Artists explore sound in its pure state, simultaneously bridging and muddling barriers between sound, noise, and music in the contemporary or historical sense. Others investigate the political and cultural implications of certain sounds, using their work to bring human rights to the fore. This event puts spotlight on yet another group of artists who connects Sonic Arts with Neuroscience, attempting to unveil the mystery of human brain and consciousness by playing with the frequency and wavelength of a soundwave.
28.11.2019 / 17:00 – 19:30 / School of Fine Arts / University of Porto
The sixth edition of Laser Nomad at the Fine Arts School of the University of Porto explores contemporary issues of migration. The focus is about the sense of place from a cognitive perspective. Neuroscientists have already proposed the existence of a grey zone around us named peripersonal space, which is an extended boundary of our body. From a technological perspective, mobile devices and gps helped war migrants, for example, to stay in touch with their families and share migration routes. What is the relation between embodiment and borders?
CHAIRED BY: Luca Forcucci
Rosemary Lee (ITU Copenhagen) Rosemary Lee will speak about themes from her PhD research on the influence of algorithms on notions of the image. Several consequences arise from the formalisation of the image as sets of instructions to be executed, including variability, a turn toward non-opticality, and increased automation by machines. In this way, machine learning not only affects the image on an ontological level, affecting what an image may be considered to be, but also its aesthetics and its symbolic relation to the real. Rosemary Lee is an artist and PhD fellow at the IT-University of Copenhagen, where she is researching how notions of the image are impacted by algorithmic media. Her PhD project analyses and contextualises artistic and technical examples in terms of their earlier precursors and considers what this means for what an image is today. Lee’s research and artistic work have been shown in international contexts including SCREENSHOTS: Desire and Automated Image, machines will watch us die, a new we, and her book, Molten Media, which was published in the context of the transmediale Vilém Flusser Archive Residency for Artistic Research.
Rui Penha (ESMAE) Existence and Extension / Lenses and Lentils Rui Penha was trained to see the world through the lenses of musical composition and media art. He is a father of two, a professor of a few more, a thinker and a tinkerer. He is currently employed as an assistant professor at ESMAE and as a senior researcher at INESC TEC. More info at http://ruipenha.pt
Miguel Carvalhais (FBAUP)
Miguel Carvalhais teaches design and computational media at FBAUP. When asked for a short bio he normally presents himself as a designer and a musician, two activities that he finds closely connected and central to his practice. In this talk Miguel will explore how his work hinges on space: on using it as canvas, on manipulating or transforming it, on creating entirely new spaces. http://carvalhais.org
07.11.2019 /14:00 – 17:30 / Edificio 12 – Aula Magna / Viale delle Scienze, Palermo
We explore Consciousness, Representation and Embodiment with the contribution of researchers from the University of Palermo. These keywords are observed through the lenses of human cognition. Why and how do I know that I am experiencing something ? Moreover artificial systems are pervasively entering multiple aspects of our life, what if instead of artificial we focus on extended ones ? Does embodiment applies to artificial forms ?
14:00 – 14:10 Intro Laser Nomad
14:10 – 14:30 Salvatore Tedesco
14:30 – 14:50 Carmelo Calì
14:50 – 15:10 Davide Rocchesso
15:10 – 15:30 Maria Mannone
15:30 – 15:50 Antonio Chella
15:50 – 17:30 Laser NOMAD Discussion / Q&A pubblic
Prof. Antonio Chella
Consciousness and Creativity
The research field of conscious AI systems concerns the computational models of consciousness. The talk will outline the current state of research of conscious AI systems and it will discuss its relationships with creativity, with particular emphasis to musical creativity. The field of conscious AI systems is tightly related with topics as information integration, embodiment, adaptation, emotions, which are all of interest in order to model musical creativity. On the one hand, facing the problem of consciousness could be a decisive move towards the design of effectively creative systems, on the other hand the study of models of creativity could be helpful in order to better understand human consciousness.
Antonio Chella is a full professor of Robotics at the Department of Engineering of the University of Palermo, where he is the founder and director of the Robotics Laboratory. He coordinated several Social Robotics projects including Cicerobot, a museum robot guide at the Archaeological Museum of Agrigento; Robotics and Autism, in collaboration with the Child Neuropsychiatry of Palermo; Robotics and ALS, in collaboration with the ALS Center of the University General Hospital of Palermo; RoboDanza, in collaboration with the cultural association Tavola Tonda; Robot Orchestra Conductor in collaboration with the Alessandro Scarlatti Conservatory of Palermo. In 2017 he was awarded the “James Albus Medal” by the BICA Scientific Society (Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures). He is a member of the Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts of Palermo. His main research concerns the study of consciousness in robots and machines; he is the co-author of the main reference text in the field. He is the author of more than 200 international publications.
