ArtSci Salon is on Fields Notes!

13 Aug

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Special event. Open Source Cancer: Hackers and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing. Mon. Jul. 21, 6:00-8:00 @ Fields

11 Jul

Open Source Cancer: Hackers and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing
Alessandro Delfanti in conversation with Eric Cazdyn, Irene Healey, Pantea Razzaghi, and
Dolores Steinman

Moderated by Roberta Buiani

Presented by Letters & Handshakes and ArtSci Salon

Sponsored by the Dean of Arts Office, Faculty of Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University and supported by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Fields Institute
222 College St.
Room 230

Free and open to the public

Please join us for a conversation exploring the politics of cure at the intersection of open science, network culture, clinical practice, and biocapitalism. A presentation by Alessandro Delfanti on the concept of a biodigital ritual of sharing will be followed by talks by theorist Eric Cazdyn and medical artist Irene Healey, with responses from researcher Dolores Steinman and science communicator Pantea Razzaghi


Alessandro Delfanti | Open Source Cancer: Hackers and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing

Through the website La Cura (the cure), the Italian designer and hacker Salvatore Iaconesi open sourced his cancer. He shared medical data and information related to his brain tumor and received hundreds of thousands of cures from patients, physicians, activists, artists, designers, and other peers. His condition was turned into a global performance of de-medicalization. In order to do this, he had to hack his medical records and convert them into open formats, to make data easily readable and shareable, as well as to construct an inclusive understanding of the word “cure”. Beginning from the case of La Cura, in this presentation, Delfanti will propose the concept of a “biodigital ritual of sharing”, a protocol or script, dense with meaning, that is adapted from hacker cultures’ public practices: hack into data owned by institutions, share them in the open, and build a community which can make unpredictable use of the data. While in the context of medical institutions data represented an objectification of the body, their reinscription through the ritual helped constitute a body politic that could interpret them as a symbol for a reconfiguration of the experience of cancer. Against techno-determinist utopias of distributed innovation, Delfanti analyzes the biopolitical side of open source. Following feminist theory, he suggests that, when facing illness and disability, digital cultures imagine and perform technologies as social and relational rather than bodily prosthesis.

Eric Cazdyn | Cure as Form

Irene Healey | (Re)membering: Observations on the Desire for Restoration After an Altered Identity

Discussants | Pantea Razzaghi and Dolores Steinman


Alessandro Delfanti is a postdoctoral fellow at the research hub Media@McGill at McGill University, where he works on the role of participatory media in biomedicine and teaches a seminar on Online Cooperation. Before moving to Quebec he obtained a PhD in Science and Society and then taught Sociology of New Media at the University of Milan. In Fall 2014, he will begin a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis, where he will work on the evolution of scholarly communication. As a journalist he writes about science politics and digital cultures for several Italian newspapers and magazines. His first book is titled Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (Pluto Press 2013).

Eric Cazdyn is Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses on critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, Marxism, film and video, architecture, illness, literature, and Japan. He has written the following books: The Already Dead, After Globalization (with Imre Szeman), and The Flash of Capital; and is editor of Trespasses and Disastrous Consequences. Cazdyn’s newest book, Nothing (with Marcus Boon and Timothy Morton), is an attempt to reclaim for our present moment three desires that are regularly laughed out of polite conversation: “Enlightenment”, “Cure”, and “Revolution”. Cazdyn is also a filmmaker. His films have been screened and performed in Japan, Canada, the US, Europe and, most recently, in the UK as part of a two-week residency at The Cube Microcinema (Bristol) with Eric Chenaux.

Irene Healey is a practising visual artist and a medical artist who maintains an independent clinical practise seeing individuals for custom made external body prostheses. She combines her knowledge of art and science with medicine and technology. She is a graduate of the Art as Applied to Medicine program in the College of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Pantea Razzaghi is Chief Culture/Design Officer of Synbiota Inc.. She is responsible for the culture, communication and design of the Synbiota open science platform. With a strong focus on simplifying complex scientific workflows and interactions, Pantea keeps a close eye on various cultural pockets incubating in the sphere of open science, and applies those findings to create useful, intuitive and enjoyable user experiences optimized towards scientific discovery for the masses.

