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The Next Conversation: “Innovation”

Event Date: Tuesday, December 11, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

This time, we’re talking about innovation, how we create and re-create the world around us. Read on below for details. And note the slight change in time, 7:30 rather than the regular 7:00.

The Guests (See below for bios)

Janet Galore, creative director, designer, artist

Demi Raven, oil painter, firmware developer, maker

Elizabeth Scallon, head of WeWork Labs, Seattle

Thomas Deuel, neuroscientist, neurologist, musician

The Story

We’re exploring innovation, the process of coming up with new tools, new products, new ways of doing and making, and often, new ways of thinking and creating. But what exactly is innovation? It’s one of those terms that cries out for definition. Is it the same thing as invention, or is it something completely different? How does the act of discovery factor in? We tend to identify innovation with positive change. Is it always so? How can innovation create a negative effect?

Jon Gertner has done a lot of thinking about innovation, especially in terms of the many products and technologies that Bell Labs developed through the 20th Century. Gertner writes: 

So how did the leadership at Bell Labs define innovation? It was not simply a discovery or an invention. On the contrary, innovation defined the lengthy and wholesale transformation of an idea into a technological product, or process, meant for widespread practical use. Almost by definition, a single person, or even a single group, could not alone create an innovation. The task was too variegated and involved. The innovation process usually involved frustration and failures. It required time, money and sometimes decades of painstaking work. But in the end, a true innovation had scale and impact. It replaced an existing technology with something that was demonstrably better, or cheaper or both.

This definition focuses on technology. But innovation also appears across a number of endeavors, from science and art to the nature of government and human social intercourse.

Seattle and King County, for example, are both widely known for being not just early adopters of public art programs, but for also pioneering new financing models and creating innovative procedures for selecting, siting, and making the art.

It’s a process that has, for better or worse, formed the city we live in. Over the past decades, Seattle has been arguably a city uniquely driven by innovation. Most of the major industries here got their boost from some level of innovation: Boeing and the development of the commercial jetliner, Microsoft and Amazon with a series of revolutions in what we do with computers, even down to such companies as REI and Nordstrom, as innovators in the ostensibly simple act of buying and selling clothing.

Then there’s the whole question of innovation in art; what does the introduction of new materials, technologies, and techniques do, or not do, for art? Are we a center for innovation in the arts? Or not?

Come and talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Demi Raven is an oil painter, firmware developer, and maker. He has been an active part of the visual arts community in Seattle for over twenty years. Demi was an early member of the visionary SOIL Artist Cooperative, where he spent nearly six years developing, curating, exhibiting, and co-managing the gallery. In the late 1990s he was a founding editor and writer for RedHeaded StepChild (1999-2001), a local periodical devoted to the review and discussion of the emerging art community in Seattle. In 2006, Demi was a finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and exhibited for six months at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Demi has been a firmware developer for over 15 years, designing and prototyping a number of new consumer hardware products. He currently is a manager and lead engineer at Amazon Prime Air. You can see more about Demi’s artwork at http://demiart.com.

Janet Galore is a creative director, designer, and artist. She holds a BS degree in pure mathematics from the UW, where she continued with three years of graduate studies in mathematics. Her early career was spent in start-ups designing for emerging technologies at Zombie VR game studios and freelancing for new ventures. She animated dead fish for a few years as co-creator of the surrealistic FishBar series, producing and directing some of the first streaming media on the Internet at Honkworm International. She spent 10 years at Microsoft working in the Strategic Prototyping group at Microsoft Research, and is now a creative director at Amazon working on future user experiences. Janet has co-curated a number of art exhibitions and continues to create her own art in film, animation, and conceptual works that blend digital and physical experiences. You can see more about Janet’s work at http://janetgalore.com.

(Janet and Demi own a private art studio called The Grocery on North Beacon Hill in Seattle. The studio is used as a project-oriented creative space where they host occasional pop-up art exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, dance, music performances, and other creative activities. The building has deep roots in the community, born as a corner grocery store that served the neighborhood from 1929 through the late 1990s. They seek to support and incubate creative endeavors that give voice to and enrich the local community.)

Elizabeth Scallon is the Head of WeWork Labs, Northwest. WeWork Labs is a global entrepreneurship program connecting global innovation hubs, while providing fierce local support for startups and entrepreneurs.
Previously Elizabeth lead CoMotion Labs at the University of Washington, a multi-industry, multiple location incubator system hosting over 90 startups from both inside and outside the University of Washington community.
She holds a Global Executive MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Walsh School of Foreign Service, and ESADE’s Business School, along with a BS degree in biochemistry and a BA degree in humanities from Seattle University.

Thomas Deuel, the director of the DeuelingThumbs StudioLab, is a neuroscientist, musician, sound artist, and neurologist.  The creation of the StudioLab reflects his desire to combine his interests and skills in understanding brain physiology with those of music composition and sound art, to re-enable patients with motor disability to create music again for healing.

He is a staff Neurologist and Clinical Neurophysiologist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA.  He is also Acting Assistant Professor at the School of Music and DXARTS at the University of Washington, where he is the Director of the Art & Brain Laboratory.  He holds both an M.D., as well as a Ph.D in Neurobiology, from Harvard Medical School and M.I.T., in addition to a certificate in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory.

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The Next Conversation: “Language”

Event Date: Tuesday, October 16, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

 

The Summary

This time, we’ll be going talking about the power of language. Read on below for details. 

The Guests 

You’re the guests for this one.

 

The Story

Every so often, we like to do a conversation without invited guests. The number of attendees is usually smaller, say 10 to 15 people rather than the 40 or so who might come of a regular conversation. 

In these smaller conversations we get a good chance for more intimate discussion, and more possibilities for drilling in on specific questions.

This time, we want to talk about language. We want to go into its power and potentials, into the ways in which a turn of phrase or a way of naming something can have huge ramifications for the ways in which we think, and conceive of who we are.

A number of people I know have been thinking a lot lately about political language, especially the propaganda potentials for naming and for repetition of lies. Trump’s arrival on the national scene, of course, has accelerated the conversation, as have the ways in which language played into the Kavanaugh hearings.

But the power of language transcends politics, becoming a foundational way in which we make culture and define ourselves. 

Lately I’ve been researching the history of thinking about the interactions between art, science, technology, and society. In looking at that, I came across historian Guy Ortolano writing about British literary critic F.R. Leavis. Leavis, who was prominent in the 1950s and 1960s, was key to discussions at the time about interactions and edges between science and literature. In Ortolano’s analysis, this stands out: For Leavis, Ortolano writes, “knowledge did not exist ‘out there’ in nature waiting to be discovered, but rather was a creative achievement realized through language.”

Come and talk about how we create knowledge, and a lot of other things, through language.

