The Hysterical Alphabet (11/8)

The Hysterical Alphabet

by Terri Kapsalis
Video by Danny Thompson
Sound by John Corbett

A performance not to be missed, and one night only!
For a preview, click here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
at the Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State Street

produced in conjunction with Experimental Sound Studio's Outer Ear Festival of Sound
in partnership with the School of the Art Institute's Conversations at the Edge series

$9 general admission
$7 for students
$5 for Film Center members
and $4 for students and faculty of the School of the Art Institute
November 8. One Night Only!

From Pythagoras to Hendrix: The Development of the Tempered Musical Scale ( 10/25)

From Pythagoras to Hendrix: The Development of the Tempered Musical Scale for the Guitar
a talk by
Dave Dolak (Science and Math Department, Columbia College Chicago)

Columbia College Chicago Ferguson Auditorium
600 S. Michigan Ave.
5 pm

Popular professor for Geology Explored: Dinosaurs and More and Physics of Music, Artist-in-Residence Dave Dolak will describe the evolution of the tempered musical scale through various cultures.

Government Pressure forces Scientist's Plea in the bizarre ongoing Art-Science-"Bioterrorism" case

October 11, 2007

Scientist’s Wife and Daughter Comment on Case

Buffalo, NY - Today in Federal District Court, Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, under tremendous pressure, pled guilty to lesser charges rather than facing a prolonged trial for federal charges of “mail fraud” and “wire fraud” in a surreal post-PATRIOT Act legal case that has attracted worldwide attention.

“From the beginning, this has been a persecution, not a prosecution. Although I have not seen the final agreement, the initial versions contained incorrect and irrelevant information,” said Dr. Dianne Raeke Ferrell, Dr. Ferrell’s wife and an Associate Professor of Special Education and Clinical Services at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Bob is a 27 year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which has reoccurred numerous times. He has also had malignant melanoma. Since this whole nightmare began, Bob has had two minor strokes and a major stroke which required months of rehabilitation.”

Dr. Ferrell added that her husband was indicted just as he was preparing to undergo a painful and dangerous autologous stem cell transplant, the second in 7 years.

The Ferrells’ daughter, Gentry Chandler Ferrell, added: “Our family has struggled with an intense uncertainty about physical, emotional and financial health for a long time. Agreeing to a plea deal is a small way for dad to try to eliminate one of those uncertainties and hold on a little longer to the career he worked so hard to develop… Sadly, while institutions merely are tarnished from needless litigation, individuals are torn apart. I remain unable to wrap my mind around the absurdity of the government’s pursuit of this case and I am saddened that it has been dragged out to the point where my dad opted to settle from pure exhaustion.” (read Gentry Ferrell’s full statement)

Dr. Ferrell’s colleague Dr. Steven Kurtz, founder of the internationally acclaimed art and theater group Critical Art Ensemble, was illegally detained and accused of “bioterrorism” by the U.S. government in 2004 stemming from his acquisition from Dr. Ferrell of harmless bacteria used in several of Critical Art Ensemble’s educational art projects. After a costly investigation lasting several months and failing to provide any evidence of “bioterrorism,” the Department of Justice instead brought charges of “mail fraud” and “wire fraud” against Kurtz and Ferrell. Under the
USA PATRIOT Act, the maximum penalty for these charges has increased from 5 years to 20. (For more information about the case, please see “Background to the Case” below or the CAE Defense Fund site)


The government is vigorously attempting to prosecute two defendants in a case where no one has been injured, and no one has been defrauded. The materials found in Dr. Kurtz’s house were obtained legally and used safely by the artist. After three and a half years of investigation and prosecution, the case still revolves around $256 worth of common science research materials that were used in art works by a highly visible and respected group of artists. These art works were commissioned and hosted by cultural institutions worldwide where they had been safely displayed in museums and galleries with absolutely no risk to the public.

The Government has consistently framed this case as an issue of public safety, but the materials used by Critical Art Ensemble are widely available, can be purchased by anyone from High School science supply catalogues, and are regularly mailed.


“The government’s prosecution is an ill-conceived and misguided attack on the scientific and artistic communities,” said Dr. Richard Gronostajski, Professor of Biochemistry at SUNY Buffalo, where Professor Kurtz also teaches. “It could have a chilling effect on future scientific research collaborations, and harm teaching efforts and interactions between scientists, educators and artists.”

“It’s deeply alarming that the government could pressure someone of Dr. Ferrell’s stature into agreeing to something like this. The case threatens all Americans’ Constitutionally guaranteed right to question the actions of their government,” said Igor Vamos, Professor of Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

....the full press release continues here

For more information about the case, including extensive documentation, please visit

Claire Pentecost: 773-383-9771
Gregory Sholette: 212-865-3076
Edmund Cardoni: 716-854-1694
Igor Vamos: 917-209-3282
Lucia Sommer: 716-359-3061
Dianne Raeke Ferrell: 412-352-2704

"Narrative Psychiatry" talk at Biocultures (10/16)

Bradley Lewis MD, Ph.D. speaking on "Narrative Psychiatry."

