Art-Science Calendar of Events NYC


This calendar is an initiative of the Art Science Observatory, in collaboration with SciArt in America, Beautiful Brain, Ligo projects, Dactyl Foundation and other art/science organizations.

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The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature, and Nature

We have an exciting conference and art exhibition on mimicry and crypsis planned for fall 2012. Stay tuned for the call for papers. Thanks for supporting Dactyl.

The Biologist's Mistress

Dactyl Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of Victoria N. Alexander’s The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature and Nature.

Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her –J. B. S. Haldane

Drawing on her experiences as a complexity theorist, novelist and art-theorist, Victoria N. Alexander examines the history and practices of teleology, the study of purpose, in nature as well as in human behavior. She takes us “inside” paradoxically purposeful self-organizing entities (which somehow make themselves without having selves yet to do the making), and she shows us how poetic-like relationships—things coincidentally like each other or metaphoric and things coincidentally near each other or metonymic—help form organization where there was none before. She suggests that it is these chance language-like processes that result in emergent design and selfhood, thereby offering an alternative to postmodern theories that have unfairly snubbed the purposeful artist. Alexander claims that what has been missing from the general discussion of purposefulness is a theory of creativity, without which there can be no purposeful action, only robotic execution of inherited design. Thus revising while reviving teleology, she offers us a secular, non-essentialist conception of selfhood as an achievement that can be more than a momentary stay against the second law.

The book includes anecdotes about Dactyl Foundation’s artists and history. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to the foundation to help support educational programs and research in art-science.

CompostModern Discussion Forum

New Summer Hours 2011  4-6PM

The CompostModern forum is made up of artists, poets, fiction writers, playwrights, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, actors and any one else interested in joining. We meet every Friday, and at least once or twice a month, we have a featured guest or two. Instead of presenting formal lectures or panels, we open the floor to the community. Featured guests and audience members are able to talk freely and on equal terms about everything from beauty and meaning to pop-culture. As the name implies, the CompostModern forum aims to re-cycle our rich aesthetic history. If the project of postmodernism was to deconstruct traditions, it has left us with a fertile soil out of which new forms may emerge. It is with the belief that all new forms of art must evolve from a history that we approach the guiding question of the forum: What is creativity?

Admission free.

Biosemiotics Conference June 21-25, 2011

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.

Dactyl Literary Award: Shadowplay by Norman Lock

January 1, 2011

Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press, 137 pages) by Norman Lock is the 2010 Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award recipient.  A dense fable, mixing magic realism with self-reflexivity….. See Dactyl Review.

NORMAN LOCK is the author of The King of Sweden (Ravenna Press), Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press), A History of the Imagination (FC2), ‘The Book of Supplemental Diagrams’ for Marco Knauff’s Universe (Ravenna Press), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press), and–writing as George Belden–Land of the Snow Men (from Calamari Press and in Japanese from Kawade Shobo). Two short-prose collections – Joseph Cornell’s Operas and Émigrés – were published by Elimae Books and subsequently issued, in Turkish, by an Istanbul publisher as part of its New World Writing series. Together with Grim Tales, they were brought out by Triple Press as Trio. Cirque du Calder, a hand-made artist’s book with afterword by Gordon Lish, was presented by The Rogue Literary Society. [continue...]

Yelena Yemchuk's film El Monte

November 2010

In her new film El Monte, Yelena Yemchuk’s crisp black-and-white rendering of a feverish dream is reminiscent of Fellini’s , even using a breathless soundtrack in homage to the opening of the Italian director’s autobiographical masterpiece. An elegant, if unsettling, platform to showcase a festival of vintage gowns, El Monte features supermodel Natasa Vojnovic, who gives an accomplished and poetic performance, actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach, musician Melissa Auf der Maur and the haunting voice of Elisa Silver. Filmed at Dactyl Foundation for the Arts in New York, with mid-century furniture on loan from Chelsea’s Demisch Danant gallery, the set designed by Ukraine-born Yemchuk could easily be mistaken for a location featured [continue...]

Call for Papers: 11th Annual Biosemiotics Gathering

Biosemiotics JournalThe 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. The Scientific Advisory Committee of the Eleventh Annual Gatherings in Biosemiotics welcomes paper proposals from researchers in any academic discipline who are investigating the presence and the role of sign processes in living systems.

What is Biosemiotics?  Listen to philosopher Don Favareau on BBC radio.

The call for papers is now closed.  [continue...]

Helena Christensen at Stella McCartney's for the Chernobyl Children's Project International, curated by Neil Grayson

September 10, 2010
Stella McCartney’s New York store will host a special exhibition by Helena Christensen for Fashion’s Night Out on September 10. Photography purchased at the event will benefit Chernobyl Children’s Project International. The exhibition is curated by Neil Grayson of The Dactyl Foundation and the photography will be available for purchase through the end of September. Christensen has been a long time supporter of Chernobyl Children’s Project International, the charity that helps children and communities who are affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. [continue...]

Creativity and Value: How A NonProfit Art Foundation Can Use Complex Systems Theory

August 2010

Adelphi University
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...]

Summer Salon

judy-glantzman-interior-15Thursdays 1-6 PM

Dactyl Foundation presents work by Judy Glantzman, Sage Vaughn, Neck Face, and Yelena Yemchuk. [continue...]

CompostModern Discussion Forum: New Summer Hours

Every Thursday 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Featured Guest Nathan Cabot Hale, Sculptor. July 29.

Nathan Cabot Hale is a sculptor, painter and author of numerous books on art, including Abstraction in Art and Nature, Creating Welded Sculpture, and Exploring the Roots of Human Emotion in Sculpture. Hale will speak about, among other things, how lines of growth and structure, water and liquid forms, weather and atmospheric patterns, luminosity, earth colors, many other elements are shown to be wellsprings of creative abstraction. [continue...]

Cultivator Playreading Series

Friday, June 25, 2010 5-7 pm
Open Readings with Katalina Mustatea

The aim of The Cultivator series is to give breath and voice to dramatic scripts in progress, and to act as a seedbed for new dramatic writing. The Cultivator invites thoughtful experiments with form and language, and encourages spontaneous, organic collaborations between playwrights and performers. Each script presentation will be followed by a salon-style discussion, where participants and audience can talk freely about the work presented, or else consider the broader implications of theater and performance art in our culture. Part of the weekly CompostModern Discussion Forum at Dactyl, this monthly series will follow the forum’s general scope and format. [continue...]

CompostModern featured guest Elisa Perea

Friday, June 4, 2010  4-6PM
Documentary maker Elisa Perea talks about and shows clips from “Nogales aqui es…” (Nogales, this is it… the border city)

A film  presenting the creative experiences of a generation of visual artists in their playground; their field of dreams…Nogales… the city. The one they see and the one they imagine… a bordertown awakened through their work… a journey via their art and testimony… offering an alternative description of a territory that is often misunderstood by both bordering countries. This project was funded by The National Council for the Arts and Culture of Mexico and by the Sonoran Institute of Culture. [continue...]

CompostModern Forum: featured guest Laura Otis

Friday May 21, 2010  4-6PM

Laura Otis began her career as a scientist, earning her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale in 1983 and her M.A. in Neuroscience from the University of California at San Francisco in 1988. Before receiving her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University in 1991, she worked in labs for eight years. Since 1986, she has been studying and teaching about the [continue...]

Jens Stoltze, 90 Days in Rio, Photography Exhibition

May 13-24, 2010
Opening Reception Thursday May 13th, 7-9PM


Jens Stoltze is a professional photographer with a career spanning almost 20 years. Once graduated from the Royal Danish Art School, he found quickly success as a freelance photographer and then in 2005, he founded S Magazine, an international fashion and photography biannual, for which he is now editor-in-chief. He has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions both in Denmark and the United States.

Stoltze has visited Rio de Janeiro many times, during the course of which he realized at some point that “there is more going on under the surface of the city than above it.” During his visits, Stoltze became interested in the outer neighborhoods. By pursuing one circumstance after another, he was able to document the secret lives of the people of Rocinha, the sex and drugs, the love and war. Circumstance plays a major part in Stoltze’s photography. The [continue...]

Cultivator Play Reading Series

Friday, April 30, 2010 5-7 pm
with Katalina Mustatea, Don DiPaolo and Amy Staats

The aim of The Cultivator series is to give breath and voice to dramatic scripts in progress, and to act as a seedbed for new dramatic writing. The Cultivator invites thoughtful experiments with form and language, and encourages spontaneous, organic collaborations between playwrights and performers. Each script presentation will be followed by a salon-style discussion, where participants and audience can talk freely about the work presented, or else consider the broader implications of theater and performance art in our culture. Part of the weekly CompostModern Discussion Forum at Dactyl, this monthly series will follow the [continue...]

Drew Doggett, Slow Road to China, opening reception

April 17th, Hosted by Helena Christensen & Neil Grayson to benefit the Nepal Trust [continue...]

Drew Doggett: Slow Road to China Exhibition and Book Launch Event

Opening: Saturday, April 17th 6:30-9:00PM

Hosted by Helena Christensen &  Neil Grayson.

On View April 17 –  May 6, Tues – Sat 12-6pm.

Slow Road to China is an extraordinary, moving and powerful series of  images documenting the people of remote mountain communities in the  Humla region of Northwest Nepal.

[continue...]

CompostModern Forum: featured member Victoria N Alexander

Friday April 2, 2010, 4-6 PM

Victoria Alexander will give a 30 min talk at 5PM

Secular Teleology for the 21st Century

In a teleological narrative, all the events depicted, or at least the key ones, are chosen and included because of the way they reflect, refract, or prefigure a general theme of the story or the end of the story, the resolution of a problem. There is usually progression or development.  Events exist in the story because of the purpose they serve. Critics of  ”teleological” narratives may claim that “realistic” representation should capture a world in [continue...]

