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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aaron Koblin: Artfully visualizing our humanity

One more from Tom Sergott. This is an astonishing young man doing amazing things. The video is from his lecture in 2011 at TED.

Aaron Koblin: Artfully visualizing our humanity | Video on

About this talk

Artist Aaron Koblin takes vast amounts of data -- and at times vast numbers of people -- and weaves them into stunning visualizations. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone data, from a Johnny Cash video assembled from crowd-sourced drawings to the "Wilderness Downtown" video that customizes for the user, his works brilliantly explore how modern technology can make us more human.

About Aaron Koblin

Aaron Koblin is an artist specializing in data and digital technologies. His work takes real world and community-generated data and uses it to reflect on cultural trends and the changing relationship… Full bio and more links

After you watch the video, then check out these two links.

Here is the link to The Johnny Cash Project
Here is the link to Wildness Downtown

Edith Widder: The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence

Sent to us by Tom Sergott, this is a link to a lecture from TED from 2011. Thank you, Tom

Edith Widder: The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence | Video on

About this talk

In the deep, dark ocean, many sea creatures make their own light for hunting, mating and self-defense. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder was one of the first to film this glimmering world. At TED2011, she brings some of her glowing friends onstage, and shows more astonishing footage of glowing undersea life.

About Edith Widder

Edith Widder combines her expertise in research and technological innovation with a commitment to stopping and reversing the degradation of our marine environment. Full bio and more links


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vote for Leo

Our own Leo Bleicher has entered a math art contest. Check out his wonderful entries here. Or enter the contest yourself - However, let us know if you do enter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

From New Museum to Nerd Museum: Assessing the Arty Inventions Hatched at AOL's 7 on 7 Conference

By Karen Archey
Published: May 16, 2011

Compelling and ambitious was Emily Roysdon and Kellan Elliot-McCrea's, a site prompted by, among other things, a shared interest in considering Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's recent disappearance. The site creates a platform through which one may bring various moments of political history or forgotten ideas from the past "forward" in hope of rekindling discussion of them. Roysdon and Elliot-McCrea did an excellent job of creating a clear, utilizable structure, though maintaining dialogue about such slippery concepts may be tough in the long run (among ideas people have so far decided they would like to see brought "forward" are "Goddess Worship," "Zeppelins," and "The Holistic Organics Movement.")

Next up were young internet darlings Ricardo Cabello (mr. doob) and moot (Chrisotpher Poole). Inspired by the ideas of metalayering, Youtube annotation comments, as well as mr. doob's multiuser sketchpad and the collaborative, anarchic online game, the duo created the fantastically-titled, a site that allows annotations on webpages.

Camille Utterback and Erica Saduncame together around the Japanese concept "sabi" — roughly translated to English as the beauty and authority that an object gains with age — and how this idea might be applied to the mercurial realm of consumer technology. Sadun set to work writing code for an iPad2 photo application that captures images by the prompt of a violent shake, and another that burns images into the iPad picture plane based on the length of time that a user just lets the device be. The results are odd Cubist style abstract photo-mosaics with a Zen undercurrent. While it remains dubious how well the duo engaged the notion of "sabi" (it seems as if the idea of creating a patina on software remains paradoxical), Utterback and Sadun did succeed amazingly in producing an iPad2 app that may well have commercial viability — and the results looked pretty cool to boot.

Last up was team Rashaad Newsome and Jeri Ellsworth, a collaboration seemingly lacking a "a-ha" moment, which likely could have used additional time. Ellsworth simply created a monstrous-looking instrument-thing that distorts and "yodelizes" sound imput. The two then put this to work in relationship to Newsome's "Shade Compositions" video, which turns the body language and tics of African American women into a kind of symphony.

The final verdict? While it's apparent that a few of the 2011 "Seven on Seven" teams didn't necessarily hit a magic moment in their day-long collaborations (and who could blame them?), others most certainly did, notably Bell-Smith and Baio, as well as Roysdon and Elliot-McCrea. Although "Seven on Seven" will never certainly predict sure-fire successful collaborations, there's much beauty in watching the experimentation and alternate success or failure of its participating duos. And in the end, there's a lot to be said for a technology-oriented initiative in which some shooting blindly and failing is not only supported, but built into its core.

This article comes from Art Info

Sent to us by Tom Sergott

Friday, May 13, 2011

Art/Science Initiative at University of Chicago

This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.

—Albert Einstein

Check out their video on their joint speaker series March, 2011

Creating Distinctive Collaborations

The cross fertilization between the arts and science is emerging as a dynamic new intellectual endeavor. How can each of these respective disciplines enrich and influence the other’s culture of inquiry, working methods and forms of creative investigation? The Arts|Science Initiative seeks to actively pursue these ideas, explore the crosscurrents where new disciplinary exchange is taking place, and advance a distinctive collaborative research agenda.

A University-wide endeavor, the Arts|Science Initiative was formed in partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts and Provost’s Office, with the support of the Divisions of the Biological and Physical Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories.


To break new ground and probe big questions, both artists and scientists know they must travel across disciplines and venture into unknown territories. This pioneering spirit of collaborative research and teaching environments which transcend academic borders is integral to the University and its mission. The Arts|Science Initiative will contribute to this groundbreaking culture, and support the ongoing development of transformative ideas, novel constellations of academic research, and creative innovation.

