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London LASER 21 March – programme announced

London LASER 20

Tuesday 21 March 2017

6.30 – 9.00pm (registration from 6pm)

University of Westminster, The Board Room,

309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

 

LASER: Talks on the intersection of art, science and technology

The event is free but please book at: londonlaser20.eventbrite.co.uk

 

London LASER and Arts Catalyst present an evening on ‘Man Made Clouds’, inviting artists Hehe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen) to discuss their long term ecologically orientated arts practice and writer Malcolm Miles to reflect on the place of aesthetics in these precarious times.

 

HeHe’s work reflects on the energy needs of contemporary life, visualising social, industrial and ecological paradoxes through installations and performances of technological landscapes. Their repertoire touches on worst-case technological accidents, exposing the hidden dimensions and implications of ecological threats. The actors of HeHe’s performance installations are the machines themselves: oil rigs, nuclear power plants, incinerators, cars, cranes, trains, and the electric devices of mass consumption. Installed in real world environments or eerie staged settings, technology is staged, placed in apocalyptic chromatic landscapes and dressed in an unnatural green afterglow. Hehe’s Helen Evans will reflect on how clouds occupy a special place in our imaginations with their countless forms and combinations offering infinite possibilities for metaphor – whilst much has been written about clouds, and they are often represented in art, design and architecture, few have addressed the man-made clouds produced by consumer culture. In visual culture, far from being neutral, representations of clouds embody distinct ideologies. hehe.org.free.fr

 

Malcolm Miles is author of Limits to Culture (2015), Eco-Aesthetics: art, literature and architecture in a period of climate change (2014), Herbert Marcuse: an aesthetics of liberation  (2011), Urban Utopias (2008) and Cities & Cultures (2007); until 2016 he was Professor of Cultural Theory in the Architecture school at University of Plymouth and is now an independent writer and researcher on critical theories of culture and society. Here he will explore the role of aesthetics in oblique moves towards social change. In these dark times, threatened by climate change, struggling with precarity and social atomism, with no political light in sight, he will argue the case for aesthetics. Beginning with HeHe’s projects Nuage Vert, Fracking Futures, and The Future was about Fracking, and drawing on cultural history and theory from the 1880s to the present, the talk will offer possible formulations of an engaged eco-aesthetic and activism for the early 21st century. malcolmmiles.org.uk

 

Arts Catalyst commissions art that experimentally and critically engages with science, producing provocative, and risk-taking projects to spark dynamic conversations about our changing world. Arts Catalyst plays a leading role in the development of artists’ engagement with science, and critical discourse around this field. Through their commissions, exhibitions and events, they enable people to have distinctive, thought-provoking experiences that transcend traditional boundaries of art and science. artscatalyst.org

 

LASER is a program of evening gatherings, which bring together eclectic guest speakers working at the intersections of art, science and technology. Free of charge and open to the public, London LASER encourages lively discussion in an informal academic setting. London LASER is hosted by University of the Arts London (Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science and LENS) and University of Westminster (CREAM), and organised by Heather Barnett and co-chaired with John R A Smith. LASER is a project of Leonardo® /ISAST (the International Society for Art, Science and Technology).

Recent LASER talks uploaded, with Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel, Rob la Frenais, and Alex May

To view all talks from 2016 London LASER programme, please visit Archive 2016

London LASER 18
Tuesday 15 November 2016
University of Westminster

London LASER – 15 November – hosted Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel on their collaborative project, Anarchy in the Organism; Rob la Frenais on Space Without Rockets and Exoplanet Lot; and Alex May on digital creation and preservation.

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 18 programme announced

London LASER 18

Tuesday 15 November 2016

6.30 – 9.00pm
(registration and exhibition viewing from 6pm)


Westminster School of Media, Arts & Design, University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow HA1 3TP.
(Northwick Park tube, Metropolitan Line direct from Baker Street or Kings Cross)

LASER: Talks on the intersection of art, science and technology

 

The event is free but please book: londonlaser18.eventbrite.co.uk

 

London LASER 18 hosts Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel on their collaborative project, Anarchy in the Organism; Rob la Frenais on Space Without Rockets and Exoplanet Lot; and Alex May on digital creation and preservation. The event will also take in the Signal and Noise exhibition at London Gallery West Project Space, University of Westminster.