The Next Conversation: “Privilege, Power, and #MeToo”

Event Date: Tuesday, September 18, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

To link to this announcement, do so at https://boylanconversation.wordpress.com/

 

The Summary

This time, we’ll be going into some of the issues behind the #MeToo movement. Read on below for details. 

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Michelle de la Vega, Guest Moderator, artist, activist

Elliat Graney-Saucke, documentary filmmaker, organizer

Sarah Kavage, artist, urban planner, organizer

Tariqa Waters, artist, curator, mother, entrepreneur

Sydney Brownstone, reporter

 

The Story

We’re back after a summer hiatus. 

This time, we want to look at some of the issues around the #MeToo revelations: what they mean, where they come from, how people are dealing with them. This past summer, after months of revelations around the United States and beyond, these issues rose to the surface in Seattle, and especially in the art, music, and restaurant/bar worlds. They came with the story that Sydney Brownstone broke on KUOW about allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Dave Meinart. That was followed by a second story a few weeks later, with a total of 11 women making accusations against Meinart, a prominent music producer and restauranteur in Seattle.

But that was only a small part of the story. A number of women have told me over the years about the abuse, assault, and harassment they’ve faced in Seattle, and it struck me that the subject would be a good topic for a broad conversation. I’ve asked artist and activist Michelle de la Vega to be the guest curator and moderator. I’ve been looking at whether or not this is conversation should specifically focus on the details of #MeToo, or should look at broader questions of power, privilege, and identity. We think that it needs to do both.

It’s hugely difficult and complex topic, with many facets, many gray areas, and many, many questions. Come and talk about it.

One note: at the beginning of each conversation, I usually lay out a few basic ground rules for the evening. But I almost never mention ethical action and good behavior, since the assumption is that the people in the room are mature, considerate, and engaged people. And for the most part, that has proven true. For this conversation, both Michelle and I want to ensure that the conversation be an opportunity for both women and men to ask questions, listen, make observations, and generally conduct a useful inquiry. At the same time, as the subject matter may be personally or politically triggering for those conversing and attending, we want to guarantee that the conversation be a place of safety, support, and consideration.

The Guests in Detail

Michelle de la Vega is a multidisciplinary, installation, and community engagement artist in Seattle. Her large-scale ventures endeavor to push social and aesthetic boundaries through instigating dialogue, practicing conceptually driven materiality and community investment on a wide scale. Michelle’s social engagement model deeply integrates community groups into the generative processes and exhibitions of her cross-disciplinary installations. Her work includes sculpture, immersive environmental design, video, collage, photography, choreography, text, and partnership building through project based community engagement. She was recently named one of the Artists of the Year by City Arts Magazine. She is a teaching artist at Path With Art, is creating a women’s art program at the King County Jail in collaboration with The Organization for Prostitution Survivors, serves on the King County 4Culture Public Art Advisory Committee, and is a beekeeper.

Elliat Graney-Saucke is a documentary filmmaker, cultural researcher, networker, curator and innovative organizer. Her work is focused on cultural equity and intergenerational knowledge exchange. She is currently Owner and Creative Director of Elliat Creative LLC, where she is leading video research and production for the NEA funded Knowledge Building Initiative with the National Performance Network (New Orleans). For the past two years, Elliat has been been President of Seattle Documentary Association and in 2018 she was a nominated SIFF Fly Film Challenge Filmmaker and coach with Artists Up (Office of Arts and Culture / 4Culture). Elliat is from the PNW and returned to Seattle 3 years ago after living in Berlin, Germany for 7 years, where she gained an MA in World Heritage Studies and where she also made a lot of really gay performance art. www.elliat-creative.com

Sarah Kavage (www.kavage.com) is a Seattle-based visual artist, urban planner, and cultural organizer whose work explores place, ecology, and landscape. Her work in the public realm uses large scale gestures to create a platform for dialogue and interaction. In 2015, she co-created and produced Duwamish Revealed (www.duwamishrevealed.com), a summerlong site specific exhibition along Seattle’s Duwamish River. She is currently working as an artist in residence for the Sound Transit public art program. Kavage has a Masters’ Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington and was selected in 2015 by Seattle Magazine as one of Seattle’s Most Influential People.

Tariqa Waters is an artist, curator, mother, entrepreneur and the driving force behind the shapeshifting venue Martyr Sauce (http://www.martyrsauce.com/Martyr_Sauce/Martyr_Sauce.html).

Sydney Brownstone is an East Coast-raised, Seattle-based reporter. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for her coverage of an elaborate porn scam in Seattle, which eventually led to a police investigation, four formal rape charges, and a sexual assault conviction. Sydney’s current beat is criminal justice, but she regularly covers sexual assault and environmental issues, too. When she isn’t reporting, she enjoys playing music, hiking in the mountains, or isolating herself in her room to play several hours of Stardew Valley.

The Next Conversation: “Asking Questions for the 21st Century”

 

Event Date: Wednesday, June 13, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

This time we’re having a conversation with ten Chilean artists and scientists who are in Seattle for an inter-hemispheric and cross-disciplinary exchange. Read on below for details. (And note the different day and time from the norm for this series.)

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Marcelo Velasco, biologist, media artist and ecological economist

Marianela Camaño, architect, singer, and costume and set designer

José Manuel de la Parra, filmmaker and graphic artist

Javiera Constanzo, wildlife medical veterinary, illustrator

Thomas Kramer, agronomist, wildlife conservationist and photographer

Beatriz Buttazzoni, artist, visual communicator

Fernando Mejías, science journalist

Miguel Bolt, multidisciplinary visual artist

Nicole García, graphic designer, visual communicator

Pablo Savaria, biologist, science communicator

Faculty Team

Fernanda Oyarzún, biologist, science communicator, scientific illustrator and sculptor

Nelida Pohl,  biologist, ecologist, science communication educator

Belen Gallardo, biologist, artist, ecologist 

Fredy Diaz, biologist, educator and media artist

The Story

Usually we put the conversations to bed for the summer. But this opportunity was too good to pass up. 

Genevieve Tremblay came to me a couple of weeks ago and suggested that we do a conversation with the ten Chilean artists and scientists who are in Seattle for the pilot program of “ASKXXI: Arts + Science Knowledge-Building and Sharing in the XXI Century.” She’s the US Executive and Academic Program Director of ASKXXI, working with three Chilean organizing partners.

The project “is a pioneering exchange program fostering US-Chile cooperation and collaboration in arts, emerging digital/virtual technologies, and the ecological sciences. Our 2018 pilot program is offered as a Certificate Diploma by the UCSC, Concepción, Chile and is sponsored, in part, by the US Embassy, Chile.”

