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  • The LAST Festival
  • Erich Richter, Adam Carlin, , Co-curators, The LAST FestivalEmily Martinez, Peter Foucault, Sean McGowen, Ian Ayyad, Richard Vallejos, Joel Horne, Gene A. Felice II, David Kant, Wes Modes, Brent Townshend, Lanier Sammons, Eve Warnock, Kate Spacek, Nathan Ober, Ian Winters, Robert Edgar, Amy M. Ho, Yuan-Yi Fan, Nathan Ober, Jennifer Parker, Barney Haynes, Kristen Gillette, and Weidong Yang

The LAST Festival celebrates the confluence of art with new media technologies and nascent sciences emerging in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The inaugural LAST (Life, Art, Science and Technology) Festival took place 6–7 June 2014 in San Jose, California. A second LAST Festival took place 23–25 October 2014 in San Francisco, California.

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Emily Martinez, Anti-Apocalypse, HD video, custom software, EEG brain-computer interface, 2012. (© Emily Martinez)

The LAST Festival is a symposium and art expo that celebrates the confluence of art with the multiplicity of new media technologies and nascent sciences emerging from the intense cultural ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a nod to the tradition of scientific expositions, LAST (Life, Art, Science and Technology) puts the product of scientific and creative thinking in full view of the public. The event vigorously demands participants to engage and experiment.

The inaugural exhibition, featured here, took place on the first weekend of June 2014 at the ZERO1 Garage in downtown San Jose, CA. The two-day festival showcased work by more than 30 artists, performers and speakers and drew a crowd of over 8,000 participants. The spectrum of inquiry and invention included explorations in physics, psychology, crowd science, biology and spirituality, and was supported by a strong voice from the scientific community, with speakers from DARPA, Google, NASA, Pixar Studios and Stanford University. The immersive space invited people to swipe, step, click and meditate their way through a complex of sophisticated and often fantastic art installations.

San Francisco Bay Area lecturer Piero Scaruffi conceived of the idea for the festival as a way to make scientific creativity more visible to the public eye. Co-directors Adam Carlin and Erich Richter from Some Thing Spacious gallery produced the event with the generous support of ZERO1, a San Jose–based art and technology non-profit organization.

Symposium speakers included Dan Kaufman, Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, on DARPA’s high-tech projects; Chris McKay, Chief Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames, on space exploration and life in the universe; Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google, on artificial intelligence; Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of [End Page 111] Pixar, on graphics and animation; and Jennifer Dionne, Founding Director of the Stanford Nanotech Lab, on nano-optics.

A short documentary of the first LAST Festival can be viewed at <>. A second LAST festival was held 23–25 October 2014, in San Francisco, CA. It featured an art exhibit curated by Lily Alexander and a symposium with presentations by neuroscientist Bruno Olshausen, nanotech evangelist Christine Peterson, infectious disease specialist Charles Chiu, NASA scientist Chris McKay and cognitive scientist and LASER chair Piero Scaruffi. Leonardo/ISAST and the Stanford Multidisciplinary Multimedia Meeting of Arts, Science, and Humanities (SMMMASH) co-sponsored the symposium.



Anti-Apocalypse explores how the embodiment of memory in networked media influences how we re- and co-create our worlds and ourselves. The project creates an immersive digital cinema in which the mindbody of the spectator bears the task of enacting “worlds” as mediated by an EEG brain-computer interface, custom software and a digital video database composed entirely of appropriated web content reassembled as animated loops and remixed in real time by their fluctuating brainwave rhythms. Oscillating between visual perception and mental observation, the viewer navigates a labyrinth of multiple, discontinuous, collective memories, exploring the disorienting and transformative liminal spaces between these virtual records, their material manifestations and psychic traces.

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Emily Martinez, Anti-Apocalypse, HD video, custom software, EEG brain-computer interface, 2012. (© Emily Martinez)

Emily Martinez


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