07 March 2008

How dream of reading someone's mind may soon become a reality

By Steve Connor, Science Editor, The Independent
Thursday, 6 March 2008

The ability to read someone's mind and even to visualise their dreams has come a step closer with a study showing that it is possible to predict accurately what someone is seeing by analysing their brain activity with a medical scanner.

Scientists have built a computer that can "decode" the brain activity signals from a scanner and match them to photographs of what a person has seen. In the future, they believe the technology will be able to reconstruct scenes being visualised in a person's head – whether real or imaginary. Tests of the decoder show that it can predict which photograph someone is looking at with an accuracy of up to 90 per cent, although the success rate falls as the total number of photographs being assessed increases.

The scientists believe that it might be possible in the near future to adopt the same approach in making a device that can read someone's thoughts, although they warn against doing this surreptitiously or against someone's will.

"It is possible that decoding brain activity could have serious ethical and privacy implications downstream in, say, the 30 to 50-year time frame. It is something I do care about," said Professor Jack Gallant of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study published in the journal Nature.


04 March 2008

Paradoxes of Appearance

Research Symposium: June 9 - 11, 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Organized by the Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture & Design

Confirmed speakers:
Professor Renaud Barbaras, Université Paris- 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
Professor Andrew Benjamin, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Artist Olafur Eliasson, Studio Olafur Eliasson, Germany and Denmark
Professor Sanford Kwinter, Rice University, USA
Professor David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Professor Martin Seel, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Germany
Professor David Summers, University of Virginia, USA

Paradoxes of Appearance
When spectators confront and designers invent works of art and architecture vital questions regarding their appearance arise. These are not simply questions about what appears, also what does not, i.e. what withdraws when works are experienced and created. How do we cope with this withdrawal, with latencies that escape concretization? What are the productive paradoxes associated hereto and how do they influence the processes of making? Based on multiple discourses on these subjects, contemporary positions in art, architecture and philosophy draw up new challenges, especially with regard to the creative practices. Within and between these positions emerge potentials for modes of thinking and doing with a new sensitivity.

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture
Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 53, Auditorium 6

02 March 2008

The Futures of Space Exploration

LESS REMOTE, The Futures of Space Exploration An Arts & Humanities Symposium at the International Astronautical Congress, Glasgow 2008, 30 September - 1 October 2008. Abstract Submission Deadline: 11 March 2008 (approx. 300 words and short bio). This symposium will offer a forum in which specialists from many disciplines will be invited to consider the future of space exploration in the context of our current understanding of social, economic and technological imperatives. One of the aims of the symposium is to foster a dialogue and exchange between the cultural and space communities. Speakers from the arts & humanities and space science & engineering communities will present keynote lectures on space exploration and its possible futures. Papers are also invited from the broad constituency of interest among artists, cultural analysts and historians that has examined the wider implications of the scientific exploration of space for the better part of a century. More information:



New Leonardos engaged in the Burning Issues of our Times

Will be held at University of New Mexico Albuquerque March 18-21 2009

The Leonardo 40th anniversary event will adress key issues for the next decade that require interaction between the arts, humanities, and sciences or between arts,humanities and new technologies.

A) New Leonardos: Showcasing the Best of a New Generation.
B) Climate Change: Arts and Hard Humanities on the front line of cultural change.
C) Designing the World: from Nano Science to the Space Option.
D) Limits to Understanding: New Methods for Burning Issues.

Co Organised by the ARTS LAB UNM (artslab.unm.edu ) and Leonardo/ISAST( www.leonardo.info )

To be kept informed about the conference sign up for the information list at:


Contact : leo40@unm.edu

Beyond Representation: New Work in Literature and Science

Please see the CFP, below, for a session at the 2008 MLA in San Francisco sponsored by the Division on Literature and Science.  Abstracts for 20-minute papers or 10-minute roundtable statements welcome by March 25th to henry.turner@rutgers.edu.

Beyond Representation: New Work in Literature and Science

To what degree is the notion of "representation" inadequate to describe problems of form, interpretation, information, communication, system, etc. encountered in science studies?  At a moment when much literary criticism remains stuck in an implicitly linguistic or textualist paradigm and when emergent fields such as Visual Studies, Performance Studies, or New Media are all, in different ways, evolving in response to the limitations of traditional notions of representation, can we find in scientific practice resources for thinking "beyond representation"?  What do we really do when we "close read" and what is the analogue or the equivalent operation in a laboratory, where information-rich materials are "handled," translated, or given form according to a variety of techniques, where the relationship between evidence and argument is often very open-ended and provisional, where the problem of "meaning" or of "artifice" and even "fiction" arises in provocative ways?