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

Jurgen and Nora Claus wish Happy 50Birthday Gratulations to Leonardo

Colleagues

Jurgen and Nora Claus wish Happy 50th Birthday Gratulations to Leonardo

In response to the wonderful news that the Leonardo network and collective has been awarded a Ars Electronica Golden Nica Awards for Pioneers in Media arts:

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

Jurgen and Nora Claus sent the Leonardo networks this wonderful birthday greetings drawing, with the caption below. Jurgen Claus has been an Leonardo Honorary Editor and Advisor for decades ! His work in Solar Art , which he documented in the Leonardo Journal is exemplary and he has been a visionary in our community for over 60 years. He is  a great example of how the Leonardo network has proved to be an inter-generational network Jurgen was born in 1935     https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCrgen_Claus

 

Here is the picture he has drawn for the gratulation

“Al pittore è necessario le matematiche appartenente a essa pittura.”

“To the painter is necessary the mathematics belonging to  painting.”

“Pour le peintre est nécessaire les mathématiques appartenant à la peinture.”

“Para el pintor es necesaria la matemática propia de su pintura.”

Leonardo the first

“we think that in 50 years people will publish
in the primary language they think in  and  translation engines will be effective.”
The Leonardo Collective  the First

Jurgen Claus

We welcome any other drawings or other ways of wishing the Leonardo collective happy 50th birthday !! Send to rmalina@alum.mit.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

An embarrassment of Strange Angels ? Ars Electronica Golden Nica Awarded to Leonardo on its 50th

An Embarrassment of Strange Angels ? Ars Electronica Golden Nica Awarded to Leonardo on its 50th Anniversary

In this blog post we are delighted to announce a wonderful synchronicity

a) The Ars Electronica Golden Nica Award has been given to the Leonardo Organisations and Networks

The Golden Nica is an award to visionary pioneers  of new media art. Previous awards in this category have been given to Leonardo friends and colleagues Jasia Reichardt, Jeffrey Shaw and Roy Ascott:    https://www.aec.at/prix/en/ 

AND breaking news

b) Ridley Scott announces launch of a series of films on June 14 named “Strange Angel’ ,based on a book by George Pendle about a group of students and amateurs who invented rocketry that led to the first object to reach outer space , designed by the team led by Frank Malina –  a synchronicity ?- was the co founder of the Leonardo Network, and Journals recognised by Ars Electronica.

Yes it is a strange story- read further here

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

Here first then details on the Nica

Art, Sciences and Technology – Leonardo! Golden Nica Award

Nica

And now more on the strange angel story !!

In case you missed it, Ridley Scott has just produced a new online TV series of films entitled “Strange Angel”. Ostensibly, the 10-part TV series is about a group of students with ideas that led to the launch of the first human made object to reach outer space, but also as with all enterprising student groups with enough dabbling in politics  magic and sex of the period. They unexpectedly exploded home-made rockets on campus and pasadena hillsides, but all for a laudable purpose: to win the race against the Nazi Germans (Wernher von Braun) and their rockets (V-2) and help win WWII for the Allies.

 

As glamorous as the TV-series may be, more mundane was the simple reality, which is easily told: One day in 1936 three young men appeared in the office of a renowned CalTech aeronautics professor named Theodore von Karman. They came with an unusual proposal: Can or will you help us build a space rocket to go to the moon. It may come as a shock to some of today’s younger generation to be reminded that eighty-two years ago, rockets existed largely in the individual imagination or in science fiction. These three young men – Frank J. Malina, John W. Parsons and Edward S. Forman – the latter two were not even CalTech students – had already been turned down at all the other CalTech departments were they had asked for assistance. But von Karman agreed to let these three young persons use his Aeronautics Laboratory shop during off-hours. Von Karman was immediately captivated not only by their enthusiasm and earnestness, but also because of their unusually strong science and engineering backgrounds.

