investigating the intersection of art and science
the perils and surprises of creative and scientific process
This is the first thing I see when I reach the Cell Biology Lab at the Hospital for Sick Children. After fumbling my way through security and fobs and confusing elevators, I meet the director of the lab in this beautiful lounge. This is actually what we spend the first 15 minutes talking about: the architecture, the way this vista and lounge area connects three floors of research in a communal space of air and light. Dr. John Brumell speaks about watching the Nobel awards, FIFA World Cup and the action of city in this space. How all of this space and light induces collaboration, new ideas, and quick problem solving.
Visiting a rehearsal is like stepping through the looking glass. It is a world of curiosities, peculiarities, frustrations and unripened temperaments, which are all part of the process of honing a wild idea into a wild performance. The resulting production or performance will have all these characteristics, sometimes latent, sometimes frothing over. But where you start is never where you end up.
In the process organizing Blue Ceiling dance's first Art + Science Evening, I chatted with Carol Walmsley, who works at Swansea Town Hall where our A+S events are happening. Our conversation started with rental rates and event themes and ranged to local scientists we know. Carol spoke highly of her friend Cindi Morshead, a University of Toronto professor, Chair of the Anatomy department and a most excellent public speaker. Carol introduced Cindi and I through email and several months of arranging our schedules later, Cindi and I finally sat down together.
Alanna Mitchell would not describe herself as either an artist or a scientist but she touches both those spheres with grace, rigour and integrity as a science journalist who has turned playwright and performer. I met Alanna on the advice of Franco Boni, the artistic director of the Theatre Centre, someone whose advice I would always take.
I met Alanna just after she performed her solo play "Sea Sick" at a fundraiser for the Theatre Centre. And with true journalistic instincts our interview began by her asking me a question.
Photo courtesy of NASA