drive to create new artistic experiences that engage with the human condition today.

According to Fox ” it comes from the ability to construct and reveal phantasms blends of cultural ideas and sensory imagination. These ubiquitous and often-unseen phantasms—cognitive phenomena that include sense of self, metaphors, social categories, narrative, and poetic thinking—influence almost all our everyday experiences.”

Indeed how do do we make sense of the confusions and tragedies of the world  – the arts today are part of the ‘hard humanities’ , how we work to redesign our culture which is unsustainable in so many ways.

Right now I am listening to Martin Richardson ( http://www.martin-richardson.com/ )- he started pioneering and inventing new approaches in holography beginning in 1984  ( Martin Richardson gained the worlds first PhD in display holography from The Royal College of Art in 1988.  ) and is still pushing the phantasms into new territories. He began documenting his work in 1989 (Richardson. M. ‘Mixed Media Within Art’, Leonardo, Journal of  International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Pergamon Press, Berkeley USA, 1989. )

Other holographers who published in Leonardo in the 1980s and are here include Andy Pepper ( hi Andy), Hans Bjelkhagen ,   

In the audience are emerging professionals from Kyrgyzstan, Japan, France, US, UK, Australia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Greece and- yes there is a global village and the International Symposium of Display Holography is a village green, and the town of Aveiro one of the watering holes ( Aveiro is a town of canals).

Now speaking is one a new generation of art holographers –  Narcis Rovira Castella, from Barcelona who was a resident at the Holocenter and Ohio State and is showing a dynamic hologram of an exploding vase of flowers, using open arduino tools they developed- right now he is talking about visual phenomena in the hologram that are unexplained. More at http://holografia.cat/ .

Immediately from the audience Hans Bjelkhagen offered technical speculations for the observation of the artist. Narcis is now explaining why their holography lab is called the WC Lab – Wave Coherence- but indeed the only lab space available to them is in a toilet.

You can gather my renewed enthusiasm in this creative global village at our desperate times of the ‘tragedy of the internet’. Last night after Portugal won a world cup soccer match, we found ourselves surrounded by soccer fans discussing future of holographic techniques, and passing around novel refractive films and i have no doubt I should have signed an NDA given some of the discussions.

Right now Pearl John is talking ( https://www.facebook.com/PearlJohnHolographer/ ) about Paul Dawson’s performative holograms as storing of memories and the multiple kinds of time that can be encoded in holograms.

A passing note the history of art and holography has been marked by a number of influential women artists and holographers- some of whom published in the Leonardo double special issue on Holography, edited by Louis Brill, in 1987. Artists who published in Leonardo over the years include Margaret Benyon, Nancy Gorglione, Harriet Casdin-Silver, Anait Stephens, Melissa Crenshaw, Sally Weber ..to mention but a few., many of them documented in Judy Malloy’s Leonardo Book on Women Art and Technology ( https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/women-art-and-technology  )

A passing note about gender bias in the art, science and technology – many early pioneers taking risks were women, I am thinking of Liljane Lijn for instance, Jasia Reichardt…but as our activities have become institutionalised usual implicit gender biases have appeared.

Not far from here, in Portugal also, Marta de Menezes and over 60 international women artist-scientists gathered at https://femeeting.com/ . “FEMeeting 2018 was a conference co-organised by Cultivamos Cultura and CIC.Digital of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in partnership with Centro de Arte e Cultura/Fundação Eugénio de Almeida and Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa.

“This Meeting’s aim was to bring together women from all over the world to share and disseminate their projects in the arts, science and technology research.” Yes there are global villages in spite of the tragedy of the internet- and Portugal seems to have a rich ecology of watering holes for the international art science technology community !

As mentioned the ppt slides from my keynote are at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=10uWBiMWaGBIJpm_RSup3tEHY0rLxq9i- 

I called my talk an ‘atheists’ sermon – with an articulation of my conviction that we need to go about redesigning science, both its methods and its social embedding. I had three recomendations to the Ministers of Science, Engineering and Medecine in Portugal:

    • A Response to Helga Nowotny’s, Former President of European Research Council, call for “Socially Robust Science”

    • Lets redesign science itself, both the methods and the institutions of science

  •  Expand the “STEM to STEAM” discussion

  • So it is bi-directional..both in-reach and out-reach

  •             Enable the professions of  art-science hybrids

    • Modest Proposal 1.  Science funding increase to “professional amateurs” by developing robust funded networks of citizen and open science nodes- lets say 10-25% of the science budgets ?

    • Modest Proposal 2. Expand EU STARTS to fund redesigning of scientific methods by involving not only artists, but also designers, humanities researchers..and invest in transdisciplinary training

  • AND a very simple idea to help better embed science in society

  • 3. Elect artists, designers and humanities researchers to academies of science,  engineering and medicine..10% goal

    As I finish writing Melissa Crenshaw is speaking, a pioneer in art and holography who started in the late 70s !:  https://www.globalimages-hologramartcollection.com/melissa-crenshaw  

  • Welcome to the Leonardo50 birthday party this evening at the Fabrica in Aveiro !

  • http://www.isdh2018.pt/index.php/leonardo-50th-anniversary-program/ 

 

Roger Malina

 

 

 

Jack Parsons and Frank Malina: Strange Angel and Sparks of Genius

Colleagues

Jack Parsons and Frank Malina: “Strange Angel” and “Sparks of Genius” for sure (read on for the “sex and rockets” version)

The news is out: wide gratulations at the news that Ars Electronica has awarded the Leonardo network the 2018 Golden Nica to Pioneers in New Media Art:

http://malina.diatrope.com/2018/06/12/an-embarrassment-of-strange-angels-ars-electronica-golden-nica-awarded-to-leonardo-on-its-50th/

But today we also share the excitement as Ridley Scott and his team release the first of a TV series called “Strange Angel”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Angel

The TV series is centered on the life of Jack Parsons who was one of my father Frank Malina’s best friends.

And oh yes did you know this clip on Jack Parsons, Frank Malina and Forman by Comedy Central is on the net?

A  student group, yes a collective of hackers and makers including Frank and Jack and Bill ,  started the rocketry experiments that led to the founding of NASA JPL, Aerojet General aerospace company , and the launch of the first human made object into space (Yes Elon Musk- they triggered in the USA the work that led to your “strange” vision- and they did it a stone’s throw from where your company SpaceX is currently headquartered. And you are dreaming the same dreams as the “suicide squad”, as they were called, at Caltech in the 1930s ).

The author of the book “Strange Angel’ on which Ridley Scott’s TV series is based is George Pendle. If you want to hear his version of the story (the film series episodes depart from reality, but then sometimes reality is stranger than fiction): read

https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2018/06/12/leonardos-strange-angel

And now onto the “sparks of genius”! The term comes from Robert Root-Bernstein, a member of the Leonardo Journal editorial board and prominent artscience researcher. His thinking accurately pin points why strange angels sometimes exhibit sparks of genius. Read :

https://www.amazon.fr/Sparks-Genius-Thirteen-Thinking-Creative/dp/0618127453

Indeed, “Strange” Jack Parsons (1) was a follower of Aleister Crowley (2) and was active in the “Thelema” White Magic Cult (3). Also, Jack did have open sexual relations and “weird” parties in his home. (This will come as no surprise to either students of the 60’s or today’s students).

My father recalled singing at one of Jack’s parties Aleister Crowley’s Hymn to Pan (4) with his friend Andrew Haley. Haley later, together with the now former students, set up Aerojet General as a start-up company. And for good measure or paranoia, one of the informants listed in my father’s FBI file is now known to have then been motivated to inform on the group and partygoers to the FBI because his wife had been “spending time” at Jack Parsons’ “weird” parties or whatever else they may really have been.

I dont know whether the FBI of the time was “stranger” than the students !

But my dad had no truck with mysticism or sex rituals. He was an atheist and a positivist, and sexually conservative (to my knowledge) owing to his rural Texas small town upbringing.

Here are two examples of “sparks of genius”: one lit by Jack and one lit by Frank, illustrating  that some “strange” people can have really good ideas.

First Spark: Jack and Frank, a story of rocket fuel inventions…

The way my father used to tell it, he and Jack were working side by side in a Caltech office one weekend. They were having problems with their rockets exploding when they shouldn’t. They were using  a black powder derived from the kind used for millennia in China.

When the rocket body became too big and was stored too long, cracks would develop in the fuel. Thus, when the rocket was lit, the fire would propagate along the cracks of the rocket and would explode right after initial lift-off.

Once, as they were working, Jack was staring out the window. He saw some workmen covering a roof with black tarmac, pouring it and then even-ing it out.

Jack yelled. Aha!

They’re pouring it liquid, and then it solidifies for years! They’ve got a solid roof without cracks for years! Tar is carbon- based. A great fuel!

Thus, they explained the origin and development of their and other new kinds of patented rocket fuel that did not explode.

Their rockets became known as Jet Assisted Take Off Units (JATO) and helped win World War II as they were used as motors which allowed even fully loaded aeroplanes to take off on short runways on islands or ships in the Pacific.

The term “jet” was preferred then, because the word “rocket” was only used by “strange” people. That’s why the NASA JPL is the “Jet” Propulsion Laboratory and not the NASA Rocket Propulsion Laboratory.

Second Spark:

Frank Malina and Father Christmas and Leonardo….

Or Unexpected Consequences: Enabling Hybrids Whose Work Bridges the Arts, Sciences and Technologies

As one story has it, Jack Parsons blew himself up in his kitchen in 1952 while playing with new explosive inventions. While I was growing up – I was born in 1950 –  there were rumors, never substantiated, that the FBI had a hand in it. The world lost a brilliant inventor, a certified hybrid or polymath, who could have continued contributing to world science and engineering, poetry, thought and art.

My father started work as a full time artist in Paris in 1953…after the FBI put an arrest warrant cout for him. All during our childhood, my brother Alan and I were confused, because when we came home from school our father, the scientist and engineer, was painting.

So we thought that’s what scientists did! Soon we were  disabused of our erroneous notion at school when were told we had to choose between being a scientist or an artist . . . .and we understood that my father, who did both, was considered ‘strange’ by our schooling system.

 My father started out with painting landscapes that he knew about and could be seen via scientific instruments such as telescopes and microscopes (he joked that he had tired of painting dead fish, although he did paint some).

The art world in the Fifties was at the time uninterested in these new landscapes opened up by scientific and technical exploration.By 1968 the time was ripe.

Gyorgy Kepes, a refugee from Nazi Germany,  went on to found the Center for Visual Arts at MIT in 1968 and advocated and enabled the work of such artists. Frank Oppenheimer, a close friend of my father’s, also in 1968, opened up the Exploratorium Museum. Also in 1968 Jsaia Reichardt mounted the first art and technology show in England, and E.A.T did “Nine Evenings’.

(Both Georgy and Frank played key roles in ensuring the survival of the LEONARDO JOURNAL after my father Frank Malina died in Paris in 1981.)

Another Aha Moment by a Strange Person- A wrong aha

Then Frank Malina tried to create more interesting visual effects, and started using wires, string and other studio objects. He used cuttings from his beard and nail clippings to create texture in the paint. He found out about the Moire effect. One day he tried to amplify the Moire effect in his mixed media painting by putting a light bulb in it.

After a few minutes he abandoned this idea because the painting started to burn. He understood now why artists didn’t use electricity in their paintings!

A wrong aha ! Not all aha’s are good. You have to train your intuition and gut instinct. Some strange people are good at this. There are even good methods. See Edward De Bono http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php 

A better Spark

The following Christmas, sitting down and enjoying our Christmas tree covered with sparkling Christmas lights (a novelty at the time), Our father, jumped up  suddenly and pulled the Christmas tree lights from the tree.

Now what had my brother and I done, we were upset to lose the christmas tree on christmas night !!

The tree wasn’t burning, was the explanation. Eureka!