 

Simeon Nelson and Simon Walker-Samuel present 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 will talk about how their research practices have been affected by the collaboration and will discuss 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   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 will present 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 will present a selection of his key artworks, an overview of the creative software he has made and released, and outline his proactive approach towards long-term preservation of digital art.

alexmayarts.co.uk  @bigfug

 

Programme announced for next London LASER

London LASER 14

Tuesday 15 March 2016

6.30 – 9.00pm (registration/drinks from 6pm)

University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall,

309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

 

London LASER presents an evening that is 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 event is free but please book: http://londonlaser14.eventbrite.co.uk

 

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 is 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 will discuss 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 will be taking 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.

Programme announced for London LASER – 17 February, University of Westminster

London LASER 07
Tuesday 17 February 2015
6.30 – 9.00pm (registration/drinks from 6pm)
University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall,
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

The seventh London LASER evening of talks at the intersection of art and science hosts interdisciplinary curator and writer Bronac Ferran, scholar and artist Timothy J Senior, and kinetic light sculptor Paul Friedlander, guest chaired by Laura Plana Gracia.

The event is free but booking is required: londonlaser07.eventbrite.co.uk

Bronac Ferran is a curator, researcher and writer who works at the interfaces between arts, science, technologies and other disciplines. She set up and led the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at Arts Council England until 2007 and established numerous national and international partnerships and initiatives including the Arts Council England/AHRC Art and Science Research Fellowships Programme and the ACE/RSA Arts and Ecology initiative. She has been on juries for Transmediale (2009) and Ars Electronica Hybrid Arts (2009 & 2010) and a Senior Tutor Research at the Royal College of Art. In 2012 she curated ‘Poetry Language Code’ and in 2015 is co-curating ‘Graphic Constellations: Visual Poetry & the Properties of Space’ at the Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge. Her presentation draws on two texts, ‘Mind Over Media’ commissioned by the RCA, FACT and Liverpool University Press in 2013 and ‘Neuromorphobia’ to be published by Archive Books Berlin (ed.Warren Neidich) later this year based on her talk at the ‘Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism’ conference, Goldsmiths, 2014.   boundaryobject.org   @floatingstones

Dr Timothy J. Senior is a scholar and artist, currently serving as a Knowledge Exchange Researcher for the Arts and Humanities Research Council. His work asks how contemporary forms of practice in the arts, sciences and humanities might be opened up to new collaborative influences. Following his D.Phil. in Systems Neuroscience (Oxford 2008), he has explored these issues through an artist residency at Duke University (US) and visiting lectureships at Jacobs University Bremen (Germany) spanning the arts, neuroscience, digital humanities, and the social and political sciences. In 2012 he was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, concluding with an internationally-oriented conference and exhibition on performative methods in scientific practice. Tim will be taking up this theme in his talk, exploring how performance-based methods may revolutionize the study of complex systems and our understanding of disciplinary research.   art-sci.info

Paul Friedlander is an independent kinetic light sculptor and scientific artist based in London. He will give a telescopic talk on his career spanning more than 40 years from his early influence by Cybernetic art, his involvement with stage lighting for avant-garde music and subsequent development of his unique artistic media. The talk will be followed by a performance with hand held kinetic sculptures and chromastrobic light, a form of light he invented. Paul studied physics and mathematics at Sussex University and fine art at Exeter Art College. His youthful ambitions to become a cosmologist have continued to influence his art, exploring mathematical and scientific ideas in light. Some of his earliest work was based on catastrophe theory and chaos. He has a continuing interest in waves, creating many kinetic works using their mathematics in custom software he writes as part of his hybrid art.   paulfriedlander.com

Guest chaired by researcher and curator, Laura Plana Gracia.
elektronische-art-and-music.com   @elektronischeAM

Programme announced for next London LASER, 21 Oct

London LASER 05
Tuesday 21 October 2014
6.30 – 9.00pm (registration/drinks from 6pm)
University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

The next London LASER focuses on people, processes and play, with Anaïs Tondeur and Jean-Marc Chomaz reflecting on their collaboration ‘Lost in Fathoms’, Sally Annett presenting an interactive contemplation, and Liane Fredericks facilitating interdisciplinary interactions. Be prepared to participate!

