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Festival of Ideas event at the Gurdon Institute, 20th October 2018, 3-5pm

An invitation to view the the final outputs of our science and art collaborative project, Experiments in Art & Science. There will be a performance, films and a virtual reality experience on offer!

Experiments in Art & Science:

Invitation to view the final outputs at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas

on 20th October 2018, 3pm-5pm (drop in)

at the Gurdon Institute, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN


  COB VR headset retreat 2018 v2Festival Art&Sci invitation public


PLEASE NOTE: We have commissioned a videographer to film parts of the event for publicity and archive purposes (including but not limited to transmission, broadcast, website and social media). If you do not wish to be captured on film please inform Claire O'Brien, Information and Communication Officer at the Gurdon Institute, when you arrive.


Borked Brain by David Blandy (collaborated with the Livesey lab)

David Blandy worked with the Livesey Lab, observing their visualisations of human brains grown from stem cells, using this research as a way to think about consciousness, identity and technology.
The lab is primarily looking for ways to understand (and limit) Alzheimer’s Disease, seeking to discover how neurons act and develop differently in a brain being affected by Alzheimer’s and one which is not. This work clearly has huge scientific importance and I have been trying to think about what the work might mean, in a philosophical and speculative sense. It has also been a process that is self-reflective, thinking about what it might mean to be an embodied subject (a human), looking at something that might have its own consciousness. There still isn’t a satisfactory scientific understanding of what human consciousness actually is. So how do we discover whether this bundle of neurons has something that doesn’t even have a definition? The work became about what the very act of looking at something means, what we choose to look at, and what we choose to understand from that act of looking.

Morpho Chemical by Rachel Pimm (collaborated with the Miska lab)

A narrative text work exploring and performing the interconnected physical, chemical, biological and mathematical forces at play in morphology; the way things form and grow. Based on research into the Gurdon Institute, the archives of Alan Turing and D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson and written in a state of health related and academic neurological confusion, the text attempts to re-enact the complex process of understanding the commonalities of the laws of nature, whilst being subject to them.

My Buddy by Laura Wilson (collaborated with the Zegerman lab)

Laura is interested in the ‘liveness’ of dough as a material containing budding yeast and bacteria; it is never static, but consistently growing and morphing.  Her recent performances see lumps of fresh dough in constant flow of movement with the human body, becoming more yeasty and alive through contact with the human body and the surrounding air.
My Buddy is a new performance inspired by how yeast cells move and was developed during a period of research with scientists from the Zegerman lab at the Gurdon Institute. Working with members of the lab, Laura carried out experiments on wild yeast cultures, extracting their DNA and observing the movements of cells under the microscope.
Laura says: Budding yeast cells behave in a very similar way to humans, and we often use human characteristics to describe their behaviour. When looking after a sourdough yeast starter, you need to wake it up from its sleep to make bread. When budding yeast cells are active, they divide. They breathe out carbon dioxide. They interact with each other. They shmoo (flirt) to find a mate. They live in colonies.