Particle Episode 5: Post Pandemic Provocations


Victoria Vesna joins the Leonardo Post Pandemic Provocation Group to discuss, imagine and critically PROVOKE ideas for what our complex world might look like after the pandemic. Viewed from a multi-disciplinary vantage point, this conversation begins by taking a look at what's happening now then broadening out to how it's possible to grow out of this time as a more consciously interdependent species and world. This conversation is one in a series of Leonardo Post Pandemic Provocations.


Provocation 1:
In times like this, we need more un-necessary research.

NOT provocative:
Less un-necessary travel, email and texting and un-necessary consumption.

Provocation 2:
But above all we must re-define the un-necessary.

1. I suggest that in the post-pandemic world, creative practices (ones
that arouse the imagination, senses, and emotions? the marvelous? as
sought by both the Romantic Naturalists and the Surrealists) must be
embraced as essential forms of knowledge production in and of
themselves. These can be constructively applied. Not simply as
embellishment or in a support capacity? But in concert with science’s
rigorous and dispassionate methods.

2. The objective stance we are obliged to take as good scientists in
fact reinforces the notion that humans are autonomous entities/outside
observers, separate from one another and the Biosphere? The virus,
however, powerfully demonstrates the ways in which humanity is
interwoven with and inseparable from the vast milieu of planetary
systems and forces. Can dualism be applied when due, while undue
dualism is undone? [Alyce Santoro]


Roger Malina is a physicist, astronomer and Executive Editor of the Leonardo publications at MIT Press. With dual appointments as Professor of Arts and Technology and Professor of Physics at UT Dallas, his work focuses on connections among the natural sciences and arts, design and humanities.

Malina is the former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence (OAMP) in Marseille and was a member of its observational cosmology group which collaborated on investigations regarding the nature of dark matter and dark energy. He has been a member of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Study (Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées, IMERA), that contributes to trans-disciplinarity between the sciences and the arts and places emphasis on the human dimensions of the sciences.


Joel Slayton is a pioneering artist, researcher, and curator with over 35 years of experience involving art and technology. His work engages a wide range of practice including media, installation and performance and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions around the world. Joel is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University where he was Founding Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media. Joel Slayton was 2018-2019 Stanford University Sterling Visiting Scholar in Department of Chemical Sysems and Biology in the School of Medicine. Joel was curator for the 5th LAST Festival Exhibition at the SLAC National Accelerator at Stanford University in 2018. From 2008-2016 Joel was Executive Director of ZERO1, a Silicon Valley based arts organization where he was responsible for the ZERO1 Biennial, an international exhibition program celebrating creativity and innovation in the arts. Joel serves on the Board of Directors of LEONARDO/ISAST (International Society for Arts, Science, and Technology) where he founded the Leonardo-MIT Press Book Series in 1999 and is a Senior Fellow of the Silicon Valley American Leadership Forum.


Nina Czegledy an independent media artist, curator, and researcher with international and national academic affiliations is ased in Toronto, Canada. She collaborates on art& science& technology projects internationally. The paradigm shifts in the arts in a cross-cultural context, interdisciplinary education and practice, eco art and inter-generational issues inform her collaborations. Czegledy -originally from a science background- has curated many international interdisciplinary exhibitions and thematically connected conferences.


Alyce Santoro is a bio artist currently living and working in West Texas. Her recent work is concerned with sonic and visual challenges to prevailing “logics”. With an early background in biology and scientific illustration, she set out originally with the intention of making visible the invisible wonders of science and nature – however once on that journey Santoro encountered overlaps and paradoxes in the divergent approaches to art “versus” science and became instead focused on the cultural phenomena that cause these fields to be viewed as separate, and the ways that social imaginaries form and can shift.

Santoro recently received an MA in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies from Rhode Island School of Design. Her visual and sound pieces have appeared in over 50 exhibitions internationally related to innovative textiles; experimental musical scores; sound and listening; and social action and ecology.