Archive for the ‘Talk’ Category

How to talk about failures to students….

October 11, 2011 1 comment

Republic Poly, Singapore

If you are in Singapore on the 24th of October, take a stroll into LR-W4A at Republic Polytechnic at 4.30pm. It’s out of the way, it’s an inconvenient timing and it will be (half? 1/4?) full of students, the best ingredients for something memorable, even if it’s just the campus. Despite what you might think the poster suggests, there will be no alchemist recipe for turning your failures into success. But if you fail to show up, you might never know…

(of course, if you ARE a student of Republic Poly, attending is a sure way to avoid failing since you’ll be collecting CE points, whatever those are)

Categories: Educational, Poster, Talk

Failures: the Epic Lecture

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

For you to enjoy it in your own time, the lecture will be available for viewing from the 27th of November to the 12th of December at ICAS (Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore) gallery, located in Lasalle College of the Arts.

There will also be on display 4 educational videos, as well as an installation pointing to the research leading to the lecture.

Failures: Epic Lecture - Still1

Failures: Epic Lecture - click to view lecture

Categories: Science, Talk, Video

Failomics talk: the review

October 21, 2010 1 comment

The talk at Biopolis on September 11, 2010 was well attended. I was hoping to post the video of the event, but it seems like there was a technical failure on the camera side. Never mind, there are other means of revisiting the talk. Today, I bring you some reviews of the talk.


After the talk, I was assaulted, mostly by students, demanding, and rightly so, some answers to their very pressing questions. Here are some extracts, complete with my answers:

I enjoyed your talk, but I thought it wasn’t complete enough. I wish you could have explained a bit more, and I was even hoping I’d learn how to avoid failure altogether”. That one had me stumped. A brief discussion followed, where my interlocutor remained unconvinced that you can only produce new results by making mistakes along the way.

“I would like to know how you generated the data to produce the figure showing the generation of failures in the lab with time”. Of course, this student was referring to this animation. When I replied that I had walked into the lab and collected information that I then transformed into the animation, he remained skeptical, adding “I don’t think you could call those fractals”. I accepted graciously to remove the term. He remained unconvinced and claimed that whatever method I was using, it had to be “reproducible”. To which I replied that, like in history, you could not follow the exact same set of mistakes twice.

“Do you ever work with other types of failures?” [other than those from biological sciences?]. To this I answered that those were particularly nice to work with because the methodology came with them, but the results should apply to all failures of course.

Overheard: “I thought it might be contemporary art, when she told us she’d been growing her own failures…”. I would say: do not believe everything you hear.


From the Prime Minister’s Office:

An email asking me to do a “factual check” on their review. This was done, and the resulting article will be in next month’s Challenge Magazine. The review insists on the “large amounts of failure required for a just a few drops of success” and turning failures into success stories (Paul Lauterbur’s Noble Prize for MRI story).

From a Japanese website

A review published here. I wish I could understand Japanese though.

On Genewired

A review by Dr Erwin Chan (SMU). Dr Chan would like to see the idea refined to get more Singaporeans to see failure as part of the thought-process.

I’d say… we’re getting there. And to finish, the only bit of video available from the event so far… yeah, technology also can fail.

Categories: Art, Review, Science, Talk, Video

TEDx Biopolis

September 7, 2010 1 comment

This Saturday, 11th of September 2010, I will be one of the speakers at the TEDx Biopolis event

I will be presenting an update on my research on failures, with the following topic:

Failomics: using failures to predict the future

This is a public (and free!) event. Due to an overwhelming response, registration was closed within days of being open.  However, there are still some seats available, so if you would like to attend, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Program for TEDx Biopolis

Failomics, a short video

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

When hair fall into the failomics (Click to view video)

If you are still confused about what failomics is, or would like to know more on the subject, and if you did not attend the lecture on the 22nd of February, you may now go and look at the short (under 4 minutes) edited video here.

The lecture was attended by scientists and artists, and recorded for the purpose of documenting. However, the recording was so bad, that it could not be used as such and was edited to get the essential out of it. Here, it has been reconstituted with the original keynote slides and an abstract voiceover.

Categories: Art, Science, Talk, Video

A talk on Failomics

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Can failures really help us predict the future? I will be addressing the issue with the idea to demystify the myths from the reality. Tomorrow, 7.30 pm at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore.

Failomics: Using Failures To Predict The Future ©

We would like to thank our generous sponsors, the Molecular Institute of Technology.

Molecular Institute of Technology ©

All images are copyrighted ©isabelle desjeux, 21st Feb 2010.

Categories: Art, Science, Talk
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