This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
8 Big science and small science: reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics Lucio Piccirillo The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. (Albert Einstein, The World as I See It) Chester V: ‘There’s no such thing as small science, only small scientists.’ (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) In this chapter I will discuss some of the possible answers as to why science is a valuable enterprise. If this is
1 Science in performance: convergence, emergence and divergence Starting with a (big) bang Sir Ian McKellen as Prospero: Miranda, go out into the world. Will you be for all of us gathering here our eyes, our ears and our hearts? Shine your light on the beautiful diversity of humanity. Understand those rights that protect us. Look up, stretch your wings and fly. Will you take the journey for all of us and will you set us free? Professor Stephen Hawking: We live in a universe governed by rational laws that we can discover and understand. Look up at the stars and
chapter5 28/1/05 1:31 pm Page 102 5 Science and nature Introduction: pure and applied science Having dealt with the issue of the language of science, one must return to the dilemma pointed up earlier by Ned Thomas’s reading of ‘Homo Sapiens 1941’: how does one begin to reconcile R. S. Thomas’s apparently simultaneous condemnation and admiration for the objects and ideas which underlie that language? As I have already suggested, Thomas seems to move gradually from a preoccupation with the language of science for the purposes of art into a moral philosopher
This book contributes to the study of science and politics by shedding light on sometimes dark, hidden or ignored aspects of openness as a core policy agenda. While opening up of science to public scrutiny and public deliberation is good in principle, various dilemmas and problems are entailed by this move, which also should be made public and be discussed more openly. Developed as a solution to perceived crises in science/society relations, openness and transparency initiatives might hide ‘monsters’ that need to be made visible and need to be examined. Chapters in this book deal with four themes: transparency in the context of science in the public sphere; responsibility in the context of in contemporary research practice and governance, both globally and locally; experts in the context of policy-making, risk assessment and the regulation of science; and faith in the context of tensions and misunderstandings between science and religion. Each section of the book contains an opening essay by experts on a particular theme (Mark Brown, Benjamin Worthy, Barbara Prainsack/Sabina Leonelli, Chris Toumey). The book closes with an epilogue by Stephen Turner and an essay by John Holmwood. At present, openness in science is more important than ever. This book should be of interest to academics and members of the public who want to know more about the challenges and opportunities of 'making science public' - the theme of a Leverhulme Trust funded research programme on which this book is based.
15 Let freedom ring for science: an American perspective Mary Woolley Dr Martin Luther King’s immortal phrase ‘let freedom ring’ is as thrilling today as it was when he first uttered it in 1963. Now, nearly half a century since the 1968 assassination of one of the most revered civil rights and moral leaders of our time, we celebrate Dr King’s words as a touchstone and inspiration. With the famous march on Washington in 1963, Dr King attempted something extraordinary and the impact was enormous, driving social change and making an enduring difference in our
11 Whose citizenship in “citizen science”? Tribal identity, civic dislocation, and environmental health research Elizabeth Hoover Introduction: Citizen science After decades of traditional health and environmental studies which left many communities – especially low-income and communities of color – feeling disempowered, community involvement in the production of science is being heralded as necessary for the achievement of environmental justice (Shepard 2002; Cohen and Ottinger 2011; Wylie et al. 2014). Citizen science (CS) is broadly defined as
13 Science, citizens, and air pollution: Constructing environmental (in)justice Anneleen Kenis Introduction In their efforts to put air pollution on the public agenda, citizens cannot avoid engaging with science. Being a largely invisible socio-natural artifact, air has to be translated into a subject of contestation and debate for it to become politically salient. Which choices do citizen movements make during this process and what effect do these choices have on particular constructions of environmental (in)justice? To formulate an answer to these questions
13 Science, self-control and human freedom: a naturalistic approach Gilberto Corbellini and Elisabetta Sirgiovanni A recurring assumption among political philosophers is that freedom as the ancients conceived it was different from the kind of freedom experienced in the modern world. On 13 February 1819, in his famous lecture on The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns held at the Athénée Royal in Paris, Benjamin-Henri Constant de Rebecque gave one of the most brilliant formulations of liberal thought. Constant affirmed that modern men
2 Laughing at science in the theatre: Gob Squad, a funny robot and dancing scientists In a fleeting moment at a rehearsal for My Square Lady, in a large space backstage at a Berlin opera house, Myon, the humanoid robot and ostensibly central character of the piece, turned its head and focussed its gaze on me. I briefly appeared on the screen overhead showing Myon’s periodically changing and unpredictable point of view. I laughed quietly to or maybe at myself. In the notes I made at the time about this rehearsal session, I also remarked that one of the