'ImproCiència' - science and literature on stage

poster

On Thursday June 26, 7 p.m. at the Sagrada Família’s LibraryLa Mandarina de Newton and the theatre company Planeta Impro will present the improvisational theatre show ‘ImproCiència’, at the awards ceremony of the fourth edition of Inspiraciencia (Scientific Writing Contest), organized by CSIC and the support of FECYT.

The show is inspired by fragments of the texts that participated in the contest. These are stories that explore concepts such as technology, genetics, maths, nanotechnology, quantum mechanics, astronomy, sound… The show that we will be presenting on the 26th, will be an improvisation theatre show that will bring science and literature on the stage. Once again we want to offer to the public a different way of looking at science, this time through theatre and literature.

Do not miss it!

When: Thursday June 26, 7 p.m.

Where: Auditorium of Sagrada Família’s Library.

Free activity, limited places

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And... We have the winners of the 3rd edition of Science of the City!

During the last 3 months we have received several videos from participants of different places, ages and backgrounds. Videos that show us endless ways of seeing the science that surrounds us. This year we awarded two videos, one chosen by the public through online voting and one chosen by a jury of experts in science, technology and audiovisuals. It was not easy, but a decision had to be made…

The winners of this Science of the City’s edition are:

Biological clocks: the rhythm that moves us, by Laia Torres and Laura Pardo.

 

Accelerate yourself, by Mar Batlle.



The jury wants also to make special mention to the video of John Scott, Glasgow, City of Science. This video offers a novel and interesting view of this Scottish city. If you seek scientific destinations for this summer, we believe that this one is highly recommended.





We would like to congratulate the winners and all of you who took part of this contest, for all the effort! We hope you enjoyed a lot while creating your videos and, of course, that you have learned and discovered a little more about the science of your city!

Keep Looking at your city with scientific eyes and explaining and sharing what you see because science is everywhere!

Remember Science of the City doesn’t end here! Some of the videos you submitted will be aired on TV, we will keep working and organizing activities….

We’ll keep you updated!

 

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TalentLab: Starts the 3rd Edition and re-opens the Exhibition at the Mandarina Space!

The 3rd Edition of the CSIC’s project, TalentLabstarts with a new series of workshops and interdisciplinary dialogues opened to the public (from March 5 to June 16, 2014).

And to launch this new edition, this Friday, February 28, at 19h at the Mandarina Space, we will be opening the Exhibition of the TalentLab Educative Resources.

 

This exhibition was first exhibited on October 2013, at the Residència d’Investigadors (CSIC- Generalitat de Catalunya). You will now be able to see all the educative resources created during the past TalentLab editions and get to know all about this 3rd Edition.

We invite you all to come by at the Mandarina Space to get to know more about TalentLab. It’s free and open to everyone, just need to register here.

 

 

This year’s edition of TalentLab will have two working lines:

Workshops for teachers with whom we will be working and exploring the resources created during the last editions. There will be 3 workshops (March 12, 19 and 26), each one dedicated to two of the topics explored on TalentLab I and II.

- A series of interdisciplinary dialogues between the public and researchers (March 5, April 7 and June 16) around some Nature-Technology controversial topics: Transgenics, Cyborgs and Fukushima.

These events will take place at the Residència d’Investigadors (CSIC- Generalitat de Catalunya), at 18h. These are free events with registration.

Check all the info at talentlab.csic.es

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La Vanguardia - Connected Brains

On June 8, La Vanguardia published an article on Collective and Collaborative Intelligence: ‘Connected Brains’.

‘Intelligence has always been collective. However, now new technologies boost collaborative and innovative ways in which experts and enthusiasts come together to collaborate on projects that actually give results.’

La Mandarina de Newton was contacted to give their own view on the topic and to talk about their own experience.

Here you can find the full article (in spanish and catalan):

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Investigating the importance of colors

As you know, we continue working on the project Science of the City #2. Although the first phase of the video contest finished early this year, we are still receiving videos as a result of different collaborations we have established with international institutions, in countries such as Croatia or Netherlands. Moreover, we began with the second phase of the project, in which we aim to establish a bridge between participants and scientists.

On Friday April 5, we were at the Institut Lluís de Requesens, Molins de Rei, Barcelona, holding a workshop for students and researchers. The students from this school participated in the 2nd edition of Science of the City video contest with several videos: ‘Temperature Changes‘, ‘A Flood of Signals‘, ‘Public Services at Molins‘ and ‘Boredom at the Institute‘. The lattest was one of the winners of this edition, in which the students questioned the importance of building design in schools, particularly of the colors used in classrooms and corridors, and how this influences the attention span of the students during the classes. This seemed to us an extremely interesting question and thus, with the help of the Atelier des Jours à Venir, we tried to contact experts on perception and cognition.