 

And the results of this collaboration into the exploration of space were duly impressive. Because of this team’s initiative (Malina, Parsons, Forman, later joined by Amo Smith and Hsue-Shen Tsien) the stage was set for the exploration of space at CalTech. One of the results was the WAC-Corporal sounding rocket, which in 1945 reached successfully altitudes beyond the boundary with outer space. Malina went on to co-found Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

 

So much for the historical reality ( lets not get into discussing what is reality, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction). Now back to Ridley Scott’s TV film-series Strange Angel

The central character in the 10-part series Strange Angel, loosely based on the book of the same name by George Pendle ( https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Angel-Otherworldly-Scientist-Whiteside/dp/0156031795 ) is Jack Whiteside Parsons._

Back at CalTech in the Thirties, Jack was one of Frank Malina’s best friends. As I mentioned above, Malina as a student and Parsons as an amateur, along with the others,  led to the founding of a group that patented novel rocket fuels, launched a start-up company, Aerojet General, which led to the founding of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory that today is leading the exploration of the planets in our solar system. My father then started the Leonardo Journal in 1968 and organisations whose 50th anniversary we celebrate today.

More in the days to come , watch this space and also:

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

Roger Malina

PS I knew my father well, He was a confirmed atheist and positivist. He had no truck for  weird magic or sexual rituals. As a student he attended all kind of parties as i did in 1968 at MIT. But he did know that it was the cultural imaginary that drove scientists and engineers to discover and invent new ideas, which led to the changing of history . In my father’s case he credits Jule Verne with his book from the earth to the moon for inspiring him as a teenager in the small rural town of Brenham, Texas. When discussing Jack Parsons death he used to say that he had developed a tolerance for strange people, often as we now say in the leonardo 50th anniversary ” good ideas don’t take sides’. Jack Parsons had a lot of good ideas, and if its hadn’t been for his strange habits he would have had many more rather than killing himself in his kitchen.

Leonardo is dead, Long Live Leonardos; Celebrate the Leo500 wake and launch the redesign culture for the digital age

Colleagues

Leonardo is dead, Long Live Leonardos- announcing the first Leo500 Wake

 Celebrate the first Leo500 wake and launch the redesign of culture for the digital age

Am pleased that i will be keynoting at the   International Symposium on Display Holography (ISDH)

http://www.isdh2018.pt/index.php/program/ 

In University of Aveiro, at Aveiro City, Portugal June 24-27 and yes we will be having a Leonardo 50th Birthday Party: https://www.leonardo.info/50th-anniversary 

But we are also planning the First Leo500 Wake party to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo DaVincim who died on 2 May 1519 ( https://www.chateau-amboise.com/en/page/5th-centenary-leonard-vinci )

Yes Leonardo is dead, Long Live Leonardos, that’s not a typo Wolf ,Leonardos in the plural- we don’t need any more individual geniuses, we need teams that have genius 

Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations Hardcover – July 7, 2015 

Here is my talk abstract:

Leonardo is dead, Long Live Leonardos; Now to design culture for the digital age

The Leonardo Journal was founded by a group of artists and scientists
in Paris in 1968. They were convinced that the contemporary artists
must appropriate all relevant science and technologies to express
themselves, but also the new
worlds made visible through instruments; art holographers have played
an important role in this cultural vision. This year we celebrate the
50th anniversary of this community of practice championed by the Leonardo
Journal and organisations. By coincidence 2019
is also the 500th anniversary of the death of DaVinci on May 2 1519.
In this talk I will talk about the past and future of the the arts, sciences
and technology within the context of an emerging digital age. No culture
has ever redesigned itself intentionally. I argue that we must redesign
our culture in order to face the anthropocene, in face of climate change
and the tragedy of the internet. We must also redesign science itself,
both its methods and its social embedding.

The first International Symposium on Display Holography (ISDH) was originated by Professor Tung H. Jeong in 1982 at Lake Forest College in Illinois, USA. ISDH is an unique event. It is not like any other scientific conference. Rather, it is one that synthesizes history, education, art, science and economic developments that involve holography. A unique purpose of ISDH, besides the obvious exchange of information on display holography, is to engender a sense of community among participants. After the initial attendance of an ISDH, one looks forward to all the future “family reunions.” The ISDH 2018 will be held in the University of Aveiro, at Aveiro City, Portugal.

