M-Blem: the train project

HeHe’s public art interventions are internationally renowned, from ‘Nuage Vert’, highlighting factory emissions with interactive laser light to 'Is there is a Horizon in the Deepwater', a miniaturised global disaster scenario satirising popular responses to ecological issues. Their ‘Toy Emissions’ video also lampooned American SUV (sports utility vehicle) culture and its critics at the same time.
 
HeHe (Heiko Hansen and Helen Evans) have been working on the ‘Train Project’ for a number of years, criticising the car as the only option for autonomous transport. They propose personal rail travel as a temporary imaginary prototype taking the problem of locomotion as a starting point. The notion of personal rail travel has been explored as an alternative to collective transportation since the 1930s, Bruno Latour for example, reflected on the failure of Aramis (Agencement en Rames Automatisées de Modules Indépendants dans les Stations), France's ambitious attempt to develop a personal rapid transit system in his book 'Aramis, or the Love of Technology'.

The ‘Train Project’ has seen HeHe develop temporary autonomous vehicles in the form of performances on unused or abandoned rail tracks. The AND Festival 2012 commission 'M-blem' follows interventions in Istanbul – ‘Tapis Volant’, a battery-powered flying carpet, ‘H Line’ on New York’s abandoned High-Line and ‘Petite Ceinture’ on the little belt that encircles Paris. HeHe’s new vehicle celebrates the birthplace of the world’s first recognisable modern railway - the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) - which opened in 1830.
 
Inspired by AB Clayton's painting of the inaugural journey of the L&MR which illustrates a series of small open-topped passenger carriages on the track outside Manchester's Liverpool Road station, HeHe will run their vehicle 'M-blem' on this historic track, now part of Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. In a participatory project mixing past and future, HeHe will present their mobile, light-weight, electric wheel-set along with solar charging stations, platform, signs and passenger vehicle referencing the original carriages but using modern materials for AND Festival visitors and passengers.

‘Metronome’, a ‘Train Project’ prototype will also be shown in Paris during the Futur En Seine Festival 14-24 June 2012 and will be demonstrated on the abandoned Petite Ceinture track at the Jardins de Ruisseau on 1 July.

 

Websites

HeHe

AND Festival

Futur en Seine festival

 

Partnerships and Support

La Région Ile-de-France

Cap Digital & Futur en Seine

Ars Longa

HeHe Asso

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A Conversation on Science in Contemporary Performance: Part 2

Across the synapse: A practical discussion and workshop about walking the genesis of an idea for a science/performance project through the creative/producorial steps to getting it in front of audiences.

An informal workshop and discussion for theatre practitioners, writers, scientists and artists who would like to discuss ideas of science in theatre practice. This discussion and workshop will be chaired by Jack Lowe, director of theatre company, Curious Directive, which believes 'that theatre can communicate scientific ideas like no other experience'.

Curious Directive
"By traversing theatre and science this troupe has pulled off something special", New Scientist
"Jack Lowe and his ensemble continue to fire imaginations and push boundaries", The Metro

This workshop follows A Conversation in Science and Contemporary Performance held on 19 September 2012 chaired by Vivienne Glance which a variety of theatre practitioners and scientists attended.  The conversation brought to light the array of diverse theatre practices that are engaging with science and the need to develop an informal meeting group to share ideas and methodologies around the mergence of these two disciplines.

Part 2 took a more practical step towards practitioners discussing/ dissecting ideas and the difficulties in producing ambitious theatre with a critical discourse in our relationship with science.

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KOSMICA Mexico 2012

KOSMICA Mexico brings together earth-bound artists, astronomers, performers, space explorers and musicians from Mexico, the UK, France, Germany and the US

For its first edition in Mexico City, KOSMICA will showcase more than 15 participants actively working in cultural and artistic aspects of space exploration. Urban stargazing, cosmic music, zero gravity dance, armchair space exploration, science fiction and DIY rocket science collide in this unique and unmissable event. The ideas are fantastic but the stakes are real: reclaim space for all!

