Apr 062017


The Crochet Coral Reef project, by Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring, responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash. Residing at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft, and community art practice, the Crochet Coral Reef highlights not only the damage humans do to the earth’s environment, but also our power for positive action. The project constitutes an elegiacally beautiful, artistically complex, and socially powerful way to bring citizens together around a devastating ecological challenge—the survival of the coral reefs and marine ecologies throughout the world.

Dates: Fri, Feb 10, 2017 to Sat, May 6, 2017, Location: Sesnon Gallery, UC Santa Cruz, Hours:  Tuesday–Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m

The Crochet Coral Reef has been exhibited in art and science museums worldwide, including the Museum of Art and Design (New York), the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), the Hayward Gallery (London), the Science Gallery (Dublin), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC).

In addition to the exhibition Crochet Coral Reef: CO2CA-CO2LA Ocean at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, related programming includes the creation of the UC Santa Cruz Satellite Reef, crocheted by UCSC students alongside faculty, staff and Santa Cruz community members. This latest addition to an ever-evolving wooly archipelago of crochet reefs worldwide, including Europe, Australia, Asia, and the United States, will be exhibited at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center beginning May 4, 2017. See ias.ucsc.edu for more details.

Crochet Coral Reef: CO2CA-CO2LA Ocean and the UC Santa Cruz Satellite Reef are sponsored and co- organized by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. The Institute of the Arts and Sciences is part of UC Santa Cruz’s Arts Division. It is an interdisciplinary programming unit, which creates public exhibitions, public events, publications, and collaborations with faculty and students, aligning with UCSC’s teaching and research.

Sisters Margaret Wertheim (a science writer) and Christine Wertheim (a poet, writer and faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts) are co-founders of the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles non- profit devoted to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. The IFF is a “play tank” which develops artworks, exhibitions and programs that engage audiences in topics ranging from the physics of snowflakes to mathematical paper folding. www.theiff.org.About Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

The Sesnon Gallery encourages interdisciplinary discourse through the lens of the arts. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. It is closed for the university spring break March 25 – April 3, 2017. The gallery is located at Porter College, UC Santa Cruz and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free, and metered or special event parking is available at Porter College. Group tours are available by appointment at (831) 459-3606. Please visit: arts.ucsc.edu/sesnon.

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Feb 092017

DarkDeleuze_UCSC_OpenLabAndrew Culp’s Dark Deleuze (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) offers a radical reinterpretation of the theorist Gilles Deleuze that challenges today’s world of compulsory happiness, decentralized control, and overexposure. Arranged in a series of contraries, Culp’s cataclysmic politics exhorts us to kill our idols and cultivate “hatred for this world.”

“Dark Deleuze in the Dark” is a conceptual conversation conducted in the dark with Professor Culp that addresses themes from his work on interruption, un-becoming, and escape. In our age of ubiquitous connectivity, joy, and self-disclosure, how might darkness help us to cast a line to the outside? As Culp argued in a recent interview, “A revolution that emerges from the darkness holds the apocalyptic potential of ending the world as we know it.”

This event is organized by INTERVAL and hosted by OpenLab with support from Film & Digital Media, Digital Arts & New Media, and the Arts Division at UCSC. INTERVAL is a space dedicated to interdisciplinary play and experimentation of art practice and scholarship.

Refreshments provided.

Andrew Culp is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communication at the University of Texas, Dallas.

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Nov 292016


Featuring 10 UCSC artists each using an English phrase to query a corpus & presenting the results

A cross-disciplinary event representing Creative Writing, Digital Arts & New Media, Film & Digital Media, Computer Science, and Linguistics students.

The event will start with a reception and presentation of artist works at 6pm, followed by an informal panel discussion at 7, offering an opportunity to see the processes behind various works.

Writ Large at UCSC is made possible with support from the Porter Hitchcock Poetry Fund, OpenLab, and Digital Arts & New Media.