The event is free but booking is essential: www.londonlaser05.eventbrite.co.uk

Lost In Fathoms: A conversation on art and science collaborations at the dawn of the Anthropocene.’ Anaïs Tondeur and Jean-Marc Chomaz will reflect on a year of collaboration which led to the project Lost In Fathoms, an art and science investigation around the disappearance of an Island. This series of installation is exhibited at GV Art Gallery, from October 16th to November 29th, 2014. In one year of research involving the oceanographic international community as well as scientists from the hydrodynamics and geophysical fluids laboratories of Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Normale Superieure (FR), and Cambridge University (UK), this project set out to investigate the causes that lead Nuuk Island to disappear from the horizon line. Anaïs Tondeur is a visual artist who works and lives in Paris. Jean-Marc Chomaz is Director of Research at the CNRS, Professor at École Polytechnique. ‪@AnaisTondeur

Sally Annett presents ‘Meta-representation, contemplation seats and consciousness – the still small voice’. In speaking and writing we make manifest in the external world an internal concept or comprehension. Human consciousness in its ‘normal’ state can be neurochemically altered and our perceptions of the outside world may change radically. This is a sensory and cognitive illusion, it is not the outside world, which changes, but the chemistry of our brains. We construct our world with languages of different kinds, from an MRI scanner image to a Tarot card, we attempt to create systems and pictures to predict and explain the outside world. This presentation explores the results of a series of arts interventions, which, mirror this process, and through contemplation, explore the use of symbol and number to structure a process of self-reflection. Sally Annett is an artist/producer based in the UK with a specialist interest in the (intercultural) intersections between art, science and religion. ‪@SalAnnettSandL

Liane Fredericks will facilitate a short workshop called ‘Connecting People for Effective Participation’. The original session, presented at Subtle Technologies Festival earlier this year, was based on the premise that there’s a lot of talk, but not enough practise of the adaptive skills needed for effective collaborations. Together, we will touch upon simple and experiential ways of fostering human connections. The aim being to support meaningful innovations – emerging from intentional human interactions, in this case art and science collaborations, and that cannot be created by individuals alone. Liane Fredericks is a facilitator of participatory leadership processes, co-creating experiences that build our capacity to understand and adapt. @lianefredericks

London LASER 04 programme announced

London LASER 04
Tuesday 17 June 2014
6.30 – 9.00pm (registration from 6pm)
University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

The fourth London LASER for 2014 hosts Rob La Frenais in conversation with Los Ferronautas, Cristina Miranda de Almeida on the Internet of Things, and Chris Freemantle on art and science collaborations in medicine and ecology.

The event is free but booking is essential: londonlaser04.eventbrite.co.uk

Los Ferronautas (Ivan Puig and Andres Padilla Domene) will be in discussion with Rob La Frenais, curator, about their project SEFT-1 Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe: Modern Ruins 1:220. Between 2006 and 2011, the artists travelled across Mexico and Ecuador in the SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada or Manned Railway Exploration Probe) exploring Mexico’s abandoned railways: http://www.seft1.com. This iconic railway infrastructure now lies in ruins, much of it abandoned due to the privatisation of the railway system in 1995, when many passenger trains were withdrawn, lines cut off and communities isolated. They will discuss how the SEFT-1 vehicle, coming to London in June, works as a ‘transmitter of stories’ about people lives and the way the are affected by infrastructure. The Arts Catalyst and Furtherfield present the project in Finsbury Park opening June 20, more details here: http://www.artscatalyst.org/projects/detail/ferronautas/

Cristina Miranda de Almeida holds a European PhD in Art (UPV/EHU, 2005), is Lecturer at the Department of Art and Technology, University of the Basque Country and a Visiting Scholar and external researcher at the Research Programme on Medi@ctions # Digital Culture Group (IN3/UOC), Barcelona.  She is collaborating with SEAD network and Project T₂EIA – Transdisciplinary Telematic Environment for Interactive Arts, with the University Federal of Rio de Janeiro/NANO, with the International Journal of McLuhan Studies and NoemaLab Journal. Her presentation in London Laser will focus on art and the impact of Internet of Things on the production of hybrid materialities and identities.

