Arts + Culture

UCLA to host 3-day symposium exploring artistic perspectives on body, disease

A unique three-day multidisciplinary symposium at UCLA will feature international scholar–artists whose work presents unique artistic perspectives on the theme of disease, the body and the temporality of the human condition. 
"2008 Symposium—Body Art Disease," which runs from Thursday, Nov. 6, through Saturday, Nov. 8, includes workshops, presentations, exhibitions, installations, short-film screenings, social gatherings and a special collections tour from the vaults of the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.
The symposium was organized by Stefanie Adcock of the UCLA Art|Sci Center + Lab, in collaboration with the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA and the UCLA Department of Design|Media Arts. All events are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of activities and speakers, directions, locations, and other information, visit or call 310-794-2118.
All events at the EDA (Experimental Digital Arts) facility of the Broad Art Center will be streamed live at
Campus parking for events at the CNSI is available for $9 in Lot 9 (enter the campus from Westwood Boulevard); for events at the EDA, parking is available for $9 in Lot 3 (enter the campus at Hilgard and Wyton avenues).
"Endothelium" by Philip Beesley
Opening the symposium, featured artist Philip Beesley, who practices digital media art and experimental architecture in Toronto, will premiere his latest work at the CNSI building. "Endothelium" is a hybrid lattice topography composed of a lightweight, sculptural field housing arrays of organic batteries and acting as a primitive "geotextile" that might reinforce new growth. This system will support a dense series of very thin whiskers and low-power miniature lights that pulse and vibrate in slight increments. Weak electrical charges are generated by copper and aluminum electrodes immersed in vinegar within latex bladders, working in concert with miniature microprocessors. The "life" of the organic system will shift and erode throughout the duration of the symposium, offering a poetic time marker to the beginning and the end of the three days.
As part of the symposium, Beesley, along with his associate, Hayley Isaacs, will offer two free participatory workshops at which members of the public can help assemble and install the work. The first, a prefabrication workshop with Isaacs, will run from noon until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the CNSI building (Room 5324). The final installation workshop with Philip Beesley runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 6, at the same location.
An opening and reception for "Endothelium" will take place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at the CNSI Presentation Space. The event will be hosted by the CNSI Nanoparticle Group, a group of scientists and researchers who gather for monthly research seminars. The group will be devoting this month's seminar session to Philip Beesley and discussions related to intersections between interactive materials. Beesley is a professor of architecture at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario.
The symposium includes two exhibitions. Rebeca Mendez, UCLA professor of design and media arts, will be exhibiting "Gestation," a photo installation, and Silvia Rigon, a UCLA lecturer in design and media arts, will be exhibiting her latest work, "Neoplastic Knitting." The exhibitions are at the Art|Sci Lab at the CNSI, with several pieces also being presented in the EDA facility at the Broad Art Center.
Interdisciplinary artist Phillip Warnell, from Britain's University of Warwick, will present his 23-minute film "The Girl with X-ray Eyes," followed by "Intimate Distances: Mutuality, Contestation and Exchange Between Bodies." International artist and scholar Lisa Cartwright, professor of communication and science studies at the University of California, San Diego, will present "Compulsive Animation: On Rotoscoping and the Neurologic Body." The films will be followed by a short discussion and a reception with Warnell and Cartwright. The event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, at the UCLA Broad Art Center's EDA facility.
In addition, a screening of short films will include the 15-minute "Electric Retina" by Jill Scott, a professor at the Institute of Cultural Studies at the University of the Arts in Zurich, a documentary completed while Scott was resident artist at the Neurobiology Lab at the university's Institute of Zoology. Other featured works include "Evolution" by Rachel Mayeri, assistant professor of media studies at Harvey Mudd College; "Movement" by UCLA M.F.A. film students Alex O'Flinn and Mikiko Sasaki; "Symphony" by UCLA M.F.A. animation student Erick Oh; and "How To Become a Pretty Girl" by UCLA M.F.A. film student Kimberly Townes. The short-film series will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, at the UCLA Broad Art Center's EDA facility.
"Effervescence and Fatigue — Reflections on Wearable Computing and the Ethics of Difference" by Susan Kozel
Susan Kozel, principal researcher at the University of East London's SMART Lab, explores the convergence of dance and philosophy in the context of digital technologies, collaborating with digital artists, software engineers, architects and composers to create performances and installations. She will present "Effervescence and Fatigue" from noon to 1:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, at the UCLA Broad Art Center's EDA facility.
Barbara Drucker, UCLA professor of art, will present a special screening of her short film "Bread and Death," which explores the rites and rituals continually weaving through Greek village life, focusing specifically on the rituals and processes of food preparation and death. Patrick Polk, a UCLA lecturer in world arts and cultures, will lead a discussion with Drucker following the screening. The event takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, at the UCLA Broad Art Center's EDA facility.
Philip Beesley offers a presentation and discussion of his installation "Endothelium" and other artistic work in the auditorium of the CNSI building from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Reception and Exhibitions:
There will be a reception of wine and appetizers at the History and Special Collections for the Sciences, on the fourth floor of UCLA's Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, followed by a talk and exhibition by curator Cherry Dunham Williams entitled "Renderings of the Body Through Text and Time." The reception and talk run from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m.
Following the biomedical library presentation, participants will walk to the Nest, located in the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens, for a viewing of A.J. Willcocks' film "Precocious Puberty_Guerilla Sidewalk Projections_Radio Transmissions," from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m.
Film Lecture:
"Cinematic Explorations of Death, Decay and Transformation," a film lecture and discussion, will be led by Belinda Starkie of the UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. The lecture will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the CNSI auditorium.
Los Angles–based artist Rose-Lynn Fisher will present "Body of Work" from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the CNSI auditorium.
Presentation and Closing:
UCLA's Stefanie Adcock will present "On a Life of Greater Conduct" at the CNSI auditorium from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., followed by a final tour of the "Endothelium" installation and an open discussion with Silvia Rigon, Belinda Starkie, Rose-Lynn Fisher, Stefanie Adcock and other symposium participants.
The UCLA Art|Sci Center + Lab works to blur the line between the "two cultures" of art and science and to help usher in a new culture of creative thinkers from the arts and sciences who combine their knowledge and skills to come up with innovations, collaborations and new ways to help heal the planet. The center is located in the Broad Art Center building and the lab is located at the California NanoSystems Institute. For more information, visit
The California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA is an integrated research center operating jointly at UCLA and the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations for discoveries in nanosystems and nanotechnology; train the next generation of scientists, educators and technology leaders; and facilitate partnerships with industry, fueling economic development and promoting the social well-being of California, the United States and the world. The CNSI was established in 2000 with $100 million from the state of California and an additional $250 million in federal research grants and industry funding. At the institute, scientists in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, computational science and engineering are measuring, modifying and manipulating the building blocks of our world — atoms and molecules. These scientists benefit from an integrated laboratory culture enabling them to conduct dynamic research at the nanoscale, leading to significant breakthroughs in the areas of health, energy, the environment and information technology. For more information, visit
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