Prof. Davide Rocchesso
Designing Sound with Vocal Primitives
What are the fundamental elements of sound? What is the
best framework for analyzing existing sonic realities and for
expressing new sound concepts? These are long standing questions in sound physics, perception, and creation. In everyday life, it is our body that helps establishing bridges between distal
(source-related) and proximal (sensory-related) representations of
sound. In particular, it is our vocal apparatus that offers body-based
representations of sound, so that vocal imitations can be used as
probes into the world of sound at large.
Davide Rocchesso received the Ph.D. degree from the University of
Padova in 1996. He is professor of computer science at the
University of Palermo. He was the coordinator of EU FET
projects SOb (the Sounding Object) and SkAT-VG (Sketching Audio
Technologies using Vocalizations and Gestures). He had been chairing the COST Action on Sonic Interaction Design. His main research interests are sound modelling and synthesis, interaction design, evaluation of interactions.
Can Beauty be Translated? A Journey between Mathematics, Music, and Nature
Contemplating the majesty of a tree, listening to an orchestral piece, and studying a mathematical equation might not be too far activities. Mathematics can constitute a bridge to compare objects and transformations between them, as well as to map them from a domain to another one. In particular, musical structures, with their themes and transformations, can be investigated through the language of mathematics (and categories in particular). The same formalism can be applied to nature, comparing shapes and their variations. I present methods of investigation and examples, including trees, ammonites, and flowers. They can be analyzed and translated into music, keeping some essential features and considering specific cognition criteria. From organized musical structures to the sound itself, the presentation includes some hints of how the quantum mechanics formalism can be applied to the analysis of human voice. Might a melodious soprano voice be not too far from the Schrödinger equation’s solutions?
Maria Mannone (Ph.D.) is a theoretical physicist and a composer. She graduated in Italy, France (IRCAM-Paris VI Sorbonne), and in the US (University of Minnesota). Her research involves mathematics, music, and images. Author of books, she gave talks and invited lectures in America, Europe, and Asia, where she is collaborating with the Tohoku University for the development of a new musical instrument, the CubeHarmonic. Currently, she is a subject expert (‘cultore della materia’) at the Department of Mathematics and Informatics in Palermo.
Prof. Salvatore Tedesco
Aesthetics and Embodiment
Construction of form, emotions and aesthetic appreciation can usefully be rethought in the context of an interaction between philosophical knowledge, theoretical computer science and new technologies for production and control of images and sounds. The short report proposed seeks to clarify the terms of reference and to suggest some interpretations.
Salvatore Tedesco teaches Aesthetics at the University of Palermo, and coordinates the Dams course of studies. His main research projects deals with Morphology, evolutionary aesthetics, history of aesthetics, contemporary theories of literature. He has published 11 monographs on various aspects of modern and contemporary aesthetics, more than 80 papers, and is currently editing (with Federico Vercellone) a “Glossary of Morphology”.
Perceptual Grammar of Sounds
Music cognition complies with the perceptual grammar which consists of the properties of sounds as units and the grouping factors as preferential rules. The units have emerged through the interaction with the environment as crucial features in conveying information. The rules are the heuristics that enable the cognition of the environment in the forms of the auditory modality by solving problems of ordering and structure derivation. The specialization of the perceptual grammar of sounds plays a foundational role for music cognition. It provides composers and listeners with shared capacities to build and extract meaning from musical shapes and their relevant qualities in space and time. Musical examples will be presented to argue that the specialization of the perceptual grammar is consistent with historical and geographical variability of musical systems and styles, which draw from the expressive potentialities it affords with a high degree of freedom.
Carmelo Calì is associate professor at the University of Palermo.
His main research interests are theories and models of visual,
auditory and tactile perception, cognitive foundations of aesthetics,
human-robot interaction and industrial design.
Chair: Luca Forcucci
The Italian director Federico Fellini’s movies were based on his own dreams, and as part of a Jungian psychotherapy with the psychoanalyst Ernst Bernhard.
In the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The American author Philip K. Dick questions realities and perspectives from the machines in a dystopian science fiction novel.
It seems that the (virtual, augmented and mixed) contemporaneous realities are about to join the fiction. The main question for the current talk observes the different typologies of realities, being in dreams, pathological, from machines or computers. This will be explored through the work and research of an artist and a neuroscientist.
