Guerilla Science Brings Science To Figment Arts Festival in New York

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Guerilla Scienitsts take over disused house on Governors Island in New York on June 6th and 7th for the FIGMENT arts festival.

This weekend Guerilla Science brings the world’s greatest discoveries out of cloistered laboratories and stuffy classrooms, into the realm of playful celebration at New York’s foremost participatory arts festival. On June 6th and 7th, Guerilla Science will be at Governors Island planning vacations to space, exploring the neuroscience of taste and smell, and visualizing sound with water. The series of reality-altering interactive installations are for the FIGMENT Arts Festival, which seeks to spark creativity through free, participatory events. The collaborative exhibitions connect audience, artist, scientist and environment.

“We’re going to be showing people the subversive side of science,” says Mark Rosin, co-founder of Guerilla Science.

Guerilla Science was started in 2008 at the Burning Man-inspired Secret Garden Party music festival in the United Kingdom. Rosin and U.S. co-founder Olivia Koski have been working with scientists and artists to produce pop-up events in New York and California for the past several years. The FIGMENT project is funded by several scientific and arts institutions, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, the American Physical Society, and the Pratt Institute.

A crew of scientists and performers from the New York area will be contributing to a misture of installations that span the fields of astronomy, neuroscience, genetics, mathematics and optics. The team is a diverse mix of professionals from drastically different fields. Zach Kopciak, a Guerilla Science producer who specializes in interactive theater, loves working with scientists in unusual settings such as arts festivals. “I like to create spaces where people can lose themselves,” he says. Creating that space can be extra challenging, Kopciak notes, when contending with highly technical subjects as a nonspecialist. Still, he says, he has always been fascinated by science. “I get to play with things that I used to be very afraid of, and turn them into something whimsical and magical and fun,” he says.

Guerilla Science is creating ten interactive exhibits for the event. Outdoors is the “Oobleck Olympics,” an athletic competition that requires as much brains as brawn. Inside 6A Nolan Park will be a series of rooms with participatory art hosted by professional scientists. At the “Intergalactic Travel Bureau” visitors can meet with a travel agent to plan their dream space vacation and take a photo on Mars. “Sensory Speed Dating” guides brave participants through a series of blindfolded interactions with strangers as a way to explore the neuroscience of human behavior and attraction. In another room, a biohacker will be helping people extract DNA from common biological materials such as strawberries, while nearby food scientists turn taste and smell upside down with a collection of perception-altering consumables. An anatomical life drawing class explores human biology through art, while a room filled with lasers and fog challenges participants to contemplate the nature of light.

“This is a wonderful chance to bring together the most creative and inventive pinnacles of our culture - science and art,” says Rosin.

Guerilla Science will be at 6A Nolan Park on Governors Island from 10 am to 6 pm, June 6 & 7, Saturday and Sunday.

Program of Events can be found here:

Mark Rosin, PhD - co-founder Guerilla Science, mathematician
Zach Kopciak - Guerilla Science producer and host
Olivia Koski - co-founder Guerilla Science USA, laser engineer
Brian Brooks - artist
Dr. Paul Smereka - medical doctor
Zhana Vrangalova, PhD - sex researcher
Steph Yin - journalist and host
Oliver Medvedik, PhD - biohacker
Leslie Vosshall, PhD - neurobiologist
Kent Kirshenbaum, PhD - chemist
Lillian Thomas - artist
Jana Grcevich, PhD - astrophysicist
Renee Hlozek, PhD - astrophysicist
Ricky Nilsson, PhD - astrophysicist
Juan Ibanez-Mejia - astrophysicist
Olle Roberg - performer
Enrico Fonda, PhD - physicist
Kelly Reidy, PhD - physicist
James Hedberg, PhD - physicist
Alex Tatarsky - performer
Frank Todaro - performer
Zach Walker - sound artist

About Guerilla Science
Guerilla Science is a boutique events production firm that designs and delivers science-inspired events and installations with cultural partners. Over the past seven years we have worked at music and art festivals from New York to London to connect people to science in new and exciting ways. We have produced live experiences that entertain, inspire, challenge and amaze for over 50,000 people.

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Olivia Koski
since: 04/2009
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