Best of LASER

Geometric patterns of logarithmic spirals. The art of recycling. No-camera photography. Don’t miss descriptions of these and other projects and the chance to share your own work at the interface of art and science.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


November 03, 2011 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

The mission of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) series is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking. At these events, artists, scientists, philosophers, historians, inventors, and scholars present their paradigm shifting work to an audience encouraged to socialize and introduce their own projects at the interface of art and science.

The LASER event at swissnex San Francisco is part of the Bay Area Science Festival. Five projects are presented, ranging from the geometric patterns of logarithmic spirals to the art of recycling to no-camera photography and more.

LASERs began in January 2008 as a local forum for presenting art and science projects in the Bay Area. The gatherings now alternate between San Francisco and Silicon Valley and are chaired by Piero Scaruffi. A parallel series has started in Washington, D.C.


6:00 pm doors open

6:45 pm – 7:10 pm John Edmark (Stanford University), “Geometric Patterns of Change.”
Transforming and kinetic works from an ongoing exploration into spatial patterns of symmetry and growth, focusing on those arising out of logarithmic spiral structures, Fibonacci numbers, and the golden ratio.

7:10 pm – 7:35 pm Deborah Munk (Recology), “The Art of Recycling.”
An overview of the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology focusing on a few of the 70 artists who have done residencies.

7:35 pm – 7:50 pm BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working at the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during the social time following the event.

7:50 pm – 8:15 pm Robert Buelteman (Photographer), “Photography Without the Camera.”
The application of high-voltage electrical currents and hand-delivered fiber optic light can create fine-art photographs of living plants through a creative process inspired by Japanese ink-brush painting and improvisational jazz.

8:15 pm – 8:45 pm Therese Lahaie (Artist), “Longing for the Background.”
An unusual combination of glass, steel, motors, lighting, and photography is employed in an investigation of the sciences, the natural world, and contemplative practice.

8:45 pm – 9:10 pm Christian Gonzenbach (Artist) and Martin Pohl (University of Geneva), “QUARC – Quantum art connection.”
Understanding the universe via experiments and sculpture using ordinary objects. A collaboration between a physicist and an artist.

9:10 pm – 10:00 pm Reception and networking


Robert Buelteman

Robert Buelteman has published four books of photography and 13 limited-edition portfolios of his work. He has been honored with three residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the subject of his monograph, Eighteen Days in June (2000), as well as a three-year residency at the Santa Fe Institute. He is currently working on a new collection of images as a guest of Stanford Universit’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Santa Fe Institute, Yale University Art Museum, Stanford University, and numerous corporate and private collections.


John Edmark

John Edmark teaches design, color theory, and animation at Stanford University. His creative investigations range from geometric kinetic works and transformable objects to products for storage, kitchen, and creative play. Previously, he researched 3-D virtual environments at Bell Laboratories. He has master’s degrees in product design (Stanford) and computer science (Columbia), and is named as inventor on nine U.S. utility patents. His other interests include hyper-stereo landscape photography, ultra-light backpacking, and throat singing.


Christian Gonzenbach

Christian Gonzenbach is an experimenter and an explorer at the edge between the normal and the bizarre. It is the unexpected, the little weird thing, that the artist focuses on. Hence, he has created installations in which a landscape is made out of corn flakes, a video in which all the people are pickles that play soccer, go for a dance or a boxing match, etc. His works look familiar but always disorient the viewer.


Therese Lahaie

Therese Lahaie studied fine art at Emmanuel College and glass technology at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA. She is a kinetic sculptor using glass, low rpm motors, and LED lighting and also has a background in architectural lighting design. At a 2010 Djerassi Artist Residency, she collaborated with New York choreographer Leigh Evans. Their performance installation, called “Quite Two Departure,” premiered at PS. 122 in New York City in July 2010.


Deborah Munk

Deborah Munk manages the artist-in-residence program at Recology San Francisco, where she works with Bay Area artists and organizations to promote art, recycling, and sustainability. She will give an overview of the residency program and will highlight several of artists who have been awarded this residency over the past 20 years.


Martin Pohl

Martin Pohl is an experimental physicist who has worked on major particle physics experiments at particle accelerators for 35 years, exploring the structure of matter, elementary forces, space, and time. He also contributes to space-borne experiments measuring cosmic particles to investigate their nature as well as their sources. He is interested in the contributions of science to culture and its interaction with other cultural activities. “A major point of contact between fundamental physics and the arts ought to be that neither scientists not artists should ever expect anything but the unexpected,” he says.


Piero Scaruffi

is a cognitive scientist who has lectured on three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being The Nature of Consciousness (2006). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and in the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is Synthesis (2009). As a music historian, he has published 10 books, the latest being A History of Rock and Dance Music (2009) and A History of Jazz Music (2007). An avid traveler, he has visited 135 countries. His latest book is A History of Silicon Valley, co-authored with Arun Rao. His first e-book, A Brief History of Knowledge (2011), is available on Kindle.

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Leonardo creates opportunities for the powerful exchange of ideas between practitioners in art, science, and technology. Through publications, initiatives and public forums, Leonardo/ISAST facilitates cross-disciplinary research in these fields, seeking to catalyze fruitful solutions for the challenges of the 21st century. Among the challenges requiring cross-disciplinary approaches are establishing sustainable environmental practices, spreading global scientific and artistic literacy, creating technological equity, and encouraging freedom of thought and imagination. By enhancing communication between scientists, artists, and engineers, Leonardo supports experimental projects and interacts with established institutions of art and science to transform their research and educational practices.


Bay Area Science Festival

From October 29th to November 6th, the Bay Area will come alive with over 100 science and technology activities – lectures, debates, exhibitions, concerts, plays, workshops, and more. This ambitious collaborative public education initiative brings together leading academic, scientific, corporate, and non-profit institutions to showcase the region as an international leader in innovation. Science happens all around us and directly impacts our daily lives – are you ready to unleash your inner scientist? Learn more. #basf11


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos