A series of four symposia. A meeting of two worlds

Ego was a long overdue opportunity to explore the intellectual curiousity of artists and scientists and a forum for controversial and leading practitioners from both fields to discuss and share the fundamental ideas behind their work.

The series was originated by SH Cedar- scientist and Jyll Bradley-artist and is being produced by Ego with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Ego was researched and developed in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency.

The talks were held every Tuesday evening from 24th April ­ 15th May 2001 at The Old Operating Theatre, Southwark, London: the oldest intact operating theatre in Britain dating from the 18th century and rediscovered, by chance, in the 1960’s.

Sensory Deception
Prof. Susan Greenfield and Marina Abramovic
24th April 2001 at 19.30.

What do our senses tell us of the world? Can they be trusted? How do we differ as individuals if we have the same senses and how do we become individuals? What is it to be oneself? How much of our identity is reliant on our senses, our sense of our self? How our brain and mind form our world and ourselves will be the subject of this talk. A neurobiologist and an artist will explore these areas.

The Agony and the Ecstasy
Franko B and Dr Seth Bhunnoo
1st May 2001 at 19.30

Some performances endanger the life of the performer by the release of blood or the altering of their body. To be able to perform this work some Live Artists require the assistance of doctors. This talk will be by an artist who uses their body in performance in this way and a doctor, usually the silent partners in such artistic performances questioning the ideas of medicine as in aiding and collaborating in art rather than in health. Whose body is it and who gives consent? This talk will explore the ownership and exploitation of our bodies

Prof. Leslie Aiello and Orlan
8th May 2001 at 19.30

Are we pre-determined beings following a course laid down in our genetic heritage or can we recreate ourselves to our own ideal using cosmetic surgery or the new genetic technology being developed? What do our bodies tell us about our selves and our lives? How will changing our bodies effect our futures? An evolutionary biologist will explore issues of identity and form with an artist interested in using these ideas in their work to re-create themself. This talk will explore the necessity of our form and whether we can impose our own evolutionary choices on it.

Shape Shifters
Prof. Lewis Wolpert and Stelarc
15th May 2001 at 19.30

Millions of years of evolution, but in some 50,000 years, we humans have gone from cave dwellers to cyber junkies. Is our cultural evolution restricted by our biology. Is our biology past its sell by date? Can we develop out of our bodies? Can we be virtual? An artist involved in questioning the redundancy of the body through their work will be in conversation with a scientist specialising in investigating the development of the biological forms and structures of the human body. This talk will explore our physical development and its limitations.


Banner image credit:

Marina Abramovic and Franko B at the Old Operating Theatre.


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