Lectures and Workshops

Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe

Saturday, November 09, 2019
Sunday, November 10, 2019

10:00 am - 5:00 pm Add to Calendar

Ahmanson Auditorium
ArtCenter College of Design
1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Free Radicals will present a robust, two-day program of artist talks, performances, and screenings, featuring keynote by Janna Levin.

Fulcrum Arts, the Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter, and Pitzer College Art Galleries will present the symposium, Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe, a program of Fulcrum Arts’ AxS (art + science) initiative, and LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous), Leonardo/ISAST’s international program of gatherings that brings artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations.


To “stand in awe” is to be filled with a transcendent sensation of deep joy and insightful connection to something we know also as a physical and material reality. It’s all benignly celebratory, until one might notice that sensations of awe are more likely the product of a highly nuanced biology over eons of human evolution rather than of divine edict. That parsing awe can place newly emerging complexities of the natural in conflict with fading clichés of the supernatural, and by extension disturb our empirical truce with the mythical. Or awe can be the muse of innovation, irritating tensions between the risks of progress and the stasis of tradition, embattle truth with fiction, and spill into the vast delta of the socio-political.

Free Radicals will present a robust, two-day program of artist talks, performances, screenings, and panel conversations. Rather than focus on one specific thematic, the symposium will present an array of diverse viewpoints and approaches to understanding the phenomenon of “awe” through the lens of art and science. Robotics, space science, botany, and augmented and virtual reality will all be addressed and positioned within a greater conversation that recognizes the allied importance of both the arts and the sciences to the dynamic tenor of our time.

Theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin will deliver the keynote presentation, and the symposium will also include presentations by Rana Adhikari, Bill Anthes, I.R. Bach, Nancy Baker Cahill, Beatriz Cortez, Ciara Ennis, Tom Hall, Ian Ingram, Karen Lofgren, Kyle McDonald, Rebeca Mendez, Chris Parks, Archie Prakash, Brittany Ransom, Christopher Richmond, Sasha Samochina, Jana Winderen, The World in a Cell, and Jenny Yurshansky.

Saturday, November 9

  • 10:00am — Welcome Brunch
  • 10:50am — Stephen Nowlin – Opening Remarks
  • 11:00am — Janna Levin – Keynote
  • 11:40am — I.R. Bach – Artist Talk
  • 12:20pm — Jana Winderen – Artist Talk and Quadraphonic Sound Dispersion
  • 12:50pm — Lunch (the cafeteria will be open)
  • 02:00pm — Kyle McDonald – Artist Talk
  • 02:40pm — AR/VR Panel with Sasha Samochina, Nancy Baker Cahill, The World in a Cell, moderated by Archie Prakash
  • 03:50pm — Christopher Richmond – Artist Talk and Screening of Viewing Stone
  • 05:00pm — Day 1 concludes

Sunday, November 10

  • 10:00am — Coffee
  • 10:30am — Chris Parks – Fluid Films Screening
  • 11:00am — Rana Adhikari – Science Presentation
  • 11:40am — Rebeca Mendez – Artist Talk
  • 12:20pm — Tom Hall – Artist Talk and Quadraphonic Audio Visual Performance
  • 12:50pm — Lunch (the cafeteria will be open)
  • 02:00pm — Botanic Potentials– Panel Discussion with Beatriz Cortez, Karen Lofgren, and Jenny Yushansky, moderated by Ciara Ennis
  • 03:10pm — Robotics Panel with Ian Ingram and Brittany Ransom, moderated by Bill Anthes.
  • 04:10pm — Reception
  • 05:00pm — Day 2 concludes

Schedule is subject to change

Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe has been made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the City of Pasadena, and LACMA Art & Technology Lab.