On this guest blog, residency project manager Cassie Flores gives a recap of Guerilla Science’s first ever Artist-Scientist Festival Residency which brought together new interdisciplinary teams of researchers and creators for the Oregon Eclipse Festival in August 2017.

Tripping out with the Vision Quest goggles. Image by Skyler Greene.

On March 2017, Guerilla Science held an open call seeking artist-scientist collaborations to produce original installations and workshops for Oregon Eclipse Festival. Ten projects were picked out of over 130, resulting in a mix of installations and workshops that entertained festival crowds and got them excited about science.

Those 10 projects were developed over the course of a 6-week residency where residents got access to Pratt studio space and fabrication facilities to realize their projects. Practicing artists were paired with practicing scientists (as in the case of Bar None, a bar featuring all of the social bonding, minus the alcohol, created by Nasimeh B.E. and Sena Koleva), to two scientists who handled the artistic components themselves (as in the case of Brett Russell and Chance Plaskett, who used their lab experience to get festival-goers painting with fluorescent bacteria). While we knew we wanted to give artists and scientists the chance to collaborate creatively, it was awesome to see how much the roles mixed – Trina Chiasson was a Visiting Scientist at the Museum of Natural History, but very much worked as an artist on The Entomophatron, designing and constructing the bar herself.

Residents get to demo various projects ahead of the festival. Image by Marina McClure Photography.

The six weeks also included a couple of workshops for the residents. They got to learn about experience design, figuring out how they could shape the way visitors would experience their work. They also got to learn more about performance from GS’ own Rachel Karpf, fresh off her work as Science Dramaturg for Works on Water. She was able to meet one-on-one with each team, to examine how they could best convey the excitement they felt about their works to audience members. Lastly, there was an East and West Coast “demo-day”, where residents got to test their workshops and installations on each other, and begin to get a sense of how the festival would go.

Sensory Speed Dating packed the tent with festival goers looking for love. Image by Skyler Greene.

And finally, the festival! It was amazing to see the residency projects come to life, but they certainly weren’t the only stars. The GS tent was host to some of our classics, from Space Yoga led by Lipa Long, a grad student in the philosophy of physics, to anatomical life drawing led by our doctor-in-residence Sam Carli. Sensory Speed Dating was as popular as ever, with our host Adam Piazza and neuroscientist Ashley Juavinett embarking on their own series of first “dates,” as they’d just met in order to host the event! And of course there was also new programming, like Adam’s “Adult Play Date,” in which he was able to delve into the science of play, while recreating childhood classics with an adult twist.

Oregon Eclipse festival goers racing hissing cockroaches at the Entomophatron. Image by Skyler Greene.

Throughout the residency and festival it was awesome to see scientists get creative and artists delve into science. However, it was most exciting to see how audience members reacted. They held renegade rounds of sensory speed dating, danced around while learning about biofeedback, competed to create the best (pH-balanced) personal lube, and tried (and largely failed) to do everything from catch a ball to write their names with literally altered perception via some wild goggles. They got curious, they got inspired, and they kept coming back for more.

 

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