Randomness & Certainty

And so, off to the Dana Centre in Kensington for a performance of Randomness & Certainty, an audio visual artwork where hundreds of scientists were interviewed about the impact science has on their lives. Why? Because Lorna was one of those scientists. And what an interesting evening it was.

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Randomness & Certainty

To be honest, it didn’t start well. The caf� space in the venue was hardly ideal for concentrating on this sort of non-narrative work. And, when the panel discussion started, it rapidly disappeared up its own behind into a discussion of true randomness versus computer-generated pseudo randomness. Oh what fun. Luckily, Lorna had got us some red wine, which helped that part of the evening pass painlessly. Oh, and �science TV presenter� Dr Shini Somarathne (warning, frightening website) proved to have nothing to add to the discussion.

But from there on it was all upwards. The host for the evening, journalist Viv Parry was excellent, and the other two panellists, neuroscientists Mark Lythgoe and R. Beau Lotto (left and right above, either side of Shini) both made some interesting points about stereotypes of scientist, artists and the complicated nature of perception. But really, this was the audience’s evening, with real back and forth between the artists, the panellists (well, two of them) and the audience, all ably handled by Viv. I even got shanghaied into participating, after Viv spotted me nodding vigourously in agreement to someone else’s point. I ended up arguing against the false division people set up between the two areas of study.

It was a genuinely thought-provoking discussion on where the boundaries of art and science truly lie, and what the different personality types draw to each field really have to contribute to each other’s work. But most of all, I just enjoyed the chance to really debate issues with intelligent, thoughtful and open-minded people of very diverse backgrounds (the audience was split 50/50 between artists and scientists, with a huge age range).

I really must do more of this sort of thing.

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