Scientific Delirium Madness II--Legacy? | Leonardo/ISAST

Scientific Delirium Madness II--Legacy?

By Laurel Shastri
Inspiration for the fish food bowl Inspiration for the fish food bowl

July 20--the day after the annual open house of the Artist Residency Program. Yesterday over 250 people traipsed through the woods looking at artwork, peered into open studios, watched presentations, interacted with the residents, ate delicious chef-prepared food, and raptly attended the fishbowl conversation between the residents about collaborations between artists and scientists. At one point, I was ironing costumes on a table in the dance studio as guests walked by, peering in on their way to the restrooms. I resisted the urge to explain that I was an installation piece on the value of gender roles in the behind-the-scenes preparation of dance performance. Each of the residents presented something about their work. There was a video collaboration about nanotechnology prepared by Guillermo that many of the other residents helped design and participate. There was our (Karl, Saki, & me) dance performance with mathematical connections including a dance with a visual proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. There were readings by Allison and Caroline; presentations by Eathan, Christine, Tami, Rachel, Deborah, and Kate, a sound hike led by Luca… Everyone contributed an experience or collaboration in the world of art meets science meets art-science meets science-art. (Even our artist in absentia, Eleni, was available via the phone in the phone booth--her poetry, inspiration, notes, decorating the walls of the phone booth and her voice via computer reading her poems. The fishbowl was the last event of the day. Four residents and one Piero sat at a microphone-filled table with Martin the videographer's camera staring at our faces and an audience of about 60 people. The remaining residents were sitting in the couches behind the table, waiting their turn to 'swim' into the conversation. We all found something to say about how collaboration is good. After an event filled day, the guests were ushered away and the staff and residents were treated to dinner at Alice's restaurant. But… after that, when the residents were back in the Artists Barn… Scientific Delirium Madness really set in. We found ourselves in the kitchen, rapidly exchanging various random food items out of the refrigerator, redesigning the fishbowl conversation into a fish-food-bowl. We found ourselves saying: 'Speak into the mayonnaise.' 'If you are going to disagree, you must have the mustard.' Vegetable items--including a tub of leftover quinoa and a bag of baby spinach--were tossed in a counter-game of catch. New rules kept emerging. If you were holding a carton of eggs or other poultry items, then you could speak about art. Hot sauce and other spicy items meant that you could talk about anything you wanted. Luca may have been seen balancing origami on his nose. And Karl may have been talking to the world and maybe it was answering back. Maybe some new ideas sprung fully formed out of our frenzy… Only time will tell. We are all looking forward to Scientific Delirium Madness 3.