Michael Gaebler / Cognitive Neuroscientist
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in the Neurology Department’s Mind-Body-Emotion group and the MindBrainBody Institute.
Michael Gaebler studied cognitive and neurosciences in Osnabrück, Montreal, Paris, and London, before he completed his PhD at the Charité/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In his research at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, he investigates how mental processes (i.e., thinking and feeling) are neurophysiologically realized. To this end, he also combines virtual reality with measurements of brain activity.
The mind is situated, that is, mental phenomena depend on an organism’s interaction with the environment. I will discuss why virtual reality (VR) can help the cognitive and brain sciences and present own projects, in which we use VR in neuroscientific and clinical investigations. I will also mention previous work with depersonalization-derealization disorder patients, for whom the real world feels unreal or dream-like.
Mert Akbal / Artist and Researcher in Neuroscience
Saarbrücken Art School and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in the Neurology Department’s Mind-Body-Emotion group and the MindBrainBody Institute.
Mert Akbal explores as a cognitive artist phenomena from cognitive science field. He teaches and researches in two institutions: Academy of Fine Arts Saar in Saarbruecken and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Berlin. His works are presented on diverse platforms such as by ZKM in Karlsruhe, Prix D’Arts Robert Schuman, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Kunsverein Ulm, Amber Art and Technology Festival in Istanbul, IEEE in Boston, ISEA 2016 in Hong Kong and ISEA 2018 in Durban.
I follow my curiosity to observe, understand and question cognition and consciousness through visual art. I aim to reproduce dream image and experience in artistic media in order to explore them as models of conscious experience. I will present some of my current works at the intersection of art and science.
French theatre theorist and writer Antonin Artaud was probably the first person to coin the term ‘virtual’, in The Theatre and Its Double (1938). He compared alchemy with theatre by declaring that both are visual arts, which don’t convey their end. Both theatre and alchemy are fictional in the sense they are immaterial, but they always make allusions to the material. Alchemy is frequently mentioned by the historians and the philosophers when refering to the history of chemistry.
Laser Nomad Talk in Salvador proposes a dialogue exploring points of contagion between art and science, understood as fields of symbolic production, implied in worldviews and submitted to social, political and economic contexts.
If, on the one hand, science as a mode of production of hegemonic knowledge has served as a basis for legitimizing the most diverse epistemicides perpetrated by the colonial expansion project, art, on the other, has been consumed by an avid market ignoring ritual dimensions, where healing, care and aesthetics are indissociable aspects of the same whole.
How to think of models and interfaces, which reconsider the magical and mythical origins that are at the root of both of them? Which epistemologies and cosmovisions can we bring to this conversation?
CHAIRED BY: Luca Forcucci
Bárbara Carine Soares Pinheiro
Graduated in chemistry from Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) , Master and PhD mestrado e doutorado em teaching, philosophy and history of science UFBA/ UEFS. Currently Professor and vice director of the Institute of Chemistry UFBA.
is an audiovisual artist an researcher trained as a filmmaker. She has a BA in Film Studies, a MA in Aesthetics and Technology and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Poetics at the School of Visual Arts at Rio de Janeiro Federal University. Between 2014 and 2015 she was a visiting scholar at the Flusser Archiv at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her theoretical and practical production is based on analog and digital video circuits, media archeology and hybrid systems, unfolding in installations, interventions and science fiction. As a filmmaker she has received awards in Oberhausen and Buenos Aires and has exhibited her films at the Havana, It’s All True and São Paulo festivals. Her video interventions and installations have been exhibited at Festivals such as Live Performers Meeting, Rom; Vorspiel/ Transmediale, Berlin and Eletronika BH, Belo Horizonte. She lives and works in Salvador as a Professor at UFBA, and has been designing video circuits for film, theatre, performance and exhibitions since 2002.
Perception is a topic of increasing importance due to the evolution of artificial in intelligence, augmented and virtual reality. Does this mean that artificial intelligence lead to artificial perception ? These technologies will and are entering our life deeper everyday in many fields. The idea of patterns of perception is central indeed. However do artificial perception/intelligence have illusions ? Philip K. Dick already asked if Androids would dream of electric sheep. For the second edition of LASER Nomad, the project lands in Recife, Brazil. Laser Nomad will explore and tackle perception. The topic is broad indeed, and we will frame it through art, music, computer science, anthropology and museology by inviting two major figures of art from Brazil, and two scientists.