Leonardo, in collaboration with Louis Brill, Published two special issues dedicated to art and holography

LEONARDO THINKS 1968 – 2011
Historical Opinion by Louis M. Brill

Louis M. Brill summarizes the evolution of artistic experimentation with holography…
Holography as an Art Medium

As holography has developed into an art medium, it has opened a new realm where imagery is composed and conveyed within a three-dimensional space. Among its various descriptions, holography is often referred to as the ‘window of the future’. This is an apt description, for art holography presents a ‘canvas’ on which the way an image is composed in space plays as much a part of the artist’s statement as does the final scene. Holography, by expanding image content into the three-dimensional realm, offers artists new ways to communicate critical ideas visually. Furthermore, as an art medium it has given us a sharpened perspective with which to view the world around us.

Although holography is often compared to photography, it is more important that we notice holography’s unique qualities and how it differs from other media than to point out its similarities to what already exists. Of all holography’s three-dimensional visual qualities, by far the most interesting is the interactive relationship it establishes between viewer and subject matter.

Images that project in space seem to inspire viewers to touch them, a temptation that few resist. Are they really there, can one feel them? No one believes that the images exist, as evidenced by the fingerprints that are left on the film plate, mute testimony to viewers seeking a complete experience of the hologram. Many times viewers encounter holograms so realistic that they express doubt as to whether they are seeing just an image of light or a real object in a glass case.

When one looks at a hologram, other interactive relationships also come into play. Often it is necessary to view a hologram from several angles in order to see the entire scope of the image. Because holograms are diffraction gratings, when one views them from different angles, one can see the image in a wide range of colors; often one finds that, as a hologram changes color, so does its meaning. Viewing the image from several different angles can also create several different viewpoints of the same image.

Thus one aspect of holography’s power is the visceral connection it has in drawing people to see it. Much as viewers are challenged by what they see, so are the artists who explore, work with and shape the medium as an expressive palette of statements.

As holography continues to evolve as an art medium, it continues to define itself, both as a technological process and as an expressive art form. Even as our authors speak of their pioneering efforts to create holographic imagery of great impact, this imagery changes in context as new technological breakthroughs expand its artistic possibilities. Breakthroughs in achieving realistic color, increasing the dimensions of large-format holography, creating reduced-image portraiture, and using holographic embossing processes to reproduce animated and computer-graphic imagery all lend themselves to expanding the expressive capabilities of the medium. Ultimately, these become the tools that assist artists as they strive to present images of significance and lasting importance.

What is the full measure of holography? Is it the issue of realism-holography’s ability to intermingle with reality? Is it holography’s potential as a three-dimensional canvas from which the image projects into space, extending from the flat surface of its recording medium? Or is it the creative efforts that come forth from the artist practitioners of the medium? Perhaps its greatest measure lies in the eye of the beholder, who can appreciate a holographic statement more for what it says than for how it works. More to the point, perhaps its success can be measured by the growing number of artists who recognize holography as a creative medium and continue to produce new works. As holography enters the 1990s, it is artistically still a young medium, but one that is growing as artists, museums, gallery owners and the public continue to explore holography, both for what it says as an expressive format and for its visual language. Clearly, holography is introducing a new visual aesthetic, one that is orienting us in new directions and teaching us innovative ways to experience three-dimensional imagery.

The greatest artistic challenge comes not so much from new technical breakthroughs, such as better lasers and more efficient recording films, as from the holographic artists themselves, who are gaining recognition for their efforts within art communities throughout the world. Although holography as an art form is acknowledged and collected, its highest accolade is the recognition conferred on it not only by the special holography museums but also by the traditional modern art galleries and museums. It is a recognition earned, not because these are holographic works, but because they are works of art that have succeeded in communicating some universal truth or in creating a statement that is conceptually challenging-in other words, holography has been used as a means rather than as an end in and of itself.

The voice of holography is less a metaphor and more a solid series of expressive visual statements by its practitioners. In this issue of Leonardo, we have assembled an international group of authors who express their creative relationships with light and sculptural imagery within a three-dimensional volume of space. Clearly, theirs is an informed voice, for our authors have explored the medium not only from an artistic point of view but from historical, technical and philosophical perspectives as well. This thinking expands the personal and historical observations of the first two decades of artistic exploration within holography. We present this journal as a statement of what has been realized and as an inspiration of what is yet to come.
ISSN No: 1071-4391
Author: Louis M. Brill, Guest Editor
Originally published in: Leonardo Vol. 22, No. 3/4, Holography as an Art Medium: Special Double Issue (1989),pp. 289-290.
Print: ISSN 0024-094X, Online : ISSN 1530-9282, DOI: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1575380

Advice to emerging Leonardo Professionals: gamify your CV !

 Colleagues,

One of the first students in the dallas artscilab was Anvit Srivastav. He worked on our neuroscience data sonification project as you will learn below. See our web site at https://artscilab.atec.io/ .

As he was starting to apply for jobs, he came to me and asked me to write a letter of recommendation= i said sure. He said let me show you my CV..I have made it into a computer game.

Wow talk about lateral thinking ( thank you Edward de Bono ).

Anvit was quickly offered a job as you will read below and you can play his game CV. Does anyone know other professionals who have gamified their CV ? sounds like a start up to me. Being able to use gaming to visit the people and places in a persons bio is just so obvious. Anvit certainly earned his degree in our ArtSciLab !

Roger Malina

https://artscilab.atec.io/

STANDING OUT: CREATING A CV GAMING PLATFORM

by Anvit Srivastav

Anvit, a Computer Science Masters student at UTD (Class of 2015), was primarily focused on studying network security. He already had web development skills and thought that a concentration in network security would be beneficial for his future plans. Surprisingly, the way Anvit ended up working in the lab and meeting Roger wasn’t directly related to his studies at all.
During the spring 2014 semester, [I decided to take up] a sound design course that was being taught by Professor Scot Gresham-Lancaster… After the course ended, Scot informed me about a position that was opening up in the ArtSci Lab for a computer science student. The lab… was developing a web based sonification platform for fMRI data, and since I was familiar with web development and sound design, he thought I might be a good fit for it. I … [applied] and started working in the lab… [after I was hired]. Very soon after I’d joined the lab, Roger told me about Creative Disturbance and I ended up deciding to work on both of the projects in parallel.
The idea to create a video game resume dawned on Anvit sometime after he had finally succeeded securing a summer internship. It was a difficult and time consuming process, and during the process, he realized that it’s difficult to stand out in the tech world among other students who all have similar credentials and skills.

Anvit is a video game fanatic and has developed a few video games (mostly during the annual Game Jams in ATEC, which is a competition to successfully build a video game over a weekend) and it turns out that his interest in developing games wasn’t very common in UTD.  There weren’t many CS students who were interested in learning game development and fewer who would spend time learning tools and languages used for these on their own time on top of all the assignments given for regular classwork.

Because of his love for developing video games and his desire to stand out in the tech world, Anvit concluded that a CV as a video game would allow him to stand out to potential employers by showing his creative side and his ability to pick up new languages and skills on his own.

He started searching on the web if there were other people who had developed video game resumes/CVs but only found a couple of results, and even those only resembled video game in the art style but they didn’t offer the level of interactivity expected from a game. Furthermore, Anvit couldn’t find a single resume/CV that resembled an RPG (He soon realized that this was because RPGs are inherently more complex compared to simple side scrollers). Since he had grown up playing games from the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, the Mana series, and Pokemon, Anvit wanted to create something that resembled the games from that era. He saw the development of his CV as a video game as a personal challenge and started working on it.

It was a challenging process because Anvit had to build a lot of basic systems from scratch (things like a conversation engine, and a menu system). He had made it a little harder on himself by deciding to work on art assets, the sound effects, and a background music theme himself. It took him about two months of hard work and dedication to complete it.

I started including it in my resume and [mentioning]… it in my cover letter hoping that my future employers would see it. Initially I was worried that people might overlook it and never visit the site, but I started getting a few calls where [employers] would tell me that they were really impressed by it and wanted to call me for an interview. Eventually, I ended up getting my first offer from The MathWorks, and during one of my interview rounds there, one of my interviewers discussed my video game CV and how it works as a part of the interview. So overall, I felt that all that work finally did pay off.

View Anvit’s entire CV

Congratulations to the art science technology community for sending their STEAM to the political stakeholders !!

colleagues

the US national academies have issued their long awaited report

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/bhew/branches/

 The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same
Tree, to be released by the National Academies on May 7. This
investigation began at a December 2015 workshop with joint support
from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for
the Humanities, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A committee,
chaired by David Skorton (Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution),
was established to collect evidence and models for integration of the
arts and humanities and STEM/M fields at 2-year colleges, 4-year
colleges, and graduate programs.