Biocultures Faculty/Grad Seminar

Tuesday, October 16, noon to 1:30PM.

University of Illinois
Westside Research Office Bldg. Room 561
1747 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago

Bradley Lewis has dual training in medicine (psychiatry specialty) and interdisciplinary humanities. He writes and teaches at the interface of medicine, bioscience, humanities, science studies, and cultural studies. He is the author of numerous articles published in academic journals, is the cultural studies editor for The Journal of Medical Humanities, and has a book in progress entitled Postpsychiatry: Theorizing the Modern Clinic.

-------Open to public

-------Lunch will be provided.

“Recovery: Embroidered X-Rays” & “Under the Looking Glass" (till 10/19)

Matthew Cox, “Recovery: Embroidered X-Rays

Maggie Leininger, “Under the Looking Glass: Examining Natural and Constructed Structures

August 3–October 19, 2007
International Museum of Surgical Sciences
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610 USA
fax 312.642.9516

These artists juxtapose stitching with medical imaging technologies to investigate the human condition.

Matthew Cox, Skull with Earrings

“Recovery,” the title of Cox’s exhibition, is fitting on a number of levels: the works consist of found x-rays that Cox has recovered from hospitals and transformed into artwork by literally re-covering parts of the exposed skeletons with embroidered faces, hair, and clothing, all rendered in a slightly anachronistic Botticelli-esque style. Contrasting the cold, diagnostic quality of the x-rays with the nurturing aspect of hand-stitching, the artist nurses the depicted patients through their recovery from sickness to health. Stitching, says Cox, “acts as care giving or healing to the injured, a socially feminine sort of action, while the x-ray itself can be considered masculine and unemotional.”

Under the Looking Glass,” Leininger’s exhibition, comprises embellished fabric “specimens” that replicate the microscopic patterns created by disease-causing microbes as they grow, reproduce, and form colonies not unlike those found within human civilizations. These works illustrate parallels between two types of “cultural development”: the naturally occurring cellular processes of bacteria in a Petri dish, and the social engineering of communities within an urban environment. Leininger says, “Groups of cells divide and interact with one another the way many of us interact in daily life, navigating paths and creating or breaking barriers for specific purposes. Cultural development, either within a specific neighborhood or larger cultural unit, is represented by the macrocosm of these smaller pieces.“

Kosmolet - Huong Ngo at DEADTECH (10/6)

October 6-November 10
3321 W. Fullerton Ave.
Opening Oct. 6, 7:00-10:00 pm

This Saturday, October 6, we are opening a new installation by Huong Ngo titled "Kosmolet (Radio Receiver No. 1)" at Deadtech.

Kosmolet is a radio drawing, a functional receiver made out of common household materials, that spans the entire gallery space. Delicate wire lines serve as antennas, bricolaged cardboard and aluminum foil become the frequency tuners, and lowly cardboard tubes are transformed into noble inductor coils.


'Kosmolet' is a celebastardization of the Russian word 'Komsomolet,' or 'little comrade,' the name given to crystal radio kits for little boys during the Stalinist era. Tuning into as many stations as possible in the shortwave to mid-wave range, Kosmolet is also a little world, or the world all at once, a Wunderkammer of sounds. Inspired by anecdotes of handmade radios scraped together under the watchful eyes of oppressive governments, Kosmolet is a declaration of the subversive power of information.

"How do Multicellular Organisms Evolve?" (10/8)

"How do Multicellular Organisms Evolve?"

a talk by Andy Knoll
Fisher Professor of Earth and Planetary
Sciences, Harvard University

Monday, October 8, 6
Northwestern University
-ENH Abbott Auditorium
Pancoe-ENH Life Sciences Pavilion

2200 Campus Dr. Evanston

This talk is Northwestern University's annual Darwin Lecture Series

Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins - This Week (10/3 & 4)


International House

1414 E. 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Thursday, October 4th

From the dust jacket: "The Stuff of Thought" is a revelation. In this exhilarating new book, Steven Pinker analyzes how our words relate to thoughts and to the world around us and reveals what this tells us about ourselves. How does a mind that evolved to think about rocks and plants and enemies think about love and physics and democracy? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphors start a war, impeach a president, or win an election? Why do people impose taboos on topics like sex, excretion, and the divine? Pinker answers all these questions and many, many more. He shows us that language really can tell us unexpected and fascinating things about ourselves.

International House

1414 E. 59th Street

Chicago, Illinois 60637

Thursday, October
4th 6.00pm

Richard Dawkins will read from and discuss his most recent work, The God Delusion. A renowned evolutionary biologist, Dawkins' books had a profound influence on modern society, influencing and shaping the popular discourse on any number of scientific matters. Of late he has been most closely connected to a strongly atheistic secular humanism. The God Delusion lays out his arguments against organized religion, pulling examples from history as well as our more modern struggles as evidence of religion's oftentimes pernicious influence. An interesting work, this is an event not to be missed.
This event is free and open to the public, but the room holds only 80 - so arrive early! No pre-reserved spots. Sponsored by the famous Coop Bookstore chain in Hyde Park.