- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The event is free and open to the public, said Anna Davidson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Plant Sciences who is organizing and chairing the LASER speaker series. This is the first of five LASER events, made possible by Leonardo International Society of the Arts Sciences and Technology and the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program.
Among the speakers on Oct. 3 will be Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. Founded 12 years ago, the program includes design and science faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UC Davis students, using a novel experientially based paradigm for learning.
The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of the Davis/Bay area and to foster interdisciplinary networking with an emphasis on art and science through a series of lectures and presentations, according to the Leonardo website. LASER events have already taken place at the University of San Francisco, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, a New York studio “and now we’re coming to UC Davis,” she said.
The schedule for the Oct. 3 program:
6:50-7:00 Welcome, opening remarks on the Davis inaugural LASER by Anna Davidson
7:00-7:25: Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, speaking on “Fusion and Perception”
7:25-7:50 Bob Ostertag, professor of technocultural studies at UC Davis (title of his talk to be announced)
7:50-8:10 Break. (During the break anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work (a teaser/commercial)
8:10-8:35 Meredith Tromble, San Francisco Art Institute School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Jordan Van Aalsburg, research programmer for the UC Davis Complexity Sciences Center, Department of Physics, speaking on “The Vortex Touches Down”
8:35-9 James Crutchfield, UC Davis physics professor and director of the Complexity Sciences Center, speaking on “Hidden Fragility and the Data Deluge”
Diane Ullman is the associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a professor of entomology. She teaches “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” as well as a series of freshmen and graduate seminars covering topics as wide ranging as the “Evolution of Virus Vectors,” “Bees,” “Art and Survival” and “The Face of Darwin.” Ullman, known for her passion for innovative teaching strategies, is a leader in the arena of creating visual and environmental literacy.
Donna Billick, trained as a scientist and artist, received her bachelor’s degree in genetics and her master’s degree in fine arts, both from UC Davis. She directs the Billick Rock Art and is an educator from K-12 to college appointments, including UC Davis, and California State University, Sacramento, and Hayward. In these roles, she conducts community-build projects and designs, fabricates and installs large-scale public art commissions all over the world. Billick has developed more than 200 large-scale public art works using ceramic, mosaic, terrazzo, cement, bronze, steel and paint. She has shown her work nationally and internationally.
Billick is an eight-year member of the board of directors of the Tile Heritage Foundation, and is involved in many other regional and national organizations. She founded Todos Artes in Baja Mexico and the Heaven On Earth educational series. As the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Billick partners with Ullman in teaching the undergraduate course: “Entomology 1: The Art, Science and the World of Insects,” as well as a series of freshmen seminars covering widespread topics.
Of her talk, Billick says: “I would like to map how fusion or the unity of knowledge, includes cross-discipline, cross culture, cross generational exploration and discovery. An experiential, hands-on approach to education, as with Art/Science Fusion, is to access perception and grow new associations and build life force or fusion energy.”
Bob Ostertag, a professor of technocultural studies at UC Davis, is a musician, author and movie producer. He has published 25 music CDS, two movies, two DVDs, four books and dozens of articles and essays. His writings on the Central American revolutions of the 1980s have been published on every continent and in many languages. Ostertag has performed at music, film and multi-media festivals around the globe, and many of his instruments he designed himself. His diverse collaborators include the Kronos Quartet, avant garder John Zorn, heavy metal star Mike Patton, jazz great Anthony Braxton, transgender chanteuse Justin Bond, Quebecois film maker Pierre Hébert, and the media guerrilla group, The Yes Men.
Meredith Tromble is an artist, faculty member of the San Francisco Art Institute School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and serial collaborator. Under the auspices of James Crutchfield, she and colleagues Dawn Sumner and Jordan Van Aalsburg are creating an immersive, interactive 3D vortex of dream elements called Take Me to Your Dream (Dream Vortex).
Jordan Van Aalsburg, who describes himself as “a recovering physicist,” is a research programmer for the UC Davis Complexity Sciences Center. He co-founded the Davis Makerspace, builder tools and resources for the local community.
James Crutchfield, a UC Davis professor of physics, teaches nonlinear physics, directs its Complexity Sciences Center, and promotes science interventions in nonscientific settings. He says he is mostly concerned with what patterns are, how they are created, and how intelligent beings discover them (see http://csc.ucdavis.edu/~chaos/).
Anna Davidson is studying the ecophysiology of fruit trees for her doctorate. She also makes bioart using fungus and other living materials as a medium. As a teacher for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, she leads the found object and sculpture studio section of the class, “Entomology 1, Art, Science, and the World of Insects.”
“I am very interested curriculum development and teaching at the intersection of biology and the arts,” Davidson said.
Upcoming LASER events at UC Davis:
Dec. 2, 2013
Amy Franceschini, artist and designer, Bay Area
Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology, UC Davis
Mary Anne Kluth, artist, Bay Area
Justin Schuetz, biologist and artist, San Francisco Art Institute
Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014
Phillip Benn, artist and digital artist, Oakland
Terry Nathan, UC Davis Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Art/Science Fusion Program
Genevieve Quick, artist, Bay Area
Maciej Zwieniecki, UC Davis professor of plant sciences
Monday, April 7, 2014
Christina Cogdell, UC Davis professor of design and art history
Jesse Drew, UC Davis professor of technoculutural studies
Michael Neff, UC Davis professor of computer science and program of cinema and technocultural studies
Wendy Silk, professor in the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and the Art/Science Fusion Program
June 2, 2014
Joe Dumit, UC Davis director of Sciences and Technology Studies and professor of anthropology
Evan Clayburg, performance/visual artist, Davis
Danielle Svehla Christianson, ecologist, fiber artist, Bay Area
Leonardo community members interested in presenting work at an upcoming LASER should contact LASER chair Piero Scaruffi email@example.com com for details. To RSVP to attend an upcoming LASER event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for the Davis LASERS.