The fourteen participants from Chile are in the Pacific Northwest for three weeks. They’re spending a week at the University Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, then they’ll have training in digital, virtual, and mixed reality technologies and data visualization in Seattle. They’ll be taking tours of science and data laboratories, tech and VR companies, and artists’ studios and cultural sites around Seattle, with ecology field trips and more.

And through these weeks, they’ll be asking a lot of questions: How do scientists and artists approach observation? How can we compare scientists’ and artists’ processes? What are the challenges of coastal environments in the Pacific Northwest…and how do they relate to these same environments of Chile? How do scientist and artists explore a changing world in the XXI century? How can we live creativity courageously in arts and science? And a lot more.

We’ll be talking with them about those questions. And we’ll be looking at other fundamental questions around art, creativity, rigorous inquiry, and the work needed to build the future.

Come. This will be fascinating.

The Guests in Detail

Marcelo Velasco: I am a biologist from the University of Chile with a master’s degree in Media Arts from the same University. I also obtained a master’s degree in Ecological Economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. As an experimental biologist, I worked in neurosciences, studying the visual system and magnetic perception in birds. In ecological economics I worked for 7 years in sustainability and mining. In recent years, and starting from my time in the Media Arts, I am interested in exploring critically the potential synergies between art and science. In 2015 I made a presentation with Ignacio Nieto in Montreal, Canada about the influence of second-order cybernetics in neuroscience, politics and art in Chile in the 70s. In 2016, together with Nieto, I published the book “Ciencia Abierta : “Open Science: Singularity and Irruption in the Frontiers of Artistic Practice” (Adrede editorial), a research that addresses the work done by artists who use scientific methodologies for their work. 

Marianela Camaño: I am an architect, faculty at Universidad de Concepción, Chile and singer, I have ventured into the illustration and creation of ceramic pieces, which some say, are the characters I draw but in three dimensions. The scenic is always present in my life; creation and characterization of characters, costumes, hats and masks, together with the scenic space and lighting, since I work as a set designer and costume designer for operas and musical theater, where architecture, music and design are connected. The integration of the arts and sciences is present in my work as art director of the biennial 0 – Art & Science to be held in Concepción at the end of 2018 and in other projects that I have developed by making available the architect’s ability to be an interpreter of a reality, make it visible and materialize it. Dreaming realities and building them is one of my greatest strengths, also building them in the Latin American reality, where scenarios are not always the most auspicious in terms of available economic resources. In this space, creativity emerges as a tributary and my appreciation for processes more than instantaneous ideas … I am interested in learning from science about organizations and processes that are more complex and sustained over time. 

José Manuel de la Parra: I am an audiovisual producer and graphic artist, I have worked in fiction and documentary projects and for some years I have approached the world of science, in individual projects and interdisciplinary collaborations. At a time when the image is an axis where culture orients, I study and work in different formats, between photography, illustration and video, looking for images that allow us to approach nature from different perspectives, where our heritage, our culture, find a space in common with the new ways of understanding the world that scientific research offers us. A long road that I am just beginning, one image at a time. 

I’m a filmmaker and graphic artist, I’ve worked in fiction and documentary projects and since a few years ago I’ve got closer to the world of scientific research, in my personal work and in interdisciplinary collaborations. In a time where the image is an axis in which the culture spins in, I study and work in various formats, between photography, illustration and video, searching for images that allow us to get closer to nature from different perspectives, where our heritage, our culture, could get the chance to find common ground with the new ways of understanding the world that science provides. A long way ahead, indeed. 

Javiera Constanzo: I am a professional medical veterinary dedicated to work with wildlife as an independent consultant. I am vice president of the NGO “Vida Nativa” and member of the emergency committee of AMEVEFAS. I am also an illustrator by trade, and I have dedicated the last years to the scientific illustration of fauna for various publishing projects. My objectives in this area are to support the generation of scientific work with descriptive images of fauna and, through platforms such as social networks, books, exhibitions and teaching materials disseminate scientific knowledge. I want to use illustrations as a tool to improve the communication of science towards to the general public. I have written scientific articles for magazines, collaborated in research mainly related to native herpetofauna and supported the rescue of animals as a wildlife coordinator during the massive fires that took place in Chile in 2017. Finally, I have also worked as an illustrator for video games, comics, drawings for NGOs, popular science books and for social networks. 

Thomas Kramer: I am an agronomist, from the Catholic University of Chile and a master’s degree in biodiversity, conservation and management from the University of Oxford. My PhD thesis was dedicated to determine the role of nature photographers in the protection of biodiversity, through interviews with some of the best Chilean exponents of the “Conservation Photography”, scientific – artistic discipline formally established only 13 years ago. As a disseminator of science, I have authored the photo book “Fauna Chilena” (2015) and co-author of the children’s work “Superanimals of Chile” (2015). I am currently writing 2 other books, which will focus on bringing wildlife closer to new generations, based on attractive artistic – technological proposals and rigorous scientific precision. During 2018, I will be implementing an innovative model of biological monitoring through trap cameras, supported and financed by actors linked to tourism of special interests, specifically those that offer programs of sighting of wild fauna. The project will be developed in the regions of Los Lagos and Magallanes, and so far has the support of 3 private owners willing to cooperate in its realization. 

Beatriz Buttazzoni: I am an artist and candidate for a Master’s in Communication (UDP / UPF). My ideal is to learn every day what did not come in the manual. I am director of the company “El Viento”, a company dedicated to animation and communication consultancy, with special interest in science. I have participated in research dissemination projects, aimed at the general public in the fields of astronomy, ecology and biochemistry. I have also created, directed and produced animation projects for open television and web. I am also a university professor in animation and film careers. I am interested in continuing to train in scientific communication and work in multidisciplinary groups, developing projects that contribute to the taste for science, preservation and environmental awareness and in time, hopefully, add and positively effect on public policies in these matters. 

Fernando Mejías: I am a journalist from the Universidad Austral de Chile, I have a Diploma in Political Studies and a postgraduate in Scientific Culture from the OEI and I am currently in charge of Communications at the University of Concepcion Biotechnology Center CBUdeC. I have more than 11 years of experience in Science Communication in universities, research centers and technology transfer and innovation projects. I am a member and was part of the national board of the Association of Journalists and Professionals for Science Communication ACHIPEC, who has organized scientific outreach activities in streets and squares of Concepción and surroundings, together with local organizations and young researchers from the Biobío and the country. In the educational field, the CBUdeC has generated workshops, talks and collaboration agreements with public and private educational establishments in the Biobío, which have culminated in practical activities and classroom interventions with a focus on science education and interdisciplinary intersections between art and science. Since 2009, I have coordinated the cycles of Scientific Cafes in Concepción and the Biobío Region, in conjunction with PAR Explora Biobío and the Extension Directorate of the University of Concepción. I also constantly participate in regional media, as a panelist in the “Science” section of the TVU TV Community Content program (www.tvu.cl/ciencia) and also in the “Dialogue with Science” radio program of the University of Concepción; in addition to managing presence in local and national media for various research projects associated with the CBUdeC. 

