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Red Hot Research

red hot research logo

4:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30

The Commons at Spooner Hall

Back for the spring semester, with the first event hosted by the Spencer Museum’s own Casey Mesick, curator of global indigenous art!

Here’s the lineup:

Don Haider-Markel (Political Science): Politics of Obesity

Rachel Vaughn (Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies): Dirt & Cleanliness

Jarron Saint Onge (Sociology): Health Behavior Patterns

Thomas Prisinzano (Medicinal Chemistry): Drug Abuse Medications

Joshua Rosenbloom (Economics): R&D Funding and Knowledge Production

Red Hot Research is a series of research sharing sessions that aims to introduce KU researchers to the work of their colleagues, stimulating multidisciplinary inquiry and the formation of new collaborative research teams. The format of Red Hot Research sessions is inspired by Pecha Kucha.

James Lee Byars & The Hudson Institute


ARC is currently developing a project that will aim to reassess collaborative projects of the past under a new framework. One of the projects that we are interested in seeing a reassessment of is James Lee Byars residency at the Hudson Institute, a think-tank in New York state, for the Art and Technology exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Byars began working at the Hudson Institute in May 1969 up until the end of the year. He would often speak with the Director and co-founder of the Institute Herman Kahn. Those conversations and being in residence  led Byars to four ambiguous points – 1)”The exultation of being in the proximity of extraordinary people. “ 2) “The one hundred most interesting questions in America at this time.”3) “The next step after E=MC2.” 4)”One hundred superlatives about the Hudson Institute.”  Of the four points Byars reduced his project aims to the one hundred most important questions at this moment saying that “there is a terrific prejudice against asking questions.” The artist then wanted Gallup to do a nationwide poll for him determining what those questions might be but the costs proved prohibative. What eventually became one of the outcomes of this line of thinking was a television program called The World Question Center in Belgium where Byars asked viewers to send in their important questions. For ARC one of the most important outcomes was a small work where Byars has teletext tape repeating the mantra “Putting Byars in the Hudson Institute is the artistic product”.  Here the artist exclaims the importance of his engagement with non-artists and reveals that no other outcome is neccesary. This is not to say that product is not important but that the focus on product over communication is often counter intuitive to the collaborative process. Thank you Mr. Byars and the Hudson Institute.

Collaborative Spaces at the University of Chicago: The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and The Arts/Science Initiative


Two intersecting programs at the University of Chicago are engaged in exploring modes of interdisciplinary exchange across the arts, sciences, and humanities by facilitating collaborations between faculty, graduate students, visual artists, musicians, actors, choreographers and directors. The Gray Center emerged from the University of Chicago’s arts and humanities programs through an endowment from Richard and Mary L. Gray, augmented by collaborative fellowships offered in partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, while the Arts/Science Initiative works alongside the University’s Offices of the Provost and Vice President, Institute for Molecular Engineering, programs in the sciences, and the National Laboratories.

 Both projects nurture collaborations between regional and international artists and distinguished scholars in fields ranging from physics and molecular genetics to art history and theology. Additionally, each of these initiatives encourages undergraduate and graduate participation in interdisciplinary art research through various internships and fellowship opportunities. Two of the many notable artistic inquiries that have materialized within these programs are the Gray Center’s exploration “The Physics and Aesthetics of Light,” a journey of experimental research and teaching undertaken by architect James Carpenter and physicist Sidney Nagel in 2011-2012, and an ongoing analysis of collaborative strategies funded by the Arts/Science Initiative through which conceptual artist, Shane Huffman, and professor of molecular genetics and cell biology, Jotham Austin II, are working to document, map and analyze successful—and ineffective—methods of interdisciplinary collaboration.

