The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI)
18th Steet Arts Center and Hammer Museum
In Fall 2016 Nina Waisman launched a new phase of the Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI), made possible by a generous residency offered by The 18th Street Arts Center. Waisman is joined at LEI by founding member and movement expert Flora Wiegmann.
This chapter of LEI, lasting 9-12 months, offers opportunities for the public - via performances, panels, and participatory mind, movement and urban experiments - to sense and experience microbial logics and communication via contemporary art practice.
Why explore microbial behaviors?
Conceptual and scientific overview here.
We wiill be joined by celebrated scientists, including special guest Penelope Boston, Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), dancers, and other experts. Credits and Thanks
Project Video, by 18th Street Arts:
Video excerpts from performances & rehearsals
Spring 2017 Panels and Performances
May 28, 2017
4-5pm, Santa Monica site TBA
June 3, 2017
4-5pm, Santa Monica site TBA
April 29, 2017, 18th Street Arts Center
1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA,
Panel, 1-2 pm
Multi-disciplinary panel and dialogue with audience: How can we use our bodies and movement to learn from the highly successful microbes on our planet? Featuring celebrated scientists Moh El-Naggar, the USC Robert D. Beyer Early Career Chair in Natural Sciences, working at the forefront of bacterial communication, and Fathi Karouia, Senior Research Scientist at NASA, working with microbial behaviors on the space station, in our guts and elsewhere. LEI Director Nina Waisman and LEI Movement Expert Flora Wiegmann, will join them, with possible surprise guests.
Performances 2-5 pm
Intermittent performances around the 18th Street Arts Center campus, featuring Jonathan Bryant, Alfonso Cervera, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Jasmine Orpilla, Flora Wiegmann (and possibly Vanessa Baish). Performances choreographed collaboratively by Jonathan Bryant, Alfonso Cervera, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Natali Micciche, Jasmine Orpilla, Nina Waisman and Flora Wiegmann.
Participatory movement lab 3-4 pm
Participatory movement workshop for children and adults: Moving with Microbes - a way to learn a bit about how 3.5 billion years of adaptation have led microbes to experience the world and each other.
Hammer Museum Events 2016-2017
Public rehearsals and performances
Tuesday January 3, 2017, 4-6pm
Thursday January 26, 11-2pm
As part of the In Real Life series at the Hammer Museum, LEI will explore the Hammer's architecture, as we prepare material for our Spring 2017 performances. The goals of this performance work is to make physically palpable for the public our 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 human logics and languages compare to microbial behaviors? Why explore microbial behaviors? Read the background info here.
The fields of neuroscience and cognitive science have found that simply watching another body move triggers neurons in the viewer's brain to fire as if she, too, were doing the same movement. At the same time, unconsciously, the viewers muscles are primed to execute those motions. Watching others move, then, leads us to unconscioulsy play or try on their movement on our own bodies. This leads not only to learning, but also to bodily understandings of the viewed expereience - a deep alignment, and often an empathy with those viewed.
Through these performances, LEI seeks to give the public 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 - so, we hope you’ll join us!
Thursday November 10, 2016, 11am-2pm
Wednesday January 25, 2017, 4-6pm
As part of the In Real Life series at the Hammer Museum, LEI will offer a participatory workshop for the public, combining movement, thought exercises and scientific information in order to make physically palpable for the public our 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 human logics and languages compare to microbial behaviors?
Through simple, playful meditations and movement exercises, LEI seeks to give the public 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 - so, we hope you’ll join us!
All ages and skill levels are warmly welcome
1/25 Workshop Location:
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Free admission to the Hammer Museum is made possible through the generosity of Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter
Previous LEI Events
The first year of LEI culminated in the multi-disciplinary, art+science thinktank Intelligence Moves, more info on that here.
The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI)
Founder and Artistic Director:
Movement Expert and Founding Member:
2016-17 Collaborators and Performers
Director, NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI)
USC Robert D. Beyer Early Career Chair in Natural Sciences
Senior Research Scientist at NASA
Lead: Carole Kim
Additional video: Meena Murugesan, Jeny Amaya
2015-2016 Scientists and Experts Listed here
Huge thanks to the generous supporters named below!!!
18th Street Arts Center
Nina Waisman’s residency and its associated collaborative public events and performances are made possible by The 18th Street Arts Center, with funding provided by City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, the California Arts Council, and The James Irvine Foundation. 18th Street Art Center is the leading artist residency in Southern California, with a mission is to provoke public dialogue through contemporary art making.
