The Big Picture, IV – How about a 21st Century Florence? Or for that matter, a new Hangzhou?

June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment

Athenian bowl, Chinese Song Dynasty compass, Michelangelo drawing, image of brain as circuit

“Silicon Valley’s continued success depends, ironically, not on some shiny new gizmo but on learning the lessons of history.”

“What jumpstarts a golden age is not necessarily what keeps it going. The good ones manage to change fuel sources midstream. The Renaissance was initially powered by the recovered ancient texts, but the Humanists who discovered them soon generated their own ideas, their own intellectual momentum. Silicon Valley, if it is to survive, needs to find alternative energy sources, new ways of being creative and not simply new creative products.”

– Eric Weiner, Geography of Genius

“History is a mirror for the future!”

– My parents. Or maybe Chinese axiom?

So it appears that the Bay Area has an art scene undergoing transformation, with exodus and influx both at play. My roundup in the last installment of the Series didn’t even include the Stanford Arts District — the one-stop, four-institution arts compound at Stanford University that is quickly ascending in national significance, with three new buildings in three years (at a cost of $235 million), adding to the existing Cantor Arts Center.

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The Big Picture, I – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

April 4, 2016 § 3 Comments

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

By Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, for Davos 2016

4th-industrial-rev
Excerpts:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … « Read the rest of this entry »

First Quarter in Review: The Big Picture, Ahead and Around

April 4, 2016 § 4 Comments

fourth-industrial-revolution-robot

Unlike most of my posts, this issue (or this series, in multiple issues) does not feature specific artworks (which, by the way, many of you have told me to be beautiful–thank you!). Instead, I will share with you news, events and readings I came across in the first quarter of 2016, which collectively form a “big picture” context, helping to demonstrate that Essinova’s exploration into the arts is not just about beauty, although that itself is a worthy cause.

Top 10 skills 2020It is a big picture of the next industrial revolution and the future that mankind is entering, in which art and culture will be of fundamental importance not only to the human race as a whole but also to private industry. Philosophically speaking, art (with feelings) might become one of our last bastions of human privilege as machines can replace us in pretty much everything else. On a more practical level, culture and humanities, alongside science and technology, will become part of the very fabric of tomorrow’s businesses, rather than an afterthought marketing flair. This is necessitated by the new demands of solution design, consumer experience and talent development. « Read the rest of this entry »

LAST Festival Art Expo Highlights

October 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

The 3rd installation of the L.A.S.T. Festival, organized by Thymos Foundation and originally conceived by Piero Scaruffi, took place over the weekend of October 16 to 18, at Stanford University.  The L.A.S.T. Festival 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.

The Festival featured four programs:

  • Interactive multimedia art installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum and are meant to let people experience something they never experienced before
  • Inspirational talks by luminaries on cutting-edge technology and science, including Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotech, Space Exploration, and Neuroscience
  • Live performances
  • Interactive workshops or talks by artists

Click to watch video recordings of the talks.

And here are some photos of the art installations.  Click on the images to learn more about each installation. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Birthday Dreamscape | Act III: The Hybrid Here and Now

July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Act I –  Voyage to the edge of the universe

Act II – Quantified-self, lifelogs and someone else’ mindscape

Epilogue – The comfort of my cake


Act III – The hybrid Here and Now

The birthday came and went, but the angst have not subsided.

Stop thinking so much about the future.  Worry not about your place in the universe.  Quit the futile attempt of analyzing yourself.  “Here and now” I remind myself.  Live the moment as it is!

But where is Here and what is in the Now?  And how best to capture the moment?  Suddenly I am so disoriented that even the zen attitude is challenged on the most fundamental levels.

The lifelogging exhibition still open for a few more days, my mind revisits the Science Gallery to take a look at another installation, which could be a superior method of capturing the “now”.  Compared to some of the other works, it also emphasizes “caring for oneself” more than “knowing oneself”.  Since the 24th September 2003, Alberto Frigo, an Italian media artist currently living in Sweden, has been photographing objects he has used with his right hand, as one of eighteen different aspects of reality he is collecting.