We Colonised The Moon (Hagen Betzwieser and Sue Corke) explore an idiosyncratic world view based on popular science, flexible wikipedia knowledge, graphical illustrations and various display formates.

Regina Peldszus asks - how will we actually live in space? Regina Peldszus’s work in space architecture and design explores the psychological challenges of isolation and monotony of space crew on extended exploration missions. And concerns human-technology-nature interaction in extreme environments, off-duty and medical design aspects in space and their spin-offs. She is based at the Design Research Centre and the Astronautics & Space Systems Group, Kingston University London.

Ariel Guzik designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature. He is also a musician, draftsman and illustrator. He is Director of the Laboratorio Plasmaht de Investigación en Resonancia y Expresión de la Naturaleza, Asociación Civil. Installations and individual exhibitions of his work have been presented in national and international institutions.

Juan José Díaz Infante's Ulises is a nanosatellite being launched soon next year, conceptualised and developed by a Mexican group of artists during the past year: The Mexican Space Collective. Ulises is born out of the necessity of creation of parallel and alternate reality, explores the need of any citizen on Earth to be able to shape any future he wants not being dependant on the system.

Nelly Ben Hayoun considers ‘Surreal Interactions’ and proposes how we could embed creativity in our daily lives. With creations like The Soyuz Chair, Royal College of Art Design Interactions MA graduate, Nelly explores the possibilities of space tourism, weightlessness and the thrill of the unknown.

Roger Malina, astronomer, editor and Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology at the University of Texas, where he is developing Art-Science R and D and Experimental publishing research. Malina is the former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence and his specialty is in space instrumentation; he was the Principal Investigator for the NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite at the University of California, Berkeley. He also has been involved for 25 years with the Leonardo organization whose mission is to promote and make visible work that explores the interaction of the arts and sciences and the arts and new technologies.

Dr Jill Stuart is Fellow in Global Politics at the London School of Economics, and reviews editor for the journal Global Policy. She researches law, politics and theory of outer space exploration and exploitation. Her interests extend to the way terrestrial politics and conceptualisations such as how sovereignty is projected into outer space, and how outer space potentially plays a role in reconstituting how those politics and conceptualisations are understood in terrestrial politics.

Antígona Segura wanted to be a rumba dancer but she was born too late. Her fascination with the skies and for the living world took her to pursue a career in astrobiology, the science that studies extraterrestrial life. She was hired by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work at the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, an astrobiology project by NASA. Currently she is a researcher at the National Institute of Astrobiology and at the Institiute of Nuclear Sciences in Mexico City. She is the President of the Mexican Society of Astrobiology.

Ale de la Puente is an artist, industrial designer, with MA in Naval Construction she deals with notions of time, memory and space by combining conceptualism with multimedia supports. Ale de la Puente has been actively working and collaborating with scientists from the National Insitute of Astronomy in Mexico where she is developing new work. She is a member of the National System of Art Makers in Mexico.

Ulrike Kubatta will introduce her film She Should Have Gone To The Moon and will talk about the process of making it. The film documents Jerri Truhill's remarkable story of as a wife, mother and aviator, and her part in Mercury 13 to become one of the first women to be trained by NASA to go into space. The film is about Jerri Truhill's ambition to conquer the unknown and the Kubatta's fascination with a woman who dared to break down all barriers in aviation. Set against the historical background of the Space Race, the documentary both constructs an intimate portrait of Truhill and explores a unique chapter in American culture and society.

Lyn Hagan is an artist and founding director of LifeInSpace. Her work principally tries to negotiate and transcend established ideas of theatricality and aesthetics. Hagan is currently developing a project with the European Space Agency for the next ExoMars Rover mission. Her suggestion is to choreograph a dance for the robot on Mars for when the scientific mission is over using its autonomous navigation system.

Partnerships

KOSMICA in Mexico has been made possible thanks to the support of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), Mexico through Laboratorio Arte Alameda.