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Sep 202016

blackwhole2_openLabOctober 5 – November 23, 2016

Reception:  October 5, 4:30-6:30pm at the gallery

”Imagination is more important than knowledge.”—Albert Einstein

Workshop: Friday, Oct. 7, 1:00-5:00pm

Workshop application:  UCSC students apply to participate

Black (W)hole is an immersive exhibition experience designed by The Einstein Collective that combines the arts, data visualization and sonification, and astrophysics. Entering the installation, viewers step into a darkened gallery where a laser star field projects onto their skin. The visitor becomes immersed in a field of stars surrounded by the Einstein equations that were written roughly 100 years ago and predicted the existence of black holes. Through this sensory-rich experience, the viewer learns about black holes in a way that goes beyond visual simulations or descriptive words.

The Einstein Collective is a group of artists, scientists and educators from several universities. Members include: Sara Mast, lead visual artist; Jessica Jellison, architect; Christopher O’Leary, animator and visual artist; Cindy Stillwell, filmmaker; Jason Bolte, composer/sound artist; Charles Kankelborg, solar physicist; Nico Yunes, astrophysicist; Joey Shapiro Key, astrophysicist. A special workshop for UCSC students on ArtScience collaboration will be offered by artist Sara Mast and astrophysicists Joey Shapiro Key and UCSC Professor and OpenLab founder Enrico Ramirez-Ruuiz during the exhibition.

The Black (W)hole project uses data visualization of an extreme mass ratio inspiral (EMRI) with the aural data of gravitational wave frequencies in an experiential work of ArtScience. The visitor becomes immersed in a field of stars, designed by Physics Professor Charles Kankelborg from Montana State University (MSU), surrounded by the Einstein equations that were written roughly one hundred years ago and predicted the existence of black holes. This work engages mind and body in both historical and current gravitational wave astronomy, encompassing our current, 21st century level of understanding of the universe and expanding the viewer’s capacity to imagine and wonder.

Visitors can step into an animation of an extreme mass ratio inspiral—a small black hole being sucked into a supermassive black hole, which results in the emission of gravitational waves.Through this sensory-rich experience, the viewer learns about black holes in a way that goes beyond visual simulations or descriptive words. Lead Physicist Nicolas Yunes and Jason Bolte, a professor in the School of Music, both from Montana State University, took the supercomputer’s data that was used to create the animation and turned it into sound, a process called data sonification. The sound was then synchronized to a soundtrack for the animation, which was created by Christopher O’Leary from UCLA.  Astrophysicist Joey Shapiro Key, previously served as educational specialist for the Montana Space Grant Consortium and also contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves, was a scientific adviser to the project.

This installation comprises black hole animation, Transmutations (an experimental film created by Cindy Stillwell using encaustic paintings by Sara Mast, an associate professor of drawing and painting at Montana State University), and the actual Mast paintings.The Einstein Collective would like to thank the following sponsors:Montana Space Grant Consortium, Montana State University, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National ScienceFoundation.
This exhibition is sponsored by the University of California Santa Cruz, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Arts Division, Porter College, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, OpenLab, and the Barbara Walker Memorial Fund.

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery encourages interdisciplinary discourse through the lens of the arts. The gallery is located at Porter College, UCSC, and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and metered parking is available at Porter College. Group tours are available by appointment at (831) 459-3606.

Gallery hours:

Tuesday-Saturday 12-5 p.m.

Wednesdays 12-8 p.m.

Free and open to the public

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Apr 022016

writ-large-logoWrit Large is an Oakland-based exhibition and screening series and commissioning program for creative work at the intersection of literature, visual arts, and programming. The ongoing series of screenings, installations, and exhibitions features a curated program of text-based artwork in several related genres which go by different names but all share the use of screens rather than (or in addition to) print media or performance as vessel for the written word. These include kinetic typography, motion design and text animation, visual poetry, cine-poetry, and video poems, interactive poetry, text-based digital and new media art, generative and procedural programmed texts, and many forms of what’s known as “e-lit”. The festival gathers the diverse practitioners of these forms under one roof, and coalesces these related movements into a more cohesive whole that demonstrates the potentials of screen-based texts. We also work with writers, designers, animators, programmers, and other artists to commission new works to be featured in festival programs or in site-specific installations.