 As is common across many interdisciplinary arts research programs in the United States and abroad, many of the investigations undertaken under the auspices of both the Gray Center and Arts/Science Initiative are manifested in the public sphere as performances or installation-based artworks with a performative component. In addition, both of these programs host informal discussions and participate in publication of books and journal articles through more conventional academic venues. The characters of the labs hosted by these programs underscore their distinct approach to collaborative dialogues; the Gray Center Lab is a tangible space that can serve as both a collaborative studio environment and a venue for exhibitions, education, and performances, while the “Pop-Up Labs” hosted by the Arts/Science Initiative take place in the realm of dialogues and seek to facilitate the fluid exchange of ideas, comparable to the conversations that KU’s own academic community has sought to inaugurate through The Commons. Further resonances with ongoing dialogues in the Spencer Museum echo through the Arts/Science initiative’s Cabinet Series, a program of performances and conversations inspired by the legacy of the early modern Wunderkammer, as a space where art, science, and innovation co-mingle to elicit wonder and inspire discovery. 


The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry

The Physics and Aesthetics of Light:

The Art/Science Initiative:

“Exploring Artistic Conceptualization vs. Hypothesis Driven Interpretation of Observations,”

The Cabinet:


Image: One of multiple installation projects created as part of “The Physics and Aesthetics of Light,” sponsor by the Gray Center

Rohini Devasher and Amateur Astronomy

ARC is developing a project that is exploring ideas in amateur astronomy, archeoastronomy, and indigenous knowledge. So it was our happy accident that Spencer Museum of Art curator Kris Ercums told us about the fascinating work of Rohini Devasher whose work ‘Bloodlines’ was recently purchased by the Museum. Devasher has been inspired by amateur astronomy for some time and had a research residency at the Max Plank Institute. This inspiration has often taken the form of wall murals and drawings. She has also documented the many encounters with amateur astronomers that she has met in India stargazing. If you would like to know more about her work with amateur astronomy or the museums recent purchase of her work click on the links below or watch the video. Enjoy.



Necessity is the mother of invention and in these times of lean budgets and shifting priorities museums have to adjust to a new normal.  L ’International is a consortium of museums and cultural institutions that have decided to work collectively for five years in an attempt to develop new models for museum practice and art institutions in general. The consortium currently has a project, “The Uses of Art: on the legacy of art 1848 – 1989”, at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven where possible futures for our beloved institutions of art are being examined. Below are a few links to the projects and a wonderful book by Stephen Wright called ‘Towards a Lexicon of Usership.’

Click to access Toward-a-lexicon-of-usership.pdf

Call for submissions: Hangar Art Center Spring Sessions (deadline Jan. 31, 2014)

Hangar is a centre for arts production and research in Barcelona, Spain, set up by the Association of Visual Arts of Catalonia (AAVC) in 1997. It provides support facilities for artists and designers and offers services adapted to production needs associated with the arts world. Hangar has issued an open call for their second edition of Spring Sessions, a series of intensive and interdisciplinary meetings between artists and other professionals to develop larger research projects. The call is addressed to collaborative projects that carry out theoretical and/or practical research while contributing to the transfer of knowledge between different disciplines. This year’s edition will take place over the course of one week between February and April and four weeks during the month of June; it seeks to support projects that address the issue of transferability in the field of art, science and technology. Deadline to submit: 31 January 2014. For more information, please see

Call for proposals: Subtle Technologies (deadline Jan. 20, 2014)


In May 2014, Subtle Technologies will be holding its 17th annual festival in Toronto, Canada. The symposium, performances, workshops, screenings, exhibitions and networking sessions will provide a forum to explore ideas and pose questions at the intersection of art, science and technology. Subtle Technologies is known internationally for presenting artists and scientists whose work is at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines and creating a space for dialogue that leads to future discussions and collaborations. The theme for 2014 is “Open Culture.” The festival will celebrate the ways artists and scientists are creating and making use of tools and techniques to harness the collective power, knowledge and creativity of the citizen. Subtle Technologies is currently accepting proposals by artists, curators and scientists for exhibitions, performances, symposium presentations, posters, screenings and workshops that address the theme of Open Culture. Deadline to submit: 20 January 2014. Find out more at