Laboratorio Arte Alameda promotes reflection and exchange of ideas between the different audiences and the electronic media art community in Mexico and worldwide, reinforcing cooperation links between learning institutions (both public and private), ministries of culture, governmental institutions in charge of science and technology, local and international cultural associations, and films and video festivals, among others.

KOSMICA is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

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A Conversation on Science in Contemporary Performance

An informal conversation event led by Vivienne Glance, Arts Catalyst's writer-in-residence

This informal conversation on science in contemporary performance brought together a small invited gathering of artists, writers, scientists and theatre practitioners. It will be led by Vivienne Glance who is Arts Catalyst's writer-in-residency during September 2012.

Vivienne Glance

Vivienne Glance is Arts Catalyst’s writer in residence for three weeks from 3– 21 September. Vivienne is a playwright, performer and poet from Australia. Her theatre work has been presented in UK, USA and Australia. Her latest play The Cat in the Box, an “absurd comedy with a dose of quantum mechanics”, premiered at the Blue Room Theatre, Perth, in August 2012. Her poetry has appeared in journals, anthologies and online publications. Her poetry collections are A Simple Rain, published by Lethologica Press (2012), and The Softness of Water, published by Sunline Press (2009). Vivienne is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, researching representations of science in performance and writing a full-length performance work.

Website

Vivienne Glance

Game of Life

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The Great Glen Artists Airshow

The third international artists' airshow

The Great Glen is a huge natural fissure in the earth, encompassing Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal. In September it will be the site for the Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, with activities that redefine the air as medium taking place at either end of it. Previous Arts Catalyst artists airshows, in 2004 and 2007, involved artists flying objects or investigating aeronautical culture. In common with these earlier airshows movement through air and landscape will be explored. Yet this year’s event will be more abstract, redefining the philosophical territory of the air and the ownership, or the mapping of the spatial landscape.
At one end of the Great Glen will be the main site, at the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art (HICA), with activities taking place on nearby Loch Ruthven, in the woodlands and on the open brae, or fell.  At the other end of the Glen will be the unique Utopian venture, London Fieldworks' project Outlandia, a treehouse for artists in the sky, in Glen Nevis. The two-day event should prove a unique, unusual and rewarding participatory art experience.

(Gaelic information available - see menu on left of this page)

New publication now available

A Journey though the Great Glen to the Library of Outlandia, mapped out by Adam Dant, published by The Arts Catalyst for Great Glen Artists Airshow is now available for £3 (inc UK postage and packing).  SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

The Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, free performances and events at HICA

  • an airborne investigation of wind currents above Loch Ruthven by Dutch artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum. Polak will be extending her inventive use of global positioning (GPS) technology in her live performance beside the water in this collaboration.  
  • Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson of London Fieldworks will present new work, installed in the woodland behind the loch, which imagines the flight path of birds as augurs, or omens, part of an ancient tradition of divination by birds. This new project was made in collaboration with a former hunter turned bird guide in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. London Fieldworks are also the creators of Outlandia, the destination of the Sunday bus tour event.  
  • Poet and artist Alec Finlay will read Sky-wheels poems beneath a wind turbine reached through the woodland.
  • Brazilian artist Camila Sposati will create a vast smoke drawing across the horizon of the fell, Yellow Vanishing Point, tracing the landscape, perspectives and contours of the hills, in an ephemeral performance that dissolves into the ether.
  • Participatory flying of 'supremacist kites' by artist, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, suitable for those with kite-flying experience.

Open Air meal at HICA 5-8pm
The Territory of the Air, HICA 6-7.30pm.  Free progamme of talks by artists about the military/industrial and aerospace presence in remote places such as Scotland.

  • Artist, Louise K Wilson will discuss her Spadeadam project in which she attempted to trace the remains of Britain's cancelled space programme, Blue Streak
  • Gair Dunlop will provide insights into his photographic and video work relating to contemporary archaeology of the airfield and his forthcoming project at the nuclear reactor Dounreay
  • Esther Polak will talk about the implications and possibilities of increased civilian uses of GPS technologies
  • Claudia Zeiske, Director, Deveron Arts and cultural activist will talk about Walking and Art, in relation to Huntly’s Walking Festival and the recent residency at Deveron arts by Hamish Fulton

SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

Perambulatory bus tour of the Great Glen, 10am-5pm, conducted by artist Adam Dant, in conversation with The Arts Catalyst curator Rob La Frenais.  This day-long event takes place along the length of the spectacular glen and will reveal unusual and possibly hidden aspects of Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal with the aid of a new ‘aerial map’, Biblioteque Outlandia, devised by Dant.  

The climax of the journey will be the arrival at and the first public unveiling of Outlandia, the tree house for artists, which will be inhabited by Adam Dant in the manner of the Scottish enlightenment. Dant will be the first of many artists to transform the Utopian aerial studio, devised and designed by London Fieldworks as a long-term artists project for Fort William. 

Partners

The Artists' Airshow is presented by The Arts Catalyst in association the Highland Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) and Sunday's bus tour created in partnership with London Fieldworks' Outlandia artist's treehouse project in Glen Nevis.

Support

Arts Council England, Scottish Arts Council, Henry Moore Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation, Highland Culture Fund, Brazilian Ministry of Culture, The British Council,
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, H2007, Highland Council and Nevis Partnership

Artists' websites

Esther Polak, Ivar van Bekkum, London Fieldworks, Alec Finlay, Camila Sposati, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, Louise K Wilson, Gair Dunlop, Claudia Zeiske, Adam Dant

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GenTerra

Participatory theatre project by Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa, shown as part of the CleanRooms exhibition

GenTerra is a performance by the artists Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa. GenTerra is the name used by the artists to represent a company dealing with "transgenics" – the isolation of one or more genes from one or more organisms to create another, new organism. Products created through this process – for example, transgenically modified foods – have often caused controversy. GenTerra claims to produce organisms that help solve ecological or social problems.

GenTerra is essentially a participatory "theater" comprising a lab tent, four computer stations displaying the company’s informational CD-Rom, and a bacteria release machine. On entering the space, the public is invited to discuss the facts and issues surrounding transgenics with the artists and scientists, who are dressed in white lab coats. Materials are then provided to allow people to make and store their own transgenic bacteria in the GenTerra tent. Visitors become actively involved in the area of risk assessment by deciding whether or not to release bacteria from one of the twelve petri dishes of the release machine. Eleven of the dishes have wild (non-transgenic) bacteria samples taken locally, and one contains the transgenic bacteria. Should the dish with the transgenic bacteria be selected, a robotic arm will pick up the lid of the dish, leave it open for about 5 seconds, and then replace the lid on the dish. Participants are informed that the transgenic bacteria they may be releasing is a benign, crippled lab strain that is released in laboratories on a routine basis.

By setting itself up as a corporation that is driven by profit, but also by a sense of social responsibility, GenTerra highlights the complex relationship between for-profit ventures and the ethical considerations involved in transgenics research and product development. The project aims to make the general public more aware of transgenics, and the facts and fictions that surround it.

GenTerra was created in consultation with Dr. Bob Ferrell, Department of Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, and Linda Kauffman, Department of Molecular Biology, the Mellon Institute, along with Beatriz da Costa, Robotic Art Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University, Semi Ryu and Garth Zeglin, Robotics Consultants, Carnegie Mellon University.

Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five artists of various specializations dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory. Their books include: The Electronic Disturbance (1994); Electronic Civil Disobedience and Other Unpopular Ideas (2001); Flesh Machine (1998) and Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media (2001). Since 1996, biotech projects - the most recent of which is GenTerra – have been their central initiative.
 