Miguel Bolt: I am a multidisciplinary visual artist with training in Graphic Arts and Ceramics, environmental thematic work and observation of nature. I am a co-founder of Magma Lab, an art and design laboratory. I participate in the 7M2 collective, a multidisciplinary group of art, music and architecture, as a collective we have a contemporary art gallery that also serves as a platform for various forms of art and culture. My interests are very diverse: I have always sought to establish links with disciplines and spaces different from those of the art world, I have been part of various indigenous and peasant encounters, I participated in several versions of the indigenous art biennial in Ecuador, I have worked on projects of music, design, architecture, bio-construction, appropriate technologies and agriculture. As an artist, I am interested in communicating a holistic vision of the planet and of knowledge, raising awareness about conservation issues, biodiversity, territory and culture through an attractive and binding visual language. 

Nicole García: I’m a graphic designer, but I feel more comfortable as a “visual communicator.” Throughout my career I have developed a special interest in the visualization of data and in how to show those things that are not so quantifiable, that we would apparently say are subjective or sensitive. In this way, mapping information is rather an experience of gathering information, which makes sense with the nature of the data. I usually take analogous paths to develop visuals, and this has made my path move away from design and be closer to the arts. At the same time I have worked on museography and exhibition design and publishing, serving in some institutions and museographic agencies. 

Pablo Savaria: I’m a biologist, but often I like to see myself more as a scientific “public-information officer.” Currently I work as Head of Communications at the Millennium Nucleus of Invasive Salmonids (INVASAL). On the right hand, my job involves meeting and coordinating research and science communication activities with governmental and non-governmental agencies, municipal local authorities, community leaders, national press and other research institutions. On the other hand, I’ve worked designing, producing and executing science exhibitions and conference-like events both in rural areas and big cities of Southern Chile. I haven’t quit research and still enjoy coming along to scientific expeditions, especially those involving fishing and sampling in great lakes and rivers. In science my main experience is on freshwater fish ecology, with particular fascination on anatomy. My motivation is to facilitate the public understanding of science to empower people towards decision making in the social sphere. To do that, I’m exploring traditional and emergent technologies to allow people connect with each other and the natural world. 

ASKXXI Faculty Team (Chile)

Fernanda Oyarzún is a PhD in Biology, University of Washington (USA), Fulbright Scholar,  Fellow of the Program for Interdisciplinary Biology (UW Bothell), has a Certificate in Editorial Design from Universidad de Chile and is trained in Scientific Illustration (UW). She is a biologist, science communicator, scientific illustrator and sculptor, who works in both worlds —science and art— exploring the life, forms and evolution of marine biodiversity. Her scientific research, from which she also draws artistic inspiration, focuses on the evolution of life history strategies, larval ecology, reproduction and plasticity of marine invertebrates. She is interests on the design, development and implementation of interdisciplinary educational programs, pedagogical tools and learning environments that will increase the interaction among scientists, artists, legislators, educators and the general public. 

Nélida Pohl, Communications Advisor at 6 Senses, is a Biologist with a MSc in Ecology from Universidad de Chile, a PhD in Biology from University of California, Irvine, and a MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College, London. She is a full time science communication educator and practitioner since 2011. As an educator, she leads a Certificate Diploma in Science Communication at Universidad de Chile, teaches undergraduate courses and workshops, and seminars in Chile and abroad. She’s interested in raising awareness regarding environmental issues, the training of new science communicators, widening the appeal of science to reach new audiences, and the many interactions between science and art.

Belén Gallardo is a collaborator of the IEB, biologist with an MSc in biological sciences and PhD candidate studying at the Department of Ecology of Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, graduating in 2019. Her areas of expertise include mediterranean and temperate forest ecosystems, especially plant-soil interactions, and graduate and extension curriculum development. She has extensive experience coordinating courses on ecology, the environment and its global changes, such as Principles of Ecology, Community and Ecosystems Ecology, and Biological Invasions. She organized the Forest Ecology course at the IEB’s Estacion Biologica Senda Darwin (Chiloe Island) for three consecutive years, and the Botanical Illustration course at the same venue since 2015. She’s also part of the team that is putting together the first Marine Illustration course that will take place in October 2017.

Fredy Díaz is a biologist with an MSc in Biochemistry, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Catolica de la Santísima Concepción, in Concepción, Chile. He is the director of the Interactive Biology (BiLab) Lab at the same institution. BiLab is a creative space where students make original cartoons, digital animations and interactive objects as tools for the teaching and learning of biological subjects.

The Next Conversation: “Artists as Activists”

Event Date: Tuesday, April 17, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

 

The Summary

We’re coming into the 2018 campaign season, and it’s going to be an all hands on deck scenario. It’s pretty apparent that artists may have a unique role to play in politics. And in the face of the recent King County Council power grab with 4Culture and other issues, the need to better organize locally becomes increasingly apparent.

Read on below for details.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Julie Chang Schulman, Hip Hop artist, community organizer

Laura Dean, artist, designer, organizer

And we’re working on getting one or two more.

 

The Story

This time we’re revisiting the topic of art and politics (March 2016: “Art and Politics”) with a deeper focus to the actual work that artists can do in the political sphere. 

It’s key that many of us must learn the everyday skills of effective political engagement: canvassing, telephoning, fundraising, motivating. But artists, by the very nature of their training and their work in worlds of imagination, also have special powers to do things that can have outsized effects in politics. Whether by creating effective graphics, making powerful video, or doing good street theater, artists can have the ability to reach people. One of the clearest examples is Shepard Fairey’s “Obama Hope” image. It became the unofficial visual of the Obama campaign and has spawned countless spin-offs. Or Eminem’s Mosh video from 2004 comes to mind. Locally, so do ACED’s hip hop events in support of equitable development. There are countless other examples. 

While we are focused on the make-or-break nature of the 2018 national elections, it’s worth noting that any political power, even on the national scale, comes from effective local organizing. The intransigence of our county government, in issues ranging from the new youth jail to the power grab at 4Culture, makes good local organizing critically important. 

Finally, a bit of soapbox. One of the truisms about democracy, or even a state that makes any substantial claim toward being a democracy, is that the people get the government they deserve. That’s not just a matter of who gets voted into office. Instead, it’s more about how the citizens of that democracy live their lives.

