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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kinetica Art Fair

Living artwork, creations that come to life and experiential installations will be on show for the fourth Kinetica Art Fair 2012 - the UK's only art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light and time-based art. This hugely popular event – regularly attracting over 10,000 visitors – takes place from 9 – 12 February 2012 at Ambika P3, Marylebone Road, London NW1.

To see photos from Kinetica Art Fair 2011 CLICK HERE
For Kinetica Art Fair 2011 on BBC News CLICK HERE or go to

Check out the guy who is growing an ear on his arm!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Mark Hodgetts from the UK has sent a link to a very interesting article about replicators by Dr. Susan Blackmore. This article is about how Darwin's replicator theory was passing knowledge and aiding the selection process. Here she quotes Dawkins, 1976, p192, about the cultural implication of memes.

"We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. ... Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation."

I also like this example she gives, just one of many questions she poses.

"I previously gave the example of someone inventing a new recipe for pumpkin soup and passing it on to various relatives and friends (Blackmore 1999). The recipe can be passed on by demonstration, by writing the recipe on a piece of paper, by explaining over the phone, by sending a fax or e-mail, or (with difficulty) by tasting the soup and working out how it might have been cooked. It is easy to think up examples of this kind which make a mockery of drawing analogies with genotypes and phenotypes because there are so many different copying methods. Most important for the present argument, we must ask ourselves this question. Does information about the new soup only count as a meme when it is inside someone’s head or also when it is on a piece of paper, in the behaviour of cooking, or passing down the phone lines? If we answer that memes are only in the head then we must give some other role to these many other forms and, as we have seen, this leads to confusion."

She applies the use of memes to the creative process, "For example, let us suppose that at some particular time the most successful males were the meme fountains. Their biological success depended on their ability to copy the best tools or firemaking skills, but their general imitation ability also meant they wore the most flamboyant clothes, painted the most detailed paintings, or hummed the favourite tunes. In this situation mating with a good painter would be advantageous. Females who chose good painters would begin to increase in the population and this in turn would give the good painters another advantage, quite separate from their original biological advantage. That is, with female choice now favouring good painters, the offspring of good painters would be more likely to be chosen by females and so have offspring themselves. This is the crux of runaway sexual selection and we can see how it might have built on prior memetic evolution. "

Dr. Blakesmore makes distinction between the memes themselves and the machinery in and out of our brain that we have developed to aid the mematic process. She also suggests we look at those who copy (with errors and improvements) the actual thing and those who copy the instructions for the thing.

This could be a very interesting base of information for a DNA of Creativity project.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

George Hart

John Chalmers sends us this recommendation for the website of George Hart who uses rapid prototyping (RP) technology for a range of purposes, including art, math, and education.

Rapid Prototyping or Solid Freeform Fabrication refers to a range of new technologies which construct physical three-dimensional objects by assembling thin layers of material under computer control. Objects can be made which are extremely accurate, complex, and beautiful, and which no other technology can produce.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Art Basel Miami: Marco Brambilla

Art Basel Miami: Marco Brambillafrom Chris Wallace on

Video artist Marco Brambilla shares his densely hypnotic and kaleidoscopic 3D film RPM, commissioned by Ferrari in celebration of their latest auto masterpiece, the 458 Spider, and premiering at Art Basel Miami tonight. Assembling footage shot on location over several months at the Italian Formula One Grand Prix in Monza with imagery from the Scuderia Ferrari archives and the artist’s own recordings, RPM is a visceral, cubist representation of a Formula One driver’s state of mind during a race. “I wanted to make a portrait of speed,” says Brambilla, a life-long F1 fan. “Something as subjective as can be, that explores the connection of man and machine and tests the limits of human endurance.” Featuring Möbius strip racetracks, wind-gritted teeth and a howling soundtrack of throttling engines, RPM accelerates in complexity with every turn of the circuit. “[The film is] always accelerating,” says the artist, “just building, no payoff, no win.” The New York-based Brambilla, who created the digital tableau vivant for Kanye West’s “Power” and the 3D videos Evolution and Civilization, wanted to push the limits of his own aesthetic vocabulary with this project. “This one is a little bit different in that we used 3D as an editing tool,” he says. “As the piece speeds up, the multi-planing—the foreground, mid-ground and background objects—all cycle through each other to create an acceleration in 3D space.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Aliens and David Lynch - it's all about the light

Two new links for the beginning of this week:

Two scientist are looking for city lights on other worlds as a way of discovering aliens reported by Art Daily


David Lynch x Dom Pérignon on

Filmmaker Gavin Elder’s Hyperreal Portrait of the Iconic Director's Champagne Moment

