May 26, 2017 § Leave a comment
When I first came across African artist Milumbe Haimbe a couple years ago, thanks to introduction by Cissie Swig, beloved San Francisco art benefactor, her graphic novel “The Revolutionist” was clearly a science fiction. The story is set in the near future on a satellite colony off the orbit of mainland Earth, dominated by a corporation. Social conformity is subliminally reinforced, the economy is purely corporate-driven, exploitation of human by human thrives and the insatiable appetite for sex robots threatens to tip the already delicate social balance. This gives rise to the resistance called Army for the Restoration of Womanhood. The protagonist Ananiya is a special agent in its Covert Operations Division when news spreads that the Corporation is developing a prototype robot that is sophisticated and sexually attractive enough to replace human women altogether. Before long the resistance galvanizes into a full-blown revolution, and Ananiya thrives to become the most unlikely hero on a mission to destruct the prototype before it enters the mass market.
If the story of robots replacing real women sounds far-fetched, I am here to report that Abyss Creations, manufacturer of RealDoll, life-size sex dolls designed to recreate the appearance, texture, and weight of the human form, has launched Harmony AI, bringing artificial intelligence to the dolls the company has been making for 20+ years. “Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, […], what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want”, as Jenny Kleeman reports for The Guardian after visiting the factory and interacting with the prototype. « Read the rest of this entry »
PULSE | Spring 2017: Science Imagery Oscars, Dementia & Arts, Design in Tech, Innovation Measurement, and the Disruption Myth
March 30, 2017 § Leave a comment
Introducing PULSE: Essinova’s quarterly highlight of insights, news and events at the creative edge across art, science, design, (purposeful) technology, leadership and innovation.
…Tis the Season for Science Imagery Oscars!
(And congratulations Greg and Brian!)
Spring is when both Wellcome and NSF/Popular Science unveil their awards for the best science images, videos and visualizations.
The Wellcome Image Awards are Wellcome’s most eye-catching celebration of science, medicine and life. Now in their 20th year, the Awards recognise the creators of informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of healthcare and biomedical science.
This year’s Wellcome Image Awards were presented on 15 March 2017, celebrating the scientists, clinicians, photographers and artists who bring science to life through remarkable imaging.
Weaving New Webs of Art, Science and Innovation: Inaugural Essinova Salon Explores Neural Insights in Multiple Dimensions
October 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
Written by: Timothy McCormick
Essinova’s inaugural salon and popup gallery on Sept 29 was a great success! A capacity crowd of over 100 guests from widely varied backgrounds gathered at SAP’s AppHaus in Palo Alto, to see the groundbreaking work of neuroscientist/artist Greg Dunn, and to hear talks by Dunn and by Janaki Mythily Kumar, SAP’s VP and Head of Design & Co-Innovation Center.
We were honored to share with new audiences the extraordinary work of Greg Dunn, PhD, Philadelphia-based neuroscientist and leading art+science pioneer, who explores novel and visually stunning methods to depict and explain brain structure and functioning. The salon featured a variety of original works and prints by Dunn, including his latest and perhaps most ambitious work to date, “Self Reflected,” which the artist describes as the most detailed and complex artistic depiction of the brain ever been created .”Self Reflected” was funded by National Science Foundation and is on permanent display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
The event program was led of with an introduction by BeiBei Song, Founder of Essinova interdisciplinary creativity agency, in which she described a recent serendipitous encounter in Finland with “lights hunters” who travel to view and record Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) displays. Describing a scientist, adventurer, executive coach, artist and photographer she befriended there, Song suggested how science, art, design and innovation are driven by related mixtures of passion, curiosity, delight, and a determination to question, understand and explain. Understanding these diverse and mingled drives and roles can open us to richer discoveries across all fields, personally and as a society; and give us the more holistic understandings needed for both business and society to evolve sustainably and creatively, she suggested. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
China’s Creative Economy, through the lens of creative spaces, is the subject of the last installment of our Big Picture series.