I’ve heard too many people say “I need to take a break from politics,” or “I’m burned out on politics,” as if politics is something that we can leave behind, or turn off and on. There’s the old phrase, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” (first use credited to many people, including Irish politician John Philpott Curran in 1790 and American abolitionist Wendell Phillips in 1852). But I’m afraid that the phrase is incorrect, or at least only partly accurate. Vigilance is easy, especially in a day of information overload. In fact, excessive vigilance may be what’s driving some of us to burnout. What’s more important is engagement. It’s simple: the responsibility of living in a democracy is engagement, locally and nationally, staying involved as a way of life, and maybe a way of art.

Come and talk about it.

 

The Guests in Detail

Laura Dean studied psychology in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she worked and volunteered with at-risk youth. In 2001, she moved to Seattle to explore how her creative interests could be used to cultivate positive social change. While a security guard at SAM and the Frye, she taught herself animation and web design and then moved to San Francisco to pursue a MA in interaction design. In 2008, she organized a rural county in Wisconsin for Obama before returning to Seattle. Since then she’s worked as an animator, illustrator, hack coder and most predominantly a User Experience Designer, on multiple projects with creative agencies and start-ups, while volunteering for progressive causes on the side. Currently she’s a Director of User Experience with MyGrove, a small start-up based out of Brooklyn. She was a volunteer organizer with the Bernie campaign. For her, it’s not about winning one election; it‘s about changing the trajectory of US politics.

Julie C, also known as Julie Chang Schulman, is an explosive lyricist, educator, and Hip Hop community organizer. Emceeing since her early teens, Julie C hails from the legendary Alpha Platoon crew of Seattle, a dynamic underground collective that has produced some of the most influential and stylistically advanced artists and groups in the Northwest. She is an organizer with the Artist Coalition for Equitable Development.

The Next Conversation: “Music and Mixed Reality”

 

Event Date: Tuesday, March 20, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

In conjunction with the ongoing 9e2 project, we’re continuing our conversation about art and new technologies. In the last conversation, we looked at fundamental questions of synthetic realities. This month we’re going deeper into music as an important element of any immersive realities. Read on below for details.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Evie Powell, game designer; president, Verge of Brilliance

Arami walker, artist, musician

Aliysha Kaija, artist, musician

Andrew Luck, multimedia producer, sound designer, and researcher

The Story

This time we’re focusing on the sound elements and more specifically, the music, in mixed reality, in immersive technologies. At first glance, it seems that visual elements are at the core of any immersion, whether in virtual reality, 360 degree video, or in augmented reality. But it may be that sound and music hold the key to a powerful experience in an immersion.

I remember back in the very first days of video teleconferencing participating in a transcontinental conference, and thinking how the sound, which was crystal clear, made the person on the screen feel as though they were right there in front of us. The video, not so much. Of course video has gone through revolutionary shifts since then, but there is still something about a well-made, and well-placed, sound in creating another reality, in producing a sense of immersion.

That sound placement can be key; it’s the world of spatial audio, where stereo recording gives way to binaural audio such that sounds appear to be coming from specific directions, and then, more recently, to 3D audio, or ambisonics, where sound changes to reflect the user’s movement through a virtual space.

But this is just sound. How does music, as a structured and emotive set of sounds, play into the creation of immersive realities? If immersive technologies are to be a way of telling stories, and possibly critical stories, how is music part of that storytelling? Do the new technologies, especially 3D audio, allow for the creation of what may effectively be a new form of music production? Can the interactive potentials of mixed reality allow for a music that is fluid, that will never be heard more than once in the same way?

Come talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Evie Powell graduated from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her Ph.D in Computer Science. Her research interests varied to include socially pervasive game experiences and context aware gaming using mobile technologies. In school, her primary research project was a social networking game called “Snag’em,” which is designed to teach valuable networking skills and increase the sense of community among game players. Dr. Powell uses pervasive game design principles and popular social game design strategies to create an experience that increases sense of community, specifically within the computing community, with the end goal of positively impacting student retention and increase student success within computing.

Arami walker is a multidimensional artist who intends to use the power of media, performance arts, and technology to catalyze a shift in consciousness throughout the world. Inspired by language learning, poetry, music and immersive reality building, she hopes to use traditional and non- traditional media to promote a healthier way to share stories.

From her statement: “Arami walker is tired of making her life path sound more academic and digestible.

I sing truth, to heal the masses, and to learn how to love myself.

My Life started when I told my Dad, I want to be an artist.”

Aliysha Kaija centers herself in her life purpose of “Be the Light.” She has toured the world making music and touches the soul of everyone she meets. As a creator, teacher and healer, she uses touch and sound healing to help people reach deeper levels of self, empathy and human experience.

Andrew Luck is a computer musician, hacker, instructor, and community organizer living in Seattle, Washington. He was born in the rural Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, and music, videos games, and television fueled a burning curiosity for other cultures. Sharing media’s potential for learning and expression is a driving force to his community building and expression. At Appalachian State University, Andrew studied media literacy and explored the balance of simulacra in non-fiction video. It was at this time Andrew began creating computer music and DJing acousmatic dance music. Multimedia production has enabled him to promote and produce music and community events since 2000.

Between 2009 and 2014 Andrew joined forces with Adam Houghton to form the musical duo SPLATINUM. In 2014 Andrew ventured back into education and research. After a decade of work in industry on products and events for music and entertainment, research presented a unique and exciting growth opportunity. Simultaneously, Andrew discovered the second wave of virtual reality, and in his work, observed young students creating music with technology at an invigorating pace. Expressing musical ideas and building songs was expedited with technology and new musical interfaces. This inspired a pivot into creating musical worlds and interfaces in VR, a promising new computing platform, that will be highly accessible.

Andrew found a way into hackathons, as a sound designer and musician. Currently, he is an avid participant in the Seattle VR community, attending and competing in hackathons regularly. He has won four awards in Seattle VR Hackathons since 2016. Actively building and creating tools that empower people to improvise musical interactions in immersive environments is Andrew’s current mission.

 

The Next Conversation: “Mixed Realities, Immersive Realities”

Event Date: Wednesday, January 17, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

We’re seeing amazing, and sometimes stunning, developments in new technologies that give us new views into the world around us. What are the options for these technologies in terms of art, creativity, storytelling? What’s amazing about VR, AR, 360º? Read on below for more details. (And note the Wednesday date for this conversation, instead of the regular Tuesday evening.)

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Gretchen Burger, artist, co-founder of fearless360º

Benjamin Van Citters, artist, software developer

Ivan Evdokimov, CEO, Zengalt

Bernard Yee, executive producer, program manager, Oculus

The Story

In this series, we have on occasion looked at specific media for creativity: sculpture, drawing, video, and so forth. This time we’re exploring a new set of media: virtual reality, augmented reality, 360º immersion; all of which we can see under a broader category: mixed reality.

We’re employing this series to continue the discussions of art, science, and technology begun with 9e2 in 2016.