Granted rare and uninhibited access to the creative process, Gavin Elder’s short captures auteur David Lynch at work shooting premier cuvée brand Dom Pérignon's new campaign. Only the second living artist, after Karl Lagerfeld, to have shot a campaign for the luxury champagne house, Lynch made a pilgrimage to the revered Abbey of Hautvillers to take inspiration from the place where Dom Pierre Pérignon first combined wines to craft perfect blends—or "cuvees"—in the 17th century. After decamping to an L.A. studio, Lynch embarked upon an experimental shoot illuminating the iconic label's crest and silhouetted bottle with showers of welding sparks, phosphorescent flames and lasers. Elder's document of the resultant shoot is an audio-visual collage juxtaposing the screen icon's voice with his own abstracted imagery. “David is somebody who is all about the pursuit of originality and experimentation, and that is what we wanted to get across in our film,” he says. “Lynch has such an interest in how sound marries with image; through that I feel we really accessed his approach.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Forensic Aesthetics

Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Two-Day Forum On and With Objects

Friday, November 4, 2011, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn

Saturday, November 5, 2011, 11:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Parading the Object
The New School, Wollman Hall
65 West 11th Street (enter at 66 West 12th Street), 5th Floor
New York City

While legal and cultural scholars have labeled the third part of the 20th century–with its particular attention to testimony–as the "era of the witness," the emergence of forensics in legal forums and popular entertainment signifies a new attention to the communicative capacity, agency, and power of things. Today's legal and political decisions are often based upon the capacity to display and read DNA samples, 3D laser scans, nanotechnology, and the enhanced vision of electromagnetic microscopes and satellite surveillance. The aesthetic dimension of forensics includes its means of presentation, the theatrics of its delivery, the forms of image and gesture. The forensic aesthetics of the present carries with it grave political and ethical implications, spreading its impact across socioeconomic, environmental, scientific, and cultural domains.

The lectures and roundtable discussions by the participating artists, scholars and curators investigate these issues in a series of forums organized around a number of disputed objects.

Presented by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and co-sponsored and co-organized with Cabinet Magazine, The Forensic Architecture ERC Project at The Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London, and The Human Rights Project at Bard College, on occasion of the Vera List Center's 2011-2013 focus theme "Thingness."

Friday, November 4, 2011, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Osteobiographies: Presentations
magazine, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn
Free admission

"Grave diggers" have, since the middle of the 1980s, been unearthing bones and turning burial sites into an epistemic resource from which the details of war crimes can be reconstructed and brought into the pale of the law. The practice of forensic teams, including archaeologists, anthropologists, pathologists, radiologists, dental experts, bio-data technicians, DNA specialists and statisticians of all sorts, mark a shift in emphasis from the living to the dead, from memory and trauma to empirical science, and from subjects to objects in accounting for atrocities.

Thomas Keenan, Bard College
Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths, University of London

Eric Stover, writer and faculty director, The Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
Grupa Spomenik / Monument Group: Damir Arsenijevic, Branimir Stojanovic, and Milica Tomić, Belgrade, Serbia

Saturday, November 5, 2011, 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Parading the Object: Three Roundtable Discussions
The New School, Wollman Hall, 55 West 11th Street (enter at 66 West 12th Street), 5th floor
Free Admission

Organized as forum for people and things, the presentations are set in a theatrical arena arranged around a number of disputed objects. Introductions by Thomas Keenan and Eyal Weizman.

Roundtable I: Forensic Architecture
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Buildings are both sensors and agents; they materialize political and economical forces, and also the events that befall them. Buildings undergo constant formal transformations in response to forces and some of these processes can be reconstructed through structural calculations, blast analyses, and the determination of the failure points of structures, details, and forms.

Nikolaus Hirsch, Städelschule, Frankfurt a.M., Germany, moderator
Eve Hinman, Hinman Consulting Engineers, New York/San Francisco
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia
Norman Weiss, GSAPP, Columbia University

Lunch Break 1:00–2:00 p.m.

Roundtable II: Constructed Evidence: The Thing Makes Its Forum
2:00–3:30 p.m.

What if the object is not a "witness" but an entity constructed for the express purpose of creating or activating the forum? Such an object might map the diffused networks of informal or illegal labor, or be called upon to narrate historical events in the absence of evidentiary materials.

Susan Schuppli, Goldsmiths, University of London, moderator
Amber Horning, John Jay College, New York
Sara Jordeno, artist, New York
Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design
Arne Svenson, artist, New York

Roundtable III: Animism
4:00–5:30 p.m.