Two researchers from the Donders Institute (Nilmegen, Netherlands), Dr. Guillaume Sescousse (Cognitive Control- Perception, Action and Control) and Dra. Mathilde Bonnefond (Neuronal Oscillations- Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication) accepted our invitation and came to Molins de Rei to join the workshop.

In this first session we wanted to, in one hand, create a link between the students and the researchers and, on the other hand, find ways to translate the scientific concepts of the winning video to questions that could be interesting for our invited researchers to follow up at their labs. For that we conducted several activities focused on the topics of learning, attention, color,…

We began with a first exercise in order to ‘break the ice’ within the room: we arranged ourselves according to the color of our eyes, from the lightest to the ones darkest. Then, we asked the students to, in post-its of different colors, write down whatever these colors remind them of: peace, joy, euphoria,… Then, the task was to sort the post-its by topics. Once re-ordered, we could conclude that unconsciously we associate different colors with specific issues or feelings.

The students explained what had motivated them to make the video, and the scientists, their research projects

The students hypothesized that the boring environment of the corridors and classrooms of their school could be one of the reasons for the lack of interest and attention during classes. The neuroscientist Guillaume Sescousse explained how he and his team study the reward processing and risky decision-making, in both healthy and psychiatric disorders’ conditions. Dra. Mathilde Bonnefond explained that part of her work in the lab focus on trying to understand how our brain processes the information and how the different brain regions communicate with each other during the different cognitive processes, such as during visual processing under various levels of attention. To illustrate how the colors can interfere with the learning processes and with our ability to maintain our focus levels, the researchers challenged the students with different exercises. One of them was to try to memorize the maximum number of words during 2 minutes. Each set of words was presented in different background colors: red, blue and gray. At the end of the game, we all could confirm that, as shown in scientific studies, the colors influence our memory and focus capabilities. The red creates tension and make us more focused, opposite to blue, which relaxes us. We usually associate blue colors with creative environments, however, this means a reduced ability to retain information.

At the end of the workshop, we asked the students to re-think the questions and ideas raised in the winning video. We wanted to finish the session with a narrow set of questions on the topic. Here are some of the issues raised: Do colors equally affect people of different ages? Does the way we perceive colors depend on the time of the day or season? Does color affects differently people of different cultures? What colors should be chosen for the different school spaces? What happens in the brain during color perception?


Now, of all the questions and issues raised during this morning, students have to choose one, the one they would like to explore with the help of the researchers. The next workshop is already scheduled: on July we all meet again! We will keep you informed!

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'Transposicionals' - dance, science and writing

On Tuesday April 30, 7 p.m. at the Sagrada Família’s Library, La Mandarina de Newton and the group of dancers Big Bouncers will present the contemporary dance piece ‘Transposicionals’, at the awards ceremony of the third edition of Inspiraciencia (Scientific Writing Contest), organized by CSIC and the support of FECYT. This is a dance performance co-directed by La Mandarina de Newton and Big Bouncers.

The performance is inspired by fragments of seven of the texts that participated in the contest. These are stories that explore concepts such as cloning, robotics, quantum mechanics, infinite, relativity, gravity and vacuum. The show that we will be presenting on the 30th, will be an improvisation performance of dance accompanied by an audiovisual work with the texts. The movements will play with the scientific concepts of the Inspiraciencia texts. We would like to offer to the audience a new experience, a different way of communicating science: through art and dance.

Do not miss it!

When: Tuesday April 30, 7 p.m.

Where: Auditorium of Sagrada Família’s Library.

Free activity, limited places

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New videos at our Science of the City platform

There are two new entries on our Science of the City #2 platform. The videos are the result of the workshop we held last March in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Atelier des Jours à Venir and New Urban Collective. As we mentioned in previous posts, this workshop took place in Bijlmer, Amsterdam, with the aim of encouraging kids to question and explore the science behind their urban daily life. During these two months ‘post-workshop’, the students have been working on their ideas and proposals and the end result are these two videos: one, in which they question the quality of the water: Can we infer the quality of the water by its color?, and other, in which they explore the properties of the butane gas: Why is gas invisible?. – By now you can see the original videos, in Dutch; soon the subtitles will be also available.

   

Next April 19, these videos will be exhibited at the Amsterdam Science & Film Festival, at the Nemo Museum.

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Science of the City at the Amsterdam Science & Film Festival

The third edition of the Amsterdam Science & Film Festival will take place during the 18t, 19 and 20 of April. Over thirty scientific videos under the theme ‘Cities of the Future’ will be exhibited in four iconic institutions of Amsterdam: EYE Film Institute, Filmacademie, Nemo Museum and the Institut Français / Maison Descartes. Apart from the video screening, the public will have also the opportunity to participate in workshops and roundtables. The videos will enter in a competition and the last day of the festival the winners of the two categories ‘Grand Prix’ and ‘New Talent Award’ will be announced. Here you can check the full program of the Festival.