Call for abstracts: Cloud and Molecular Aesthetics (deadline Jan. 24, 2014)

cloudlogo1The Third Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference at the intersections of art, science and culture seeks papers that explore the theme of the cloud and molecular aesthetics. Clouding occurs when information becomes veiled, foggy, fuzzy, obscure or secretive, or when it condenses, blooms and accretes into atmospheres of chaotic turbulence and pressure vectors, into tidal flows and storms. The cloud also is a new formation of data as a global and seemingly immaterial distribution of storage and means of retrieval. This data cloud exists everywhere and yet is nowhere in particular. As with the protocols of bit torrent files, the cloud provides a new concept of sound and image “assembly”, distinct from and beyond the materialist machinic diagrams and the practices of re-mixing or remediation that became characteristic of late twentieth-century and millennial aesthetics. The cloud is not an object but an experience and its particles are the very building blocks of a molecular aesthetic in which we live and act. Relevant questions include:

  • What is the new objectification of the imaged world based around?
  • What are the aesthetic and artistic – the theoretical and the practical – implications of this new topography of data?
  • What alternative idioms exist to critically consider imagery and image making?
  • What is our contemporary understanding of clouding, assembly and camouflage in a post material age?
  • How does the cloud phenomenon precipitate thinking about new ways of curating, publishing and configuring modes of engagement?

The conference, which will be held 26-28 June 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, aims to bring together artists, theorists, scholars, scientists, historians, and curators to reflect on the topic. The organizers invite papers that respond to the above provocation in areas related to: Media Arts, Painting, Drawing, Curating  Installation, Film, Video, Photography, Computer Visualization, Real-time Imaging, Intelligent Systems and Image Science. Abstracts for individual papers should be no longer than 250 words. Please provide full contact details with your abstract.

Refereeing of papers will be done by members of an expert review panel (to Australian DEST refereed conference paper standards). All selected peer reviewed papers will be published in the online conference proceedings.

Please submit abstracts by email to conference organizer Laura Fisher by January 24, 2014. For more information, visit the conference website at

Art/Science at CAA

For those of you who are planning to attend the College Art Association’s 102nd Annual Conference (12-15 February 2014, Chicago), be sure to check out these two sessions on art and science organized by Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology:

The Leonardo Education and Art Forum (LEAF) will be presenting a panel titled “The Art/Science Curriculum in the Classroom and in the Cloud.” The panel, chaired by LEAF chair Adrienne Klein, will take place on 13 February from 12:30-2 p.m. and feature presentations from individuals who have developed or participated in instruction that has brought together art and science. The panel of presenters will include Paul Thomas (University of New South Wales), Kathryn Evans (University of Texas at Dallas), Jill Fantauzza (Texas State University), Ingrid Koenig (Emily Carr University of Art and Design) and Steven Zides (Wofford College).

The Leonardo Education and Art Forum (LEAF) invites you to attend “Time and Space Concepts in Postwar Art.” The panel will take place on 15 February 2014 from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. as part of the 102nd Annual College Art Association (CAA) Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Its focus will lie in experiments with space and time in postwar-era art. Presentations will range from Peiko Tomii (PoNJA-GenKon) on Matsuzawa Yutaka’s cosmic conceptualism to Martina Maria Tanga (Boston University) on Ugo La Pietra’s artistic investigations in 1970s Italy. The panel will be chaired by Larisa Dryansky of the University of Paris-Sorbonne and Melissa Warak of Sam Houston State University.

Call for papers: Fields of Inquiry: Science Crossing Scales, Epistemologies, and Environments (deadline Jan. 15, 2014)

Transport II

Graduate students and early career Ph.D.’s from across the humanities and social sciences whose work focuses on the study of science in society are invited to submit proposals for this interdisciplinary graduate student conference to be held at UC Berkeley on 7-8 March 2014.

We welcome proposals that challenge scales, epistemologies, and environments, that is to say the “space and place” of science, in ways that advance the understanding of the relationship between science and society. Potential panels will broadly discuss the relationships between science and space. Possible topics include: natural environments; private and public spaces; architectural artifacts; and laboratory and fieldwork. In addition to presentations of research, some conference panels will discuss the pedagogical aspects of research techniques, particularly in STEM fields (K-12 and undergraduate), and we welcome proposals in the area of pedagogy.

An abstract of no more than 300 words should be sent to Please include sufficient detail explaining your proposed paper, panel idea, or workshop, and how it relates both to the conference’s theoretical approach towards the study of science in society, as well as the general thematic area it addresses (e.g., teaching, innovative research, etc).