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The LAist Interview: Rachel Mayeri

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Rachel Mayeri is the founder of Soft Science, "a collection of video-curiosities created by artists and scientists. Behind laboratory doors are some of the most astonishing outsider art projects around. Autopoetic bacteria, tethered flies, ebullient nanogears – these data gems create wonder, beauty – not to mention knowledge." Los Angeles Filmforum hosted a screening of films curated by Mayeri at the Egyptian Theater yesterday. Read Margaret Wertheim's review in the LA Weekly. Let's hope there are more screenings in the future.1. Age and Occupation:

35. I am the Art Department for a very small college specializing in science and engineering in Claremont, called Harvey Mudd College. It’s not entirely true - there’s a photo teacher as well. I [also] make videos and curate events in Los Angeles.

2. How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?

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4 years; Echo Park.

3. Where are you from?

The Bay Area.

4. How did the Soft Science project begin? How have you attracted participants?

I made a video about a self-replicating geneticist, called "Stories from the Genome," and I wanted to see what other artists were doing with topics in science. So I wrote a “call for submissions” asking for videos that walk the line between science and art, or document experiments by scientists or artists who are the object of their own research, etc. I posted the call on just two listservs,, which is run by CalArts grad Michael Mandiberg, and, Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. which is based in Manhattan. The post was re-posted up by fineArt forum, which has subscribers from Europe to Australia.

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I wound up getting videos from Israel, Scotland, and France, and an e-mail from China. It was a chain letter on steroids.