Whenever the passive/active nexus between object and subject, humans and the non-human is disturbed or even reversed–as in the coming-to-life of seemingly dead matter, the becoming autonomous of inert things–we inevitably step into the territory of animism: that non-modern worldview that conceives of things as animated and possessing agency. With regards to Forensic Aesthetics, the historical discourse of animism provides a foil for a reflection on the boundaries at stake.

Anselm Franke, moderator
Brigid Doherty, Princeton University
Spyros Papapetros, Princeton University
Hugh Raffles, The New School for Social Research

Closing Remarks
5:30–6:00 p.m.
Srdjan Jovanovich Weiss, Tyler School of Art, Architecture Department, Temple University

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nathalie Miebach weather data as sculpture and music

TED Talks Artist Nathalie Miebach takes weather data from massive storms and turns it into complex system which is a sculpture, a musical composition, and a 3D visualization of data. This challenges the way visual information is used. Ilona J. Passino turned us on to this interesting TED lecture.

Friday, October 21, 2011

John Chalmers Scientist / Music Theorist

Our own John Chalmers in the Sonic Sky
Chalmers Interview from Sonic Sky on Vimeo. Don't forget to checkout
The Sonic Sky click here

Sunday, October 9, 2011

CERN: Where Art And Science Collide

Mark Rodman Smith sent me a link to share. You can address it by clicking here.

    It is a wonderful article by Ariane Koek and I think everyone in this project should read it. The last half of the article is extremely important especially for our quest here at the DNA of creativity. From an aesthetic point of view; what she is doing at CERN is almost exactly what we propose to do here at the DNA of creativity.
     I am also happy to find this article since it reinforces a lot of what I have been telling people for a long time: mainly that you have to know and understand the differences between art and science as well as understand the similarities to really approach creating new fully integrated expressions. Most Sciart is art illustrating scientific ideas, naturally making art subservient to the scientific aesthetic. In her essay Ms Koek lays out four different ways that art and science have been co-mingled, with three of them resulting in a failure. While we here at the DNA of creativity have said very similar things, I’d like to add some commentary on some parts of the essay. The following is an excerpt from her essay:

 Let me explain this fourth and more subtle strand in full. Arts and science are similar in that they are expressions of what it is to be human in this world. Both are driven by curiosity, discovery, the aspiration for knowledge of the world or oneself, and perhaps, as the conceptual artist Goshka Macuga said on her recent visit to Cern, a desire for world domination. She was half joking. But they express themselves in different ways: the arts through the body and mind, often driven by the exploration of the ego, contradictions and the sheer messiness of life; science through equations, directed, collaborative research and experimentation that works in a progressive, linear fashion. 

     There have been tremendous efforts and vast writing about what is similar between art and science, yet little is written about what is different. The second paragraph attempts to describe these differences, but I believe more can be said. When one says that art is expressed through the body and mind, one must think about the difference between craft and design. Craft is an expression that relies on physical prowess, while design relies on mental prowess. So, in effect, we are really talking about the dual aspects that concern the mixture of craft and design as they pertain to aesthetics. Just about every artistic expression has a multitude of aesthetic categories embedded within it (polyaesthetics, if you will). I think that aesthetics cannot be discussed with any accuracy unless you describe it polyaesthetically and address and categorize the experience in terms of their aesthetic components. To understand how polyaesthetic categorization works please click on this link.
     To further discuss some differences between the aesthetics of science and art, I would like to define a couple of aesthetic terms that I commonly use. I define the aesthetics of ‘pure’ art as an expression that finds its aesthetic in the realm of direct experience (no thinking, so to speak). When you look at an expression of ‘pure’ art you react to it, you don’t have to know anything about it or what it means. This is where I believe the dilettante expression -- “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” -- comes from. I define the aesthetics of ‘pure’ science as an expression that finds its aesthetics in the realm of thinking. (The beauty of thinking, you will.) The aesthetics of thinking is what makes science so beautiful, especially the formal sciences like mathematics. Understandably, there are very few expressions in our experience that fit perfectly and solely into these two categories. Just about every aesthetic expression out there is a combination of these two aesthetics, as well as many others.
    Now I must mention one other big difference between the expressions of science and the expressions of art, and this difference concerns itself with culture. I have coined a term that I call “Cultural Magnitude” which describes the size or magnitude of the culture the expression identifies or illuminates. Does the expression actually identify a culture? ‘Pure’ art always seems to fall into categories of expression within cultures, delineated as ‘civilizations of people’. Therefore most art would fall into the category of large cultural magnitude.
     I believe that science tries to create expressions that are universal in their intent and not ‘owned’ by any culture, even though at a philosophical level it may be impossible. Yet, in the vernacular, we don’t make science solely for the Chinese or Egyptians; or any other culture for that matter. We make it with the expectations that it will work for anyone. That said, we can look at the other side of the coin and notice that all scientific thought is created in a cultural setting.
      Cultures do create science, but do the scientific concepts identify the culture? Does the decimal point bring thoughts of Hindus? When learning calculus do you get visions of England or Germany? When you ponder Pascal’s triangle do you think of the Chinese, Persians or French? Do these cultures ‘own’ these ideas? What culture ‘owns’ scientific ideas? Is it the group of scientists that create it, or is it the universe that practices it? It is certain that you can study the cultures that surround the scientific concepts, but again the big question is: Does the concept express the culture? If it is truly a universal concept, then it expresses no culture, even though a culture produced it and ‘cultural magnitude’ is a moot point. If you think of culture as being any small group of people, then it can be said that a scientific concept may express the thought process of the group of scientists that produced it. Therefore the cultural magnitude is very small due to the cultural size being small.

