Scroll down to see the full archive of all 2016 London LASER events with details of speakers and links to video recordings of talks.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel here to receive updates when videos go live.
2016: In brief…
London LASER 18: with Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel, Rob la Frenais and Alex May
London LASER 17: with Richard Bright and Elena Cologni
London LASER 16: with Andy Lomas, Louise Mackenzie and Bhavani Esapathi
London LASER 15: with Brett Wilson, Meritxell Rosell & Lula Criado (CLOT Magazine), and Louise Beer & Melanie King .
London LASER 14: All About Imaging, with Lindsay MacDonald / Emilia Moisio / Jeff Ferguson.
London LASER 13: Astronauts of Inner Space, with Bronaċ Ferran / David Luke / Luciana Haill / Wai H. Tsang
2016: In full…
London LASER 18
Tuesday 15 November 2016
University of Westminster
Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel presented Anarchy in the Organism, a Wellcome funded project with University College Hospital that explored cancer as a complex system, addressing questions relating to the impact of an art-science collaboration on participants and what type of new knowledge can be created. Simon and Simeon talked about how their research practices have been affected by the collaboration and discussed radical empiricism, William James’s method of enquiry that encompasses the arts and sciences and circumvents oppositional notions of objectivity and subjectivity. Simeon Nelson is Professor of Sculpture at University of Hertfordshire. Simon Walker-Samuel is Group Leader for The Cancer Imaging Group within the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. simeon-nelson.com @uhca_research simonwalkersamuel.com @swalkersamuel
Rob La Frenais is an independent curator and writer. As well as curating exhibitions internationally he is a regular writer for Art Monthly. Until 2014 he was curator of the Art Catalyst, the art-science organisation and has been a curator since 1987. He presented a double-headed talk, ‘Aerocene- Space Without Rockets and Exoplanet Lot’, about a project for sustainable space travel with artist Tomas Saraceno and about a site-specific event in SW France in which the Lot valley was re-imagined as a near-earth planet. These papers were first presented at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico this September, alongside Elon Musk’s plans for colonising Mars in 2026, but perhaps received less media attention… roblafrenais.info @eminencegris
Alex May is a British artist using digital technology to create works that encourage embodiment, experimentation, and reflection on how this human made domain affects perceptions of ourselves, each other, society, and nature. He creates his art using video projection mapping, digital interactivity, generative algorithms, non-linear time, and life-size humanoid robots; all powered by bespoke software tools that he develops as part of his art practice. Alex presented a selection of his key artworks, an overview of the creative software he has made and released, and outlined his proactive approach towards long-term preservation of digital art. alexmayarts.co.uk @bigfug
London LASER 17
Tuesday 18 October 2016
Central Saint Martins
Richard Bright is an artist and writer. After studying Fine Art and Physics he went on to become the founder and director of The Interalia Centre in 1990, an organisation that provides an international forum for the exchange of ideas between the arts and the sciences. Its aims are based on the belief that far from being mutually exclusive activities, art and science represent different yet complimentary ways of looking at and understanding the world. He is also the editor of the online magazine Interalia Magazine, launched in 2014, which explores the interactions between art, science and consciousness. Drawing on the disciplines of Art, Buddhism and Neuroscience, he explored questions relating to ‘how thought can be visualized’. www.interaliamag.org @InteraliaCentre
Elena Cologni is an artist working with live, installation and performance art practices. She has a PhD in Fine Art from University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, where she was also Post-Doctorate Fellow (Arts and Humanities Research Council 2004/06), a Research Fellowship at York Saint John’s University (2007/09), and is now associated to the Commonwealth Intercultural Arts Network (University of Cambridge) (2013/), and Lecturer at Lincoln University. Her presentation gives an overview of the in(ter)disciplinary umbrella project rockfluid created in collaboration with the Faculty of Experimental Psychology, Cambridge University. Focusing on the topic of ‘disruption’ both in processes of memorisation and in the function of participatory approaches, she draws on recent projects exploring social dynamics among participants. Her active account includes a series of practical and physical exercises to experiment with (and subvert) underpinning psychological, sociological and cognitive aspects. www.elenacologni.com @elenacologni
London LASER 16
Tuesday 21 June 2016
University of Westminster
Andy Lomas is a digital artist, mathematician, Emmy award winning supervisor of computer generated effects and visiting lecturer at UCL’s The Bartlett School of Architecture. His talk is about Morphogenetic Creations, an ongoing series that explores how intricate forms can be generated emergently by simulating growth processes. In 2014 he won The Lumen Prize Gold Award, as well as the Best Artwork Award from the A-Eye exhibition at AISB-50, and an Honorary Mention from the jury at the Ars Electronica Festival. In 2015 he was invited to present a special exhibit and as well as a keynote presentation at the European Conference on Artificial Life. www.andylomas.com | vimeo.com/andylomas
Louise Mackenzie is an artist creating mixed media installations that explore life as medium. Her recent installation, The Stars Beneath Our Feet premiered at Lumiere Durham 2015 and has since shown in Edinburgh and Shanghai. Louise received the New Graduate Award at Synthesis, Manchester Science Festival, 2013 and was a finalist in the international Bio Art & Design Awards, 2015. Louise is a PhD candidate with the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art and member of the Cultural Negotiations of Science research group. Louise talked about her current collaboration with the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Newcastle University, using art practice to explore the impact of evolution on the techniques of synthetic biology. www.viralexperiments.co | www.loumackenzie.com | @loumackenzie
Bhavani Esapathi talked about The Invisible Labs; a social tech initiative she founded with the aim of making invisible diseases more visible. What began in 2014 as a digital storytelling project of those living with incurable, chronic conditions has led to creating tools and making the invisible (Autoimmune) diseases community everyday conversations in the arts, economics and tech world. She is particularly interested in how the rubrics of our world could be changed to harness the potential of chronically diagnosed individuals. The Invisible Labs is supported by The British Council, The RSA, The Huffington Post (US) and part of the Arts+Tech Programme in collaboration with Innovate UK & Arts Council England. The project also won the WIRED Creative Hack Award in 2015. www.theinvisiblelabs.com | @bhaesa
London LASER 15
Tuesday 17 May 2016
Central Saint Martins
Brett Wilson is a retired scientist and a founder member of the research group Project Dialogue, bringing together artists and scientists to explore commonalities across research in the arts and sciences. Until recently he was the “scientist in residence” in the faculty of art and design at the University of the West of England and is co-editor of ‘Art, Science and Cultural Understanding’. Brett explored how, in a postmodern world, the original enlightenment sensibilities separating art and science have come under scrutiny with the emergence of a vigorous ArtScience movement. Lakoff and Johnson’s recent work on embodied realism, linking our powers of metaphor-infused thought and imagination to our sensorimotor faculties and experiences, effectively avoids the restrictions of a mind-body dichotomy and can be used to create a new aesthetic framework for ArtScience. www.projectdialogue.org.uk
CLOT Magazine is an online curatorial platform dedicated to art and science explorations, curated and edited by Meritxell Rosell and Lula Criado. Founded and based in London, CLOT Magazine curates intellectual content, generates debate and creates new frontiers of exploration by researching trends in areas of: bio design, bio art, human art, sound art, computing art, bio robotics, kinetics, synthetic biology, molecular gastronomy, artech and speculative design. They talked about some current trends and compelling conversations across the Bio.Art.Tech spectrum; from artists, innovators and influencers to thinkers, writers, curators and scientists. Meritxell Rosell holds a PhD in Biomedicine and Biochemistry, BSc in Biology, MSc in Molecular Biology and Postgraduate in Philosophy. Lula Criado holds a BSc in Pharmacy, BSc in Biochemistry, MSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics and MA in Coolhunting and Trends. www.clotmag.com
Louise Beer and Melanie King graduated from the MA Art & Science degree at Central Saint Martins in 2013 and have since collaborated on a number of projects. They are directors of Lumen Studios which, co-founded in 2014, has produced a number of exhibitions, film screenings and light installations in London churches. These events focus on themes of astronomy and light and intend to raise dialogue about how humanity understands existence. Lumen Studios also run an annual residency in Atina, Italy and have secured a gallery and events space in the crypt of St John on Bethnal Green. They are also co-founders of Aether, a curatorial project focused on the philosophical aspects of astronomy and space exploration; recently exhibited at the Jarvis Dooney Galerie in Berlin, and at Imperial College London 29 April – 23 May 2016. Louise and Melanie talked about their artistic practices and curatorial projects. www.lumenstudios.org
London LASER 14
Tuesday 15 March 2016
University of Westminster
All About Imaging, with Lindsay MacDonald on the rainbow and the spectrum, Jeff Ferguson on human/computer interaction and Emilia Moisio on scientific imagery and perceptions of reality. Chaired by John R A Smith.
