LASER NOMAD LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS / Invisibility and Omnipresence

10.09.2020 / 18.15-midnight (Exhibition, Talks and Concert) / Club 44 at La Chaux-de-Fonds

Video of the talks and concert with Al Comet aka Mahadev Cometo and Luca Forcucci at the end

We explore the links between art and science through an exhibition, a talk and a concert. The 2020s of the 21st century have apparently wrecked our experience of the normality.
Invisibility and Omnipresence refers here, among other possibilities, to organisms / parasites / viruses, perceptions (virtuality, augmented or not), social and territorial prejudices (racisms), or our biosphere for example. What are the major challenges waiting for us in such context ? What will be the new normality ? Where is the reality, is it a virtual construction ? Which is the role of consciousness in such context ?

Pictures: Xavier Voirol

Jeremy Narby
Indigenous people mention since a long time ago, the existence of an invisible world supporting the world we perceive, establishing it to a certain extent, and with which we needs to
negotiate. Science, on the other hand, tell us about DNA molecules and virus, which are actually visible, and influencing our life. We know now that all the living beings of the planet, including
viruses, are integrally part of the ecological web of the planet, and altogether we are part of a planetary mega entity fully interconnected: the biosphere. This delicate layer of life surrounding the planet is self regulated on multiple levels, but its scale is so broad that we struggle to perceive it. Could a dialogue between science and Indigenous knowledge extend our way of dealing with the world, and help us to conceive the biosphere too ?

Biography
In charge of Amazonian projects for « Nouvelle Planète », Jeremy Narby is an anthropologist, who
supports Indigenous amazonian people initiatives since thirty years.

Al Comet / Alain Monod / Mahadev Cometo
In dialogue/interview with Luca Forcucci about his career as a musician with The Young Gods,
his experiments with electronic music and lately his study in India of the sitar instrument. Moreover, Al Comet is a trained military pilot, who continues to fly.

Biography
Member of The Young Gods during more than twenty years, Alain has contributed to define the industrial sound of the 1980s. In 2014, Al Comet leaves the Young Gods et focuses his energies on his very own self development under the name Mahadev Cometo. Always looking for new sonorities, he studies classical music in Benares. and publish a sitar record in 2017. Today, with his new generation modular sampler, he works on the elaboration of a new sitar album more revolutionary that ever “ the futur is now”.

Isabella Pasqualini

The environment shapes our experience of space in constant interaction with the body. Architectonic interiors amplify the perception of space through the bodily senses; an effect also known as embodiment. The interaction of the bodily senses with the space surrounding the body can be tested experimentally through the manipulation of multisensory stimulation and measured via a range of behaviors related to bodily self-consciousness. Through the association of egocentric, first-person view of a dancer to a virtual point of view, the choreography creates a virtual architecture.
Isabella Pasqualini is an architect (ETHZ 2000) and a scientist with a PhD in architecture and cognitive neuroscience (EPFL 2012).

Biography
Her works explore the mutual and intimate relationship between body and space using immersive and interactive multimedia, with a particular interest in the multisensory enhancement of the user’s horizon. For her post-doc project Visual Touches, touching Views at the Center of Neuroprosthetics EPFL, she received the prestigious fellowship grant from the cogito foundation in 2013. Currently, she is a faculty member of the >> LeaV at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles and of the NAAD Master class at IUAV University of Venice. She has been a guest researcher at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience EPFL. Isabella has planned a new City in Angola and built a temporary bank building in Luanda. She is a scientific reviewer, and works as an expert for Innosuisse as well as other innovation platforms.

Bruno Herbelin
Our body is our anchor in the world. Neuroscience of bodily self-consciousness investigates how this primitive subjective experience emerges into consciousness and, thanks to recent developments using new technologies for evaluating the impact of artificially mediated disruptions of this subjective experience, is now providing the first pieces of evidence of its complexity and multisensory aspects. Virtual Reality is particularly suited for this experimental research on bodily consciousness but, in parallel, it follows a massive industrial development that neglects the impact it can have on our experience of the self. Self-body representation is, for technical reasons, simply ignored in most VR experiences, although in effect this means providing the user with the strong and uncanny experience of invisibility. What I question and propose to discuss here, is if it makes sense to consider VR as the ultimate technology of telepresence (and omnipresence) if in practice it abstracts us and removes our body from the world.

Biography
Bruno Herbelin is senior researcher in virtual reality and cognitive neuroscience in the laboratory of Prof. O. Blanke at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). From 2012 to 2019, he was deputy director of the EPFL Center for Neuroprosthetics. From 2005 to 2009, he was Assistant Professor at Medialogy Department of Aalborg University, Denmark. He obtained his PhD from EPFL School of Computer and Communications in 2005 for his research work on virtual reality exposure therapy under the supervision of Prof. D. Thallmann (Virtual Reality Laboratory). 

Luca Forcucci: Chair & Exhibition

Art x Science Dialogues on Sonic Arts x Neuroscience

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.

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LASER Nomad Porto / Sense of Place and Migration: Embodiment, Cognition and Borders

28.11.2019 / 17:00 – 19:30 / School of Fine Arts / University of Porto

Av. de Rodrigues de Freitas 265 / Aula Magna / Porto, 13 4000-421 / Portugal

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)

Host

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

Laser Nomad Palermo / Consciousness, Representation and Embodiment

07.11.2019 /14:00 – 17:30 / Edificio 12 – Aula Magna / Viale delle Scienze, Palermo

Edificio 12 – Aula Magna / Viale delle Scienze, Palermo

Laser Nomad 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

Abstract

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.

Biography

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

Abstract

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.

Biography

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.



Maria Mannone

Can Beauty be Translated? A Journey between Mathematics, Music, and Nature

Abstract

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?

Biography

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

Abstract

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.

Biography

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”.



Carmelo Calì

Perceptual Grammar of Sounds

Abstract

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.

Biography

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

Potential Realities and Perspectives: Dreams, (Mental) States and (Electronic) Sheep

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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.

Biography

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.

Abstract

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.

Biography

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.

Abstract

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.

Salvador de Bahia / 29.11.2018

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Laser Nomad Salvador

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.

Paola Barreto

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.

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Recife / 19 November

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laser Recife

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

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.

Jorge Antunes

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

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.
Yuri Brusky

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

Jorge Antunes

Ballade Dure, Electroacoustic piece (1995) 20’30”

Miró Escuchó Miró, for piano, electronic sounds and images  (1998) 17’40”

Piano: Mariuga Antunes

 

Luca Forcucci

B(L)(E)(E)(N)DINGS, Live electronic and images (2018), 35’00”

 

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Cape Town / 18-20 June / Bowed Electrons

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.

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