Dolores Steinman was trained as a Paediatrician and, upon relocating to Canada, obtained her PhD in Cell Biology. Currently she is a Research Associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto and a volunteer Docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In her research she observes the rapport and the connection between medical imagery and its non-scientific counterparts. Her pursuit is driven by her keen interest in placing increasingly technology-based medical research in the larger context of the humanities.

Next ArtSci Salon: Culture + Genes Wed. April 23, @ Fields

8 Apr

Culture + Genes


When: Wednesday April 23, 6:30-8:30

Where: The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences 222 College Street, Toronto

Geneticist Rabia Khan and interdisciplinary artist Omar Estrada will explore the intersections between Culture and Genetics: how do we (or can we) tell apart nature and nurture? How and where does the languages of culture and social interaction intersect  with the code we use to decipher DNA?
What happen when we remove information from its natural framework of interpretation? Have the displacement of information – its multiple translations – the capacity of producing meaning as a renovated construction of understanding?

Rabia Khan is a geneticist from McGill with a business background . She has recently moved to Toronto and loves the ArtSci events and wants to work on merging genetics with art.

Omar Estrada is a Cuban visual artist who works with interdisciplinary installation, sound, video, interactivity, and narrative text. His artwork explores the tensions between Art, Science & Technology in the context of social structures.

Occam’s Razor: Art, Science and Aesthetics at the Propeller Gallery

2 Apr

OCCAM’S RAZOR: Art, Science and Aesthetics

At Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts
984 Queen st. West. Toronto ON M6J 1H1
April 2 – 20, 2014

At the !dea Gallery at the Ontario Science Centre
770 Don Mills Road, Toronto
May 3 to June 1, 2014

Opening Reception: Thursday April 3, 7-10pm
Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” – Pablo Picasso
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  – Albert Einstein

These entwined ideas – which underlie Occam’s Razor – form a thread that links the realms of science and art. Scientists rely on Occam’s Razor, which holds that simpler explanations, all things being equal, are better than more complex ones, to refine their theories and experiments. With reference to Occam’s Razor, the interdisciplinary discourse presented in this exhibition by Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts and the !dea Gallery at the Ontario Science Centre, seeks to narrow the cultural divide between Art and Science.

Participating artists:

Sylvia Adamcik, Rahni Allan, Cecilia Basic, Kelly Bell, Karina Bergmans, Penny Leong Browne, Julia Buntaine, Linda Chen, Morgan Chivers, Nicole Clouston, Stephen Crosby, Kevin Dejewski, Andrew Drown, Gina Duque, Jayanne English and Willy LeMaitre , Andrew Godsalve, David Griffin, Leeann Janiessen, Gillian King, Julia Krolik, Ania Machudera, Harry Mackay, Jason McKay, Zsuzsa Monostory, Laurel Rath, Amy Rea and Chelsea Greenwell, Paul Roorda, Perin Rutonsha, Vjosana Shkurti, Morgan Skinner, Tosca Teran, Diane Tucker, Elaine Whittaker, Ron Wild, Ross Winter

Additional Programming: 

Ontario Science Centre’s Café Scientifique presents: Art & Science: Same process, different products?
Wednesday April 9, 6- 8:30pm
Gladstone Hotel  1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
Join us at Propeller after the discussion until 9:30pm

For more information on Cafe Scientifique visit:

Lecture at Propeller: Sunday April 13, 2:00pm (time TBC)
Title:  Cosmos vs Canvas: Using Art to Reveal Science in Astronomy Public Outreach Images
Speaker: Dr. Jayanne English (Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Dept of Physics and Astronomy)

For more information visit:

Occam’s Razor on Facebook:

Dan Falk at the Physics Colloquium, Apr. 3, 4:10-5:00

2 Apr

The Science of Shakespeare

Lecture at the Physics Colloquium, convened by Stephen Morris, also organizer of ArtSci Salon

with Dan Falk

Thursday, Apr. 3, 4:10-5:00
McLennan Physics, room MP 102
60 St. George St
University of Toronto

Map and directions here

William Shakespeare lived at a remarkable time – a period we now recognize as the first phase of the Scientific Revolution – and yet “Shakespeare” and “science” are rarely uttered in the same breath. But as award-winning journalist Dan Falk has found, a reassessment is underway. In this illustrated talk, Falk will explore Shakespeare’s interest in the scientific discoveries of his time, with a particular focus on the changing conceptions of the cosmos, from Aristotle to Copernicus and Galileo.  Copies of Dan’s latest book, “The Science of Shakespeare,” will be available for signing.


Dan Falk has written for Smithsonian, New Scientist, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, The Walrus and many other publications, and is the author of In Search of Time and Universe on a T-Shirt. He’s been a regular contributor to “ideas” on CBC Radio, and has won several international awards for his radio documentaries. Falk was a 2011-12 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and is currently completing an MA in the history and philosophy of science here at the University of Toronto.

Galileo’s “CONCERNING The NATATION of BODIES upon, And SUBMERSION In, THE WATER” at project Gutenberg

26 Mar

You can find  images from Galileo’s “CONCERNING The NATATION of BODIES upon, And SUBMERSION In, THE WATER” at Project Gutenberg 

Some of these images can be seen on etching plates at the exhibition by Nina Leo and Lee Henderson at the Red Head Gallery

Galileo’s Falling Bodies March 27, 6:30-8:30 pm @ Fields

17 Mar

Artscisalon,  Subtle Technologies Festival and the Fields Institute present:


Galileo’s Falling Bodies

a conversation with Dan Falk, Nina Leo and Lee Henderson

 When: Thursday March 27, 6:30-8:30

Where: The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences 222 College Street, Toronto


Recent discoveries in science have caused a renewed enthusiasm in physics and mathematics. But while we focus on contemporary science, why not revisit those early pioneers who helped make science what it is today? This month, ArtSci Salon will revisit the pioneering work of Galileo Galilei. We have invited Science journalist Dan Falk to engage with the extensive body of work of Galileo and artists Nina Leo and Lee Henderson to introduce us to their latest installation “Galileo’s Falling Bodies” currently on display at the RedHead Gallery  until March 29, 2014


Dan Falk has written for Smithsonian, New Scientist, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, and many other publications.  His latest book, to be released next month, is called The Science of Shakespeare, which looks at the Scientific Revolution through the lens of Shakespeare’s writing.  He’s also written two previous popular science books, In Search of Time and Universe on a T-Shirt. Dan has been a regular contributor to “Ideas” on CBC Radio, and has won several international awards for his radio documentaries. Falk was a 2011-12 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. He lives in Toronto.

Nina Leo is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist working primarily in drawing, installation, performance and public practice. Her work examines how the contemporary terrain of fragmented, often virtual experience may affect us phenomenologically as experiences and interactions become ever more accessible, yet divested of direct multi-sensorial richness. Leo holds an MFA in Emerging Practices from the University of Buffalo, SUNY. Her work has been shown in galleries and public institutions/spaces in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Currently, she teaches in the Sculpture/Installation department at OCAD University and is an exhibiting member of the Red Head Gallery.

Lee Henderson is a media-based artist from Saskatchewan. He has studied art in Canada and Germany, with talented professionals including Maria Vedder, Brian Eno, and Ellen Bromberg. Since completing his MFA in 2005, he has been furthering his time- and lens- based artistic practice while teaching photography and media art at the postsecondary level (currently at OCADU and Ryerson University). Recent and upcoming exhibitions and screenings include the Zero Film Festival (Los Angeles), The Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), The Rooms (St. John’s), Trinity Square Video, gallerywest, Artscape Youngplace, and YYZ (Toronto). His photographs, installations, videos and performances revolve around philosophies of impermanence and mortality, focusing on the persistence of collective histories and the brevity of individual lives.


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