SUBMIT your ideas to Writ Large: http://www.writlarge.us

Writ Large curators take an expansive view of screen-based writing, and will consider work in many styles, genres, and disciplines — as long as text is an important element in the finished work or the process of its making. All media and formats are accepted, as long as the work can be viewed or accessed on a projection surface, computer, digital display, or mobile device in a screening or exhibition environment. Please submit your work as you intend it to be presented, in the categories you feel are appropriate, and complete all applicable fields. Recommendations for specific submission categories and venues are listed below.


Video Poetry: time-based film/video of poetry, written or read, “cine-poetry” “motion poems”
Interactive Fiction & Poetry: hypertext, writing in games, Twine, Processing, etc.
Animation & Kinetic Typography: web comics, text animation, motion design, title design, visual poetry or “vispo”, Flash, Processing, etc.
Generated and Procedural Texts: generators, chatbots, Twitterbots, etc.
Spoken, Performed, & Social: other texts that involve live reading, performance, in-person or group enactment


UCSC evening screening: a program of shorter (<15 min) time-based works on a large theater screen (May 21 2016)
UCSC exhibition: an exhibition of longer looping videos, installations, projections, kiosks, and interactive works  (May 15 – 21 2016)
Great Wall of Oakland: a program of shorter time-based visual works on a large, outdoor public projection surface (April 2016)
Great Wall off-site installations: longer visual works in various Oakland uptown/downtown storefronts (2016, ongoing)
Writ Large website: online exhibitions of various works that cannot be included in other venues

Writ Large began as a program at the Great Wall of Oakland in 2015.

Commissions and prizes are made possible through generous support by the following:

The Porter Hitchcock Poetry Fund (UCSC, Porter College)
The Zellerbach Family Foundation (Bay Area)
The Clorox Company Foundation (Oakland)

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Jan 242016

Exchange_groupA Practice-based research workshop organized by: Dr Emile Devereaux and Dr Kate O’Riordan, University of Sussex, working with Prof Jennifer Parker and David Harris at UCSC OpenLab during the UCSC-SUSSEX Digital Media Exchange.

This workshop is part of a commissioned project probing some of the questions raised in the Expertise and Knowledge strand of the CCN+ Digital Economy Initiative. The workshop follows on from the internationalization activity in CCN+, specifically an exploratory trip to UCSC by the CNN+ leaders, and activity at the University of Sussex fostering a Sussex-UCSC digital media exchange program. Programme of work: We took two forms of contemporary mediation: the measuring of the self – together with the sensing of environmental and non-human animal factors – and brought them into conversational modes. The aims of this kind of engagement was:

1- for people to learn about sensing technologies in a hands-on maker format;

2- for individual subjective knowledge to be extended into a relationship with

environmental and inter-species interaction;

3 – to expand the role of HE in opening up the politics of knowledge production

across art and science

Participants: Kate O’Riordan , Tim Jordan, Mary Agnes Krell, Emile Devereaux, David Harris, Joan Haran, Joseph Klett, Kat Braybrooke, Stephen Fortune , Susanna Ruiz, Jennifer Parker, Irene Fubera Manuel, Sharon Daniels, Finley Coyl, Darrell Mckelvie Ruppel, Marguerite Kalhor

Project Brief by Emile Devereaux and David Harris (this was disseminated at the start of the workshop)

‘To creatively articulate and imaginatively present the social imaginary as mediated by environmental and/or biosensors. “The demo is a test, a prototype—neither a representation of the real world, nor a finalized reality in itself. It hangs in an anticipatory, or preemptive, expectation of the next technical development.” – Orit Halpern, “Inhuman Vision”

OpenLab-bio-sensing-workshop with Sussex1The practice-based research workshop engages humanistic and philosophical concerns in
relation to maker technologies and critical, interaction design methods
Learning Outcomes

1. To critically engineer wearable or portable sensing devices

2. To bring into conversation environmental and bio-feedback data

3. To utilize participatory methods in order to link individual experiences of data

with understandings of collectivity

4. To articulate notions of the social imaginary within interdisciplinary, theoretical

and “real world” frameworks and to creatively engage with participants, external

audiences and other stakeholders”

What happened:

The morning was given over to brainstorming and forming teams. The afternoon and early second morning were given over to working up a prototype with the sensors kits. The last part of the workshop was a summary presentation of the projects followed by judging the prototypes.

