Sensorium: a science-inspired funhouse at Figment NYC
July 31, 2018 by Cassie
For one weekend at the end of June, Guerilla Science took over a house on Governor’s Island during FIGMENT festival, and filled it to the brim. We featured works from our artist-scientist residency, some of our greatest hits like Space Yoga and Flavor Feast, and even a secret Freudian Speakeasy! Below are just some of the highlights of the event.
The house itself largely played host to the results of the second year of our residency. For over six weeks, seven teams of artists, scientists and designers worked to turn their original proposals into the kind of breathtaking interactive installations that would draw in the crowds on Governor’s Island. The house provided the space for these installations to truly come to life.
One of the first things guests saw upon entering was the front desk of “Brainbow Industries,” by resident artist Sarah Vitak. Visitors became recruits working inside the human brain. They created new memories by detaching, moving, and connecting balloon “neurons” together. Sarah and her team explained that the brain’s wild colors were produced by jellyfish genes – which have actually been used to make a variety of living things glow in the dark!
Upstairs, guests could find some respite from the busy festival by visiting the “Womb of the World,” a series of installations by residents Being((:))Sound that allowed guests to explore sound as a multi-sensory experience. They could receive a sonic massage via a vest that produced relaxing vibrations, or curl up in the bathtub of a darkened room while the sound of a heartbeat played around them – mimicking the experience of being in a womb. It was a spa like no other.
On the top floor there was a speakeasy (for those who got a hold of the secret password!). Guests were invited to have a brief session with one of our actor-analysts, portraying either Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud or Carl Jung. They then chose between the id, ego and super-ego in the form of doors – and each had a different (non-alcoholic) cocktail behind them. Guests could then relax in our lounge enjoying their drinks while chatting to the other “analysts”: real-life psychologists and neuroscientists.
And of course, the lawn surrounding the house was no less busy. A tent just to the right was home to many of our classic stage events, from Space Yoga to Anatomical Life Drawing. And naturally we had to provide some light snacks, Guerilla Science-style. Guests could enjoy jelly brain dissections, resulting in delicious slivers of panna cotta brain, or try some taste-bud bending samples at our ever-popular Flavor Feast booth. One of our busiest spots ended up being The Entomophatron, a work produced from last year’s artist-scientist residency. Who knew bugs would make such a popular fair food!
We want to extend our deepest gratitude to all the people who helped make the Sensorium possible, and of course everyone who came out to enjoy it! Despite some dire weather forecasts, we had a beautiful weekend full of weird adventures and wild events. Share your memories with us on our social media and we hope to see you again at our next wild popup!