Archives for science

“Art + Science = Magic (Or Not?)” in Art Practical

In her brief introduction to the special “Art, Science, & Wonder” issue of Art Practical (7.2, October 30, 2015), Selene Foster notes, “It can be argued that every discipline carries with it the potential for great wonder, but the arts and sciences scream the value of not-knowing from the rooftops, and I believe this is the reason that they have been considered kin almost as long as civilization itself.” “The value of not-knowing,” indeed. While there are many significant differences between art and science, both are, as I write in my contribution to special issue, “realms of the question.” “Contrary
Read More

Categories: art, BAASICS, science, wonder, and writing.


Last year, the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of California San Francisco hired me to shoot portraits of its faculty members for a website overhaul. It was a fun job, and I particularly enjoyed many of the conversations I had with the scientists. Although I finished the job in March 2015, I’m only now getting around to posting selected portraits and “B-roll”.
Read More

Categories: photography and science.

Recent writing for the BAASICS blog

Posts related to BAASICS‘ 2015-16 programming theme, Borderlands, and our upcoming production, BAASICS.6: The Edge Effect, are regularly appearing on the BAASICS blog. All of the posts are worth reading, but I’m highlighting four of my contributions here. “Border Gazing” — Looking at a photograph of the U.S.-Mexico border and pondering “the folly and dignity of our human constructs.” “Thriving In Dystopia” — Borders, climate change, dystopia, and E.O. Wilson. “Walking City Alleys” — How is a city alley a wilderness? Why should we explore them? “The Anthropocene, Conservation, & Paradox” — Considering one of the more significant Anthropocene-related scuffles.
Read More

Categories: BAASICS, conservation, natural history, science, and writing.

Hopefully Skeptical: TED, Sci Foo, & A New(ish) Optimism

In “Super Excited,” an essay published in the consistently excellent Aeon, the British popular philosopher Julian Baggini considers “a highly contagious meme [that] is spreading around the world,” one that “takes serious ideas and turns them into play, packages big subjects into small parcels, and makes negativity the deadliest of sins.” According to Baggini, this meme is the zeitgeist of what he dubs “Generation TED,” and it is much on his mind following his recent participation in 2014’s Sci Foo “unconference” at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. “In sunny Silicon Valley,” he writes, “[my] moderate British skepticism makes me
Read More

Categories: California, eudaimonia, science, and writing.

“Experimental Space”

“Experimental Space,” the current exhibition at Oakland‘s Aggregate Space Gallery (ASG), is a collaboration between the ASG team and BAASICS, the art and science nonprofit organization I co-founded in 2011. Selene Foster and I worked closely with ASG’s Conrad Meyers II and SD Willis to create a show that we hope is at once playful and provocative. The exhibition was Conrad’s brainchild, and he envisioned a show that would wink at the contemporary art world’s use of the term “experimental space.” In art world jargon, an experimental space is a gallery or other exhibition venue that showcases art projects that
Read More

Categories: art, BAASICS, science, and wonder.

The Shifting Baseline

While visiting the Eastern Shore of Virginia this August, I did some offshore fishing with my father and a friend. In my father’s 19-foot Boston Whaler, we ran 8 1/2 miles out from the Wachapreague Inlet to an artificial reef comprised of sunken subway cars, liberty ships, tanks, and other retired military vehicles. We drifted over and alongside this underwater structure, bouncing bottom with swimming lures and hooks baited with live mummichogs and other killifish species that we’d trapped in the brackish water of Finney Creek that morning.
Read More

Categories: conservation, Eastern Shore of Virginia, fish, natural history, photography, and science.

Sleeping With The ZomBee(s)

The Friday night of the Helix Monsters weekend in Los Altos, I crashed at my friends’ house in nearby Palo Alto. Just outside one of the large windows in the room I slept in, under the roof’s eave, industrious European honey bees have manufactured an impressive natural hive. Because the BAASICS team has been preoccupied by zombees of late, we decided to do a little monster trapping. Enthusiastic amatuers often don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into; at least I didn’t!
Read More

Categories: BAASICS, California, insects, natural history, photography, and science.