Can AI understand culture?

Culture and AI

A vital component for the development of technology

By Cris Kubli

Since the consolidation of evolutionary theory in the 19th century, many scholars have believed that progress is a linear phenomenon. For it to succeed, one must be as rational as possible, make improvements every time and follow a rigorous set of rules that are known as the scientific method. During this time, certain disciplines such as the biological and physical sciences have been glorified as essential tools for human advancement— all while leaving the arts, humanities and social sciences behind and deeming them less important for human growth. Continue reading “Can AI understand culture?”

Call for help and ideas for Data Stethoscope Performance for Dallas MAVS ESPORTS and DALLAS CHESS club

board game businessman challenge

ArtSciLab members,

Scot Gresham Lancaster and Zura Javakhadze are pleased to announce forthcoming performances of the Data Stethoscope Project- these are performances will involve using the electronic chess board provided by the UTD Chess team (thanks Zura), software modules from the project that allow you to see things you cannot see in the big data being sonified and visualized. It is part of the ArtSciLab method to carry out art performances as a transdisciplinary research method.

The performances will be in September in Dallas at

a) the Dallas Chess Club
b) the Dallas MAVS ESPORTS facility in Deep Ellum

This is a call for interest:
a) if you would like to play chess in public with scot on the chessboard, please contact us
b) if you have ideas on how to make the performance artistically powerful and memorable, all suggestions welcome
c) we are looking for help creating podcasts around the performance, a video and video abstract and other public-ations on the performance
d) we welcome ideas for creative disruptions or disturbances in the design of the performance

One of the previous performances is described at

Please contact Scot or Roger if you are interested in being involved.

Roger Malina

Graziella’s Journey as a Junior Designer at the ArtSciLab


Graziella “Ela” Detecio worked on the ArtSciLab team as a Junior Designer. During her time here, she contributed to the design of project and marketing materials of the lab. As it’s time for her to move on to the next step in her career, Yvan Tina, team leader of Creative Disturbance, sat down with Ela and asked her a few questions as a part of her transition out of the ArtSciLab.

What attracted her to the ArtSciLab position?

Ela found the ArtSciLab through cofounder, Cassini Nazir. This job was a chance for her to gain design and marketing experience and work toward her career goals: consulting or client-based work for a creative marketing or design firm.

How did Ela rate her experience the ArtSciLab overall?

Towards the end, the position was not exactly what Ela expected it to be. She was expecting more graphic design and marketing work from the position and would have preferred it if there were clear goals because some of the ideas were good but seemed to “trickle into obscurity.” Creative Disturbance, though, was an overall good experience.

Is there any new skill or insight that Ela has acquired through the experience?

Ela valued the experience running the ArtSciLab website, as well as the exposure to academic research conducted in a lab.

What would she change from her experience?

After Ela’s mentor Cassini transitioned, she felt lost in her role. A more consistent art/design supervisor would have been ideal.

According to Ela, what makes a good manager and what should be their attributes?

Ela says it’s important for a manager to set an overall vision for the team by identifying practical goals to work towards. She valued Roger encouraging students to pursue their interests within the lab

What are some difficulties of teamwork?

Communication with the team is a difficulty. She found that horizontal hierarchy presents challenges for the younger student workers. Using Trello and Airtable for transparency and progress tracking can improve these issues within the lab.

What project management experience did she learn?

“I learned a lot” Ela says. The structured nature of Creative Disturbance taught her that organization can lead to improved productivity.

Where is she heading next?

Ela is joining the Student Union and Activities Advisory Board (SUAAB) at UT Dallas to work with the marketing chair on developing awareness of SUAAB on campus.

Creative Disturbance new podcast in தமிழ்

New podcast in தமிழ் by Gautam Sharma and Aadhavan Sibi

Every year, thousands of Indian students and hundreds of Tamil students make their way across the oceans towards to the land of opportunities in pursuit of their dream to master their craft. This channel is a way of trying to trace that journey by sharing the experiences of other students who are just as much trying to find their way through amazingly rewarding maze. Graduate Students Gautam Sharma and Aadhavan Sibi and with their interesting list of guests from different walks of life go through their experiences right from their Visa Interviews through finding themselves among the sea of familiar yet strange face to the dreaded job hunt. Strap on your seatbelts, we are flying to meet Uncle Sam.

In this episode of A mudhal America varai, “Visa Villangam” Gautam Sharma and Aadhavan Sibi discuss the villangams involved in the nerve-wracking process of getting your visa approved and your flight experience. From the WhatsApp groups, to the long queue at the consulate, to the harrowing experience of flying out of country all by yourself, none of us did this without some help from other fellow students. This is just us trying to tell other people that they are not alone in feeling that way, by sharing our experience of how we dealt with all of that ourselves.

