Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 16 Community Report

Who did you meet at the March DASER?
Did you hear something that impacted your perspective on your own work or project?  We would like to hear about any potential collaboration that might have formed.  Please share!!!!

Please remember that we open the mic up to the community at each DASER to hear who is doing interesting things between the silos.

A number of people spoke up during the last public share:

Claudia Rousseau is a professor of Art History at the School of Art and Design at Montgomery College.  The Arts Institute of Montgomery College is sponsoring a number of events over the next academic year under the theme “intersections where arts and sciences meet.”  They are looking for people to present.

Aaron Oldenberg’s artwork is in experimental video game design.  His past work has explored the intersections between “rules of religion” and “rules of game design.”  He is now researching chance space music composition through video game design. 

Chuck Divine is a physicist whose personal artwork combines terrestrial landscapes with space telescope images.  He recently had a show at the Maryland Federation of Art in Annapolis.

Milton Shinberg is interested in art, architecture, biology, and cognitive science and has created a course for Catholic University called Beauty and Brains the cognitive basis of aesthetics as it effects environmental perception.

Sam Hancock is president and executive director of The Emerald Planet, a group that is interested in environmental and economic development and hosts a weekly TV show called TheEmeraldPlanet. They are looking for interns who are interested in video and broadcasting.  They also would like to hear from those who might have a green technique, product, or service to feature on their show as a community service.

Ed Landa is a soil scientist with the US Geological Survey and the University of Maryland. In 2010, they completed a book called Soil and Culture featuring a number of poets, writers and artists including local DC artist Margaret Boozer.

Dorothy Kosinski, director of the Phillips Collection, reported on the recent meeting - Innovation and Design Summit: Exploring the Intersection between Art, Science, and Architecture.  This event was hosted at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and was co-hosted with the University of Virginia.  February’s DASER panelist and vice president for research at the University of Virginia, Thomas Skalak was an active lead in the development of this program. 

Laurenellen McCann is involved in an interactive social media wiki that focuses on combining data and art in the DC area.  They have created an interactive archive called ArtAround which can be found at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Panelist Siddharth Ramakrishnan: Community and Collaboration

Siddharth Ramakrishnan was a panelist for our March DASER event and has contribute the post below to prompt our discussion furhter.  Siddharth is a Neuroscientist currently working in the field of Bioelectronics at Columbia University in New York. He works on designing microchips to record from brain cells and using proteins to generate electricity. As a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA (2006-2009) he studied the development and physiology of reproductive neurons in the zebrafish brain. His PhD dissertation (UIC, 2005) addressed pattern generating networks in snails and how they were modulated to elicit various behaviors.

He co-teaches the Hybrid Worlds: Nano_biotech + Art course with Victoria Vesna and is interested in relating scientific concepts to the larger public. His collaborations with artists and architects have led to exhibitions and documentaries that blend the worlds of art and science. Currently he has been appointed Fellow of the UCLA Art|Science center.

Siddharth contributed following reflection for our DASER community with the hope of continuing our discussion here in the ether.  

Siddharth wrote:

Daser Dialog (March 16, 2011)
From listening to the speakers and the audience questions, I felt that two main points arose – Community and Collaboration. All the works discussed fostered a sense of community and engaged a wide range of people – from Jennifer’s coral reefs to Andrew’s interaction with the ecology faculty.

A couple of interesting questions arose with regards to such collaborations and being part of the Art|Science community –
Is the sense of collaboration different between artists and scientists? How do they work together? This question arises in my work constantly. In creating exhibitions with Prof. Victoria Vesna (my collaborator), we go through a series of iterations of the artistic design. At every step, it is important to check that for the sake of aesthetics, the core scientific principle behind the project is not lost. In some ways it is a constant battle, an important one and also a battle that is better executed if there is true camaraderie between the collaborators.

It is in that vein that events such as DASER gain more importance. It is not easy for an artist to walk into a science lab and say, “Hey, I want to work on that!” Nor is it easy for the scientist to immediately recognize the power of the artist’s voice. But at social events such as DASER (perhaps with enough wine lubrication), the channels are created and dialog begins.
Building a community and engaging them in the endeavor is harder, but ultimately be it the active engagement in Jennifer’s work or a subtler one of an audience interacting in an art installation or reading a book, it happens.

With regards to my lecture:
I would be curious to know what people think about what happens in brains. What the concept of neurons are – there is a certain level of cartoonish information we get on the brain from books, but how is their perception altered when they see a movie of neurons moving inside a fish head. Is it conceivable for them to imagine themselves like that in an embryo?
I am hoping this leads to a project/discussion called “My black box” – which is what our brain is to us. Each of us has this, we carry it around, we use it and grow with it. What is your Black Box? What does it look like? Is it black? Is it a box? When did you feel you had a black box? Is there a moment when it is all clear and transparent? Is the brain more of a black box to you or your heart?  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Podcast from the Feb 16 DASER

Our first DASER held on Feb 16 feature the following panelists:
Lee Boot, associate director, Imaging Research Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County;

Carol Christian, scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute,Baltimore;

Gunalan Nadarajan, vice provost, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore; and

Thomas Skalak, vice president for research and professor of biomedical engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

A summary podcast of the event can be heard at:

To catch this DASER podcast and others, subscribe to CPNAS at iTunes:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feb 16 Community Report

Who did you meet at the Feb 16 DASER?
Did you hear something that impacted your perspective on your own work or project?  We would like to hear about any collaborations that might have formed.  Please share!!!!