Dad put the string of Christmas tree lights in his Moire painting. He went on to include thermal interrupters, bulbs and then electric motors so the lights and images would move, and he built interactive sculptures that reacted to you talking to them. He went on to patent these ideas and founded a started up company called ELI (Electro Lumydine International – which failed).

When he tried to show this work in Paris galleries or museums, he was told, “If you have to plug it in,” it cannot be art.

Adieu. Go away. You are a “strange” artist.

So he rented a small gallery, installed the electrical wiring himself and went on to start selling his “‘kinetic paintings.”’ He sold one to the Musee D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

The FBI agent following him – as we later found out – went to the vernissages for the free wine, but reported back that this ‘alleged’ artist was sending secrets to the Russians via the Communist Paris City Council members – through these “alleged” artworks, somehow, that you had to plug in.

The agent even tried to figure out where the secrets were in the paintings but failed, the FBI agent couldn’t discover them as, clearly, there weren’t any implanted in the electro- art works.

The Paris art critics refused to write about his shows in the 50s. So he tried writing about them himself. He was told “artists are stupid, they do the painting, and the art critics are smart, they do the writing”, a ridiculous  division of labor! He was angered again.

As a research scientist and engineer, he had patented his inventions and written in scientific journals about his scientific discoveries and inventions. His work as a scientist was not writing, but writing about his work was part of how he expressed himself. The science historians and philosophers would analyze his work as a scientist and contextualize it, but at least he had the first word about his own work.

Not so in the art world of the time. Now most artists have web sites where they can express themselves “multi-modally” as they say.

So in the 60s he went on, with a group of artists, scientists, scholars to found the Leonardo Journal.  This is now part of the Leonardo organizations in California ( www.leonardo.info  ) and Paris (www.olats.org). These are important nodes in the growing network of people of ‘strange and hybrid’ people, whose work bridges the arts, sciences and new technologies.

(I sometimes like to call some of them amphibians: in teams, “schools of amphibians” they can make scientific discoveries but also intense works of art. No, we don’t want formal ‘schools’ of amphibians, but we do need to enable them. Institutions hate and expel strange people. But we do need breeding grounds for strange people..)

( I like to call the Leonardo Organisations “intellectual dating’ services, the’Brain-Dr’ of our community) (thanks Robin S… for coming up with the name- now folks lets develop some software  on http://arteca.mit.edu  the new Leonardo platform with  MIT Press!)

( but maybe that dating metaphor connects awkwardly to Jack Parsons strange approach to sparks of genius )( Remember this is a metaphor = and no i don’t agree with jack parsons private life)

The next blog will provide additional insights to the stories behind Ridley Scott’s Strange Angel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Angel

And the history of the Leonardo networks and communities and practice documented and advocated through the http://leonardo.info  and http://www.olats.org nodes in the network of networks. We will also discuss the work of the historians who have been publishing and trying to figure out the complex stories that links “strange” people.

Roger Malina with Wolf Rainer

Footnotes

Oh yes, Sex and Rockets

https://www.amazon.fr/Sex-Rockets-Occult-World-Parsons/dp/0922915970

Enough said…:

Read the writings of Ewen Chardronnet, Patrick McCray, Fraser McDonald, Ben Zibit, Fabrice Lapelletrie, Camiller Fremontier, Charissa Terranova to get yet other well researched versions of the stories ! And ead the next blog.

Hmm

Did you know this clip on Jack Parsons, Frank Malina and Forman by Comedy Central has been on the net?

https://www.facebook.com/ComedyCentral/videos/1523142241131940/

Footnotes:

(1) Jack Whiteside Parsons born Marvel Whiteside Parsons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Parsons_(rocket_engineer):

(2) Aleister Crowley: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley

(3) Thelema philosophic cult: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema

(4) Hymn to Pan: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/hymn-to-pan/

(5) Theodore von Karman: The Wind and Beyond: Pioneer in Aviation and Pathfinder in Space, 1967 Little Brown and Co.

 

 No- this is not the right story….but it got your attention..As Rachel Mayeri will tell you all primates have similar gut instincts see “strange” movies for monkeys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q23MhgFEX58