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In active response to the novel coronavirus and its unfolding, we offer ArtSci PARTICLES interviews with members of our concentric network. We are deeply inspired by the thoughts, actions, and research-based responses made by our community in this unprecedented time. 


This episode of Particles features the incredible Richard Ross in conversation with Victoria Vesna about his vital work and his perspective of our current position within the pandemic. Richard voices his belief that this time can be harnessed by younger generations to frame a new and different conversation for the future, asking, "how can we initiate a systemic change in how we think?" Within the context of his own work and activism, Richard talks about how he is tending to juveniles in incarceration by visiting, talking and sitting down with them to counter the effects of isolation so deeply felt by these kids. His work fosters dialogues for different points of views to transpire and consciousness and care to truly unfold. Richard’s work is inspiring, and heart felt. This is not an episode to be missed!

Richard Ross is an artist/activist/photographer, distinguished research professor of art based in Santa Barbara, California. As the creator of Juvenile-in-Justice, his work turns a lens on the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them. Ross has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, MacArthur and the Center for Cultural Innovation. Ross was awarded both Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. Three books and traveling exhibitions of the work continue to see great success while Ross collaborates with juvenile justice stakeholders, using the images as a catalyst for change.


Architecture of Authority (2007):
There are some places that you never want to see the insides of. These are the places sought out in Architecture of Authority. The photographs capture spaces both notorious and innocuous, from FBI Headquarters to high school corridors and office spaces. Architecture of Authority is a body of unsettling pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques and diverse civic spaces including a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations. The images build to ever harsher manifestations of power: an interrogation room at Guantanamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, and finally, a capital punishment death chamber. The connections among the various architectures are striking. The Santa Barbara Mission confessional and the LAPD robbery homicide interrogation rooms are the same intimate proportions. Both are made to solicit a confession in exchange for some form of redemption.” has put the face on juveniles in the justice system. While data is undeniably important, locating the numbers in the context of a real child is critical to creating empathy. Lives can be measured, but don’t resonate, in the sterile fluorescence of numbers, charts and trends. Data yearns to be articulated in the human experience in fragile voice and portrait to be truly understood and effectively used. Juvenile-in-Justice is a collection of images, interviews, audio documents, and texts created over a dozen years, at 300 sites in 35 states, drawn from the lives of more than 1,000 kids. We work with educational institutions and non-profits to better understand and/or explain the needs, policies, strategies, and resources required to facilitate better outcomes for the 53,000+ children in custody every day. Our work humanizes cold statistics by exploring the lifeworlds of children in the system. We are the storytellers.

Gathering Light:

“If these photographs stand as a kind of homage to light, it is because they also celebrate darkness- a darkness without which light could never be experienced. if they take light as their theme, it is because this theme is shown to be indissociable fro that of darkness. Or, to cast a more precise light on the matter, if the theme of these photographs is light, it is light as what withdraws from theme, as what cannot be thematized. This is why as soon as it takes place, the photograph, consenting to its own disappearance, vanishes- and, in vanishing, it tells us that it never appears without its shadows, without its hidden features, without the night to which it always returns. In each instance, then, the gathering of light is also a gathering of night.” - Eduardo Cadava

“By taking light itself as the subject of his new photographs, Ross addresses the central irony of photography: the fact that photography, which lives in and by light, can no more look directly at it than ancient believers could look upon the face of God. Pure light in any photograph is a white cipher, a smear or a splotch or bar of burned out nothingness. Pure light, like true love and good grammar, is one of those subjects that is only perceptible in its defect.”  - David Hickey