The project teams and the prototypes developed included:

a) openhearted communication monitor: this was a blinking badge expressing heart rate – measured by pulse.

b) AEEP: Actor Emissions and Environmental Probabilistics – this enabled measurements of perspiration and looked at how agents (humans in this case) are vectors for emitting chemicals OpenLab-bio-sensing-workshop Sussex-1024x683into the environment and that this has a relationship to consumer practices, or conditions of environment  c) A project to detect the relative reaction of trees and people to chilies – this created a sensor for heart rate after eating chilies – the tree part remained unresolved –



d) A manifesto – one group eschewed the sensor prototype OpenLab_ bio-sensing-workshop with Sussex 2-1024x570and put together a critical design manifesto which riffed off the Critical Engineering Manifesto written by Julian Oliver.

e) A series of experiments in detecting fear and anxiety about social encounters – this compared reactions to fear of imaginings of fearful encounters

OpenLab-bio-sensing-workshop with Sussex4-1024x683

The CCN+ funded workshop is linked to two other workshops for which the CNN+ is a pilot. Two later workshops will build on this, funded through University of Sussex Partnership/British Academy and the CHASE consortium. The kit purchased for this workshop will be used in future workshops and allow staff and students to play around with and experiment with this kind of kit. Further dissemination will be conducted through the SHOT panel in Singapore in June 2016, dissemination of the project report, and a journal article.





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Nov 232015


header-logoThe cymatic water tank visualizer takes any sound or data in the form of sound files, and plays them through deep bass “Buttkicker” speakers to vibrate a tank full of water. OpenLab Cymatic Wave Tank Visualizer 1Different frequencies excite different modes of vibration of the tank and cause different kinds of patterns in the water.

Higher frequencies make a delicate, wispy, spider-web-like pattern on the surface of the water, while lower frequencies make the water jump as the sound
creates standing waves.

This instructable shows the steps we went through to build the tank, the frame, and the electronics to run the visualizer. This project is part of the work of the University of California, Santa Cruz OpenLab, DANM, designed and constructed by Sean PaceZach Corse, and David Harris.

OpenLab Cymatic Wave Tank Visualizer 2



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Oct 092015

Stanford University, Cubberley Auditorium http://www.lastfestival.org 

Featured Speakers Include:

 Drew Endy, director of a Synthetic Biology lab at Stanford
 Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, on Artificial Intelligence
 Bruno Olshausen, director of a center for Neuroscience at UC Berkeley
 Jennifer Dionne, director of a Nanotech Lab at Stanford
 Chris McKay, planetary scientist at NASA

Art Expo – Interactive Digital Experimental Art (IDEA) 

This expo features a dozen interactive digital installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum. In alphabetical order:

  • Jeffrey Bryant
  • Evan Clayburg
  • Cere Mona Davis
  • Robert Edgar
  • Yuan-Yi Fan
  • Michal Gavish
  • Yoon Han
  • Allison Holt & Kadet Kuhne
  • Kinetech Arts
  • Ed Kirshner
  • Robin Lasser
  • Andy Lee
  • Al Linke
  • OpenLab
  • Carl Pisaturo
  • Alex Reben
  • Danielle Siembieda
  • DC Spensley
  • Meredith Tromble


Friday, October 16

Cubberley Auditorium,  Art Expo opens 6pm – 10pm

Saturday, October 17: Cubberley Auditorium:

Symposium – Engineering the Future 1:00pm – 5:00pm:

Art Expo – 1:00pm – 10:00pm

Sunday, October 18th: Li Ka Shing Center – Room 101/102

Homo Digitalis“- 1:00pm-4:00pm


LAST Mission

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum, whether it’s art, tech or science. They all coexist, influence each other and interact. Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum, it happened within the intense cultural ecosystem of the Bay Area. The L.A.S.T. festival aims at presenting art, tech and science within the same venue. The art expo features a dozen interactive high-tech installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum and that are meant to let you experience something you never experienced before. The symposium features talks on Artificial Intelligence, Graphics/Animation, Nanotech, Space Exploration, Computer Graphics, etc by leaders of today’s science and technology. The Life Art Science and Technology (L.A.S.T.) expo celebrates the confluence of art with the multiplicity of new media technologies and nascent sciences that are transforming sociality and experience in the 21st century.