The report examines the known impact of integrative approaches on
students’ academic performance and career readiness.

i will be attending a think tank at the national academies on may 24/25
if anyone after reading the report has comments or suggestions i will
be happy to bring them to the attention of the national academies !!!

This think tank will be a concerted effort to study the report results and propose
what actions research universities might take to prepare students to
be more effective communicators, critical thinkers, problem-solvers
and leaders; and more creative and effective scientists, engineers,
technologists, and health care providers.

The European Union report on the same topic is available at:

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/acac40f5-e84b-11e6-ad7c-01aa75ed71a1

 

It is truly a delight for the 50th anniversary of the leonardo organisations and publications to see that it only took 50 years for the passion of the founders of Leonardo to reach the political decision makers ! Note the EU is doing this in the context of Horizon 2020 funding programs.

One of the novelties of the Horizon 2020 programme is the systematic and strategic integration of the social sciences and humanities into each of the priorities of Horizon 2020 (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020- sections). Contributions from these disciplines are needed to generate new knowledge, support evidence-based policymaking, develop key competences and produce interdisciplinary solutions to both societal and technological issues. The broad integration of the SSH within the Societal Challenges and Industrial Leadership priorities is an exercise that provides both opportunities and challenges. It provides opportunities by creating more scope for SSH contributions under more thematic areas and more topics than before. It also creates new challenges since this new approach necessitates a change of mind towards more interdisciplinarity. This second monitoring and evaluation report assesses in a thorough and detailed manner how the different SSH disciplines have been integrated into the projects funded in 2015 under the Societal Challenges and the Industrial Leadership priorities. The report illustrates the progress of the new policy on the integration of SSH as a cross-cutting issue but it also points out to areas where further efforts for SSH integration are needed.

Yes artists and designers are included !

Roger Malina

 

 

celebrate Yuri’s Night 2018 at the Malina’s in Dallas, Texas

colleagues

Invitation to a party at the Malina’s
Sunday April 15 in Dallas Texas

in celebration of Yuri’s Night
Yuri’s Night:
https://yurisnight.net/events/

Party from 2pm to midnight

Come early leave early, come late leave later, come early leave late

feel free to bring significant others !

if you would like to come drop me an email so I can send you official invite

if you are not in dallas but know someone who might be interested in coming

tell me

roger

 

roger.malina@utdallas.edu

Announcing YASMIN discussion: Science for the People; Radical Science for the 21st Century

Colleagues

we are pleased to announce a new YASMIN discussion

TITLE:  “Science for the People: Radical Science for the 21st Century

to subscribe and contribute  to the discussion go to  https://ntlab.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions_ntlab.gr 

SUMMARY:

In the late 1960s through late 1980s, scientists unwilling to contribute to the development of technologies that pollute, oppress, and destroy, or to research tainted by military, political, and corporate interests, were organizing around the questions  “Why are we scientists? For whose benefit do we serve? What is the full measure of our moral and social responsibility?”. Members of Science for the People (SftP) (sometimes referred to more generally as “the radical science movement”) were dedicated to crafting a science that is ethical, egalitarian, and cooperative, and were committed in their own work to research that above all serves the health of humans and the environment.

Science for the People is currently being revitalized by scientists and scholars on college campuses across the US. Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists, a brand new anthology of historical material, is fresh off the presses. The second annual SftP National Convention took place at the University of Michigan from February 2-4, 2017.

A bit more background:

Don’t Just Defend Science, Mobilize It for the People: While science is under attack, it could be an opportunity to advance a much stronger vision of how it can serve the common good,  writes Sigrid Schmalzer:

Which Way for Science? A statement by the SftP editorial team on the occasion of the April 2017 March for Science

__________

DISCUSSION HOSTS/INVITED RESPONDENTS:

Lisette E. Torres is a disabled mother-scholar-activist of color dedicated to critically examining the intersections of race, gender, disability, and science identity and how they impact knowledge production and STEM. She is a former aquatic ecologist, a member of Science for the People, and a co-founder for the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD). http://www.latinxdisabilitycoalition.com

https://about.me/TorresGerald

Abha Sur is a scientist turned historian of science. She is the author of Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India (New Delhi: Navayana, 2011). She teaches in the Program in Women’s & Gender Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Abha Sur is a longstanding member of the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, a Cambridge based organization that raises awareness about issues of social justice through seminars, panel discussions and cultural events.