Chris Fremantle will focus on two current collaborations between arts and sciences: Nil by Mouth is a project involving emerging artists toggling between food producing communities and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme Environmental Change, Food, Land and People (2013 ongoing).  The second is the residency programme between the MFA Art, Space and Nature at Edinburgh College of Art and the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh (2009 ongoing). Chris works as a producer and researcher working with artists (and designers and architects) working in public.  In addition to the projects above, his current work is strategic: working on Scotland’s national public art development programme, and on Design in Action, an AHRC KE Hub, and on the ground: producing the Therapeutic Design and Arts Strategy for the New South Glasgow Hospitals.

LASER is a program of evening gatherings, which bring together eclectic guest speakers working at the intersections of art, science and technology. Running successfully in the US for several years, London LASER is the first of the series to take place in Europe. Free of charge and open to the public, London LASER encourages lively discussion in an informal academic setting.

London LASER is hosted by University of the Arts London (Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science and The Lens) and University of Westminster (Broad Vision art/science research and learning project and CREAM), in association with Leonardo/ISAST (the International Society for Art, Science and Technology). LASER is a project of Leonardo® /ISAST.

Launch event programme confirmed

London LASER 01

Tuesday 18 February

6.00 – 8.30pm (talks start at 6.30pm)

University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

The programme of speakers for the first London LASER event brings together two pioneers of London’s art/science cultural scene and an interdisciplinary antipodean guest. Nicola Triscott will discuss some seminal moments of Arts Catalyst’s 20 year history, Daniel Glaser will share his vision for the new Science Gallery London due to open in 2016, and David Finnigan will talk about engaging audiences through climate science theatre.

Nicola Triscott is the founder and Director of The Arts Catalyst, one of the UK’s most distinctive arts commissioning organisations, distinguished by ambitious artists’ commissions that experimentally and critically engage with science. Now in its 20th year, The Arts Catalyst has commissioned more than 100 artists’ projects, including major new works by Tomas Saraceno, Aleksandra Mir, Ashok Sukumaran, Otolith Group, Critical Art Ensemble, Jan Fabre, and Stefan Gec, and produced numerous exhibitions, events, performances and publications, collaborating with many arts, science and academic organisations internationally. Underpinning The Arts Catalyst’s commissions and exhibitions are its extensive research strand and its programme of critical discussion events, talks and workshops. Nicola will discuss some of The Arts Catalyst’s seminal projects and investigatory themes from two decades of practice. artscatalyst.org

Dr Daniel Glaser is a neuroscientist who has worked for many years promoting public engagement with science. He is Director of Science Gallery London at King’s College London. He was previously Head of Engaging Science at the Wellcome Trust responsible for all external funding for public engagement and the arts. His scientific background involves brain imaging of the visual system. In 2002 he was appointed ‘Scientist in Residence’ at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and in 2005 received a Cultural Leadership Award from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). He has presented and contributed to numerous BBC television and radio programmes. Daniel will be talking about building a new venue where art and science collide and how that functions at the interface between the university and the city. london.sciencegallery.com

David Finnigan is an Australian science-theatre artist and festival director. With science-theatre ensemble Boho, David creates interactive performances working with research scientists from organisations such as University College London, CSIRO and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Boho has presented work for the Asia-Pacific Complex Systems Science Conference, TEDx Canberra, the Brisbane Festival Under The Radar, the Battersea Arts Centre and the ACT Street Theatre. David will talk about the Best Festival Ever project he has produced in collaboration with the University College London Environment Institute and UK theatre company Coney. Best Festival Ever: How To Manage A Disaster is a show about Systems Science for 25 players that takes place around a table. modellingplay.wordpress.com

Tickets are free but booking is essential at: https://londonlaser01.eventbrite.co.uk