The modern museum is both the showcase of our culture- and its cluttered attic. In this series, Richard Ross examines this modern institution, focusing both on the display of art and artifacts for the public and on the phenomenon of the museum itself- as a place that reflects what we think is worth preserving, a place where exhibits teach us what we’re supposed to know. The lush color photographs were taken in museums all over the world, from the British Museum in London to the Museum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris to New York’s metropolitan Museum of Art.
As the world of photography draws closer to becoming exclusively digital, it is always pleasant to remember the world of Diana cameras from the 1960s. Pre-Holga, pre-Lomo, these cameras captured a world that was fuzzy, blurry, and astigmatic. A world that now seems to have vanished—or has it? The Diana offers images that captured mood and environment in a way that could not be captured by the perfection of the Hasselblad optics. With the Diana, I could walk out into a salt water environment, be up to my chest in the water, and easily capture nostalgic, metaphorical, and romantic images that more high tech equipment would not allow. Fovea can be arranged as a site-specific installation, in any configuration. More Diana photographs can also be taken on assignment, in a location of the commissioner’s choosing.
Waiting for the End of the World:
There are innumerable things to fear about a nuclear exchange that are symbolized by the existence of shelters designed to protect a citizenry from an overwhelming, devastating attack. If you put the images of people's fears into a visual representation, the clear winner is the mushroom cloud-- the poster child of the cold war. The bomb shelter, specifically the blast shelter, has been something that has existed as a literary or intellectual idea but never as a visual image. My goal with this project was to reexamine these locations-- to visualize them and evoke their present status. And thereby make them real and tangible. Working on this project I realized that there is such a minute number of extant shelters that they are ineffective as a logical solution or salvation. A nuclear exchange means an end to civilization as we know it. It may not end all life, but it would certainly be the most drastic evolutionary hiccup experienced by humankind. Shelters are the architecture of failure-- the failure of moderation, politics, communication, diplomacy, and sustaining humanity. They represent the ultimate in optimism and belief in individual survival and paradoxically the ultimate in pessimism-- the expectation of the destruction of humanity. The architects of these structures envisioned an inevitable cataclysm. In St. Petersburg, Russia, I photographed "The Trendy Griboyedov Club." I found it wildly optimistic. People use these clubs-- converted underground shelters-- to drink, dance, and mate. This is a celebration of life rather than an anticipation of death and destruction. The club rejects the intent and purpose of its origins. Finally it made sense.
Museum of Humankind (upcoming exhibition and publication):
Why get real? Why not romanticize? After years of working in both Museums and penal institutions, the simple truth is that when we separate peoples from our lives by glass or cages, we loose empathy. The images  talk about the failure of the Ethnological and Anthropological museums of our country and how they actually build the framework for intolerance and racism. This is the beginning of a project that will evolve and examine how we view the other, the object on the other side of the glass.
(Image courtesy of Isabel Beavers)
30 May
A Mini-Hackathon

11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Facilitated by Isabel Beavers, CLIMATE CHAMBER (CC) is a mini & virtual hackathon convening artists, scientists, technologists, designers and other creatives to ignite new collaborative projects that address climate through technology and art.

Climate chambers can be used to simulate the conditions of an unknown environment in order to test and experiment. In our CLIMATE CHAMBER (CC), participants test new collaborative arrangements to inspire radical use of technology and art in the face of climate change. Cross-disciplinary teams will ideate and design new, remote, collaborative projects that imagine-art-and-tech based solutions to climate challenges while testing remote processes of teamwork.

This participatory social experiment embodies the processes of art-sci collaboration utilized by the artists in Re-Fest’s Artificial Ecologies thread, curated by Isabel Beavers. It aims to break open existing modes of teamwork and, in this fracture, formulate various small resistances.

The winning team, to be announced on May 31st, will receive a $150 honorarium and a feature in UCLA ArtSci PARTICLES, an online series of short interviews. 

This hackathon is a part of Re-Fest LA 2020, taking place entirely online. Click here to view the full schedule and line-up of Re-Fest. Please click the button below to register for the hackathon.
CLOSES 30 June

Biofaction is seeking applications for new Artist in Residence programmes. Four artists will be invited to work for four to six weeks at various laboratories across Europe. The residencies will start in Fall 2020 and will conclude in May 2021. They will be held in two parts, and the exact dates will be set by taking both artist and laboratory schedules into account, and with an eye to the situation in each locale (e.g. travel, safety regulations etc.).
As an artist in residence, you will actively engage with scientists working on one of three Synthetic Biology related projects that delve into fascinating areas: plant molecular farming, new-to-nature reactions, and cell factories. We welcome applications from artistsdesignersbiohackersmusicians, or other cultural practitioners who want to carry out artistic work with biological media. The collaborating laboratories will make sure to provide space and personal interaction for mutual exchange with the artists. Biofaction is responsible for organising and curating the residencies. At the end of the residency programmes all works and/or their processes will be documented and compiled in form of a book, initiated by Biofaction and co-created together with the participating artists and scientists.

For each artist, a stipend of up to 7000 € is provided by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation projects MADONNANEWCOTIANA and SINFONIA. It covers travel, local expenses, living allowance as well as (partial) support for the production and showcasing of the artistic prototype or finished work.




Our friends at Leonardo are offering virtual space, creative platforms and partnership to facilitate socially connecting, even while physically distancing. This includes a curated reading list of free articles from Leonardo journal, virtual LASER programming and community resources
The UCLA ArtSci Collective comes together as a hybrid organism consisting of artists, scientists, humanitarians, ecologists, creative technologists and generally inquisitive humans all around the world. If you would like to be involved, please reach out to
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