No other technology has had such potential to transport viewers, to immerse them so directly in other realities, and to give them the potentials to create their own worlds. The question: what can we do with these realities that hasn’t been done before? What is exciting about creating new worlds, or twisting this one? What is the potential for telling our stories, for creating art?

Where do the new media stand today as tools for making art? And where are we going? Where should we be going?

Example: One of the hits on virtual reality is that it is limited by the headset, so that only one person at a time can view a virtual reality installation. But at a Town Hall lecture a few weeks ago, virtual reality pioneer and new tech philosopher Jaron Lanier suggested that he wouldn’t want the clunky VR headset to go away in favor of something more streamlined, that can be worn all the time. For him, donning the clunky headset is a ritual of passage, a concrete signifier that one has entered a completely new experience.

What are the astounding things that one can do with these technologies? Come and talk about it.

Meanwhile, we’re guest curating one episode in Davida Ingram’s public programs series at the Seattle Public Library, on January 29. Entitled “A 9e2 Conversation: Seattle as a Place for Art, Science, and Technology,” the discussion will look at how Seattle, as a noted science and tech center, fosters—or perhaps doesn’t foster—interplay between art, science, and technology. Guests include Susie Lee, Sandy Cioffi, Christopher Shaw, and others. Find details at https://www.facebook.com/events/1971920699735828/

The Guests in Detail

Gretchen Burger is an artist, educator, media-maker, and co-founder of fearless360º, a start-up working at the intersection of art, culture, education, storytelling and technology to develop content, programming, and curriculum for immersive / VR / AR / 360º media. Gretchen has an MFA in Video Art & Installation from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has taught video production and editing at the Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle University, Cornish College of the Arts, and the Northwest Film Forum. A long time activist and documentary filmmaker, Gretchen serves on the board of the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Network and is a co-founder of the Seattle Documentary Association.

By day Benjamin Van Citters is a software developer, but by night he is a procedural and software artist. Based in Seattle, Washington, Ben’s work plays with iterative mathematical algorithms, digital imaging, data, video and audio. He has performed live visuals with musicians at Seattle festivals Bumbershoot, Sasquatch, Decibel Festival and Capitol Hill Block Party. His “Mind at Large,” a site-specific virtual reality installation co-created with Brandon Aleson and Reilly Donovan, is currently on exhibit at Interstitial, a gallery in Georgetown.

Ivan Evdokimov is the CEO of Zengalt, which creates mixed reality experiences for museums, architects, and other industries. Their Vyzn technology allows for creating HoloLens experiences without writing code, while “Land of Dinosaurs” is a HoloLens application that creates an expanded museum experience.

Bernard Yee is currently Executive Producer/TPM at Oculus on the Oculus Rex team in Seattle. Oculus Rex has created the seminal VR experiences for Oculus current generation of hardware: Dreamdeck (showcasing final shipping optics and tracking), Toybox (exploring the idea of social presence in a shared VR space), Farlands (a launch game for the Rift), Prologue (an introduction to VR experience for the GearVR) and First Contact (an introduction to hand presence via the Oculus Touch controllers).

Bernie has worked in the game industry on a wide variety of games and genres in both development and publishing roles, most recently at PopCap (lead producer on Plants vs Zombies 2 and Peggle 2), and Bungie (Destiny). Prior to moving to Seattle, Bernie worked at smaller game startups in New York City, and also Harmonix (Rock Band), Atari, Disney Interactive and Sony Online Entertainment (EverQuest). He also taught game design and production at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Next Conversation: “New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity”

Event Date: Tuesday, November 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

As part of our thinking about change, this time we’re looking at new skins, the ways in which we skin ourselves, and how that relates to fashion, architecture, art, and especially technological change. Read on for more detail.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Afroditi Psarra, artist, Assistant Professor, DXARTS,  University of Washington

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, TAF Academy

The Story

This topic may, at first glance, feel diffuse, extending through fashion, architecture, art, and technology. But I can see a number of interconnecting themes, running through design and making, and effectively culminating in the way we skin ourselves. And how that skinning is one way that say who we are, and who we are to become.

There’s a huge amount to say on this; I’ll be brief here. Clothing is of course a core part of the statement we make everyday about who we are and how we live our lives. But it has always been at the core of who we were to become. It’s no accident that some of the most enduring images of Surrealism are of costumes and clothing. The making of clothing has also been at the forefront of developments in manufacturing and making, and commerce. The shifts that are happening now, in materials, design, and selling, have broad repercussions across society.

Meanwhile, as the world of wearables expands and grows more complex, how does the idea of wearable technologies affect our lives? And what roles do art and performance play in those shifts?

Finally, there’s a fascinating interplay between fashion and architecture, with a creation of lived design, lived environments. I’d guess that Alexander McQueen will come up in the conversation, as will the artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. and his concept of five skins.

Come and talk about it.

This will be the last conversation on 2017. Next year, we’ll be focusing on some of edges and intersections around art and performance and some of the new technologies in virtual and augmented reality, biotech, 3D audio, computational photography, and more. Stay tuned.

The Guests in Detail

Afroditi Psarra is a multidisciplinary artist working with e-textiles, diy electronics and sound. Her artistic interest focuses on concepts such as the body as an interface, contemporary handicrafts and folk tradition, pop iconography, retrofuturistic aesthetics and the role of women in contemporary culture. Her artworks include a wide variety of media and techniques that extend from embroidery, soft circuits, hacking and creative coding, to interactive installations and sound performances.

She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her academic research Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merge of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process.

Her work has been presented at numerous platforms such as Siggraph in Vancouver, Ars Electronica in Linz, Transmediale and CTM in Berlin, Amber in Istanbul, Piksel in Bergen, Electropixel in Nantes and MakerFaire in Rome between others. She has worked as an intern on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She is currently appointed as assistant professor in the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. http://afroditipsarra.com

Heidi Parker has been working behind the scenes for over 20 years to produce and craft the stories that brands and artists tell. A recent transplant to Seattle, she previously worked in New York on campaigns from Eternity and cK One to Bon Jovi and Revlon. Technology, pop culture, politics, and art all inform her best work with the new wave of communications through the disruptive tactics of the new shift toward tech informing her most recent work.

Dr. Vikramāditya “Vikram” Prakāsh is an architect, an architectural historian and theorist. He works on issues of modernism, postcoloniality, global history, urban theory, and fashion & architecture.

His books include Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India,  A Global History of Architecture (with Francis DK Ching & Mark Jarzombek), Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (with Peter Scriver, co-eds), The Architecture of Shivdatt Sharma and Chandigarh: An Architectural Guide. A Global History is widely used as a textbook and being translated into five languages. He is currently working on Deruralization: The Modernist City in the Age of Globalization (Routledge: 2017).

