On the border between performance, science and the digital: The embodied orrery

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Proscenium of the English Opera House, The Strand, 21 March 1817, with Walker’s performance of the Eidouranion.

Kurt Vanhoutte & Charlotte Bigg

The Centre Alexandre Koyré (Paris, France) is working in partnership with the Research Centre for Visual Poetics (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and CREW on an initiative that is focused on science as spectacle; the performance of new technologies and the staging of scientific experiments. This joint project will be carried out at the ‘Interdisciplinary Cluster for the Advancement of Visual Studies’ at IrDive, a research platform based in Lille-Tourcoing (France) focusing on digital and interactive visual environments. Charlotte Bigg, a science historian, together with Kurt Vanhoutte, a theatre and intermediality scholar, are working together to investigate the intersections of astronomy with the culture of spectacle. They are specifically interested in how scientific maps and narratives of the heavens were transformed into theatrical performances in popular science shows in the nineteenth century and will trace their evolution to today. Eric Joris joined their research team to extend these preliminary aims towards the formation of an experimental performance/science project that incorporates elements of science fiction. Through a historical study and experimental digital reconstruction of planetarium performances, the project will analyse a particularly important locus of hybrid activity, where spatial and visual cultures of modernity were elaborated and experienced at the intersection of science and performance, technology and spectacle.

Read the full article: Vanhoutte_Bigg_Orrery