Elizabeth Kanost
Spencer Museum of Art

KU researchers, students collaborate with artists and CERN on livestream performance April 8

Wed, 03/31/2021

LAWRENCE — A livestream event at 6 p.m. April 8 will highlight research by University of Kansas faculty and students through an emerging collaboration between the Spencer Museum of Art’s Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) and Arts at CERN, the official arts program of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The experimental live performance will include dancer Vinson Fraley and musician Earl Maneein layered with video footage from CERN that has been manipulated by mathematical techniques used in quantum mechanics.

The performance — titled “Singular Value Decomposition” — is grounded in research by Agnieszka Miedlar, IARI faculty fellow and assistant professor of mathematics; Daniel Tapia Takaki, associate professor of physics & astronomy; Clint Hurshman, IARI graduate fellow and student of philosophy; Olivia Johnson, IARI undergraduate fellow and student of mathematics and dance; and Janet Biggs, a New York-based video installation artist. Joey Orr, the Spencer Museum’s curator for research, has guided the collaboration in the production of new work at the boundaries of science and visual art.

Using prompts like “extreme fluctuation” and “entanglements,” the dancer and musician will act as quantum waves within the performance. The performance is presented as a free livestream by the Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, which represents Biggs.

“This experimental performance is an exploration of whether methods from mathematics and physics can provide new techniques for artistic production,” Orr said. “Can mathematics and physics equations translate into dance movements? Can notations drawn on a whiteboard become choreography? Can a violinist read collisions occurring in the Hadron Collider as a musical score?”

Arts at CERN and IARI will continue asking these questions and more next year as the partnership becomes the focus for IARI’s 2021–2022 academic year.

The Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. Arts at CERN, the arts program of the world’s largest laboratory for particle physics, was created to explore the notions of creativity, human ingenuity and curiosity. The Cristin Tierney Gallery is a contemporary art gallery committed to the development and support of both established and emerging artists.

Photo: An experimental performance April 8 will combine dance, music and video footage from CERN that has been mathematically manipulated. Image credits, left to right: Mario Sorrenti, CERN, Max Sequeira.

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