John Vandermeer is a theoretical ecologist, agroecologist and tropical ecologist, who teaches at the University of Michigan and does research in Michigan, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  He was a long term member of the original SftP, having been at the Chicago AAAS meetings where at least one of the beginnings of the organization is reported to have happened.  He also is a founding member of the New World Agriculture and Ecology group, an offshoot of SftP.

Ben Allen is a scientist, educator, and labor activist in east Tennessee. He is an organizer for the revitalized Science for the People and is member of the Science for the People Research Collective. In addition to organizing, he works as a contractor on computational biology projects related to energy and environment.

Alyce Santoro is a conceptual/sound artist and writer with a background in biology and scientific illustration. She will be a candidate in RISDs new Nature-Culture-Sustainability MA program starting in fall 2018. http://www.alycesantoro.com

Yasmin Moderators:

Alyce Santoro and Roger Malina

For information

YASMIN POLICY

NETIQUETTE RULES

  • No HTML, no attachments

  • The information or discussion in the posts should be relevant to the Mediterranean Area and the field of Art, Science and Technology

  • The official language of the Yasmin list is English. However, posts in other languages mastered by the moderators are allowed as long as a summary of the post in English is provided. Those languages are currently: Arabic, Catalan, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish

  • The list is moderated

  • Meaningful discussions require courtesy and mutual respect

SUBSCRIPTION POLICY

  • Each new subscriber is strongly invited to introduce him/herself to the list and describe his/her activities

  • Subscription of new members has to be approved by the moderators

  • Subscriptions may be terminated or suspended in the case of persistent violation of netiquette

  • The list archives are publicly available, so Yasmin list can also be consulted and followed by people who are not subscribed

Lessons Learned  

  1.  Whenever possible, the discussion goes better if the posts address one point or at most two,

  2. Posts should be ‘short’: 2-3 paragraphs max

  3. The organiser of the discussion ‘manages’ the central topic being discussed at a given time( otherwise the discussion goes into multiple direction and tends to dissipate).

  4. The moderators are tasked with addressing problems such as making sure spam doesnt get into the discussion I ideally one of the organisers acts as a moderator to decide which post is approved immediately, which are deferred to keep the discussion at a given time running its course.

  5. Best not to approve more than 1-2 posts a day. Otherwise most yasminers will disconnect,

  6. Moderators over the years have had to block certain posts after discussion with the person posting, because the topic had little connection with the discussion under way, or was basically a personal marketing promotion rather than engaging in discussion. The moderators can block a post for ‘reason’ but must notify the other moderators and the person posting that the post has been blocked. In some cases there are culturally awkward discussions which are difficult to do on line, and easier face to face.

to subscribe and contribute go to:

https://ntlab.gr/mailman/listinfo/yasmin_discussions_ntlab.gr

Is STEM to STEAM just hot air ? The PhD in Art and Design to the Rescue ?

Colleagues,

In a previous post, we announced the Leonardo STEAM Initiative in Education (STEAMIE) where Tracie Constantino and Robert Root-Bernstein will be developing a peer reviewed literature of educational research studies of STEAM practices.

Is STEM to STEAM just hot air ? contribute to STEAMIE to demonstrate evidence that it’s not

Within this initiative, Ken Friedman and Jack Ox have been publishing a Leonardo Section on the recent appearance of the PhD in Art and Design in the STEAM landscape. I append the call below. Articles that have appeared in this section include:

PhD in Art and Design: Introduction. Ken Friedman , Jack Ox. 

Practice-Based Research in the Creative Arts: Foundations and Futures from the Front Line  and https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/LEON_a_01471

Here is the call:

Leonardo Call for Papers: PhD in Art and Design

Editors
Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS, is Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies at Tongji University; University Distinguished Professor at Swinburne University; and Adjunct Professor at James Cook University.

Jack Ox, PhD, MFA, Research Fellow at ART/SCI Lab, ATEC, UTDallas Research Associate with the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) University of New Mexico.

Scope
In 2017 Leonardo  celebrates 50 years of publishing work and research at the intersection of art, science and technology. As part of the celebrations, we are initiating a 3-year symposium that will address issues surrounding the development of the PhD in Art and Design.

