International Figures on Science, Technology, and the Arts: A Special Forum

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Georgia Tech has brought international thought leaders on the relationships of science, technology, and the arts, to participate in a special forum during "Vision: I Imagine, I See, I Make," an experimental salon from the Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts, Computing, and Architecture. In addition to brief presentations from the participants, each will comment on the role of the university as the relationship between science, technology, and the arts evolve. 

Following the forum there will be a tour of the exhibition in the Hinman Research Building. Learn more about exhibited works below or preview them on Flickr. 

The Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium is located on the first floor of the East Architecture Building at 245 Fourth Street. Parking is available in the lower level of Peters Parking Deck at Fourth and Fowler Streets or in Technology Square Parking Deck on Spring Street just south of 5th.

Simon Penny

Simon Penny is an Australian practitioner in the fields of Digital Cultural Practices, Embodied Interaction and Interactive Art. His practice has included artistic practice, technical research, theoretical writing, pedagogy and institution building. Over the last twenty-five years, he has made interactive and robotic installations which address critical issues arising at the intersection of culture and technology, informed by traditions of practice in the arts including sculpture, video-art, installation and performance; and by theoretical research in enactive and embodied cognition, ethology, neurology, phenomenology, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, robotics, critical theory, cultural and media studies. Informed by these sources, he designs and builds artworks utilising custom sensor and effector technologies. He built the autonomous robotic artwork Petit Mal in the early 1990s. His machine vision based interactive digital video work Fugitive was exhibited at the opening of the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1997. Traces (a 3D machine vision driven CAVE immersive interactive) was presented at Ars Electronica in 1998. Fugitive Two was commissioned by the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne Australia, in 2000, and premiered there in 2004. He has received funding and/or residencies from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Science and Art, ZKM, GMD, WDR, and other sources. Penny has spoken widely internationally and published over 50 papers and essays on digital cultural practices, in several languages. He was director of Digital Arts and Culture conference 2009 (DAC09). He curated Machine Culture (arguably the first international survey of interactive art) at SIGGRAPH 93 and edited the associated catalog and anthology. He edited the anthology Critical Issues in Electronic Media (SUNY Press 1995). He was architect and founding director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Arts, Computation and Engineering (www.ace.uci.edu). He was Associate Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University (a joint appointment between the College of Fine Arts and the Robotics Institute) 1993-2001. He is a guest professor in the Interdisciplinary Master in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. He has served on juries, boards and review committees for the National Research Council of the National Academies, the Rockefeller Foundation, Daniel Langlois Foundation for Science and Art (Canada), the ‘VIDA’ Art and Artifical Life Award of the Telefonica Foundation (Spain/Latin America), the Banff New Media Institute (Canada), the international board of ISEA and other bodies.

Barbara Stafford

For the past 20 years, Barbara Stafford taught at the University of Chicago and for the last decade held a University Chair. An avowed imagist, her writing focuses on the history and theory of imaging and visualization modalities from the early modern to the digital era. Her books, in various ways, reveal the deep intersections connecting the arts, sciences, and optical technologies to one another: Geography/Geology/ Mineralogy [featured in Voyage into Substance]; Anatomy and the Life Sciences [Body Criticism]; Neuroscience and Cognitive Science [Echo Objects]. She also writes historically-grounded manifestos on the vital significance of the Visual and Sensory Arts to general education as well as to society at large [Artful Science; Good Looking].Current projects include efforts to establish a laboratory/studio-based PhD tying together the Neurosciences with Humanities/ Social Sciences-based Imaging. [SUNY/ Buffalo] Other types of innovative programs would hopefully lead to the reconceptualization of Design Studies, both here and abroad, as Pattern-Recognition. Yet another project involves the completion of a collaborative book, A Field Guide to a New Metafield: Bridging the Humanities-Neurosciences Divide [forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press]. This volume results from the invitation to be Templeton Fellow at USC, Los Angeles, in 2008.

James Elkins

James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer. He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty-five years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History, got another graduate degree, and went on to do the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes). Current projects include a series called the Stone Summer Theory Institutes, a book calledThe Project of Painting: 1900-2000, a series called Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art, and a book written against Camera Lucida.
He married Margaret MacNamidhe in 1994 on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, off the West coast of Ireland. Margaret is also an art historian, with a specialty in Delacroix. Jim’s interests include microscopy (with a Zeiss Nomarski differential interference microscope and Anoptral phase contrast), optics (he owns an ophthalmologist’s slit-lamp microscope), stereo photography (with a Realist camera), playing piano, and (whenever possible) winter ocean diving.

Lars Spuybroek

Lars Spybroek was born 16 September 1959, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and graduated cum laude from the Technical University in Delft (Architecture, 1989). He is a tenured Professor and current holder of the Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta (since 2006).  Previously he was a Professor of Digital Design Techniques (University of Kassel, Germany, 2001-2006), and a Visiting Professor at ESARQ Barcelona (2004) and the Bartlett University of London (2002). He was also Visiting Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, New York (1998-2006).

