Art to Biology Graphic

The Sixth Annual Life Sciences & Society Symposium 
will focus on the provocative new work arising from intersections between the life sciences and art. The conference will highlight emerging areas of research and practice across and between disciplines, examining biological contexts of our response to art and aesthetic contexts of our response to scientific visualizations, as well as the twenty-first century art that has found inspiration at their convergence. In the process, the talks will inquire into the relationship between artistic and scientific invention.

The symposium will take place on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.  It is free and open to the university community and the public and is designed to encourage dialogue across methodologies and backgrounds.

Life Sciences and Society Symposium

Symposium Information

Affiliated Events

Pat Martino Visit

  • Documentary with Q & A;
  • A Conversation with
    Pat Martino;
  • Pat Martino Quartet Featuring Eric Alexander & Tony Monaco

Museum of Art & Archeology Exhibit
Connecting with Contemporary Sculpture

  • January 30 - March 16, 2010

Museum of Art & Archeology
Film Series will show

dir. Godfrey Reggio

  • Friday, February 19, 7pm
  • Pickard Auditorium, Museum of Art & Archeology
Ragtag Film
Eadweard Muybridge Zoopraxographer,
dir. Thom Andersen
  • with discussion led by Professor Nancy West, MU English Department and Film Studies
  • Mon, February 22, 7:00 pm

University of Missouri-Columbia Ellis Library Exhibit
Anatomical Illustration: Art Informing Science: 1543 – 1950

The exhibit will run March 3- March 26, and will include books, prints and artifacts from Special Collections and Rare Books, the MU Health Sciences Library Rare Book Room, the University Archives, and the MU Veterinary Medical Library.

Opening lecture entitled: “Art and Human Nature”
by Professor Carsten Strathausen
Chair, MU Department of German & Russian Studies

  • Thurs. March 4, 2:00pm
  • Ellis Library Colonnade

Mizzou ADVANCE Interactive Theatre Troupe presents
A Knock at the Door

  • March 9, 2-3 pm
  • Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Lecture by Joseph Carroll University of Missouri, St. Louis
“The Historical Position of Literary Darwinism.”

  • Tuesday, March 9, 3:30 pm
  • Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Jointly sponsored by

  • the MU English Department Lecture Series
  • the MU Biological Sciences Seminar Series,
  • the Life Sciences & Society Program

Words and Music: A Discussion with Daniel Levitin and Tim Page

  • Friday, March 12, 2:00-3:30 pm
  • Fred W. Smith Forum,  School of Journalism
Jointly sponsored by
  • the Smith/Patterson Lecture Series, School of Journalism
  • the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Disorders
  • the Life Sciences & Society Program

Please check back often for future updates.

For more information,
contact Stefani Engelstein at
or Karla Carter at

Symposium Speakers
March 12-14, 2010

Keynote Speaker
Friday, March 12, 2010; 7:00-8:15 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall (Conley Avenue)

Daniel Levitin
This is Your Brain on Music
McGill University, Psychology; Director, Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise

Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist who has also been a professional musician and music journalist. He is the author of the best selling This is Your Brain on Music (2006) and The World in Six Songs (2008), and recently hosted a PBS series called The Music Instinct: Science and Song.  He has been a producer, sound designer, or recording engineer for bands that include the Grateful Dead, Blue Öyster Cult, Steely Dan, and Stevie Wonder, and has been awarded 17 gold or platinum records by the Recording Industry Association of America.
More on Levitin’s Talk, This is Your Brain on Music

Saturday, March 13
Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Ellen Dissanayake
University of Washington; School of Music

Ellen Dissanayake explores artmaking as a natural and necessary component of our evolved nature as humans.
More on Dissanayake’s Talk, The Arts in Human Evolution: the Artification Hypothesis

Kathryn Coe
University of Arizona; College of Public Health; anthropologist

Kathryn Coe investigates the evolution of social behavior and culture, including art & kinship.
More on Coe’s Talk, Dialogue with the Ancestors: The Arts, Anticipation and Cultural Change

Lisa Cartwright
UC San Diego; Communications
Lisa Cartwright researches visual culture in science, health and medicine, with particular focus on sexuality and disability studies.
More on Cartwright’s Talk, Critical Art Practice in the Era of Biological Citizenship

Eduardo Kac
School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Artist
Eduardo Kac creates hybrids of multiple media and biological processes. His "transgenic art," such as the fluorescent rabbit Alba, opened a new direction for contemporary art.
More on Kac’s Talk, BioArt

Sunday, March 14
Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

John Onians
University of East Anglia, UK; World Art Studies

John Onians has published on art history from prehistoric times to the present. His current work takes a neural approach to the creation of art and aesthetic theory.
More on Onians’s Talk, Quality versus speed: what neuroarthistory teaches us about the importance of unconscious mental formation

Barbara Maria Stafford
University of Chicago; Art History
Barbara Maria Stafford analyzes intersections between the visual arts and the sciences, and is currently exploring the neurosciences in relation to perception, sensation, emotion, mental imagery, and subjectivity.
More on Stafford’s Talk, Whatever Happened to Selective Attention?

Patricia Olynyk
Washington University, Director, Graduate School of Art
; Artist
Patricia Olynyk combines art and biological artifacts to address our relationship our environments and our desire to control and manipulate our corporeal selves.
More on Olynyk’s Talk, (Re:) Visualizing Bioscience - Re-Picturing Art

Sponsors and Partners

MU Office of the Provost – Mizzou Advantage Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Bond Life Sciences Center MU Department of Anthropology
MU Office of Research MU Department of Women's and Gender Studies
MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Art in Health Care - University of Missouri Healthcare
ABC Labs University of Missouri Concert Series
MU Center for Arts & Humanities Columbia Art League
MU Museum of Art & Archeology Ragtag Cinema
University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries We Always Swing Jazz Series
MU Conference Office ©
The Sixth Annual Life Sciences & Society Symposia