So we must ask what are the cultural differences between science and art?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cymatics: the study of sound forming patterns

I became fascinated by cymatics when I found some books that showed how sound can organize matter into patterns. Since ancient times, sound has been used to stimulate healing in body, mind and soul. Pythagoras, the sixth-century B.C. Greek philosopher, is credited with being the first to use music to heal the body and the emotions. The eighteenth-century German scientist and musician Ernst Chladni, known as the father of acoustics, showed that sound does affect matter. When he drew a violin bow around the edge of a plate covered with fine sand, the sand formed intricate geometric patterns.

These patterns resemble what is seen in our world: the rings of a tree, the patterns on a turtles back, the shape of a starfish, and much more. This is intriguing, this relationship between the world of sound of vibration, and the form it imprints as it organizes matter.

Here's a link to an article I wrote when I saw similarities between my own art and sound patterns:
And a website of a friend in the UK:

Hope you enjoy pondering this connection.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Treading over old trends

I was cruising though some of my archived articles on art and science when I came across this review called DNART by Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker of Oct 2, 2000. Schjeldahl spoke of a show called PARADISE NOW: Picturing the Genetic Revolution at the Exit Art Gallery in New York.

In this show, most artists took the bits of information about DNA and how it can be manipulated and made conceptual art. "The artworks addressed a number of major issues, including: Race – the implications of genetic research confirming that humans of all races are 99.9 percent genetically the same; Economics – ownership of genes and whether they should be patented and sold to the highest bidder; Reproduction – germ-line gene therapy and how it could be used to design babies and/or improve the health of human beings before they are born; privacy – DNA identification and who has access to the information; Health – how gene therapy and new technologies will be used to prevent and treat disease; Food Safety – risks and benefits of genetically engineered food crops and animals."

But what struck me was the statement by Schjedahl, "Art used to crown civilization. Now it skitters through seams and around corners, eagerly parasitic." He does not doubt that the work is art, but questions if this is the highest possible place for artists to put their energies.

That is why in the DNA of Creativity we are urging artist and scientist to come together at the very beginning of the process of collaboration. Art is not to use science or vice versa, but this should be a mutually interactive process of creativity. Yes, we are setting the bar high and are looking with great anticipation for the results of this multiple effort.

If you have not yet taken the DNA of Creativity survey, please do so soon.

Post by Patricia Frischer, coordinator of SDVAN

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SenseCam Video Diary Aid for Memory

This amazing little camera that you wear and take pictures automatically of your day is improving the lives of patience with memory lost. I first read about this in a New Yorker article about Gordan Bell in 2007 and now it is available. By watching the photo record, people are able to remember what happened to them. It must have something to do with seeing the images again that cements it in the brain.

Originally a Microsoft Research project designed to help those with Alzheimer’s disease, the small camera created by researchers at the Cambridge Lab is worn on a lanyard around the neck and takes photos whenever movement is spotted or a person approaches.

A company called Vicon had licensed the production rights from Microsoft in order to launch the camera as the “Vicon Revue.” And now it’s available for purchase.

According the product’s website, the Revue contains a color VGA resolution sensor (640 x 480 pixels), temperature sensor, light color and intensity sensor, passive infra-red motion detector, multi-axis accelerometer, 3-axis magnetometer (compass), battery and flash memory. And it’s fitted with a fish-eye lens to provide a full 130 degree field of view.Also, the battery lasts for 24 hours between charges, the website claims. It can hold a shocking number of images – around 30,000 or 6 days worth of capture.

Here is a little video about the Sensecam and then a video movie of activities by someone reviewing the system.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thurs Oct 13, Art and Science Forum

David Borgo, Associate Professor of Music, UCSD
James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science, UCSD.
" Sync or Swarm - The Complex Dynamics of Improvisation and Influence"
Thursday, October 13, 2011, 7:00 PM
The Neurosciences Institute auditorium
TIckets: Free and Required* Complete Details Below
An evening of improvisational conversation between two disparate individuals: David Borgo, a jazz musician (and much more) together with James Fowler, an expert on social networks (and much more). An evening of music and science at the margins.
Possible topics for discussion:
The emotional content of music and language and how small changes can make a big difference. The influence of Gatherings or Jam sessions. Finding one’s own voice. Working at the margins and why the improbable is important. What is borrowed and what is original and the role of luck.
and possibly tackling Big Questions. What is creativity? What is genius? What is unique? What is elegance? How do we know when it arises?
And following, audience participation with your questions and comments.
A very big evening - and a bit of jazz.
The evening’s distinguished Presenters
DAVID BORGO is an Associate Professor of Music at UCSD. Throughout his career he has integrated creative work as an instrumentalist, improviser and composer with scholarly research focused on the social, cultural, historical and cognitive dimensions of music-making. His book, Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age, looks through the lens of contemporary science to illuminate the process of improvising music and it explores the ability of improvisation to offer a visceral engagement with the emerging scientific notions of chaos and complexity.
In 1994, David won first prize at the International John Coltrane Competition, and since that time he has released seven CDs and one DVD and has toured internationally, including performances in Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Brazil. In 2006, David’s book was awarded the Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology as the most distinguished book in the field. David currently performs with his electro-acoustic duo KaiBorg, which explores the intersections between live audio and video processing and free improvisation, and with his sextet Kronomorfic, which explores polymetric time.

JAMES FOWLER is Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science, UCSD.
James Fowler earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1992, a master's degree in International Relations from Yale University in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University the in 2003. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador from 1992 to 1994.
He was recently named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.
James's work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences. His primary areas of research are social networks, behavioral economics, evolutionary game theory, political participation, cooperation, and genopolitics (the study of the genetic basis of political behavior). James Fowler and colleagues have published numerous scientific papers showing links between our genetics, and in some cases, specific genes with some of our behavioral characteristics such as our political ideology and our voting tendencies. This research has examined the correlation in parent and child partisanship, our willingness to be adventurous, or not within certain group settings. These studies have provided evidence for a link between our genetics and our behavior.
Together with Nicholas Christakis, Dr. Fowler has written the well received book: Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. James has also been featured on numerous television shows including two appearances on The Colbert Report .
TICKET DETAILS Tickets are free and can only be obtained online at :
Please Register and print out your ticket(s) and bring them with you. Showing your tickets will facilitate the orderly admittance process.
IF however, you misplace your tickets, Do Not order replacement tickets. Your name will have been placed on the signup list when you ordered your ticket and we will have this list. Please do not re-order.
Please be seated no later than 6:50, at which time any non-ticketed individuals will be admitted, to the seating capacity of the auditorium.
Anticipate that this Forum may be over subscribed. Plan accordingly.

Ron Newby

Founder and Curator

The Bronowski Art&Science Forum

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Puzzles of the Brain

Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist's Journey through Amnesia

Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist's Journey through Amnesia

The Walters is partnering with the Cognitive Science Department of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Science at The Johns Hopkins University to present a focus show of approximately 25 works exploring the impact of severe brain damage on the life and creativity of an artist. The show will tell the story of Lonni Sue Johnson, a successful artist who drew for The New Yorker. She suffered severe amnesia resulting from an attack of encephalitis in late 2007. The illness caused substantial brain damage, resulting in the complete loss of artistic productivity. Through intensive art therapy led by her mother Margaret Kennard Johnson (also an accomplished artist), Johnson began to produce a portfolio of “recovery art.” Her art provides unique insight into the devastating effects of amnesia, as well as the complementary roles played by language and memory in her artistic expression. Johnson's case gives researchers a rare opportunity to contribute to the scientific understanding of brain function and art, and to apply that understanding to an appreciation of the synergies between art and science.

Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist's Journey through Amnesia has been organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland in partnership with the Cognitive Science Department of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University. The exhibition received generous support from The Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute, and the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brighwater Treatment Plant in Seattle

Brightwater Treatment Plant. Planned and built over the last 15 years, Brightwater serves the region with state-of-the-art wastewater treatment that is housed in a beautifully restored and constructed landscape of native plants, salmon spawning waters and public amenities. 4Culture is very proud and excited to present artwork by ten remarkable artists that expresses the science and poetry of the lifecycle of water and the treatment plant itself. Read more...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Earth Movers and Shakers

SIN CITY SANDBOX: This adult sandbox in Las Vegas isn't for Tonka Trucks

A business owner has created what amounts to a life-sized sandbox for adults, who pay up to $750 each to push around dirt, rock and huge tires with the earth-moving construction equipment. All it takes is a 10-minute classroom lesson and guidance from trainers through headsets. Can you say sand castle competitions, heavy equipment, and the sandbox ain't for kids anymore?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lost Leonardo may be found with the help of Gamma Camera

From Mark Rodman Smith we get this update from the New York Times on the scientific help being given to Art History at UCSD:

FLORENCE — For decades scholars have labored to find a lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, believed by many to be hidden behind a fresco by Giorgio Vasari in the Palazzo Vecchio here. Now — thanks to an unusual marriage of art history and nuclear physics, partly arranged by an unassuming freelance photographer — the quest may soon be over.

Better yet, it may end with a photographic image of the lost mural.

The complex tale begins in the 1970s, when the Florentine art historian Maurizio Seracini became convinced that the mural, “The Battle of Anghiari,” hailed by some in Leonardo’s era as his finest work, was lurking behind the wall-sized Vasari in the Hall of Five Hundred, for centuries the seat of Florence’s government.

With its violent, bucking horses and bloodthirsty soldiers brandishing swords in the scrum of warfare, “The Battle of Anghiari,” which Leonardo began in 1505 and appears to have abandoned the following year, was hailed as a triumph and copied by many artists until it mysteriously disappeared sometime in the mid-16th century. (A well-known Rubens drawing in the Louvre was inspired by an anonymous copy of the wall-size battle scene.)

A combination of historical sleuthing and scientific analysis led Mr. Seracini to venture that Vasari covered Leonardo’s oil painting with a protective wall, then painted his own fresco on top, where it remains today. (Vasari was commissioned to create the fresco in 1563 by members of the Medici family, who had returned to power after an interlude of republican government.)

In the 1970s Mr. Seracini, who runs the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the University of California, San Diego, and is a professor at its school of engineering, noticed the words “cerca trova” — “seek and you shall find” — painted on a battle standard in Vasari’s fresco, a tantalizing clue that first piqued his interest.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When two tribes meet: collaborations between artists and scientists

Science and art are often considered opposites – so what happens when top practitioners in each field collaborate? The results, finds Stuart Jeffries can be seismic. This article comes from the, Sunday 21 August 2011 21.30 BST

Yes, Leonardo da Vinci was both artist and inventor. True, Brian Cox was in that band before he gave it all up for the Large Hadron Collider. But in general, art and science seem to eye each other uncomprehendingly. Medical research charity the Wellcome Trust has long tried to make artists and scientists work fruitfully together by funding collaborations. Can the divide ever be breached? I talked to four scientists and four artists who have worked together to find out.

The artist and the geneticist

Just before 9/11, Marc Quinn did a portrait of Sir John Sulston, one of the genetic scientists who decoded the human genome. "At the moment this divisive attack happened, John's work and this portrait were suggesting that we are all connected – in fact that everything living is connected to everything else," Quinn says.

It was a radical departure for portraiture. Certainly few sitters contribute, as Sulston did, a sample of DNA from his sperm. That sample was cut into segments and treated so they could be replicated in bacteria. The bacteria was spread on agar jelly and placed under glass, forming a portrait about A4 size. "Some say it's an abstract portrait, but I say it's the most realistic portrait in the National Portrait Gallery," says Quinn. "It carries the instructions that led to John and shows his ancestry back to the beginning of the universe."

"Well, yes," says Sulston, "but DNA gives the instructions for making a baby, not an adult. There's a lot more to me than DNA."

A decade after their collaboration, Quinn and Sulston are meeting in the artist's east London studio. Did the collaboration change each man's attitudes towards the other's discipline? "I still think science is looking for answers and art is looking for questions," says Quinn.

"Science simply means finding out about stuff, but in that process science is the greatest driver of culture," says Sulston. "When you do something like decode the human genome, it changes your whole perspective. In terms of genetic manipulation we're not just looking for answers but modifying what's there."

That is very much the focus of Quinn's recent work. Last year, his White Cube show featured a sculpture called Catman, depicting Dennis Avner, who has been tattooed to look like a cat, and another of Allanah Starr, a transsexual woman who, according to the blurb, "has changed her body into the idealisation of femininity even though she also has a penis". Quinn says: "They're about the fantasy of being someone else – you can be a man or a woman, anything. We've always had those fantasies and now science is making them possible."

Quinn says Sulston's portrait was important to his later work. He shows us his painting of a human iris in the studio. "I've made a lot of work since, to do with eyes and fingerprints, because we are controlled so much more by scans of abstract data about ourselves." As for Sulston, since he finished working on the human genome, he has become concerned with ethical questions to do with the application of his work to police DNA databases and civil liberties.

