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Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe

November 9 – 10, 2019, 10am – 5pm

ArtCenter College of Design
Ahmanson Auditorium
1700 Lida St.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Fulcrum Arts, the Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter, and Pitzer College Art Galleries will present the symposium, Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe, a program of Fulcrum Arts’ AxS (art + science) initiative, and LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous), Leonardo/ISAST’s international program of gatherings that brings artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations.

Tom Hall, Photo by Marcus Fischer

To “stand in awe” is to be filled with a transcendent sensation of deep joy and insightful connection to something we know also as a physical and material reality. It’s all benignly celebratory, until one might notice that sensations of awe are more likely the product of a highly nuanced biology over eons of human evolution rather than of divine edict. That parsing awe can place newly emerging complexities of the natural in conflict with fading clichés of the supernatural, and by extension disturb our empirical truce with the mythical. Or awe can be the muse of innovation, irritating tensions between the risks of progress and the stasis of tradition, embattle truth with fiction, and spill into the vast delta of the socio-political.

Free Radicals will present a robust, two-day program of artist talks, performances, screenings, and panel conversations. Rather than focus on one specific thematic, the symposium will present an array of diverse viewpoints and approaches to understanding the phenomenon of “awe” through the lens of art and science. Robotics, space science, botany, and augmented and virtual reality will all be addressed and positioned within a greater conversation that recognizes the allied importance of both the arts and the sciences to the dynamic tenor of our time.

Theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin will deliver the keynote presentation, and the symposium will also include presentations by Rana Adhikari, Bill Anthes, I.R. Bach, Nancy Baker Cahill, Beatriz Cortez, Ciara Ennis, Tom Hall, Ian Ingram, Karen Lofgren, Kyle McDonald, Rebeca Mendez, Chris Parks, Archie Prakash, Brittany Ransom, Christopher Richmond, Sasha Samochina, Jana Winderen, The World in a Cell, and Jenny Yurshansky.

AMYJ170330-021610A, 2017 © I.R. Bach

Saturday, November 9
10:00am Continental Breakfast – Ahmanson Auditorium Foyer
10:50am Stephen Nowlin – Opening Remarks 
11:00am Janna Levin – Keynote Presentation
11:40am I.R. Bach – Artist Talk
12:20pm Jana Winderen – Artist Talk & Quadraphonic Sound Dispersion
12:50pm Lunch (the cafeteria will be open)
02:00pm Kyle McDonald – Artist Talk
02:40pm AR/VR Panel – Sasha Samochina, Nancy Baker Cahill, & The World in a Cell, moderated by Archie Prakash
03:45pm Christopher Richmond – Artist Talk
04:15pm Christopher Richmond – Viewing Stone Screening
05:00pm Day 1 concludes

Sunday, November 10
10:00am Continental Breakfast – Ahmanson Auditorium Foyer
11:00am Rebeca Mendez – CircumSolar, Migration 1 Screening
11:40am Rana Adhikari  – Beyond LIGO
12:10am Chris Parks – Fluid Perspectives I & II Screening
12:25pm Tom Hall – Artist Talk & Quadraphonic Audio Visual Performance
01:00pm Lunch (the cafeteria will not be open)
02:00pm Botanic Potentials – Panel  Discussion with Beatriz Cortez, Karen Lofgren, & Jenny Yurshansky, moderated by Ciara Ennis
03:10pm Robotics Panel with Ian Ingram & Brittany Ransom, moderated by Bill Anthes.
04:10pm Reception
05:00pm Day 2 concludes

View Symposium Program

Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe has been made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the City of Pasadena, and LACMA Art & Technology Lab.

Header Image: Christopher Richmond,Viewing Stone, 2018. HD video, sound. 30:08