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UC Berkeley Events Calendar



Campus-wide event listings from the University of California, Berkeley



 



Jennie Smith: New Drawings, thru Dec 15
Jennie Smith’s delicate graphite drawings combine close observation of the natural world with a deeply imaginative sensibility. Her body of work reflects a fascination with the environment, a willingness to confront ecological crises, and a determination to explore the beauty and mystery inherent in what she sees.

In her selection of drawings on display at the Townsend Center, Smith presents a new project exploring our psychic investment in our landscapes of origin. Her “biographical maps” render the ways in which individuals remember the places in which they were raised. Her creative process involves asking friends to describe a significant place where they spent time during their childhood. Smith then creates a map that gives visual expression to these memories and is a testament to the enduring effects of landscape on the psyche.

Smith, a San Francisco native who lives a short walk from the Pacific Ocean, also presents a new installment in her career-long engagement with the Northern California coastal environment. The Townsend Center exhibit includes pieces inspired by such Bay Area phenomena as the movement and sound of rattlesnake grass, and the windswept cypress trees along Lands End.

Smith received an MFA from UC Berkeley and a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and is held in the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection. She is represented by the Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco. Her illustrated book of folk songs, The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs, was published by Chronicle Books.

Viewing hours are generally Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. The exhibit is located in a space also used for events and meetings; please call (510) 643-9670 or email in advance to confirm room availability.



The Russian Revolution Centenary: 1917-2017, thru Jan 8, 2018
This exhibition is dedicated to the centenary of the Russian Revolution that took place in October of 1917. The exhibition will take place in the Moffitt Library, and it will highlight several print-items from the revolutionary times.



Ecocity Berkeley: Thirty Years On, thru Dec 16
In 1987 Richard Register released his first major book, Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future, inserting “ecocity” into the urban planning lexicon. Using Berkeley as a test bed, he promoted a new vision for urban development; his ideas and drawings presaged a number of contemporary design elements, tuning architecture and urban design to nature’s and human needs and desires. This exhibit explores his inspiring vision and its international influence.

Exhibition Committee: David Eifler, Richard Register, Julie Le DenMat, Jason Miller



Fiat Yuks: Cal Student Humor, Then and Now, thru Jun 3, 2018
Let there be laughter! This exhibition features Cal students’
cartoons, jokes, and satire throughout the years selected
from their humor magazines and other publications.



The Summer of Love 50th Anniversary, thru Dec 29
Marking a 50th anniversary, Bancroft’s rare and unique collections documenting the 1967 “Summer of Love” are on exhibit in the corridor cases. Presented are images from the Bay Area alternative press, psychedelic rock posters and mailers, documentary photographs of the Haight-Ashbury scene and major rock concerts, and material from the personal papers of author Joan Didion and poet Michael McClure.



¡Viva La Fiesta! Mexican Traditions of Celebration, thru Feb 1, 2018
¡Viva la Fiesta! explores the cycle of traditional religious and
patriotic celebrations that have for centuries marked the
Mexican calendar. The exhibition draws on unique historical
representations of the fiestas and examines their relationship
to communal identities, national politics, religious practices,
and indigenous customs. These original materials, which are
preserved in the Bancroft Latin Americana Collection and date from the sixteenth century to the present, include
early baptismal records in Spanish and Nahuatl, images of
Christmas pastorelas and posadas, sermons honoring local
patron saints, and accounts of Marian devotions, such as the
annual festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.



Science and Literacy Playgroup, thru May 15, 2018
Have fun and meet other families in West and South Berkeley.
For Children ages 05 and their caregivers.
Free, drop-in, snacks, circle time, arts and crafts and science activities.



The Invisible Museum: History and Memory of Morocco, thru Dec 15
Since its inception in 1962, the former Judah L. Magnes Museum distinguished itself by directing its collecting efforts outside the focus on European Jewish culture and history that was prevalent among American Jewish museums at the time. During the 1970s and 1980s, its founders, Seymour and Rebecca Fromer, actively corralled an informal team of activist collectors and supporters. Together, they were able to bring to Berkeley art and material culture from North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. Their legendary “rescue missions”—collecting trips aimed at retrieving Jewish cultural objects in locations where Jews had once thrived—were further complemented by careful acquisitions carried out by exploring the catalogs of major and lesser-known auction houses, and especially by visiting art dealers in Israel, where many Jews from the lands of Islam had resettled.

These collecting patterns are particularly evident in the case of the stunning holdings that document the history and memory of Jewish communities in Morocco. Acquired in tourist shops across the Moroccan centers where Jews once lived—Tétouan, Tangier, Casablanca, Fez, and Marrakech—as well as through forays into the remote locations in the Atlas mountains that separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines of Morocco from the Sahara desert, the hundreds of ritual objects, textiles, illustrated marriage contracts, and manuscripts now at The Magnes are the bearers of a narrative that is at once very ancient and extremely modern.





Heirs to a history that harkens back to antiquity, the Jewish communities of Morocco carry many layers of memory and change, from the rise of Islam to the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, the European colonization of Africa, and the Holocaust. Most Moroccan Jews abandoned their ancestral home en masse during the 1950s, with smaller numbers remaining through the 1960s and 70s, relocating primarily to Israel, France, and North America (especially Francophone Quebec). What they left behind, along with an important network of intercultural relations and the deep memories of their ancient presence, also included communal buildings, and, especially, many objects. Brought out of Morocco, these remainings inform today a diaspora within the diaspora, a museum of the invisible, the texture of which is preserved in public and private collections worldwide.

The Invisible Museum project started with a multi-year exploration of the Moroccan holdings of The Magnes. The resulting exhibition offers a probing insight into how cultural objects, once the cherished belongings of individuals, families, and communities, may often be abandoned in the process of migration, or sold by immigrants seeking to rebuild their lives in a new land, before they become part of a museum collection.






The Power of Attention: Magic and Meditation in Hebrew "shiviti" Manuscript Art, thru Dec 15
Created from the early-modern period and into the present, shiviti manuscripts are found in Hebrew prayer books, ritual textiles, and on the walls of synagogues and homes throughout the Jewish diaspora. Wrestling with ways to externalize the presence of God in Jewish life, these documents center upon the graphic representation of God's ineffable four-letter Hebrew name, the Tetragrammaton, and associate it with words and imageries that evoke mystical powers, protective energy, and angels, as well as key places and characters in Biblical and Jewish history.

Deciphering the content of a shiviti manuscript, or simply classifying it within the realm of Jewish cultural production, is a fascinating puzzle for today's scholars. Research on these documents encompasses the analysis of biblical and prayer texts, magical formulas, visual motifs, and various modalities of material culture across the Jewish world. The very presence, and use, of the shiviti in such varied contexts as individual and communal prayer, the celebration of life cycle events, and the production of (and demand for) amulets for personal and household protection, opens new paths in the understanding of the role of text in Jewish culture. The persistence of these documents in Jewish life attests to the ongoing beliefs in the power and efficacy of magic and meditation that accompany the more normative aspects of Judaism as we know it.

The exhibition highlights a selection of shiviti manuscripts, books, amulets and textiles from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. The display is accompanied by new media art created especially for this project by Greg Niemeyer, as well as by resources and quotations that allow viewers to penetrate the elaborate textual and visual elements, while also experiencing the inherent power of the unique cultural objects on view.



The Worlds of Arthur Szyk, thru Dec 15
Auditorium installation of high-resolution images of select collection items.

Acquired by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in 2017 thanks to an unprecedented gift from Taube Philanthropies, the most significant collection of works by Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) is now available to the world in a public institution for the first time as the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Szyk lived a life framed by two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Much of his work centered on these experiences. As a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from the Bible, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

The hundreds of artworks, sketches, and painstakingly assembled illustrated books, journals, archival documents, photographs, exhibition catalogs, and memorabilia that comprise this multi-faceted collection are in the process of being examined and catalogued so that they can be made available for research, exhibition, loan, and publication. The current display of high-resolution images of select collection items in the Auditorium of The Magnes presents the public with an unprecedented insight in the many worlds of Arthur Szyk.



Certificate Program in Construction Management Online Information Session, Dec 12
Learn how the Certificate Program in Construction Management provides thorough, up-to-date preparation for effective leadership on construction projects of any size. Gain problem-solving skills to manage cost, scheduling, risk and environmental issues.



Lifting Your Spirits: Caring for the Caregiver (BEUHS171), Dec 12
Caring for a person with dementia can be one of the most stressful things we will ever do. Stress can take its toll. Learn strategies on how to successfully manage caregiving and provide a good quality of life for yourself and the person you are caring for.



Development Lunch: "Behavioral Economists and Research Transparency" and TBA, Dec 12
Seminar series for development economics students in Econ and ARE to present their research.



Study Abroad Office Hours at Educational Opportunity Program, thru Dec 12
Are you an EOP student interested in studying abroad? A Berkeley Study Abroad Peer Adviser will be holding drop-in office hours at EOP every Wednesdays 1-3pm this semester. Come learn about different programs offered, study abroad scholarships, how to apply and additional services available.



