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2017 Invited Speakers

We are pleased to announce the first of our confirmed Bridges 2017 plenary speakers. Check back here later for further announcements.

Erik Demaine
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachussetts

Erik Demaine is a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He received a MacArthur Fellowship as a “computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending—moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter”. He appears in the recent origami documentary Between the Folds, cowrote a book about the theory of folding (Geometric Folding Algorithms), and a book about the computational complexity of games (Games, Puzzles, and Computation). Together with his father Martin, his interests span the connections between mathematics and art, including curved-crease sculptures in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian.

John Edmark
Stanford University
Stanford, California

John Edmark is a Lecturer in the Design Program at Stanford University. His art and design pursuits range from organically inspired transforming and kinetic works to products for storage, kitchen, and creative play. He is the inventor of the Helicone, an interactive kinetic toy, and Blooms, a new type of sculpture that animates when spun under a strobe light. Videos of his bloom sculptures have been viewed more than 20 million times online. He has designed interactive exhibits for museums including the Exploratorium, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Phaeno Science Center, and the Swiss Science Center Technorama. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at The Exploratorium and AutoDesk.  He is named inventor on nine utility patents. Prior to focusing on art and design, he spent several years researching virtual environments at Bell Laboratories. His other interests include: hyper-stereo photography, stop-motion animation, natural pattern formation, and Tuvan throat singing.

Lynn Gamwell
School of Visual Arts
New York, New York

Lynn Gamwell teaches the history of art, science, and mathematics at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  She is author of Exploring the Invisible: Art, Science, and the Spiritual (Princeton, 2002), which was an “Editor’s Choice” of Scientific American, and selected by George Steiner as a "Book of the Year" for the Times Literary Supplement. Her most recent book is Mathematics + Art: A Cultural History (Princeton, 2016), with a foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson. She directed the Gallery of Art and Science of the New York Academy of Science from 1994 to 2004. Her recent curated exhibitions include Infinity and Beyond: Contemporary Art about Mathematics (Heckscher Museum of Art, Long Island, New York, 2007) and Sacred Geometry and Secular Science (Loyola University Art Museum,2012).

Damian Kulash
Los Angeles, California

Damian Kulash is the frontman for the polymath rock group OK Go and the director of the band’s long string of boundary-pushing music videos. The band have danced in zero gravity and on treadmills they’ve built a warehouse-sized Rube Goldberg machine to run in sync with a song, they've stunt-driven a car with robotic arms through an obstacle course of musical instruments, and they’ve choreographed hundreds of explosions filmed in just a few seconds.

This year, OK Go spoke at TED, received their third Grammy nomination, and were awarded the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Visual Art. They’ve been honored with a Grammy, three MTV Video Music Awards, eleven Cannes Lions, five D&AD awards, a CLIO, three UK Music Video Awards, two Webby Awards, and have had their work presented at The Guggenheim, MoCA, LACMA, The Hirschhorn, The Hammer Museum, and Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.

Kulash graduated magna cum laude from Brown University. His essays and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. He has testified before Congress in support of Net Neutrality and he performed Happy Birthday for President Obama at his 50th birthday party. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Roman Verostko
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Roman Verostko, Professor Emeritus, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, born 1929, is best known for his algorithmic pen and brush drawings. Although schooled as an illustrator at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (1949), he began experimenting with electronic media in the 1960s. In the summer of 1970, as a Bush Fellow at MIT, he set out to “humanize our experience of emerging technologies”. He studied FORTRAN at the Control Data Institute and exhibited his first generative work, “The Magic Hand of Chance” in 1982. This program grew into his master drawing program HODOS, which generates art with pens and brushes mounted on drawing machines. His monumental murals for the University of St Thomas Science Center (1997) and Spalding University (2006) embody ideas outlined in his 1988 paper “Epigenetic Art: Software as Genotype". His show, Algorithmic Poetry: The Joy of Digital, celebrated “generative art” as visual poetry (DAM: Berlin, 2011).

He holds SIGGRAPH's "Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement" (2009) and has had work included in: "Digital Pioneers" (V&A, London, 2009); "The Algorithmic Revolution" (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2005), "Code: the language of our time" (2003, Linz, Austria), "Artec" (1995, Nagoya, Japan) and "Genetic Art-Artificial Life" (1993, Linz, Austria).