Vikram has served as Associate Dean and Chair at the University of Washington. His administrative experience includes capital campaigning, strategic planning, institutional networking, and mentoring. His public service includes terms on the Boards of the Seattle Center and the Seattle AIA.

Currently, Vikram is the Director of the Chandigarh Urban Lab, and founding board member of GAHTC – the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. He is co-PI (with Mark M. Jarzombek, MIT) of a 2.5 million dollar Mellon Foundation grants to develop the teaching of global history in the academy. He also hosts ArchitectureTalk – a bi-weekly podcast dedicated to conversations on architecture and design thinking.

Vikram grew up in Chandigarh, India. He lives in Seattle with his wife and three children. He loves poetry, and is a modern dance and theater enthusiast. Fashion and architecture, or Body-Architecture, is his newest passion, an experiment in trying to cross-pollinate diverse disciplinary design intelligences.

Gabriel-Bello Diaz works in Seattle as a writer, architectural researcher, and instructor. His writings and reach focus on robotics and neuroscience in architecture and the emergence of the “digital artisan” in relation to the history of fabrication. As an instructor, he focuses on 3-D modeling and printing through the studies of complex geometries generated from both nature and mathematics. He has presented work in several conferences and exhibitions, including Robots in Architecture (2012), Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, and Future Traditions 2013. Diaz is director of the Future Architecture Coalition, a global nonprofit organization that advocates for new standard in public school education and initiates interventions in different countries with the international design team.

The Next Conversation: “Inquiry: Educating for Change”

Event Date: Tuesday, October 24, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

If we are in the midst of massive cultural change, how does that change affect the ways in which we learn, both as children and adults? Can education get us ready for the changes that are coming? And how do art and rapidly changing technologies play into education?

The Guests (see guest bios below)

James Miles, Executive Director, Arts Corps; actor, teacher

Michelle Zimmerman, teacher, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca K-8 School; screenwriter

Lara Davis, artist, racial equity consultant, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

The Story

This time, we’re looking at education and inquiry in a time of change. And we’re looking at the role of art and technology in shifts in the way we learn.

In planning for the next 9e2, one of the things we’re looking at is a set of huge changes happening in the world, in part as a result of a wealth of new technologies, but also simply because of the introduction of new ways to thinking, imagining, organizing ourselves. We’re looking at the art and culture of technological and scientific change. And at the core of any culture is learning.

As new technologies and new social models become ubiquitous, the ways in which we interact and get information are changing deeply. Those changes can’t help having a solid effect on the ways in which we teach and learn.

Many of the familiar models for teaching and learning were designed for another time, for another world. What will replace them?

If we believe common accounts, especially in the popular press, the world of learning is in a sorry state; people are coming of age without a fundamental understanding of the way the world works. But we see plenty of examples that run counter to that sense; innovation and energy seem to be everywhere.

We’ve assembled a group of guests who are actively involved in creating new learning models, in innovation and experiment in integrating art and integrating technology into learning. This will be a fascinating conversation. Come talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Originally from Chicago, James Miles has just moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, NY where he worked as an actor and educator for 19 years. Before joining Arts Corps, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City. James has also facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, and others. Previously a professor at NYU, James taught a myriad of classes, ranging from Acting and Directing to EdTech and Special Education. He is on the board of directors for the Association of Teaching Artists and the Teaching Artist Journal. A graduate of Morehouse College and Brandeis University, James has presented at SXSWedu, NYU’s IMPACT Festival, Creative Tech Week, EdTech Europe, Google Educator Bootcamp, and has provided professional development to teachers across the world. His work has been covered by Pie News, New Profit, Complex Magazine, NPR, CBS, US Department of Education, and ASCD. James is a former accountant, model, and actor. He can be frequently found on Twitter, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

Michelle Zimmerman, PhD, has taught all grades from Pre-K through 10th within the past 16 years, with a focus on middle and high school since 2009. She has presented her research across the US and Canada since 2007, and to Satya Nadella and his executive team. The evidence of her original research and theory into practice can be seen in designing Renton Prep. She was thrilled to see the school become FETC STEM Excellence Award Finalist for 2016 as top 3 STEM Middle Schools in the Nation, Microsoft Showcase School, and receive the Award of Excellence for Digital Curriculum and Content Strategy from The Learning Counsel, and the inaugural Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education. Dr. Zimmerman is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Surface Expert, Lead PBS DigitalMedia Innovator, and was named 2016 NCCE Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year, and received the Ahead of the Class – Excellence in Education Award (presented by Renton City Council and Seattle Seahawks). Her high school STEM students co-authored an invited chapter with her to add to her original research chapter in Revolutionizing Education with Digital Ink: The Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (Human-Computer Interaction Series, Springer 2016). The legacy of her work is expressed through her students submitting their own proposals, speaking at international conferences and co-authoring invited blogs.  She most recently spoke at the New York Academy of Medicine for STEM Summit 5.0.

Donte Felder is fueled and inspired by the students he teaches at Orca K-8, an alternative school in South Seattle. Besides exploring the formation of the United States and the philosophy of story, Felder is energized by the many possibilities that are presented when writing a screenplay. Felder is a graduate of Goddard College where he received his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting. He is on the board of directors of Hugo House and Arts Corps. Felder is happily married and has three wonderful children. This interview shows Donte’s ideas about the Orca Film and Theater Academy.

Lara Davis is an artist, racial equity consultant, and arts administrator working at the intersection of culture, public education, and social justice.  She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, a nationally recognized youth arts education organization.  As arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Lara co-leads The Creative Advantage, a public/private initiative to reinvest in equitable arts education for all Seattle students. Lara is the inaugural co-chair for the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian/API Arab, Native American) Network, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, is a 2017 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award.  She knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

The Next Conversation: “Change”

Event Date: Wednesday, September 27, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

To link to this announcement, do so at https://boylanconversation.wordpress.com/

 

The Summary

This time, we’re looking at change, at the enormous changes happening around us. Read on below for details. (Note that this one happens on Wednesday rather than the traditional Tuesday, and that’s Wednesday the 27th.)

The Guests

Hisam Goueli, gerontologist and geriatric psychiatrist; activist, performing artist, recent candidate for Seattle City Council; Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington

Edwin G. Lindo, activist, attorney, instructor at University of Washington School of Law; member of the People’s Party

Julie Cruse, designer and technologist; Manager, Instructional Design and Outreach at the University of Washington

Sandy Cioffi, film and video artist; activist; media educator and innovator

 

The Story

Change. It’s one of the essential themes that marks these early years in the 21st century, in Seattle, across the United States, and especially across the globe. It’s becoming especially apparent that we, the people, are experiencing tremendous change, a massive cultural shift.