Chloe Domont, Hear Me Fall, Film Screening

March 27, 2010 at 7pm
rsvp@dactyl.org required

HEAR ME FALL follows a tortured boy as he makes his way back to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment one last time – As he goes over each dark truth in their relationship, we see that the real pain does not come from how much she manipulated him, but from how much he manipulated himself in order to keep her.



Watch the trailer. [continue...]

Cultivator: Play Reading Series

Friday, March 26, 2010 5-7 pm
The Beauty of Fragments: Talks with and about the NYC performance group Radiohole

The aim of The Cultivator series is to give breath and voice to dramatic scripts in progress, and to act as a seedbed for new dramatic writing. The Cultivator invites thoughtful experiments with form and language, and encourages spontaneous, organic collaborations between playwrights and performers. Each script presentation will be followed by a salon-style discussion, where participants and audience can talk freely about the work presented, or else consider the broader implications of theater and performance art in our culture. Part of the weekly CompostModern Discussion Forum at Dactyl, this monthly series will follow the forum’s general scope and format. [continue...]

Rie Rasmussen, writer/filmmaker/artist and Neil Grayson, artist/curator, NY Post article

Feb 25, 2010
The breakfast of champions
MICHAEL SOFRONSKI
THE ART WORLD IMPRESARIOS: Rie Rasmussen, writer/filmmaker/artist and Neil Grayson, artist/curator, Dactyl Foundation (dactyl.org)
POWER PLAY-BY-PLAY: “I love meeting over meals,” says Rasmussen, who powwowed with Grayson to discuss an upcoming show and screening of her film “Human Zoo,” which opened last year’s Berlin Film Festival, at his SoHo gallery. But since NYC can be a small town, privacy is of the utmost importance. Thankfully, their corner banquette had plenty of it. The food didn’t fail to impress, either, with standouts including ripe papaya cut with lime — enjoyed after the meal as a digestive. And then there was the coffee, which woke up Rasmussen’s inner muse. “It’s excellent coffee for drawing,” she says, dipping a spoon in it to complete a coffee-and-ink sketch.

Dactyl Collection, paintings, drawings, masks



Winter 2010

Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6 PM.


A salon show featuring works by Judy Glantzman, Helena Christensen, Sage Vaughn, Neck Face, and Yelena Yemchuk.

CompostModern Discussion Forum

ghostEvery Friday in 2010 4:00 – 6:00 PM

The CompostModern forum is made up of artists, poets, fiction writers, playwrights, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, actors and any one else interested in joining. We meet every Friday, and at least once or twice a month, we have a featured guest or two. Instead of presenting formal lectures or panels, we open the floor to the community. Featured guests and audience members are able to talk freely and on equal terms about everything from beauty and meaning to pop-culture. As the name implies, the CompostModern forum aims to re-cycle our rich aesthetic history. If the project of [continue...]

Featured Guests, Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan, authors of Death & Sex

Friday, February 19th, 2010
4:00-6:00 PM
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...]

Staged Reading of 'The Model' by Katalina Mustatea

Friday Jan 15th, 2010, 7:00-8:30

“The Model” is the first in a play reading series hosted by Dactyl Foundation. The aim of the series is to give breath and voice to dramatic scripts and to act as a seedbed for new dramatic writing.

‘We found her at the corner of Houston and 2nd Avenue, propped against a dumpster and looking a bit lost. She had the long legs and even features typical of her kind, and was dressed in a glamorous evening ensemble that looked rather out of place in the middle of [continue...]

Staged Reading Displaced Wedding, or A Wedding in Foehrenwald by H. Leivick

Monday, January 11, 2010 6:00-8:00

A World Premiere Staged Reading directed by Marc Geller.
“What can you expect when you put a wedding canopy in a crematorium?”
with a Silent Auction to Benefit New Worlds Theatre Project

Compost-Modern Forum featured guest Michael Schippling, robotics artist

S_IMG_1674.JPGNov 20th 4:00-6:00 PM

Why Are They Fighting?

Michael Schippling is an artist who builds robots designed to act creativity. He notes that most independent artists working in robotics have succumbed to building fighting machines for TV audiences. Michael will be a featured guest at our Compost Modern discussion forum, giving us what he calls a “quirky history of Machine Art with a proposal for the future.” [continue...]

Open Mic/UpHook Press

October 31, 2009 6:00-8:00 PM

$10 donation; wine and hors d’oeuvres


Open to all writers and the general public. Uphook Press is currently accepting submissions for their second anthology of poetry. Come read your work, meet the publishers, listen to the current writers of Uphook Press, and celebrate over four years of Dactyl’s open mic series! [continue...]

Cuba Arts NY, Oct 7-11 2009

Curated by CANY: Exhibit and Silent Auction

Contemporary Cuban Art in New York

Private Sponsors Viewing and Cocktail Hour: Wednesday, October 7th starting at 6 PM

Opening Reception and Silent Auction: Thursday, October 8th from 6 to 9 PM

[continue...]