The rainbow is one of the most impressive of natural phenomena,and since ancient times has been associated with supernatural qualities. It has been adopted widely in symbolism for perfection and completeness. Referring to God’s covenant with Noah after the Flood, artists have included the rainbow in scenes to indicate divine presence. But why is it so difficult to reproduce a rainbow in paint or in print or on a display? Why can its brilliance not be achieved in colour media? The answer lies in the physics of the spectrum. Newton truly opened our eyes. The Rainbow and the Spectrum presented by Dr Lindsay MacDonald, Research Fellow with 3DIMPact Research Centre, Faculty of Engineering, UCL, and Visiting Professor of Image Science at the University of Westminster.
Emilia Moisio is a freelance photographer and a photographic artist, whose research-based art practice is guided by an interest in exploring and questioning the role and functions of images in society and our lives, and consists of distinct, concept-based photographic projects strongly focused and founded on using images as a tool to examine, analyse, develop, and articulate structured frameworks of thought. Her research focuses on the conventions and public uses of utilitarian scientific imagery and their impact on our perceptions of reality. She discussed the historical connection between photography and science, how the early assumptions of photographic mechanical fidelity impact the perceived reliability of scientific imagery, how strongly the representational conventions of scientific imaging practices impact our mental images of reality, and how this could be address both by artists and scientists.
Jeff Ferguson is a Lecturer in Mobile and Pervasive Computing at the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Westminster, Jeff has enjoyed a varied career spanning early multimedia with the Philips CD interactive group, video games animation and motion capture with Sony/Psygnosis, and public virtual and augmented reality interactive software with pioneers Inition Ltd. He recently completed a Masters in creative computing at Goldsmiths and is concentrating at Westminster on perceptual interfaces, particularly with the web as an immersive platform. He took a light-hearted overview of our interactions with computers and how they are changing, with an emphasis on play. By looking at past and present work, including that with the Serious Games at Westminster research group, perceptual and physical interfaces will be explored.
London LASER 13
Tuesday 16 February 2016
Central Saint Martins
London LASER 13 hosted Astronauts of Inner Space, bringing together four speakers interested in diverse interfaces between science and the psychic. Bronaċ Ferran, Luciana Haill, David Luke and Wai H. Tsang tackle a series of topics relating to art, neuroscience and the body including the art and science of psychedelic perception, neuromorphic computing, fractal brains, entoptic visuals and Dreamachines.
About the Speakers:
Bronaċ Ferran is a writer and curator specialising in the intersection between disciplines and the art of the 1960s. A former Director of Interdisciplinary Arts at Arts Council England and Senior Tutor at RCA, she is author of Neuromorphobia (hypehypehyper) an essay being published in Spring 2016 by Archives Books Berlin as part of the Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism series edited by Warren Neidich. She recently curated three exhibitions of concrete poetry from the ‘sixties and is co-editing a forthcoming issue of the Interdisciplinary Science Reviews journal, with Elizabeth Fisher, on The Experimental Generation: Interdisciplinary Trends in Post-War British Culture.
David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he teaches an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience. He was President of the Parapsychological Association between 2009 and 2011 and as a researcher he has a special interest in transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, having published 100 academic papers in this area. Dr Luke is co-editor of Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds (Daily Grail, 2014) and Breaking Convention: Essays in Psychedelic Consciousness (Strange Attractor, 2013), editor of Ecopsychology and the Psychedelic Experiences (2013), and is also coauthor, with Professor Chris French, of the undergraduate textbook Anomalistic Psychology (2012, Palgrave Macmillan).
Luciana Haill is a contemporary Surrealist working with neurotechnologies; her recent practice has focused on artist Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine, Entoptic visuals and the phenomena ‘Flicker’. She has developed this into a series of performances and installations involving the real-time monitoring and sonification of the participants own brainwaves using techniques from hypnosis and meditation. She is considered a pioneering artist in her field. The ‘Phrontesterion’ (EEG & Dreamachine) referencing the notion of ‘The Visionary’ has been shown internationally including The Royal Academy, The Royal Institution, The Waag Society in Amsterdam and KIBLA in Slovenia. She is also Artist in residence in the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex in the UK.
Wai H. Tsang studied Computing Science and Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London. He is best known for his application of fractal geometry as an approach to understanding the brain, mind and genome; and also as a powerful new path to AI. As well as communicating his Fractal Brain Theory he also does public talks about technology and politics, and has spoken at international conferences, including the Bitcoin conference and the Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference. He is currently in the process of launching his AI startup Fractal Brains Corp.