It’s easy to suggest that any change we are seeing is just more of the same: Heraclitus of Ephesus is one of the most oft-paraphrased philosophers of ancient Greece, with “The only thing that is constant is change.” But something different is going on, something that goes beyond the everyday. Increasingly, we’re hearing the idea that today’s changes are unprecedented, like nothing that has been seen in decades, even centuries, or maybe forever.

A couple of disparate examples: theater critic Chris Jones’s Like it or not, we are in the midst of a second arts revolution, from the Chicago Tribune in June 2017. Jones sees what’s happening now as “the second radical revolution of expressive life,” after Gutenberg. Or from a different angle, read Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? from the last month’s Atlantic Monthly. The author, professor of psychology Jean Twenge, looks at the effects that smart phones are having on the current generation of youth. She describes the extent of the changes: “In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.”

These essays are both from the popular press and are thus might be suspect, but both are rigorous and thoughtful. And whether we agree with the arguments in either piece, what’s remarkable is this growing sense of unprecedented change. It’s like the scene in the science fiction/horror film where the scientist keeps checking her unbelievable results, and they keep coming up dramatic and possibly horrifying.

Of course, those who’ve been following the data on the anthropocene, the idea that we are going through a Great Acceleration, may have a good sense of what I’m talking about.

But one of the strange aspects of this cultural change is the extent to which it can seem invisible. It’s so huge, so complex, and we are so immersed in it, that it can be hard to see, much less make sense of it. It’s a little like climate change: We get up every morning and it seems a lot like yesterday, and tomorrow will feel a lot like today. Unless we follow the data, or are directly affected by a superstorm, it can seem theoretical, or at best happening to someone else.

Cultural and social changes can feel the same way, out there somewhere, in Washington, DC, say. But Seattle is a focal point for technological change, and we’ve also become a laboratory for social change, whether it’s gay marriage, marijuana legalization, or the remarkable role of the People’s Party in the recent mayoral primary.

In 2016, a group of us produced 9e2, a festival of art, science, and technology. In February 2018 we’re coming back with another 9e2, and this time we’re taking the intersections of art, science, and technology as a way of getting a handle on some of that change and possibly shape it.

This fall, I’m devoting this conversation series to exploring some of the key concepts that 9e2 will raise. We begin by looking at “Change.” I’ve invited four fascinating change agents to look at changes that are happening now, and what may be coming.

Come and have a conversation.

The Guests in Detail

Edwin G. Lindo—We don’t have a brief bio for Edwin, but this page gives an excellent sense of his background.

Julie Cruse has created engaging experiences, programs, and strategies across diverse media and industries for over a decade. She designed programs at two colleges, curricula for five colleges, engagement strategies for over twenty entities, and numerous interactive platforms “in out (and) thru” learning, sciences, health, games, and arts. Distinctions exceed thirty grants and honors for scholarly, artistic, and entrepreneurial excellence, including recognition as Outstanding Alumni in Innovation (Ohio State University, Summer 2009).

Cruse holds Master’s degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from Arizona State University and in Dance and Technology from The Ohio State University. In both programs she designed and researched mixed reality systems for holistic learning through play, collaboration, interaction, and movement to engage and sustain communities. Recent presentations include Games + Learning + Society, and Emerge: Artists + Scientists Redesign the Future.

As inaugural Instructional Technologist of Oberlin College Media Center (OCMC) Cruse designed and realized OCMC to support media in learning and research. She is currently Manager, Instructional Design and Outreach at the University of Washington.

Sandy Cioffi is the founder and executive director of fearless360º, a new media and virtual reality production company in Seattle. Sandy recently founded and directed SIFFX 2016, a showcase of the most current and creative thinking in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360° immersion. As a 2016 Stranger Genius Award nominee, Sandy has been recognized as a cultural innovator.

Sandy has produced and/or directed several films as a film and video artist, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187, and Just Us. She has worked with human rights organizations in using video as a documentation and verification tool – specifically providing video evidence during the 1998 Marching Season in Northern Ireland. She documented the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003. Sandy was also a frequent guest on the NPR show Rewind which ended production when host Bill Radke left Seattle for Los Angeles. Sandy has also created media design for live performance at the Annex Theater, Hugo House, The Seattle Repertory Theater and On the Boards.

Sandy has worked with young people extensively as an artist in residence and through the mentor/apprentice film program at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. As a long-time educator, she has also taught film at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts.

Born to Egyptian Muslim Immigrants in 1978 in Minneapolis, Hisam Goueli was raised with the notion that people are far more important than material objects and that giving back to one’s community is an essential part of living. With such strong moral values in place, Hisam completed a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Zoology and a Medical Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. Committed to serving vulnerable, under served and uninsured patient populations, Hisam trained in both Family Medicine and Psychiatry with additional certification in international health. After traveling the world and working with multiple non-governmental organizations to improve maternal and child health, Hisam moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He served as the Medical Director for Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry at Emory University. In 2012, Hisam and his Peruvian partner, Roberto, moved to Seattle, married and adopted Evita, a Golden Retriever.  Presently, Hisam is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and works at Northwest Hospital in Gerontology and Geriatric Psychiatry.

Hisam has received numerous local and regional awards for his clinical care, teaching and community advocacy. He won national attention from Alpha Omega Alpha (the national honor medical society) for his work to address the enrollment disparities of women in health-related professions. He went on to help decrease the “under 5 mortality” crisis in Guatemala by creating a project to develop women as leaders in healthcare. Hisam has also worked with dentists to establish a low-cost dental clinic in Madison and a mobile health care bus in Egypt. He has worked with Planned Parenthood, providing care to patients in need. Hisam has counseled and provided psychiatric management for transgender patients who suffered from body dysmorphia, depressive and anxiety disorders. He has helped LGBTQ patients newly diagnosed with HIV.  Hisam’s passion for improving the lives of the less fortunate and community enhancement echoes throughout his work and life.

Outside of his field of study, Goueli is a local performing artist and storyteller. He performs improvisational theater, scripted theater, circus and burlesque throughout Seattle. His work in the arts has helped him to develop community and build his chosen family. He currently serves as a Board Member for Theatre Off Jackson in the International District. Hisam proudly supports the arts, and believes that arts & culture help to retain the creative soul of a city.

Coming Up

Inquiry: Educating for Change,” Tuesday October 24, 7 to 9pm

Guests:

James Miles, actor; Executive Director, Arts Corps

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca Middle School; screenwriter

Michelle Zimmerman, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School (tentative)

Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture; performer

New Skins: Apparel, Shelter, and Identity,” Tuesday November 28, 7 to 9pm

Guests:

Anna Rose Telcs, artist and designer

Heidi Parker, media and marketing consultant

Vikram Prakash, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington

Gabriel-Bello Diaz, fashion designer and engineer; Engineering and Design Instructor, Technology Access Foundation Academy