The collaboration came about when Quinn was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, with the support of the Wellcome Trust, to do Sulston's portrait. "John did all the work," says Quinn. The artist, at least, decided on the portrait's frame. "People can see themselves in the reflective surround, which highlights that we're all connected – one of the great messages of the Human Genome Project.

"Because it's true, isn't it, that our DNA is 90% the same as bananas'?" asks Quinn. "Well, no, actually it's more like 50%," clarifies Sulston, who won the Nobel prize in

2002. "Our DNA is about 90% the same as other mammals." Our material connection with everything else, not just our world but in the universe, clearly appeals to Quinn: no wonder that his Iris painting from 2009 is subtitled We Share Our Chemistry with the Stars.

In Quinn's most famous work, Self (1991), he made a sculpture from a cast of his head filled with nine pints of his own deep-frozen blood. It is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding us of the fragility of existence. Every five years since 1991, he has replaced what he calls a "frozen moment" on life support, with a new transfusion of his own blood. He calls it an ongoing project, while the portrait of Sulston is suspended in time for ever; once the Nobel laureate dies, there is something of him preserved in this picture, a code from which, perhaps, he could be cloned.

Go to the following link to read three more case studies

The poet and the speech scientist

The photographer and the physiologist

The theatre director and the neuroscientist

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Center for Innovation in Seattle

This report from Art Daily: The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) today announced that it has received a generous gift of $10 million from Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive officer of Seattle-based The grant will be used to establish the “Center for Innovation” at the new MOHAI opening in late fall of 2012 in the historic Naval Reserve Building (Armory) at Lake Union Park, a few blocks from the new campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Bezos’ contribution to MOHAI is the largest in the museum’s 59-year history.

"Look at the disproportionate number of extraordinary organizations founded in Seattle – Microsoft, Costco, Boeing, Fred Hutch, PACCAR—even UPS was founded here. These companies and their innovations have had a big impact on Seattle, the country, and the world,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. “There’s something about Seattle that has made it an unusually good place to innovate, and the MOHAI Center for Innovation will help Seattle continue on that course by showcasing and teaching how industrial innovation can play an important role in human advancement. New treatments, affordable flight, a computer on every desk—the core activities of these Seattle organizations have created benefit for people at home and around the world.”

“We are deeply grateful for the support and inspiration from Jeff Bezos to open the new MOHAI Center for Innovation,” said Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of the Museum of History & Industry. “Jeff is one of the leading visionaries and inventors of our time, and we are fortunate to have him in our own backyard, helping continue Seattle's renown for large-scale innovation. This new initiative is perfectly aligned with the Museum of History & Industry's mission and we look forward to telling the story of how Seattle companies have played a role in human advancement and to educating thousands of young people and adults alike in the years to come on the past, present, and future of innovation in Seattle.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Microtonal Music

Microtonal composer Harry Partch (above) was a Regents professor at UCSD during its inception year 1967 - I was his assistant at that time. His visionary concepts helped to shape my life . His 'just intonation' method was inspired by the Greeks and was scientifically based on the harmonic series, with the intervals based on integer ratios.  

I would like to share a website that may introduce you to the field of microtonal music. This is John Starrett's website which is a great source of information on microtonal music.  Here Other interesting sites are my site Here  and Joe Monzo's site Here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The sameness of organisms, cities and corporations: Q&A with Geoffrey West

Dr.Geoffrey West is lecturing at SDMA but you can read this Q&A from his Ted Lecture which touches on the DNA of Cities. Very interesting to think of cities and countries as well as companies as organisms. Mr. West if a Theoretical physicist and expert on the fundamental laws of cities,

The sameness of organisms, cities, and corporations: Q&A with Geoffrey West

You may also want to check out the article in the New York Times in which he is quoted:

West says. “What the data clearly shows, and what she (Jane Jacobs) was clever enough to anticipate, is that when people come together, they become much more productive.”

“It’s like being on a treadmill that keeps on getting faster,” West says. “We used to get a big revolution every few thousand years. And then it took us a century to go from the steam engine to the internal-­combustion engine. Now we’re down to about 15 years between big innovations. What this means is that, for the first time ever, people are living through multiple revolutions. And this all comes from cities. Once we started to urbanize, we put ourselves on this treadmill. We traded away stability for growth. And growth requires change.”

