[ExI] my Convergence08 Adventure

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Fri Nov 21 16:11:26 UTC 2008

From: John Grigg

"Though I have known Natasha Vita-More for many years through the net and
greatly admired her for her achievements and big heart, I had never had a
real world sit down visit.  And so it was incredibly cool to join her at
lunch and get to know her better.  Her lunch group sat outside on a balcony
and we discussed current events and the gay marriage issue.  I said if
people are concerned about this than they will be even more upset when some
folks want to marry an android or an uplifted dolphin.  When Natasha first
greeted me at the conference, she gave me a big hug, which was so great.
And then she asked me (she knows me too well) 'John, do you need rescuing?'

Thank you for the compliment John.  And re rescuing? -- Well... what are
friends for :-)

The lunch meeting session was fruitful, thanks to everyone who was there.  I
enjoyed having an in-depth conversation not only about Prop8, but also about
synthetic biology and the Bioart which is soaring ahead in leaps in the
world of biotechnology and experimentation.  I had a good talk with one of
the conference's guest speakers - Andrew Hessel of Alberta Ingenuity Fund.
We agreed that the panel on Synthetic Biology turned from the wet, moist
stuff to issues of risk, which could have been an entirely different panel.
Andrew invited me to lecture at his organization to the researchers on the
latest works in Bioart and where practice and theory based works are heading
and how the field of Bioart may be consequential to the field of synthetic

I also met with the New York based architect you mentioned, John Lobell.  He
is a professor at Pratt Institute, one of the finest academic institutions
for architecture http://www.pratt.edu/architecture-g , design
http://www.pratt.edu/urban_design http://www.pratt.edu/fine_arts_grad and
the media arts http://www.pratt.edu/digital_arts_grad .  We had dinner on
Sunday evening and had a marvelous conversation about Pratt (I'm from New
York and my father was affiliated with the institute).  By the by, he asked
me to come lecture and collaborate with him, which I am looking forward to.
It was apropos that he works with Stephen Valentine who is actually the
architect who designed http://www.timeship.org/site/architect.html  The
design he presented at the conference.  Stephen is an old friend!

One of my favorite moments strategyzing with Amara D. Angelica (editor of
KurzweilAI.net), one of the coolest women around, and discussing future
ideas.  Hanging out with her is always a major highlight for me.  (Hard to
find a link for her but this is the best I could find
http://www.extropy.org/directors.htm  (she now has blond hair).

Lastly, I thought that the conference had an upbeat attitude, and being a
designer, I have to interpret this as being influenced in some part by the
"look" of the website, the colors, and the graciousness of the people at the
reception desk.  They were all lovely and welcoming.

Anyway, in short, I attended this convergence to see friends and I made a
few in the meantime.  What a bonus.

Be well my dear John ...


Nlogo1.tif Natasha Vita-More

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