Projects

The Art of Questionable Provenance
Entanglement
Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist
Bend, Fold, Break
Molecular Gastronomy
Symmetry

The Art of Questionable Provenance

In The Art of Questionable Provenance the lives of a photojournalist, a neuropathologist, an art forensic expert, and a fortune teller intersect around a bizarre crime. A tale of perception that parallels the functions of the brain and explores critical themes emerging from modern neuroscience, The Art of Questionable Provenance examines how we piece together the stories – real or illusory – of our selves. Do the firings of certain neurons in a particular pattern ultimately determine who we are? The Art of Questionable Provenance is a continuing collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, and its participants include prominent scientists and professional artists.

See the trailer of the work in progress.
 

Entanglement

In summer 2019, the STAGE Lab travels to Hong Kong to begin work on a new theatre project, a collaboration with media artist Jeffrey Shaw, Chair Professor at City University of Hong Kong, and Tian Zhong, Assistant Professor and STAGE Lab colleague at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Entanglement (working title) is inspired by Professor Shaw’s recent museum exhibit and Professor Zhong’s scientific research.

  • Kung Fu Motion, Shaw’s exhibit, employs motion capture and other cutting-edge technologies to bring a long-deceased kung fu master, and his singular techniques, back to life on film. The digital wizardry of Shaw and his team enables the culture and traditions of martial arts and of Hong Kong to be preserved, communicated, and passed down to future generations.
  • In its meaning, “kung fu” (功夫) conveys the notions of energy and time. Energy and time are two fundamental concepts in science, and in Zhong’s research on quantum entanglement.

We believe these ideas of quantum entanglement, kung fu, energy and time hold tremendous potential for a dynamic theatre piece about science, technology, memory, and heritage. The science of quantum entanglement affords rich material about inexplicable links to the future, while the intangible cultural heritage of kung fu renders inextricable links to the past.

Entanglement Collaborators

 TIAN ZHONG
 Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering
 PME, University of Chicago

 JEFFREY SHAW
 Chair Professor of Media Art
 School of Creative Media
 City University of Hong Kong
 
Entanglement is made possible by:

 

Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist

The web series, Curiosity: The Making of a Scientist, is a unique research project encompassing storytelling, science communication, and documentary filmmaking. Curiosity takes us into the labs and lives of scientists to dispel stereotypes and reveal the human side of those who practice science. The goal is to explore what motivates and is involved in choosing a career in science, what inspires scientific investigation, and the nature of curiosity itself.

Curiosity is an interdisciplinary project that speaks to a wider public, as well as to the collaborative creative team. This team is comprised of postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates from diverse disciplines across the campus. This mélange affords the project a broad perspective and the best of both the science and art worlds. The scientists bring a scientific vision, along with their first-hand knowledge of where the critical gaps in science communication exist. They are also able to connect with the scientist interviewees on a personal level and have an insider’s perspective on designing appropriate interview questions. The artists have a keen creative vision that informs all aspects of video production, and they understand the nuances of stylistic choices and narrative that make for a compelling story. By providing an arena in which scientists and artists work closely together, they are learning what each discipline has to offer the other. An additional benefit of such a diverse team is that it provides the project with numerous points of view, which helps to target a diverse audience with greater accuracy.

Curiosity is made possible, in part, by: 

Bend, Fold, Break

A young scientist, at a critical point in her career, receives notice of a mysterious package left to her by the late mother she never knew. What she finds when she travels to Japan to retrieve her inheritance is much more than she ever could have imagined. Dealing with themes of identity, culture, and heritage, Bend, Fold, Break asks how we define ourselvesas scientists and artists, as individuals, and as family.

Future Projects

Molecular Gastronomy

 

molecular gastronomy illustration

Research and experimentation in the kitchen entangled with the personal lives of three famous chefs. 

Symmetry

Symetry illustration

Two women, a critical moment in history, and the fundamental principle of symmetry.