It has been 31 years since I inked the very first word in my journal, but my teenage self at the time gave it no forethought whatsoever about this number. Three decades in the future would have felt like the next life to her, too distant to be bothered with.   Frigo’s project, on the other hand, is well planned out – it will be 36-years-long, from 2004 to 2040 when he turns 60.

Alberto Frigo’s exhibition at Dapiran Art Project Space, Utrecht, Netherland, April 2015

Alberto Frigo’s exhibition at Dapiran Art Project Space, Utrecht, Netherland, April 2015

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My journal since July 1984

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A Birthday Dreamscape | Act II: Quantified-self, Lifelogs and Someone Else’ Mindscape

July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Act I –  Voyage to the edge of the universe

Act III – The hybrid Here and Now

Epilogue – The comfort of my cake


Act II – Quantified-self, lifelogs and someone else’ mindscape

I don’t quite know how “generations” worked, be it human and digital cross-bred or purely digital procreation.  But at this point, my mind stops to care.

However fast technology develops, superhuman upgrade will unlikely be readily available at the end of MY lifetime.  More than “Our” place in the Universe, what I really want to know is “My” place in the Universe.

Perhaps starting with a smaller, simpler question: “why am I lying in bed thinking about these things, when I’m supposed to be sleeping?”

Yes, know thyself first!

Last autumn I went back to corporate employment to take a sabbatical from entrepreneurial independence.  Besides health insurance, a benefit of this sensible move has been perks such as a free Fitbit.  A wearable laggard, I finally wrapped one around my wrist, courtesy of my employer.  The nights before my birthday, my teal-colored Fitbit records my sleep pattern like this:

20150410 sleep log per Fitbit web

20150410 sleep log per Fitbit phone_IMG_2894 « Read the rest of this entry »

Anatomy Inside Rodin’s Hands

August 6, 2014 § 1 Comment

As impressive as the Rodin collection at Stanford University’s Cantor Art Center – one of the largest in the world, with 200 works in all – most of them are not one and only edition of the artist’s masterpieces.  As part of his bequest, Auguste Rodin authorized the Nation of France to continue to cast his works poshumously, either from his original plaster molds or from molds newly taken from his plasters.  Up to twelve examples of each size can be cast of each of Rodin’s works.

However, a recent exhibition at the museum (on view April 9 – August 3), inspired by the great artist’s sculptures of human hands,  was truly one of its kind.

A multidisciplinary collaboration between the Cantor Art Center and Dr. James Chang, a hand reconstruction surgeon at Stanford’s School of Medicine, supported by the School’s Division of Clinical Anatomy and the Lane Medical Library, “Inside Rodin’s Hands: Art, Technology, and Surgery” looked at the artist’s powerful depictions of hands with an anatomical eye, aided by cutting-edge technologies such as 3D imaging and augmented reality.    Take for example Left Hand of Eustache de Saint-Pierre.  The images and video clip here illustrate the three-dimension, anatomical view for visitors to see “beneath the skin”, with imaginary bones, nerves and blood vessels:

Photo of Rodin's sculpture "Left hand of Eustache de Saint-Pierre" during the scanning process. Photo by Matthew Hasel, Production Manager, Division of Clinical Anatomy, Stanford School of Medicine. Art caption: Auguste Rodin (France, 1840–1917), “Left Hand of Eustache de Saint-Pierre,” c. 1886. Bronze. Cantor Arts Center collection, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 1998.359.

“Left hand of Eustache de Saint-Pierre” during the scanning process. Photo by Matthew Hasel, Production Manager, Division of Clinical Anatomy, Stanford School of Medicine. Art caption: Auguste Rodin (France, 1840–1917), “Left Hand of Eustache de Saint-Pierre,” c. 1886. Bronze. Cantor Arts Center collection, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 1998.359.

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