Today, universities around the world are debating this issue. While the MFA is a terminal degree for professional practice, the PhD is a research degree—the doctor of philosophy. The debate began in the U.K. when independent art and design schools were merged with universities or raised to university status. This led to the question of equivalent standards for academic appointment to once-separate programs within now-unified universities. Universities in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America have now joined the conversation by establishing new PhD programs or initiating serious debates on whether—and how—to build them.

The question of the PhD for art and design raises many challenging issues. First among these is the nature of research, research training and the PhD. This issue may seem obvious to those who have earned a PhD in the natural sciences, social sciences or liberal arts, but it remains a complicated issue to address in understanding the PhD for art and design. What is the PhD in art? What is the PhD in design? What should a PhD be in a field of professional practice? Should there be several kinds of PhD in art and design or one major model? Why pursue such a degree? What is the nature of such a PhD with respect to research quality as distinct from the quality of art or design practice? Why are so many programs struggling or going wrong? Why do universities and accrediting authorities permit problematic programs to continue? Why, in the past, did artists interested in research choose to take a PhD in disciplines outside art? Are there specific skills all researchers require without respect to their discipline? These are questions to consider, and there are people who have something to say about them, including experienced supervisors. With this symposium, we are reaching out to those with solid experience in doctoral education to draw on their skills and wisdom.

The fresh debate on the PhD for art and design taking place in North American universities has global implications. This debate makes it imperative to consider the different models of doctoral education elsewhere in the world. Is it reasonable to earn a PhD for a practice-based thesis with an artifact or an exhibition in place of the thesis, accompanied by an essay of 20,000 words? Should doctoral programs admit students to research training programs without undergraduate experience in such key skills as analysis, rhetoric, logic or mathematics? Can undergraduate art and design students with a focus on studio skills hope to succeed in doctoral work when they have had little or no experience in the kinds of information seeking or writing that form the basis for earning a research degree? Is it possible to award PhD degrees for skills and capacities completely different from those in any established research field? In North America, an exhibition of artifacts with a short thesis is the basis for awarding an MFA degree; in the U.K. and Australia and at some European art schools, this is the basis for awarding a PhD. Is it possible to merge these two traditions?

The SEAD and STEAM Challenge
One of the specific challenges we face internationally is finding new ways to enable collaboration between science and engineering with the arts, design and the humanities (SEAD). The United States National Science Foundation funded aSEAD study(link is external) highlighting a number of international developments and best practices that inevitably will influence the question of the PhD in art and design. One of the areas in this study was the emerging discussion on “STEM to STEAM.”

Call for Papers
The PhD for art and design has become a significant issue in worldwide university education. As the world’s oldest peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal for the arts, sciences and technology, Leonardo has a responsibility to serve as a forum for the conversation. This symposium is our contribution to the emerging dialogue on this issue in North America and around the world.

We seek several kinds of contributions to a 3-year symposium on the PhD in art and design.

  • First, we seek full-length peer-reviewed articles for publication in the Leonardo addressing key issues concerning the PhD in art and design.
  • Second, we seek significant reports, research studies and case studies. Since these will be longer than journal articles, we will review them for journal publication as extended abstracts with references, and we will publish the full documents on the Leonardo website.
  • Finally, we will welcome Letters to the Editors in response to published articles and to the documents on the website.

Proposals and Inquiries
Interested authors should submit inquiries to Jack Ox(link sends e-mail) and manuscript proposals to Leonardo(link sends e-mail).

Manuscript Submissions
For detailed instructions for manuscript and art preparation, visit Information for Journal Authors.

To submit a completed manuscript, upload at Editorial Express(link is external).

https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/LEON_e_01472

 

Other inquiries to editor@leonardo.info

Is STEM to STEAM just hot air ? contribute to STEAMIE to demonstrate evidence that it’s not

Colleagues

There is an ongoing debate internationally on how to overcome disciplinary disadvantages to education in particular in STEM ( science, technology, engineering and math). This debate is millenia old ( See Joe Davis re Marcus Vitruvius Pollio ). Last century we had various initiatives to address the needs and potentials of polymaths…holistic studies.. integrative studies..interdisciplinary studies. There is nothing new under the sun.

So what’s new in the 21st century. Is there any evidence that the STEM to STEAM approach is useful or effective ?