Listen to this episode by visiting Visa வில்லங்கம் at Creative Disturbance.

New Lab Member Introduction

Anthony Inga

Anthony Inga is an undergraduate design researcher at the UT Dallas School of Arts Technology and Emerging Communication with a background in engineering and computer science. He brings his unique eye to design through participation in the AIGA association for design, the Public Interactives Research Lab, and now as a research assistant at the ARTSCI Lab. Anthony has volunteered as a keynote speaker for non-profit organizations such as Big Thought and IxDA Dallas. Apart from school, as an employee of Wolfgang Puck Catering, he’s served as a local bartender in the Dallas area for several years, though he finds himself most at his element when mixing his minimal visual style in concert with unique interactive solutions.

As a collaborator of the lab, Anthony will be developing his capstone project in which he will be investigating restaurant menu designs, particularly cocktail menus, on how they might be reimagined using psychology, art, and technology to better inform the customer of the selections in hopes to raise satisfaction rates. Through the lab, Anthony hopes to gain experiences as a project manager and creative researcher. Apart from this, he will assist the lab in extending its international network to Peru through his own connections as he is also a native to the country’s capital city, Lima.

Anthony has served as an informal collaborator in the past, but is now excited to hit the ground running as one of the newest official lab members!

The Watering Hole: Art Conservation and Esports


Please join us Friday May 3rd in the ArtSciLab (ATEC 3.209) from 4-6pm for the final Watering Hole of the semester. Our speakers this week are Phillip Martin, Isaac Arrington, and Tray Thompson.

Our first speaker, Phillip Martin, will be presenting on his work and career with Art Conservation. In 2004, he completed a BFA from UNT in Drawing and Painting and immediately stumbled into an intensive two year apprenticeship as an Objects Conservator under the mentorship of Maria Valentina Sheets. Afterwards he worked as a staff conservator with a small private shop in Dallas until 2008, where he transitioned to independent contract work. During this he operated independently in the industry as Itinerant Creative while simultaneously producing and showing his own work as well. He received a scholarship to attend the Graduate Art program at Washington University in St. Louis in 2009. In 2019 he assumed the position of ATEC Building Services Coordinator. In Fall of 2019 Mr. Martin will resume Graduate studies in Creative Practice within ATEC. “I was raised by inspired problem solvers who gave me pencils, paper and Lego as far back as I can remember.” – Phillip Martin

Our second group of speakers is Isaac Arrington and Tray Thompson. They will be presenting as liaisons of the Dallas Mavericks Esport division, Mavs Gaming. They will be discussing their work, as well as, their views on the past, present, and future of Esports. At Mavs Gaming, Mr. Arrington and Mr. Thompson work as an Event Manager and Corporate Account Executive respectively. Mr. Arrington’s past experience includes working in Campus Services at the Imperial College of London, an Account Executive at Houston Dynamo, as well as a Grassroots Marketing Manager at FC Dallas. Mr. Arrington strives to host the best events possible in order to increase the guest’s network, best practices, and resources. Mr. Thompson, currently working as a Corporate Account Executive for the Dallas Mavericks/Mavs Gaming. His previous experience includes working as a Special Events Account Executive for the Dallas Cowboys, a Sales Consultant with Legends Hospitality, working on Stadium Experiences for the San Francisco 49ers, and an Account Executive for the Dallas Mavericks Basketball team.

All are welcome, regardless of creed, school, background, or discipline!

Watering Hole: ArtSciLab, ATC 3.209, 4-6PM
If you would like to volunteer to organise an ATEC Watering Hole or be a guest contact us. If you run into problems or have suggestions on how to improve it please send an email to

Updates from CDASH

A National Convening on the Integration the Arts, Humanities, and STEMM

We are pleased to inform you – as collaborators and cloud curriculum members – of the progress of our CDASH website! On the Home page, our “SPOTLIGHT: What’s New!” section introduces The University of Texas at Dallas’ umbrella project, ToTTS: Tale of Two Thinking Systems. The umbrella consists of six promising initiatives within the ArtSciLab that will be presented in Washington, D.C. at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Convention in April 2019.

In the Spring of 2018, Dr. Kathryn Evans conducted a study, Moving the Needle, measuring the change in her Music, Science and Technology students’ attitudes on science-music integration. This investigation and its findings will also be presented by Dr. Evans at the NASEM Convention. The demo session will be recorded and will be included in the NASEM online toolkit as a resource for practitioners interested in implementing integrative approaches in their teaching.