West speaks of the impermanence of the corporation but unlike companies, which are managed in a top-down fashion by a team of highly paid executives, cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it alive.”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bio Teams - Watching Nature To Understand Teamwork

Here is a link to the BioTeam Blog Interview with Ken Thompson:

Ken Thompson - Bio-teaming and Swarm Teams

Summary notes added by P. Frischer: Information obtained from observing nature’s team. For example, in migration, there is not one leader who knows the way. Instead everyone has a bit of the knowledge and the leader changes as the journey progresses.

Team Intelligence – working for collective success

Treat every member of the team as a leader

Everyone communicate to everyone – short messages (texting or emails or blog communications)

Learn by experimentation – don’t spend too much time planning

Work may start from a nucleus but expand the team to get full benefit from all members.

Summary of video above:

1. Karma Check – set goals of the team, set expectation. Trust Breakers –free loader comes to the meeting to see if it will work. If you are free loader of the month twice, you don’t contribute and are out. If you don’t come to three meetings you are out with the three strike rule

2. Clear rules of engagement - Write down all that is agreed. The 5% that is not agreed caused 95% of the problems. What information is shared. Try to agree on shared values and behaviors

3. Don’t fly to close to hit each other, but stayed alignment and stay close together.

4. Look for collective success – if you only looking out for yourself, the team will fail. Have early warning systems to see if the team is still functioning

5. Strong ties to ask for help when you need it and trust that is OK

6. Weak ties to get new input – use as grapevine, use for short term solution

7. Three types of wisdom – a. wisdom of group, the average answer is the best, b. collective intelligence (identify the one who know the subject the best and use it) or c. the leader decides. All are useful at different times.

Monday, July 25, 2011

London's rolling bridge

The curling - or rolling - bridge in Paddington Basin, London, is a unique design by Thomas Heatherwick. Instead of flipping open or turning sideways, as more conventional bridges do, this one curls into an octogonal roll to open and then uncurls again. This pedestrian bridge is a wonderful piece of architectural art. The bridge opens every Friday at noon. The concept could be used for all sorts of amazing things.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Felena Hanson Shares a Business Perspective on Creativity

Hear more from this dynamic San Diego business leader and entrepreneur whose latest venture is a collaborative work, meeting, and event space for female entrepreneurs called Hera Hub. This unique concept offers hourly, daily, and monthly space for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and authors. Creativity in Business at its BEST in Art West Agency's 'Interviews on Creativity'.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thought Festival

Portia La Touche sent us this link to a "denkfest" that she found through her work with Invetch.

She likes this concept of “thought festival” and wonder how we might employ it.

Organised by the Freethinkers Association of Switzerland, denkfest aims to promote the public's understanding of science and the approach to critical and innovative thinking, in an entertaining atmosphere. In German, denkfest, is a play with words, meaning both "think hard" and "thought festival".

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

San Diego Artist and Sculptor, Jeffrey Steorts, Provides Mindful Approach to Creativity

Travel with Art West Agency on a journey with San Diego artist and sculptor, Jeffrey Steorts. His mindful approach to inspiration and creativity captivates the mind and penetrates the spirit. See the latest in the series of Art West Agency's 'Interviews on Creativity'.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SybioticA and the Visceral Project

Lisa Carrie Goldberg used to write the newsletter for SymbioticA form the University of Western Australia and has sent us her selection of links of interest that they gathered. We first read about their Visceral Project in Science Magazine. The exhibition explored and provoked questions about scientific truths, what constitutes living and the ethical and artistic implications of life manipulation. Check out these links which are on a variety of subjects.

Check out Lisa's own sites on her Somnolence Drawing project

We are also including links sent to us by Naimeh Tahna:

Bay Area Science Fair:

and another cool one Your DNA Song

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How Accurate are computer images?

These images are all CGI - computer graphics

Art Meets Medicine: Surgeons Carry Out First Synthetic Windpipe Transplant 'tailor made trachea & two main bronchi made of glass'

Professor Paolo Macchiarini from Italy...

"Thanks to nanotechnology, this new branch of regenerative medicine, we are now able to produce a custom-made windpipe within two days or one week.

"This is a synthetic windpipe. The beauty of this is you can have it immediately. There is no delay. This technique does not rely on a human donation."

Scientists at University College London were able to craft a perfect copy of a trachea and two main bronchi out of glass.

San Diego scientist and web designer, Terry Williams, introduced this article. He began thinking about medical ‘art’ as an interesting ‘science’ and asked me questions that I’d like to share with our audience: Presented with this achievement and how it was done, how would artists portray their feelings? Science overcoming disease, regeneration, conquest of death or at least holding it at bay for awhile become interesting constructs. How do artists use knowledge of cells and biochemistry to recreate vital organs? How would artists work with this knowledge and what would they create? How does an artist portray precision knowledge and microscopic technique?

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