CHAIRED BY: Luca Forcucci
9am – 12pm Laser Nomad Talks
Paulo Bruscky was born in 1949 in Recife, and received his BA in journalism at the Universidade Católica de Pernambuco, Recife, in 1978. Bruscky’s work reflects a simultaneous engagement with both the local artistic framework of Recife and a global network, which he documents in artist’s books, performative projects, and photographs. A key participant in the international mail-art movement and associated with Fluxus, he investigates meaning through action, collage, installation, film, and poetry.
Avant-garde composer Jorge Antunes is known as the man who pioneered electronic music in Brazil. During the ’50s and ’60s, he studied the violin, conducting, composition, and physics, and as a result of the latter wrote his “Cromoplastofonias” series. Starting in the late ’60s, he worked in electronic studios in Buenos Aires (with Alberto Ginastera (link is external) and Umberto Eco, among others) and Paris, with Groupe de Recherches Musicales (with Pierre Schaeffer (link is external)). He served as a professor, studio director, and orchestra conductor at the University of Brasilia. Over the years, he founded the Chromo-Music Research Studio and the new music ensemble Group of Musical Experimentation. In his compositions, Antunes has explored the relationship between sound and colors, flavors and odors (in “Ambiente I”), and ‘commented’ on work by Claude Levi-Strauss with a percussive performance art piece. He has won several awards including the International Tribune of Composer’s UNESCO prize twice in the ’90s.
Alexandro Silva de Jesus
Adjunct Professor of the Department of Anthropology and Museology of the Federal University of Pernambuco and member of the Research Ethics Committee of the same institution. Holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Olinda Higher Education Foundation (1999), a Master’s in History from the Federal University of Pernambuco (2003) and a PhD in Sociology from the Federal University of Pernambuco (2010). Research interests encompass relationships between science and technology, politics of patrimonialization and museology in postcolonial spaces. His work problematizes, on the one hand, the policies for culture developed in spaces of decoloniality, and, on the other, the relations between scientific research and ethics.
Sofia Galvão has a technical background in Electronics, a degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. In her work with technology, she developed an interactive object for the exhibition Silence of the Form, by the sculptor Corbiniano Lins, and guided works by Oi Kabum students! School of Art and Technology. Conducted several workshops in different contexts: Construction of Digital Musical Instruments (National Science and Technology Week), Musicality and Technology (Agreste Academic Center UFPE), Low Cost Technologies and Gambiarras for Interactive Applications (Recife Summer School) and Lab of Textile Electronics – Stitching Sounds (SESC Belenzinho). She is part of MusTIC – Research Group on Technology and Design of Products and Experiences for Education, Arts and Entertainment. Coordinated a collective exhibition of the results of a series of artistic residencies that took place during the past year in the context of the MOVEMENTES project, a research in art and technology.
is a sound artist and researcher, doctoral student in sociology at the Federal University of Pernambuco/UFPE. Has a master’s degree in communication from the UFPE. Develops artistic investigation exploring intersections between noise, language and everyday practices. Maintain since 2010 the label Estranhas Ocupações, through which releases records, publications and organizes concerts. Co-creator of the sound art and experimental music festival Rumor and the seminar and artistic residence program (Entre) Lugares Sonoros.
5 – 7pm Concerts
Ballade Dure, Electroacoustic piece (1995) 20’30”
Miró Escuchó Miró, for piano, electronic sounds and images (1998) 17’40”
Piano: Mariuga Antunes
B(L)(E)(E)(N)DINGS, Live electronic and images (2018), 35’00”
Contemporary electroacoustic music formed from the sound of wind rushing through invasive alien trees on Western Cape farmland. A composition inspired by the humble pencil. The uhadi bow in the environment of live electronica. A musical consideration of HAL 9000, the sentient computer from Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. These are only some of the musical creations on show at the inaugural Bowed Electrons electroacoustic music festival, hosted by the South African College of Music at UCT.
The South African College of Music, in association with Leonardo Journal’s Laser Nomad project, is pleased to host the inaugural Bowed Electrons electroacoustic music festival. This event will feature full performances and in-depth discussions of recent electroacoustic compositions by some of the leading figures of the South African contemporary music scene.
Bowed Electrons will feature performances of works by resident composers Neo Muyanga, Meryl van Noie, Cara Stacey, Mpho Molikeng, Cameron Harris, Dimitri Voudouris, Miles Warrington, Maxim Starcke, Pierre-Henri Wicomb, Brydon Bolton and Luca Forcucci. These composers will also present daytime sessions on their works and compositional techniques. Those sessions will be augmented by contributions from resident musicologists Prof. Efthymios Papatzikis, Dr Barry Ross, and William Fourie. Specialist performers include Prof. Mzikantu Plaatjies and Frank Mallows.