“Jugular: Joining The Head and the Heart”

http://www.facebook.com/JugularJoiningHeadandHeart

Project aims:

This project was supported by an IOP public engagement grant.

The Academics, through their research offer a practical/theoretical reality of the subject and the Artists express through their artform their experiential reality of the same subject.



Objectives:

Events enrich the audience both intellectually and viscerally by combining academics and artists in one event. The events are centred around particular themes that have specialist Scientific research behind them but also interest the general public. Events target both the heart and the mind and audience feel all their senses and intellect have been stimulated to satisfaction or their curiosity piqued to ponder more.We offer many truths if you will looking at science and life from a 360 degree comprehensive angle.

Summary of activity:

The Gung Ho Down presented « Jugular :Joining The Head and The Heart », a whistle-stop tour of giant ideas through a cabaret of stories, songs, playlets, games & live lectures to offer a multi-faceted journey of the human experience. This was initially presented at 2 summer festivals in 2012 at the Secret Forum in the discussions area. This was an « end-on » stage based cabaret with live lectures followed by respective artistic responses.
This was tranformed into an immersive experience on Nov 29th, for audiences in London at a secret location disclosed two days before the event. The show transformed into a promenade where the whole building was used to different delivery of the performances and the lectures. There were also audio-visual interactive game installations based on perturbations, chaos theory and the Lorenz Loop. Additional immersive characters of a special « Jugular Lab » chorus (based on Greek Chorus), were “measurement takers” and interacted with the participating audience.
For both types of shows there were radio shows at the festivals and then subsequently with Resonance FM.

Evaluation approach:

At the festivals, we directly asked people before and after the show in the audience their opinions of the themes, the talks and the artistic pieces. We also asked the participating scientists their thoughts on the artistic responses. Overall response was positive with scientific themes being particularly praised for their interest and speaker appeal.

Some comments on which artistic responses were the strongest and how to improve the link between the science and the performances were taken on board to design the immersive “promenade” experience for the Nov 29th show. Here, the order of different pieces were played with, performances were staged and directed differently, new performance pieces were added and audio-visual installations were added. The overall atmosphere of science meeting the arts was conveyed with the “greek chorus” immersive characters and the space itself. For this show, the questionnaire provided by the IOP for adults were used. Key findings were, people would like to keep abreast of the event, it piqued their interest and they found a good balance between the science and the arts and the particular scientists lectures very interesting. These were slightly changed from the festival speaker line-up as well to include Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula.



Publicity materials

All publicity has been uploaded onto: http://www.facebook.com/JugularJoiningHeadandHeart

In addition, highlights of the immersive Nov 29th show can be found here along with acknowledgement to IOP:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOSeCT4n7Hw

Timelapse of Audio-visual interactive game installations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xiqfq95804

Resonance FM Show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWKhiuDtAVM

Promo for the immersive Nov 29th show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmnZo0eR3yY

Full lectures such as by Dr Marek Kukula:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIpbUODV6gc

Festival radio show incorporating storytelling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLHPz4AtFd4

More footage can be found on http://www.youtube.com/TheGungHoDown

What went well:

The Project met its aims of:

1.Interesting non-specialist audiences in different topics of Physics that encompassed quantum and particle physics (Dr Ryan Nichol, UCL), the Large Hadron Collider(Dr Emily Nurse, ATLAS), Space (Dr Chris Arridge, MSSL and Dr Marek Kukula, Royal Observatory), Complexity and Chaos (Dr Martin Austwick, CASA,UCL). Audience commented on the particular relevance and interest each scientific talk and theme had.

2.Achieving the right balance between the science and arts content in terms of number of and type of performances, for interest and variety.

3.Allowing audience freedom to make their own connection between science and everyday life through the performance. Audience commented on their full, comprehensive and satisfied experience.

What was learned:

1.Making the link between science and arts clearer without appearing to be spoon-feeding audience and maintaining an exciting narrative.

2.Choosing the right speakers and artistic performance combinations for different requirements: straight didactic; thoughtful philosophical links between science and everyday life; entertainment using accurate scientific principles.

3.Working on feedback for improvement and creation of a completely different show involving the “immersive experience” as a tool for communication of the science through performing arts in a very non-conventional setting (to schools and universities).

Top tips and advice for others

1.Have clear objectives and goals that you communicate to every member of your team so that they are on the same page.

2.Make sure you choose your team of artists and scientists carefully for their enthusiasm for both areas of professions

3.It is a difficult cross-genre area that needs both of the before-mentioned in order to deliver a good end-product.

About the contributor

Shama Rahman
The Gung Ho Down

Hello! I am a scientist in the fields of neuroscience and complexity and I am currently undergoing a PhD in the Neuroscience of Musical Creativity using Complexity Tools. I am also a professional musi…

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