The Hammer Museum
The Hammer Museum’s Public Engagement program is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. In Real Life: Studio is a Public Engagement project organized by January Parkos Arnall, curatorial associate, Public Engagement.
SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence Program
The SETI Artist in Residence Program facilitates cross-disciplinary artistic expression dedicated to exploring, understanding, and explaining the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. The Program fosters an exchange of ideas between artists and scientists, and encourages contemporary artistic practices that allow us to experience life on this planet and beyond in new ways. Learn more about the SETI Artist in Residence Program, here. Special thanks to Charles Lindsay, Denise Markonish, Nathalie Cabrol, Bill Diamond, Laurance Doyle, Glenn E. Bugos, Seth Shostak and Jill Tarter.
SETI Institute’s mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe, and to apply the knowledge gained to inspire and guide present and future generations. SETI has a passion for discovery, and for sharing knowledge as scientific ambassadors to the public, the press, and the government. SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach. The Institute comprises three centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach. Founded in November 1984, SETI Institute began operations on February 1, 1985. Today it employs over 130 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by three centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Center for Education and Public Outreach and the Carl Sagan Center for the study of life in the universe. More information here.
Montalvo Art Center and Residency Program
The Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program (LAP) is designed to offer artists from a range of disciplines an environment conducive to individual and collaborative creative practice. Seeking to stimulate an energetic exchange of ideas between culturally diverse Fellows and across varied artistic fields and scholarly disciplines, the residency has earned international recognition as a model of curato rial practice supporting the development of new and challenging contemporary work.
The LAP welcomes sixty artists a year into the program. Residencies are offered in all contemporary artistic disciplines including the visual arts, design, literary arts, film, choreography, performance art, music and composition, and teaching artists. The LAP welcomes artist’s collaborators from overlapping fields, including science, technology, and other scholarly research. The Program is the first in the United States to offer an annual Culinary Artist Residency. For more information about Montalvo Arts Center, click here.
Nina Waisman, Director
As a former dancer turned multi-media artist, Nina Waisman is fascinated by the critical roles that movement and sensation play in forming thought. Her interactive sound installations, videos and collaborative performances highlight the subliminal training and possible hacking of such embodied thinking. These works focus on related issues including surveillance, invisible labor, machine-human feedback loops, nanotechnology. Venues include House of World Cultures, Berlin; LAXART; CECUT, Tijuana; OCMA; the Beall Center for Art & Technology, Zero1 Biennial, the San Diego Museum of Art, The New Children's Museum in San Diego. She has taught at institutions such as Cal Arts, SFAI, UCSD, and spent 2015 as an artist in residence at SETI Institute. Waisman is starting a new series of collaborative artworks exploring the role of embodiment in forming non-human intelligences, ranging from microbial on through plant, animal and extraterrestrial intelligences. More info: http://www.ninawaisman.net
Flora Wiegmann, Founding Member, Movement Expert
Flora Wiegmann is a Los Angeles-based dancer and choreographer. She works in both live performance and film, often making research-based work that is specific to its particular site. She has had the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Fritz Haeg, Silke Otto-Knapp, Alix Lambert, Amy Granat, Miljohn Ruperto, Nina Waisman and Tom Lawson. Her projects have been presented at the ICA, Philadelphia; The Kitchen, New York; the California Biennial and LAXART in California, The David Roberts Foundation and The Camden Arts Centre, London; The Banff Center for Creativity in Canada, and Université Rennes in France. More info; http://florawiegmann.com
Los Angeles, Spring 2017, dates tbd
Montalvo, October 2017
Pictured: Miles Brenninkmeijer, Jonathan Bryant, Alfonso Cervera, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Meena Murugesan
Pictured: Vanessa Baish, Jonathan Bryant, Alfonso Cervera, Hyoin Jun, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Carole Kim
Pictured: Vanessa Baish, Jonathan Bryant, Hyosun Choi, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Carole Kim
Pictured: Vanessa Baish, Jonathan Bryant, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Natali Micciche, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Marlene Picard
Pictured: Vanessa Baish, Jonathan Bryant, Alfonso Cervera, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Carole Kim
Pictured: Vanessa Baish, Miles Brenninkmeijer, Jonathan Bryant, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Natali Micciche, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Marlene Picard
Pictured: Hyosun Choi on the rail, Vanessa Baish & Flora Wiegmann other side of glass Photo: Carole Kim
Pictured: Jonathan Bryant, Hyosun Choi, Hyoin Jun, Flora Wiegmann Photo: Carole Kim