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Gravity - A Love Story, Morag Wightman & Craos Mor

An interdisciplinary performance comprising dance, suspension, video projection and music

Gravity – a love story embeds video recordings from Morag Wightman’s microgravity project Falling without Fear in a production under the forces of gravity, performed by the company Craos Mor of whom she is Artistic Director.

The work was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst for the programme of ‘Artists and Cosmonauts’ events held at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells London, on 1 March 2002.

Falling without Fear

In October 2001 Morag Wightman took part in the parabolic flight of an IL-76 MDK aircraft departing from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia’s Star City. The flight was organised by Arts Catalyst and Project Atol Flight Operations, Slovenia, for purposes of ‘microgravity interdisciplinary research’ (M.I.R).

During the flight Morag Wightman realised Falling without Fear, a performance spanning 7 flight parabolas creating periods of microgravity, each lasting 25-30 seconds. Zero-G instructor Vladimir Kalentiev contributed to the performance.

Gravity – A Love Story

Gravity – A Love Story is a powerful composition of imagery staged on three projection screens, each of which reveals a different view on the same movement. For her company Craos Mor’s live performance featuring dance and aerial performances, Morag Wightman worked with a script that outlined movements and scenes without stating a detailed choreography. In this way the performance artists had different types of space to inhabit or create individually.

Credits

Artistic director: Morag Wightman

Parabolic flight: Morag Wightman (performer); The Arts Catalyst, Marko Peljhan, Andrey Velikanov, Morag Wightman & Zero-G Team (cameras); Helga Goellner (set and costume design).

3-screen video projection work: Gavin Lockhart (video artist).

Performance at Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler’s Wells (25 Mins.): Veronica Forioso, Steven Whinnery & Graham Clint (performers); Little Japanese Toy, Amir Shoat & Iain Ross (soundtracks); Helga Goellner (set and costume design); Will Harding (rigging); Kaja Glenne Lund (lighting design); Niall Black (stage management); Hs Cho (performance recording); John Fisher (editing of performance recording).

Performances

Screening of 3-screen video projection work & performance: 1 March 2002: at ‘Artists & Cosmonauts’, Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells

Water movement, film & dance research: 4 July 2003: ‘Altered Gravity’, Chisenhale Dance Space, London

Presentation & screening of 3-screen video projection work: 8th December 2002: “Interdisciplinary Microgravity Movement Research: Experiments on a Zero Gravity Flight”, ArtSci2002, The CUNY Graduate Center, New York

 

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Kosmos in Blue, Flow Motion

Zero Gravity workshop and live performance of Hallucinator's Sun Ra remixes

Taking place during The Arts Catalyst’s zero gravity flying workshop at the Gagarin Csmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow, Kosmos In Blue was a three part work comprising a staging during a parabolic flight in zero gravity of a sound sculpture using Sun Ra’s music as its point of departure, a live performance of Hallucinator material, mixing the sounds of radio astronomy with remixes of Sun Ra material, and a CD of this material plus material gathered during our trip to Star City. 

A performance of Kosmos in Blue was also given at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells, London, as part of the 'Artists & Cosmonauts' event.

With Kosmos In Blue, the artists in Flow Motion - Edward George, Trevor Mathison and Anna Piva - were concerned with questions of troubled subjectivity, of isolation and freedom, of melancholia; the focal figure was Sun Ra.

"Sun Ra was without a doubt 20th century American music’s most consistent, significant advocate of a star bound earth based music. His heliocentric vision was rooted in a sense of unbelonging here on earth, a wistful, romantic but nonetheless very real sense of displacement; a kind of heightened, profound loneliness. 

Ra’s music always seemed to be aimed at, or searching for, potential fellow travellers, possible cosmonauts, disaffected earth dwellers, profoundly constrained by the lack of space - physical, political, existential, spiritual - here in their own home. It was in the light of the suggestions for sound art posed by Ra’s jazz, euro-avante garde, and electronic lo-fi, that we posed another kind of cosmic music, as a way of teasing out some of the affective components in Ra’s music and thought. 

We were interested in the idea of Sentics, a percussion based music technology, developed by Manfred Clynes, founder of cybernetics. Designed to make bearable the effect of protracted physical dislocation on the central nervous system of astronauts on increasingly long space flights, Sentics represented a science-based elaboration on the theme of alienation that characterised Ra’s work; space themed music as an expression of unbelonging here on earth, made here on earth, never quite imagined astronauts in their solitude or unease, producing their own cosmic music. 

And while Space restrictions during the parabolic flight rendered the sound sculpture impossible, we were nonetheless able to present the live performance, and compile sound materials from the flight for a future CD document.”

Edited extract from: Edward George & Anna Piva: “Flow Motion: Out There”, in: ‘Space Art. Festival @rt Outsiders 2003’, Anomalie Digital_Arts N° 4 (Orléans: Editions Hys & Anomalie digital art, September 2003), pp. 125-129.

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Transpermia/Project Daedalus, Marcel.li Antunez Roca

A mechatronic conference presenting the Dedalus project and its micro performances at zero gravity as well as the Transpermia theory.

Using the Space Station as a metaphor, Marcel.li Antunez Roca has developed a hybrid show alternating performance, concert and lecture. It is structured in different modules. During the show Ant·nez wears his Dreskeleton (an exoskeletal body interface) and with it he samples, activates and modulates sounds as well as controlling the films projected on two screens.

In the first module he presents some of the mechanical aspects characteristic of his work such as the Fleshbots, the Dreskeletons, the Biometries and the Systematurgy.

The second module takes us through recurrent images in his work.

The third module reveals the end result of the process of preparation for the Dedalus project in Star City in the Russian Federation as well as the micro performances that were carried out during periods of microgravity provided by the parabolas. In these micro performances we witness the Requiem bodybot experiment and the interaction between the dreskeleton, the softbot and the interactive films.

The last module presents the Transpermia theory and at this point the performance becomes more like a conference. Ant·nez proposes a new landscape for a Utopia called Transpermia. He describes some of his prototypes organized in 4 sections:

1 Interface: new devices with which to perceive the world and take part in it

2 Robots: machines as metaphors for life

3 Fleeting Identities: transitory states of personality as a setting for new experiences and knowledge

4 New Creations: models of activity in the Transpermia Utopia

Transpermia premiered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain as part of The Arts Catalyst/MIR conference, Extremophiles.

Credits

  • Conception, direction, drawings & performer: Marcel.lí Antúnez Roca
  • Music: Alain Wergifosse
  • Software: Jesús de la Calle
  • Flash: Gaetano Mangano, Álvaro Uña.
  • Fligth technical: Álvaro Uña, Paco Beltrán.
  • Typography: Carlos Romera
  • Video editing: Sergi Díez.
  • Technical: Paco Beltrán.
  • Grafic assistent: Júlia Rubio, Marc Trafak; Mireia Barberà.
  • Flash programer: Sergi Porter
  • Fligth camera: Begoña Egurbide, Saso Podgorsek
  • Dedal Coordination & Management: Marta Oliveres.
  • Dreskeleton (body interface): EBA.
  • Robot Requiem programmer: Joan Carles Bonet
  • Robot Requiem technical designer: Roland Olbeter
  • Fligth Assistents: CGTC (Yuri Gagarin Trainning Center).
  • Produced by: Panspermia S.L., The Arts Catalyst (MIR project), Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte-INAEM, ICUB- Ajuntament de Barcelona, Departament de Cultura Generalitat de Catalunya.

 

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Professor A A Singleton-Guinness

In this one man show, Jack Klaff took the guise of the unswervingly rationalist Professor AA Singleton-Guinness (winner of the Nobel Prize for keeping science unsullied by art).

Singleton-Guinnes launched a stinging attack on those "mystic scientists in thrall to the spooky concepts of holistic philosophy" and in this guise Klaff attempted to shows some of the consequences of taking a reductionist approach to logical yet absurd conclusions.

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