Moveable Lab Residency
April 26 – June 13, 2017
18th Street Arts Center and Public Spaces throughout Santa Monica
Major events: April 29, May 28, and June 3
Following a thrilling year in SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence Program, Nina Waisman has brought her Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI) to The 18th Street Arts Center. She is joined by founding member and movement expert Flora Wiegmann.
In Spring of 2017, LEI will be offering site-specific performances, along with workshops that offer perspective-shifting meditations and embodiment exercises to the public. Both activities aim to make physically palpable LEI’s ongoing discoveries around the following questions: How can humans “try on” non-human behaviors in order to perceive them viscerally, gaining knowledge unavailable through classic data analysis? What can we learn from the highly successful behaviors and communication methods our microbial colleagues and ancestors employ? How do animal and human logics and languages compare to microbial behaviors?
We evolved from microbes, but only recently did we learn that “all mobile unicellular organisms possess the fundamental characteristics of nervous systems” (Dr. Lori Marino). Perhaps fundamental cognitive capacities and “modes of reason” we think unique to humans belong in some form to microbes. We know that they communicate – in fact, they are multi-lingual. They have survived and communicated with each other over 3.5 billion years. Surely there are a few things we can learn from cultures exponentially more long-lived and adapted than we are? Looking into the future, astrobiologists agree that microbes are the most likely form of life we will encounter out in the cosmos. Can our terrestrial bacteria help us communicate with or understand these extraterrestrials?
Through performances, along with science-driven meditations and movement exercises, LEI seeks to give us access to some of the vast treasure of behaviors and communication techniques invented and enacted by microbes. Cognitive scientists have found that to exercise a new behavior is to open the mind to a whole new suite of logics.
Nina Waisman’s residency and its associated collaborative public events and performances are made possible with generous funding from the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, the California Arts Council, and The James Irvine Foundation.
Collaborators and Performers with the Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences: