Fridays at SAiA are dedicated to the news and upcoming events of the SciArt Center.
Just this week SciArt Center will be hosting a myriad of events as the curtain closes on its summer location and the organization transitions into its role as a virtual community. On Saturday, Harmonium-viola duo Strider will present an evening of math-based improvisations. Visual artist and Neuroscientist Rodrigo Valles Jr. and Leah T Abraha will give a lecture on Monday about a collaborative effort to create an interdisciplinary art-science department. Rounding out the week, Vincent di Giacomo, a postdoctoral researcher at New York University Medical Center, will be giving a lecture on his research in cancer drug therapy.
Continue reading for more exciting news happening this week at the SciArt Center, as well as SciArt Center's Director of Operations Yasmin Tayag's thoughts on yesterday's event, a screening of Noah Hutton's film Bluebrain.
This week, SciArt Center partnered with Noah Hutton—filmmaker, director, composer, and producer—for an exclusive screening of his ongoing documentary Bluebrain, which follows the race to reverse-engineer the human brain. Just days before, the controversy surrounding the Human Brain Project, in which leading neuroscience researchers are threatening to boycott the €1-billion initiative because of alleged mismanagement and increasingly diffuse goals, made science headlines around the world, setting the scene for an exciting and charged night.
Hutton’s film has a fourteen-year timeline. Filming in segments year after year, he began in 2009 with Henry Markram’s Blue Brain Project, which aims to simulate the human brain in its entirety using supercomputers. It was this project that grew, through Markram’s efforts to rally a team of European scientists behind one goal, into the now-controversial Human Brain Project. Year 2 of Bluebrain introduced us to Markram’s critics, scientists such as Sebastian Seung and Jeff Lichtman, who work with connectomics. The screening ended with year 3, which expanded the scope of the documentary to explore other projects with similar goals, such as Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, but Markram’s work and commentary continued to serve as the framework for the film.
The night ended with a Q&A between Hutton, a spirited crowd, and the Twitterverse, in which SciArt Center asked its followers to tag questions with the hashtag #AskNoah. When asked about the intersection of art and science in his film-making, he replied, “I try to make my film like a brain - it is subjective - you can’t make an objective film about brain science.” And, when asked how his views of the science world have changed as a result of his exposure to it, he said, diplomatically, “I’ve come to appreciate the internal dynamics of the community.” We look forward to Hutton’s handling of year 4, in which he will no doubt have to navigate the increasingly tangled politics in which this research—like any project of this scale—is mired.
Bluebrain Years 1–4 are available for viewing on the official Bluebrain website.
If you are looking to branch out of your happy-hour routine, and are interested in an exciting and informative SciArt event, add the SciArt Center to your weekly roundabout:
An Eventing of Music Saturday, 07/12 at 8:30pm
Harmonium-viola duo Strider will present an evening of math-based improvisations. Steven Long, composer/harmonium player, and Joanna Mattrey, violist, will base their improvisations on the Fibonacci series. The Fibonacci numbers are a sequence of integers, starting with 0, 1 and continuing 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ..., with each new number being the sum of the previous two. This sequence has long been used in classical music, for example in Bach's meditative Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major. Strider takes this sequence to the 21st century to improvise this golden ratio.
Can we understand creativity through neuroscience and socio-cultural studies? Monday, 07/14 at 7:00p.m.
Rodrigo Valles Jr. has a PhD in Neuroscience and is a practicing visual artist with regular exhibits in NYC. Leah T Abraha has taught Art History since 2007. Her current interest is in historical photographs. Come to this lecture to learn and discuss with Valles and Abraha an undergraduate course on creativity and visual arts and the sciences they are currently developing.
Talking Science: Vincent di Giacomo and Cancer Drug Discovery Wednesday, 7/16 from 7-8pm
30 minute talk followed by questions
Vincent di Giacomo, a postdoctoral researcher at New York University Medical Center, will speak about his work searching for cancer drugs optimized to fit the structures of the proteins that act up in cancerous cells.
All events are at the SciArt Center's summer location:
21 Ludlow Street, LES
Open to the public, $5 suggested donation
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