February 24, 2014
What happens in your body when you choose to go right or left? What makes your decisions? your Self? What do we mean by the word “choice”?
VN Alexander, PhD discusses the science of making choices from a complexity science-biosemiotic perspective. This is the first in a series of videos “Science, Art and Biosemiotics,” produced and directed by Lucian Rex.
The Eleventh Annual International Gathering in Biosemiotics will be held from June 21 to June 26, 2011 under the auspices of the Dactyl Foundation at the Rockefeller University for Biomedical Research in New York City, USA. Biosemiotics is an interdiscipline that seeks naturalistic understandings of metalistic phenomena, grounded in biology, and, in turn, seeks understandings of biological processes in terms of a general semiotics.
What can be learned about human semiosis, interpretation, communication, creativity and meaning-making by studying less complex but analogous phenomena in cellular signaling, chemotaxis, zoosemiotics, embryonic development, or the immune system? Can the pervasive metaphoric usages of chemical “message,” genetic “information,” and ”signaling” in contemporary biology be defined more precisely by taking them literally? While human symbolic representation may be species-specific–or at least unique to unusually big-brained animals–it must have emerged out of less complex semiotic processes and proto-semiotic processes. What are the antecedents of human semiosis? And how can the exploration of these antecedents help bridge the unnatural gap between body and mind that was imposed centuries ago more for religious than scientific reasons?
All are welcome to attend. For registration information click here.
Want to learn more about Biosemiotics? Visit the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies website, or listen to ISBS Vice-President Don Favareau on BBC radio.
Conference on Social Entrepreneurship
Lecture by Victoria N. Alexander, Director, Dactyl Foundation
The question everyone is interested in and the one I would like to be able to answer, at least in part, is the question of how a non-profit organization can avail itself of complex systems theory to make its complex system work in a complex world. [continue...]
Friday, February 19th, 2010
CompostModern Discussion Forum
Meet the authors of the critically acclaimed Death & Sex
a great excuse to talk about your favorite subjects in public…
Dorion Sagan has written and co-authored twenty-three books on evolution, cooking, and sex, translated into eleven languages. Sagan is the son of astronomer Carl Sagan and biologist Lynn Margulis.
Tyler Volk is a professor of biology at NYU who has written extensively on the Gaia hypothesis and life and death in the ecosystem. He is the author of four books and is affiliated with space life support research at NASA. [continue...]
Thursday, November 6, 6:30PM
Wine & conversation with John Allen Paulos: Discussion Forum
Co-hosted by The Center for Inquiry
Paulos has written on the vagaries of the stock market in A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, arguments for God in his most recent book, Irreligion, and the mathematical and philosophical basis of humor in Mathematics and Humor and I Think, Therefore I Laugh. [continue...]
Friday Oct 12, 2007 7:00-9:00 PM
Notes from the Holocene: A Brief History of the Future
In a thought-provoking, humorous, and engaging style, Dorion Sagan, the eldest son of Carl Sagan and evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, combines philosophy, science, magic, an understanding of illusion, and the fantastical writings of Philip K. Dick to probe the deep questions of existence. Operating on the precept that the universe if far [continue...]
November 9-12, 2006
EVOLUTION: BIOLOGICAL, CULTURAL, AND COSMIC
New York Art Science Festival
20th Annual Conference for the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts
Plenary Speaker: Lynn Margulis
Keynote Panel: Dorion Sagan and Eric Schneider
Special Presentation: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Site Chair: Victoria N. Alexander, Dactyl Foundation for the Arts & Humanities
Program Chair: Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University [continue...]
Thursday, November 3, 2005
“Homage to Guido Llinas” Lecture & Discussion. Sponsored by Cuba Art NY. To view Guido Llinas’s work, check out www.cubaartny.org.
September 16-18, 2005
John Ashbery, Angus Fletcher, Walter J. Freeman, Rebecca Goldstein & Steven Pinker
Among the disciplines informing cognitive poetics, neuroscience has been undersung and underutilized, a trend that seems to suggest imminent remedy. Indeed, the recent experimental and theoretical advances offered by neuroscience question the traditional judgment that literary knowledge is incompatible with scientific knowledge. What insights might detailed attention to the neuronal activity of the brain lend to the creative process? Might this directionality be reversed, that is, might the complex structures interrogated by poetics yield a formal understanding that could, in turn, shed light on neuroscientific problems? [continue...]
Friday, October 24, 2003
Society for Literature and Science 17th Annual Conference Austin, TX
October 23-26, 2003The Status of Emergence Roundtables Victoria Alexander (organizer/chair), Susan Oyman, Katherine Hayles, John Johnston, and Eve Keller.
Introduction by Victoria N. Alexander [continue...]
June 6th 2003
Discussion: Trauma at Home: After 9/11 (University of Nebraska Press, 2003) Speakers will include: Jim Berger, Elizabeth Baer, Donna Bassin, Judith Greenberg (editor), Marianne Hirsch, Irene Kacandes, E. Ann Kaplan, Nancy K. Miller, and Richard Stamelman.
November 8th 2002, 2-4 pm
CUNY Graduate Center
A panel discussion on new ways of interrogating dichotomies in the sciences Hosted at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 5409, by the 20th Century Group & Dactyl Foundation Panelists:
Susan Oyama is Professor of Psychology, Emerita, at John Jay College, and at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York City. Books include Cycles of Contingency, Developmental Systems and Evolution and Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide.
Feb 22 2002
Discussion with poet-critics Michael Davidson and John Taggart.
November 10, 2001
Emergent Teleology and Nabokov’s Aesthetics
Although Vladimir Nabokov may be better known for his outstanding literary achievements, he also had gift for science. While acting as curator at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology in the 1940s, he became an expert on a group of butterflies popularly known as “Blues.” He named one species and several have been named after him. He published nine articles on lepidoptery in prestigious scientific journals. During this time, he also developed compelling ideas about evolution. He argued that some instances of insect mimicry did not result from Darwinian survival strategies; that is, slight resemblances could not be furthered by the function or purpose they served, leading gradually to better resemblances. I contend that Nabokov’s understanding of the origins of biological forms can be compared to recent work in evolutionary biology, namely structural evolution and neutral evolution. I also argue it was Nabokov’s aesthetic interest in the mechanisms behind teleological phenomena that gave him the insight to construct a theory of mimicry that now appears quite progressive for its time.
September 28, 2001
“History, Memory, Trauma,” a public lecture by Dominick LaCapra, recipient of the Dactyl award for aesthetic theory.
Ever since Theodor Adorno argued that “writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,” all kinds of artists, not just poets, have been debating whether or not one can depict life optimistically. The Holocaust certainly questions how one can believe that every event ultimately serves some divine [continue...]
April 26 2001
A public lecture under the title “The Poet, The Critic & The Interpreter: A Crash Course”
Angus Fletcher (Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Graduate School, CUNY)
Nico Israel (Asst. Prof, English, Hunter College, CUNY; critic, Artforum International Magazine)
and Victoria N. Alexander (Dactyl Foundation)
Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:30. Lecture begins at 7pm.
April 4 – 6, 2000
Chaos in literature, science and art. Sponsored by Pfizer Corporation &Herbert Lee Grayson Foundation Panel Discussion:
Tuesday, April 4th & Wednesday, April 5th, 6pm
Angus Fletcher, CUNY on Spenser’s “Mutability Cantos”and the poetry of John Ashbery
Thursday, April 6th, 6pm John Ashbery, Bard College, poetry reading
Jim Crutchfield, Santa Fe Institute, on the physics of chaos
Joan Richardson, CUNY, on science & poetry
Angus Fletcher, CUNY, respondent
In history, chaos is anarchy, mutability, disorder, chance, indeterminacy, flux, non-linearity, entropy, irrational thought, creativity, destructive emotion and the primal source of all that is.
April 4-6 2000
Retrodiction -The History of Chaos in Literature, Science and Art.
Retrodiction is a series of audio recordings designed for an Internet experience with visual, musical, interactive, and educational components. The series will explore the concept of chaos and the fundamental question: Do things happen by chance? or does nature govern by fixed laws? The goal is to increase public understanding of science through fiction, poetry, and philosophical writings. The project is a collaborative effort among Dactyl Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Art and Science Laboratory. [continue...]
With Tom Breidenbach, Mark Daniel Cohen, Jonathan Goodman, and Sharon Lattig.
Moderated by Victoria N. Alexander. [continue...]
April 30, 1998
Panel Discussion:“The Interpreters: Shaping American Art.” Moderated by Steven Vincent, Wall Street Journal, Art & Auction. DACTYL asked five writers: Do your essays and reviews reveal or conceal your process of interpretation? As interpreter you shape the way art is perceived: as a self-evident sign or image; as a mysterious code that requires a professional interpretation; or as an “inkblot” in which one may find any meaning one likes. In your opinion, what is the best approach for engaging or creating a serious art audience? Over forty art professionals attended the discussion. [continue...]
April 30 1998
Contributors include Carter Ratcliff, Rosie Schaap, Sarah Schmerler, Grady T. Turner, Alexi Worth, moderate by Steven Vincent, Wall Street Journal, Art & Auction. DACTYL asked five writers: Do your essays and reviews reveal or conceal your process of interpretation? As interpreter you shape the way art is perceived: as a self-evident sign or image; as a mysterious code that requires a professional interpretation; or as an “inkblot” in which one may find any meaning one likes. [continue...]
April 23, 1998
Lecture: Stephen Jay Gould and the Antioch Review, with an introduction by Robert S. Fogarty. Gould teaches biology, geology and the history of science at Harvard University, where he has been on the faculty since1967. Well known for his popular scientific writings, in particular his monthly column in Natural History magazine, he is the author of thirteen books, including: Ever Since Darwin; Evolution & Extinction : Eassys; Full House : The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin; Human Evolution; Mismeasure of Man; Ontogeny and Phylogeny; and Why People Believe Weird Things : Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. “The history of life is not necessarily progressive; it is certainly not predictable. History includes too much chaos, or extremely sensitive dependence on minute and unmeasurable differences in initial conditions, leading to massively divergent outcomes based on tiny and unknowable disparities in starting points.” -Stephen J. Gould.
April 23 1998
Stephen Jay Gould and the Antioch Review, with an introduction by Robert S. Fogarty. Gould teaches biology, geology and the history of science at Harvard University, where he has been on the faculty since1967. Well known for his popular scientific writings, in particular his monthly column in Natural History magazine, he is the author of thirteen books, including: Ever Since Darwin; Evolution & Extinction : Eassys; Full House : The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin; Human Evolution; Mismeasure of Man; Ontogeny and Phylogeny; and Why People Believe Weird Things : Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. “The history of life is not necessarily progressive; it is certainly not predictable. History includes too much chaos, or extremely sensitive dependence on minute and unmeasurable differences in initial conditions, leading to massively divergent outcomes based on tiny and unknowable disparities in starting points.” -Stephen J. Gould.