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Aug 042015

Zach Corse is a UCSC DANM graduate student developing creative research projects for the Art + Astrophysics Lab in the Digital Arts Research Center this summer at UCSC with Nathaniel Ober.

The lab will work closely with OpenLab founding Professors Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Jennifer Parker with support from the UCSC NSF REU- Lamat Summer Research Program, OpenLab, and the SLUG: Supercomputer lab for Undergrduates.

OpenLab_Zach-CorseZach Corse is a seond-year graduate student in DANM currently working toward the visualization of wormholes in digital art.
His background is in theoretical physics. As such, the sciences inform his work as an artist. Conversely, the arts propel and refine his scientific pursuits.

Nathaniel Ober is a new media artist and recent graduate from UCSC DANM. His work crosses disciplines from installation and performance to video and sound. His interdisciplinary works examine concepts of human perception and natural phenomena, sound as vibration, time and space, and the finite versus the infinite.

OpenLab_Nathan_OberWorking with multiple facets of technology, he creates immersive installations that intend to pervade the viewers senses. His

current research is focused on astronomy and astrophysics, which deal with techniques of sonification and processes that attempt to expose our innate connection to the universe.

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Jun 022015


OpenLab_Water Waste and Public Space

Graduate student Andrea Steves opens Thursday night’s panel discussion on water, waste and public space at the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts Research Center. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

SANTA CRUZ >> Underneath the city, snaking unseen through a system of pipes, is a stinky, sticky sludge nobody wants to talk about: human waste.

Until now.

This week, a UC Santa Cruz wastewater research class debuted two public events centered on human waste and how it’s treated. The class led a 5K walk Saturday, attended by around 80, tracing sewage’s route from campus to the treatment facility by Neary Lagoon.

A speaker panel on waste, water and public space was held Thursday at UCSC.

The goal, said Jennifer Parker, associate professor of art, is to spark conversation about the enormous amount of water running through sewers. Parker is head of UCSC’s art department and OpenLab, an interdepartmental collaboration, which both sponsored the events.

OpenLab_Water,Waste_and PublicSpace
Discarded toilets filled with messages about water waste greet visitors to the Digital Arts Research Center at UC Santa Cruz on Thursday. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

“We use perfectly clean drinkable water to put our waste in and it’s just that as a primary question — is that the best use of our resources?” Parker said.

The Santa Cruz wastewater treatment facility handles around 10 million gallons of wastewater each day — enough to fill a swimming pool the size of a football field a depth of nearly 50 feet, according to its website. Around half is from Santa Cruz and the rest from Live Oak, Capitola and Aptos.

That’s about 100 gallons of wastewater per person a day, from toilets, showers, washing machines and other domestic sources.

Capitola resident Brenda Livingstone joined the 5K on Saturday looking for exercise, and spent her morning following signs marked with arrows and cartoons of “smiling poop.”

She learned surprising statistics, such as toilets account for 27 percent household wastewater, the largest contributor.

Now she plans to change the way she showers and washes dishes, she said.

“All those little bits help,” said Livingstone.

Digital arts and new media graduate student Andrea Steves, the class’s co-leader, said she’s surprised that waste is not regularly part of discussion on the drought.

“A lot of the time it’s like, ‘Take shorter showers.’ But again, maybe it’s the ‘ick’ factor. People don’t want to talk about poop and people don’t want to talk about flushing the toilet,” Steves said.

Brooklyn, New York-based artist Shawn Shafner was one of four speakers Thursday. He founded the People’s Own Organic Power Project, an art and education sustainable sanitation program.

He began by tracing food’s route through intestines and sphincters, and asking the audience to call out synonyms for “the bodily function that dare not speak its name.”

The goal is to break the taboo, and encourage a shift from thinking of “poop” not as waste, but as a resource.

We don’t have to disassociate from our “poop” and say “That’s not me,” said Shafner.

“It may not be our prettiest part or our best-smelling part, but it is part of us,” he said.

More information about about the project see: http://www.fictilis.com/project/wastewater-walk


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