Dissertation Talk: How the brain explores and consolidates activity patterns to learn Brain-Machine Interface control, Dec 12
The Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) is an emerging technology which directly translates neural activity into control signals for effectors such as computers, prosthetics, or even muscles. Work over the last decade has shown that high performance BMIs depend on machine learning to adapt parameters for decoding neural activity, but also on the brain learning to reliably produce desired neural activity patterns. How the brain learns neuroprosthetic skill de novo is not well-understood and could inform the design of next-generation BMIs. We view BMI learning from the brain’s perspective as a reinforcement learning problem, as the brain must initially explore activity patterns, observe their consequences on the prosthetic, and finally consolidate activity patterns leading to desired outcomes. In this talk, I will address 3 questions about how the brain learns neuroprosthetic skill:

1) How do task-relevant neural populations coordinate during activity exploration and consolidation?
2) How can the brain select activity patterns to consolidate? Does the pairing of neural activity patterns with neural reinforcement signals drive activity consolidation?
3) Do the mechanisms of neural activity pattern consolidation generalize across cortex, even to visual cortex?

I will present the use of Factor Analysis to analyze neural coordination during BMI control by partitioning neural activity variance arising from two sources: private inputs to each neuron which drive independent, high-dimensional variance, and shared inputs which drive multiple neurons simultaneously and produce low-dimensional covariance.

We found that initially, each neuron explores activity patterns independently. Over days of learning, the population’s covariance increases, and a manifold emerges which aligns to the decoder. This low-dimensional activity drives skillful control. Next, we found that cortical neural activity patterns which causally lead to midbrain dopaminergic neural reinforcement are consolidated. This provides evidence for a “neural law of effect,” following Thorndike’s behavioral law of effect stating that behaviors leading to reinforcements are repeated. Finally, I will present results showing that basal ganglia-dependent mechanisms of neural exploration and consolidation generalize even to visual cortex, an area of the brain primarily thought to represent visual stimulus. These results contribute to our understanding of how the brain solves the reinforcement learning problem of learning neuroprosthetic skill.



Dissertation Talk: How the brain explores and consolidates activity patterns to learn Brain-Machine Interface control, Dec 12
The Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) is an emerging technology which directly translates neural activity into control signals for effectors such as computers, prosthetics, or even muscles. Work over the last decade has shown that high performance BMIs depend on machine learning to adapt parameters for decoding neural activity, but also on the brain learning to reliably produce desired neural activity patterns. How the brain learns neuroprosthetic skill de novo is not well-understood and could inform the design of next-generation BMIs. We view BMI learning from the brain’s perspective as a reinforcement learning problem, as the brain must initially explore activity patterns, observe their consequences on the prosthetic, and finally consolidate activity patterns leading to desired outcomes. In this talk, I will address 3 questions about how the brain learns neuroprosthetic skill:

1) How do task-relevant neural populations coordinate during activity exploration and consolidation?
2) How can the brain select activity patterns to consolidate? Does the pairing of neural activity patterns with neural reinforcement signals drive activity consolidation?
3) Do the mechanisms of neural activity pattern consolidation generalize across cortex, even to visual cortex?

I will present the use of Factor Analysis to analyze neural coordination during BMI control by partitioning neural activity variance arising from two sources: private inputs to each neuron which drive independent, high-dimensional variance, and shared inputs which drive multiple neurons simultaneously and produce low-dimensional covariance.

We found that initially, each neuron explores activity patterns independently. Over days of learning, the population’s covariance increases, and a manifold emerges which aligns to the decoder. This low-dimensional activity drives skillful control. Next, we found that cortical neural activity patterns which causally lead to midbrain dopaminergic neural reinforcement are consolidated. This provides evidence for a “neural law of effect,” following Thorndike’s behavioral law of effect stating that behaviors leading to reinforcements are repeated. Finally, I will present results showing that basal ganglia-dependent mechanisms of neural exploration and consolidation generalize even to visual cortex, an area of the brain primarily thought to represent visual stimulus. These results contribute to our understanding of how the brain solves the reinforcement learning problem of learning neuroprosthetic skill.



Haas Scholars Program Info Session, Dec 12
Learn about how to apply to this research program for your last year!

The Haas Scholars Program supports twenty undergraduates with financial need with their interest for conducting research during their final year at UC-Berkeley. Applicants are evaluated primarily on the merit and originality of their proposal for an independent research or creative project that will serve as the basis for a senior or honors thesis. Haas Scholars receive close mentoring from members of the UC-Berkeley faculty, seminars and workshops to assist them in the research and writing process, the opportunity to present their work at a professional conference, and up to $13,800 each in financial support.

(International students and undocumented students are welcome and encouraged to apply.)