Vision: I Imagine, I See, I Make

How is what we engineer and design guided by what we can imagine? How are our imagination and our understanding inspired by our ability to visualize? These are the questions that have drawn faculty and students from the Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts, Computing, and Architecture at Georgia Tech to organize an exhibition and a conversation around the theme, “Vision: I Imagine, I See, I Make.” This two-week-long salon will demonstrate how student and faculty creativity at Georgia Tech challenges the divide between engineering, science, and the arts. It will be an experimental platform for advancing trans-disciplinary education at Tech; and connecting to like minds in Atlanta, thus redefining the public context of our creative efforts. Exhibits range from attempts to understand the multiple facets of traffic modeling and management, to exploring the connection between visualization and music; from architectural projects, to virtual game worlds; and from discussions of how innovation is expressed in patents, to discussions of the role of computational models in the making of new forms of ornament.


THE TRAFFIC ROOM, featuring a three-channel projection of three different projects:

  • Traffic Reports, stories about accidents (Ruth Dusseault, Architecture). This project is meant to help bridge the gap between the aerial perspective of the traffic reporter and the human experiences that occur on the ground.
  • Traffic Analysis, design modeling program (Mike Hunter, Civil Engineering).
  • Smog is Democratic, visualization of pollution statistics (Carl DiSalvo and Jonathan Lukens, Literature, Communication, and Culture). This project explores particulate matter through the medium of data visualization to generate reflection, discussion, and debate.

HEARING VISION, using computer vision to represent visual information in the sonic realm. These projects point to the ways in which music technology, especially through its practice at Georgia Tech, can engage data and ideas from beyond the musical realm – whether ocean levels or gene sequences – both to help researchers and the public “hear” them from a new perspective and to inspire new modes of musical expression.

  • Stickies Music (Jason Freeman and Sang Won Lee, Music), turning an organizational system based on post-it notes into a collaborative space for musical play.
  • Music with the Eye (Mason Bretan, Music) turns the camera back on our own eyes, tracking eye movement and dilation to create a powerful musical performance system.
  • Sound floor (recycling sleepers from Beltline railway tracks).

JOURNALISM AT PLAY Cartoonist (Ian Bogost and Simon Ferrari, Literature, Communication, and Culture) is a single player videogame engine with "skins" (contextual image layers) and mechanics (game structures and allowed actions) that morph or change as the player proceeds through his or her play session. Drawing from local and national news, Cartoonist connects real-world events, actions, and actors through the rules and structures of traditional arcade games.

TOWER OF BABEL - CASTLE IN THE SKY (Daniel Baerlacken’s studio, Architecture). A tower made up of empty bottles. An installation built on a narrative of sustainability that calls for increased environmental awareness as well as shifting behavioral paradigms. Using recyclable products for construction, clothing hangers, and plastic beverage bottles, the project serves to communicate the failures of different levels of consumption. Like the Babel myth, the current trends of disposable consumerism represent the great tragedy and failure of modern-day consumption. Project team includes Abaan Ali, Zachary Brown, Colleen Creighton, Christina Deriso, David Duncan, Bradley King, Chris Martin, Caleb Meister, Eric Morris, Amyn Mukadam-Soldier, and Brittany Utting.

GO1N-23/20, OR, 15 QUESTIONS TO ASK 30 PATENTS (Thomas Lodato) explores the data and meta-data associated patents from x-ray backscatter imaging (international category id: G01N-23/20) to present a view of patents participating within, rather than simply reflecting, socio-techinical systems.

VISUALIZING THE INVISIBLE This project by Gernot Riether's, Jude Le Blanc's, and Tim Harrison's studios in the School of Architecture explores the use of digital tools in a design process. The project looks at procedurally generated concepts in an inhabitable "landscape" and wall-mounted drawings showing the progressive design process.  

TANGLE JUNGLE  In the carpets of William Morris, ornament has acquired the capacity to interlace, to weave and to form knots, close to the Celtic knotwork of the first millennium. Tangle Jungle uses Morrisian algorithms of interlacing, tendriling, and bifurcating to create a three-dimensional system of vines that goes beyond a world of mere drapery, to become architectural structure itself. Project team includes Lars Spuybroek and Sabri Gokmen and students Yinzi Tan, Katherine Elizabeth Cooper Dunatov, Zachary Damon Brown, Katherine Giraldo, Amyn Mukadam-Soldier, Abaan Muhammad Ali, Aaron Robert Coffman, and Michael Douglas Bennett.

A SALON WITHIN THE SALON  Fishbowl discussion of Silent Barrage, a video of a closed loop conversation with a robot instructed and controlled by networks of neurons. Silent Barrage was researched and developed at SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at The School of Anatomy & Human Biology, University of Western Australia, and Dr. Steve Potter's lab within the Lab for Neuroengineering at Georgia Tech.


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