Opportunities for Exploration & Research

The Arts|Science Initiative will launch with sponsoring the Arts|Science Graduate Student Collaboration Grant. This is a pilot program to support teams of two or more graduate students, with at least one in the arts and one in the sciences, who work together to investigate a subject from the perspectives offered by their disciplines. Other programs in the planning stage aim to spark conversations among faculty and students that critically engage science and the arts in a broad spectrum of areas including astronomy and astrophysics, biology, chemistry, computer and information science, creative writing, literature, mathematics, media studies, medical imaging, music, physics, theater, as well as visual arts.

To learn more,

contact Julie Marie Lemon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

President's Committee Makes Strongest Case Ever for Arts Education by John M. Eger

May 6 will go down as a landmark in the history of Arts Education.

On this day the President's Committee on The Arts and Humanities released a report at the Art Education Partnership (AEP) Conference, called "Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools."

It unveiled the President's thinking about the important connection between art and culture and creativity and innovation, and promised an agenda for reinventing education in America. It is a landmark in new thinking that should set the stage for meaningful debate, discussion and hopefully, reform.

No doubt Obama was the first candidate for election to the Presidency to have an art and humanities plank. Early on he championed the idea that, "To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children's creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education."

As President, he filled cabinet level positions with people who saw the arts as he did, and he appointed some of the best and brightest to his high level art and humanities committee.

But the fruits of these appointments and the President's long held view of the arts and America's economic prosperity interests are now becoming apparent in this report, the culmination of 18 months of research, meetings with stakeholders, and site visits all over the country. The report represents an in-depth review of the current condition of arts education, including an update of the current research base about arts education outcomes, and an analysis of the challenges and opportunities in the field that have emerged over the past decade.

Continue at this link at the Huffington Post

The Art of Human Enhancement

See 'Technological Convergence' and the combination of sciences such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information science, cognitive science, and robotics... and the aesthetic opportunities opening up to mankind. More on the Art of Human Enhancement here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Right Brain Initiative by John Eger

Yes, something called "The Right Brain Initiative" actually exists.

Many of us have been talking about the right brain and the whole brain and the urgent need to nurture both hemispheres in our young people. Our kids need to have the new thinking skills so in demand in an economy crying out for creativity and innovation.

An Oregon-based Regional Arts and Cultural Council (serving Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties, including Portland) launched the Right Brain Initiative (RBI) in the fall of 2010.

The RBI "is a collaboration among artists, arts organizations, school districts, governments, businesses and donors who are working to integrate arts education experiences into the standard curriculum of every K-8 classroom across the region's school districts. At present, 11,000 children and their teachers will be served in 20 pilot schools across 4 districts." They expect to "roughly double in size each year for the next 4-6 years until every K-8 student... is being served."

They are very clear about what they are doing: "Our vision is to give every K-8 student in the region access to the arts regardless of neighborhood, language, or income. Through an effort that engages the entire community, we're creating long-term, lasting change within our school systems."

Their approach is not more classes, more arts or music, more anything. That would be nice but, frankly, there is not money for doing anything more, only doing things differently. And there is a new (old, really) approach. It's called "arts integration"... using the arts as a catalyst for teaching across the curriculum.

The key is getting teachers and artists working together as a team to develop arts-integrated learning experiences, say experts in the field. Very much like CoTA, a collaboration of teachers and artists in Chula Vista, California, or the Collaborative Arts Resources for Education (CARE) in Balboa Park. CARE involves four premier arts organizations: the Museum of Photographic Arts, La Jolla Playhouse, the Mingei International Museum and the Timken Museum of Art.

However, the RBI is probably one of the largest efforts in North America, involving not just the arts and culture organizations, but all the schools, private donors, artists, local government, cultural groups and everyday citizens within the three counties. Like Thriving Minds in Dallas, Texas, this is an initiative everyone can take ownership of.

To date, the RBI has engaged the enthusiastic support of private and public interests in the three counties, all the schools, and every conceivable art and cultural organization in the region. Importantly, according to Marna Stalcup, program manager for the RBI, there is "a growing awareness and appreciation of our work by the business community... attributed (in large part) to our expanded definition of literacy that includes the 21st century skills of creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking."

Moreover, says Stalcup, "funding sources are nearly 50/50 public (city, county, school districts) and private (foundation, corporate and individual)... (and) corporate contributions have increased an average of 19 percent each year".

As the world map is being redesigned, and it is, this is what all communities concerned about their place in the future need to be doing; or surely they will atrophy and die. Arts Integration, which is an essential ingredient in revitalizing a city, truly works. Only becoming an innovation economy, as President Obama has called for, will matter. This makes efforts such as The Right Brain Initiative vital.

Arts Education and the Innovation Economy: Ensuring America's Success in the 21st Century by John M. Eger

John M. Eger
Lionel Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communication and Public Policy
School of Journalism and Media Studies
Director, The Creative Economy Initiative
San Diego State University

Follow John M. Eger on Twitter:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Latest ESMA newsletter is out

European Society for Mathematics and Art
The latest newsletter just came out. click here
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