We welcome our newest Research Assistant in UTD’s ArtSciLab, Lauren Bernal. Lauren is a senior Psychology major who brings a background of research and behavioral and brain sciences perspective to our interest in transdisciplinary curriculum.

Our Brazilian collaborator, Joao Silveira at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, recently completed his ArtSci for Education: Activity Report, February 2019. Soon, the original Portuguese report along with the English translated version will be posted on the CDASH site. We are delighted to share his findings over transdisciplinary.

Much more to come! We are excited about the response and look forward to many more courses, syllabi and resources for you. Help us spread the word by sending the link to your friends in the art-science community.

Kathryn Evans and the CDASH team

Leonardo Slam Skateboard Awards

Award-Board-design 1

Three weeks before the Leonardo Journal’s 50th anniversary, Roger Malina commissioned Twin Boards to create custom skateboards to give away as awards. The recipients included three significant contributors to the Leonardo journal: Linda Henderson, Lynn Herschmann, and Mihai Nadin. For each of the award-boards, Twin Boards co-founder and Artscilab member Jacob Hunwick and his twin brother Cason Hunwick created personalized skateboards based on each artists body of work.

For ease of presentation and transport a 22-inch deck size decided on. The decks were designed and hand built by Twin Boards. Previous to this commission, the brothers have designed and painted 40 custom skateboards.

The top of each board features a custom grip tape design incorporating the Leonardo brain logo, an inscription, and the name of the recipient. To avoid having to hand paint the inscriptions, each body of text was printed out and adhered to the back of clear grip tape. This process unified the printed text with the rest of the board.

Award-Board Design 1

a longboard proclaiming its worth to its owner. Leader of a computation research lab at ATEC at UT Dallas, Professor Mihai Nadin works to understand how computers might be able to anticipate. In an interview with Ubiquity [1] Nadin explains anticipation in terms of an automobile “a car is much more than a large metal object, it is an instrument of my purpose from getting from point A to point B”. Similar to a car, a longboard can assist in movement between locations. To encapsulate this similarity and turn the proposition on its head, Nadin’s skateboard proclaims “I am more than just a wooden plank, I am an instrument of your purpose” proclaiming its worth by Nadin’s own terms.
Nadins board features a painted depiction of a famous Henri-Cartier Bresson photograph depicting motion [2]. The photograph represents anticipation, a key concept in Nadin’s work.

Award-Board Design 2

Adding to the art-history of the fourth dimension. Professor and author Linda Henderson studies the art history of the 4th dimension. In her studies, she uncovers a wide range of attempts to visualize extra dimensions. Naturally humans have no faculty for understanding another special direction. Nevertheless, artists and scientists alike have attempted to conceptualize this physical reality since it was referred to as ‘the Ether’ [3]. Rather than document previous works, Henderson’s board is itself another artists attempt to grasp at the concept.

Beneath the unassuming depiction of a cube are lines of magnetic paint that connect to form a tesseract. Wielding a magnet, the beholder closes their eyes and probes the board and feels the magnetic paint guiding them along each line. Fully explored and plotted, the invisible lines connect with the visible cube to create a 4 dimensional cube, known as a tesseract.

Award-Board design 3

An extra ear in the room. Renowned multi-media artist Lynn Herschman Leeson explores topics in surveillance and artificial intelligence. Her board synthesizes these topics pairing a recording device with Hershman’s AI chatbot Agent Ruby [4]. Just as it appears on the interactive website, Ruby’s red lips and eyes stand out against a white background and light up when the red recording light comes on. The recording device references Hershman’s installment Vertighost in which two galleries are linked via video feed captured through cameras in the eyes of a figure in a painting [5].

For the presentation ceremony, Jacob Hunwick along with five other students rode longboards onto the stage and handed out the boards.

Each recipient was delighted with the conceptual ideas behind the boards and their final appearance. Linda Henderson described her board “as an original contribution to the discourse of art history” while Lynn Herschman and Mihai Nadin were both intrigued by the audio elements.

Image credits: Jacob Hunwick

Thanks to: Cason Hunwick (carpenter & designer)




[3] Linda Henderson The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry.



Leonardo 50th Birthday Party Slam at ATEC, UTDallas

Pablo Reyes Leonardo 50th Birthday Party Slam at ATEC - UTDallas

The Leonardo Slam idea was launched during Ars Electronica ( )…it was picked up by Pablo Reyes during the UTDallas Leo50 Birthday party as a collaboration between the ATEC 3D Studio directed by Prof Andrew Scott and the ATEC ArtSciLab co directed by Cassini Nazir and Roger Malina. At the Leo50 Birthday Party an ATEC awarded to the first ATEC director Tom Linehan. Continue reading “Leonardo 50th Birthday Party Slam at ATEC, UTDallas”