ScienceArt Synergy: Towards science based humanities and a meaning oriented science
Although many share the intuition that art ad science have a lot to offer each other, this ideal has not translated to a ScienceArt practice. In my presentation I will analyze the origins of this lack of progress and show that we can overcome this obstacle by combining a synthesis based science with an analysis oriented art. I will illustrate this approach by describing a number of performances and exhibitions that we have developed along this ScienceArt paradigm and I will demonstrate how this integrated multi-disciplinary approach has given rise to a number of high impact applications which are of direct relevance to our society in the domains of health, education and cultural heritage.
Paul Verschure is Catalan Institute of Advanced Studies (ICREA) Professor and director of the Center of Autonomous Systems and Neurorobotics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra where he runs the Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS) Laboratory (specs.upf.edu). He is founder/CEO of Eodyne Systems S.L. (Eodyne.com), which is commercializing a novel science grounded neurorehabilitation technology and founder/Chairman of the Future Memory Foundation (futurememoryfoundation.org) which aims at supporting the development of new tools and paradigms for the education, conservation and presentation of the history of the Holocaust and Nazi crimes.
He received his MA and PhD in Psychology and Paul's scientific aim is to find a unified theory of mind and brain using synthetic methods and to apply it to quality of life enhancing technologies. His theory of mind and brain, Distributed Adaptive Control, has been generalized to a range of brain structures and robotic systems and has laid the foundation for a novel neurorehabilitation approach called the Rehabilitation Gaming System (http://specs.upf.edu/research_in_neurorehabilitation). Paul explores new methods for the simulation, visualization and exploration of complex data to support his theory (brainx3.com). Complementary to his science, Paul has developed and deployed over 25 art installations (http://specs.upf.edu/installations) including the biomimetic mixed reality space Ada experienced by over half a million visitors (2002), the hybrid human-machine dance performance Re(per)Curso (2008), the BCI based Brain Orchestra (2009), a Humanoid Robot DJ (2013), The BBC christmass lecture robot orchestra Theremin soloist (2014), a traveling Robot Ecology (2010 - 2015) and three virtual/augmented reality installations for the Memorial Site Bergen Belsen (2012 - ) and the Wiener Library (2015). The Bergen Belsen augmented reality application is now the standard educational programme for the memorial site.
Paul manages a multidisciplinary team of 30 researchers (specs.upf.edu) with whom he has published over 300 articles in leading journals and conferences in a wide range of disciplines running on an approximately 1.2M€/yr budget. Paul collaborates which a wide networks of international researchers and experts. Paul has represented Switzerland in the Global Science Forum of the OECD, is chair of the annual Barcelona Cognition, Brain and Technology summer school and co-chair of the annual Convergent Science Network’s conference Living Machines for which he also hosts a podcast (csnetwork.eu/talks/podcast). He is founder and academic director of the Interdisciplinary master program on Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media, which is one of the most popular official Bologna model master programs at University Pompeu Fabra
Paul’s vision is to realize an integrated science, art and technology paradigm for the study of mind and brain, which generates high impact products and services for our future society. This is also the theme of a book currently being written for Springer.