- Crowdfunded “Financiers Coffee” Investors’ Club
- Creative Industry Parks
- Non-governmental Museums
- Longquan Temple (and Its Robot Monk)
It was a few days before New Year 2016 when I first heard the word 融合业态 (Rong He Ye Tai)- fusion or convergence of industries – as a latest trend in China. The son of my father’s friend visited San Francisco with his newly-wed wife during the holidays, and I entertained them. I was trying to explain what kind of work I do (or am doing in recent years), and instead of an awkward silence which I thought would ensue, he was unexpectedly turned on by my “explorations between art and science, culture and technology, nature and lifestyle”, a concept I had thought would be too esoteric, convoluted or impractical for anyone in China to care. “融合业态!” He declared, “It’s the ‘in’ thing now!” He went on to tell me how high tech parks are passé now, replaced by creativity and design parks, and cultural incubators; how a real estate or tourist project would get funding more easily, if it had a cultural theme. He urged me to collaborate with the association he was working for, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture.
Sensing my skepticism, he handed me a document a few days later, on red letterhead. It is the State Council 2014  Gazette, on promoting “the integration of cultural creativity and design services with the development of industries”.
I was blown away. The central government is recognizing that the culture industry has the desirable attributes of “high knowledge intensity, high value-add, low energy consumption, and low pollution”, as the country’s economy goes through much-needed transformation. It is encouraging the “deep integration” of culture industries with ‘real’ economy industries such as technology, manufacturing, real estate and retail, as new sources of growth, competitiveness, employment, consumption diversity and higher standard of living. It knows that without culture leading the way, there would be no “Created in China”.
A couple of trips to China in the ensuing months gave me the opportunity to investigate and see with my own eyes. Below I share with you several creative spaces I visited as part of this reconnaissance. It is not a conclusive report on whether the government’s policy is working – much more time and resources would be needed for that – but rather an observation of the physical (and in some cases, business and cultural) environments that creativity is being pursued, along with anecdotal stories. They are not necessarily born out of the Directive – some of these places predated the Gazette by a decade; and the people I spoke to at these places did not necessarily know anything about the policy; but in a uniquely characteristic Chinese way, the Visible Hand of the Government and the Invisible Hand of the Market are certainly at interplay, with the former sometimes directing the latter, while other times shrewdly taking clues and multiplying the latter.
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January 16, 2016 § 2 Comments
The first week of 2016 found me in Las Vegas, to attend CES, the giant annual Consumer Electronics Show, for the very first time. In the sea of gadgets large and small, I wandered in the area designated for “wearables”.
Wearables have not, before now, really grabbed me, in spite of my coverage of health technology for years, and enthusiasm for the category in the tech world and beyond. I tried out a Fitbit last year for a few days initially, then in a few more short stretches of heightened self-motivation, but have let it collect dust on my night stand ever since.
Just around New Year’s I learned of “smart jewelry,” and we featured two collections — Ringly and Tyia — in our Lifestyle gallery. They made me realize why I had stopped wearing the Fitbit – many times I had been embarrassed by the unsightly plastic on my wrist, compromising my outfit.
With no better plans for my last afternoon at CES (my presumed primary mission having proven a bust the day before), I decided to just take it easy and see if I could find anything else like Ringly and Tyia that may actually be, well, “wearable”. I’m glad I did – these last few hours made the whole trip worthwhile.
I now share with you my review and stories of five “smart jewelry” makers, including my picks from CES; as well as my thoughts about this new generation of “wearables”. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
Whether you are kicking back having completed your holiday shopping, or are still in need of last-minute ideas, here is something fun you may want to do – take a survey on these science and technology-inspired artisan collections we are featuring this season, as unique, special gifts that are both delightful and educational!
April 26, 2015 § 7 Comments
A scientist’s chamber orchestra project for nature and humanity, a photographer’s beautifully haunting industrial documentary, an architect designer’s alluring vision of future human habitat, and my (humble) reflections.
Fashionably late for Earth Day.
Saturday morning at WholeFoods. I sit down at a table outside the check-out counters to start writing this article, while my parents go into the aisles for the week’s grocery. Earlier in the car, they were discussing an added task for this weekend – which other shops to go to next, to get what present for which relative or friend, since my father is going back to China for a month, my hometown being one of his stops. The task is a rather difficult one these days, as China has every kind of stuff sold in America, then some; but gifts remain a must to bring along with a visit, as good social grace and relationship gestures. Pushing a green shopping trolley, they continue their discussions.
I, on the other hand, am preoccupied with my article for Earth Day. WholeFoods seems like an appropriate venue to kick off the writing while waiting for my parents to go through their chores. But before I type the first word, that feel-right ambiance also cast a shadow of doubt. Have I, a California-living, healthy-eating, WholeFoods-shopping “liberal progressive” become too out of touch with reality and too self-righteous? « Read the rest of this entry »