In a recent report the SEAD network issue a report ( https://seadexemplars.org/about/  )  Alex Topete et al. ‘curated/juried/peer reviewed’ 20 exemplars of what we think STEM to STEAM is about. The qualitative evidences help us to define the STEM to STEAM territory.

Leonardo Journal Co-Editor Robert Root Bernstein has analysed extensive all the controlled , or semi controlled ) studies of stem to steam teaching. ( http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/leon/0/ja )

So what’s the next step in developing evidence for the variety of people we need to convince  ?

Leonardo is pleased to announce the Steam Initiative in Education ( yes STEAMIE for short ) through which we hope to aggregate evidence that is being developed internationally through a ’emerging topic’ call for papers, books etc  for Leonardo Publications.

This project is being co-edited by:

Prof Tracie Constantino, Rhode Island School of Design, see her article: STEAM by another name: Transdisciplinary practice in art and design education, Arts Education Policy Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10632913.2017.1292973 

And Leonardo Co-Editor Robert Root Bernstein….we provide the detailed call for papers and hope you will help us distribute it.

As you will see below, the call seeks to document and disseminate strong evidence based on contemporary science of learning, cognitive sciences, and education technology developments.

In parallel Kathryn Evans and Eun Ah Lee of UTD are re-launching our CDASH inventory of STEAM curricula and syllabi through a “cloud curriculum’ project originally initiated by Paul Thomas, Nina Czegledy and the Leonardo Education and Art Forum (LEAF) :

If you have curricula, and or syllabi you would like to share- go to https://cdash.atec.io/ 

So is STEM to STEAM just hot air, or can we develop the evidence that its a good thing ?

Call for Papers: LEONARDO STEAM Initiative on Education – STEAMIE

Section Co-Editors:

Tracie Constantino, Rhode Island School of Design, and Robert Root-Bernstein, Michigan State University

The STEAM movement, focused on integrating arts (broadly encompassing visual and performing arts, crafts and design) into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is well underway. We are avid advocates of this movement, but worry that integration of arts and sciences into curricula from K-12 through graduate and professional education is not supported by sufficiently rigorous pedagogical studies. If STEAM is to succeed, it must be underpinned by pedagogical principles, methods and materials that of high quality and reliability. Towards that end, the Editors of LEONARDO have decided to create a STEAM Initiative on Education that will devote a section of the journal to innovative, inspiring and important studies of STEAM pedagogies.

In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, we explicitly welcome diverse methodologies such as mixed methods designs and novel assessment methods designed to meet the special needs of STEAM educators. We particularly welcome studies employing well-designed, randomized class-room controls and utilizing well-validated learning measurement standards, but LEONARDO recognizes that one of the challenges of STEAM integration is that it may require new approaches to teaching and learning. We therefore welcome articles that are focused on the development and testing of novel approaches and methods for purveying and evaluating integrated learning.

We intend to set the bar high. We are not interested in studies that rely on student self-reports about whether they found a particular lesson plan “exciting” or “fun” or teacher opinions that the students were “more engaged”.  These effects may be real and they may be important, but the papers LEONARDO is looking for demonstrate that these effects impact learning, preferably over the long term. Our goal is to make sure that as STEAM education takes hold within our educational establishments, it does so in the most effective and useful ways.

Guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts can be found at: https://www.leonardo.info/preparing-your-materials-journals

Tracie Costantino (2017): STEAM by another name: Transdisciplinary practice

in art and design education, Arts Education Policy Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10632913.2017.1292973

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART 1. A Review of Studies Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Integrating Arts, Music, Performing, Crafts and Design into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical Education, Part 1: Summary of Evidence that Integration Is Professionally Useful and Effective. LEONARDO 2017:  doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01579 http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/leon/0/ja

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART II.  Review of ACD-STEMM Integration, Part 2: Statistically-Validated and Controlled Pedagogical Studies of the Root-Bernsteins’ “Tools for Thinking”. LEONARDO 2017: doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01580 http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/leon/0/ja

Root-Bernstein RS, Pathak A, Root-Bernstein MM. PART III. Review of ACD-STEMM Integration, Part 3: Statistically-Validated and Controlled Pedagogical Studies of Eleven  ACD-Integration Strategies Utilized by STEMM Professionals and General Conclusions. LEONARDO 2017: doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01581   http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/leon/0/ja  

Any other questions to  editor@leonardo.info