La Mandarina de Newton will be also present at this festival! The Science of the City videos produced by the Bijlmer children that participated in the workshop we organized in March, will be exhibited at the Nemo Museum on the 19th. As you might recall, this workshop was organized in collaboration with the Atelier des Jours à Venir and the New Urban Collective with the aim to motivate the kids to question and explore the science hidden in streets of Amsterdam.

We are eager to see the final result of the workshop during the Festival!

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Critical Design Cycle: summary of First Participative Workshop about Internal Contamination

Last Friday (March 1, 2013) at the Mandarina Space, we had our first participatory workshop to give shape to the participants’ ideas about Internal Contamination. As you know, this topic was presented by Dr. Miquel Porta (18/01/2013), an internationally recognized researcher and an expert on the field and after his presentation a first debate took place. The goal of friday’s session was to begin a process of critical and speculative design around the concepts and ideas that popped up during that talk.

The workshop, led by Ramon Sagüensa (La Mandarina de Newton), began with an inspiration exercise for the participants. We challenged each of them individually to complete the question ‘What if …?’ with ideas, questions or concerns that came to their minds, related with the topic Internal Contamination. They had to reflect on the positive and negative aspects of it. In just 10 minutes many ideas were generated: What if we changed our lifestyle (if we stop eating meat, if we abandon the urban lifestyle), What if we could measure in detail our internal contamination levels, or the levels of toxics in the products we consume?, What if we could eliminate the toxics of our body, if we could recycle or metabolize them?, What would happen if there existed a region in the world without contamination?, What if contamination were something good for our health, if it could expand our live expectancy? What if internal contamination levels were visible? … and much more!

   

This individual exercise was the starting point for the actual teamwork. Now, participants discussed together these ideas and the dilemmas created by their interplay. For that, they stuck the post-its on a panel and, with the participation of all, reorganized them by topics or concepts. Eventually, an agreement was reached and several clusters of ideas emerge: food, communication and information, utopia, methodology, and disposal of PTCs (persistent toxic compounds). From here, each participant chose the topic that found most interesting and in this way the working groups were formed (four in total).

Then, we started the ideation phase. In each group, participants discussed and identified the ideas they wanted to explore. With the working ideas defined, the participants began to give shape to their proposals and build their ‘prototypes’.

   

The first group, who had chosen the topic ‘Food’, devised ‘The BNQ – The Body Whitening’. They proposed a treatment to ‘withen’ the body internally. With an amazing pill one would be able to clean the body from internal contaminants and this would be reflected in one’s outward beauty: ‘Clean on the inside, beautiful on the outside’.

The second group, based on the topic ‘utopia’, proposed a comics/animation campaign – ‘PTCs Superpowers’ – in which the stories would revolve around a family of characters who had superpowers due to the accumulation of PTCs in their bodies. The third group, who chose the theme ‘elimination of PTCs’ created ‘Sintox’: a set of pills developed by a pharmaceutical company (‘Mandarinartis’) and marketed to a fairly high cost, but that would be able to eliminate completely all your internal toxics. Finally, the fourth group, inspired by the topics ‘information and communication’ and ‘methodology’, proposed a next generation device, the ‘Anxiety Machine’. This product would be comprised of a pill with a PTCs’ sensor that you would swallow. Travelling through your body it would detect your internal levels of PTCs and transmit that information to a square-shaped personal and portable device.

This device would then show the toxic results, identify the most likely diseases that one would develop as a consequence of the level and type of contamination, and it would also offer an option to share the results within a social network (a kind of facebook with the contaminants’ profile of each user).

During the presentation of the proposals, there was also an interesting exchange of ideas and suggestions between the groups. It was Friday evening and dinner time was approaching, so we had to end up the session. Once again, we received a very positive feedback from participants, an extra motivation for us to continue organizing these kind of brainstorming, creative and multidisciplinary co-creation sessions.

This was the first workshop within the Critical Design Cycle about Internal Contamination. We will continue working on these proposals on the 5th of April (Friday), 19:30 at the Mandarina Space (as always, we will create a registration form on Evenbrite). Remember that these sessions are free and open to all of you willing to participate. And not just for those that came to the previous sessions, but to anyone interested and eager to share their ideas in a co-creative way.

We will keep you informed!

Remember that you can check the summaries of the past sessions of the cycle in our blog and the presentations’ videos in our Youtube channel.

You can also find all the photos of the workshop in our Facebook page.

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2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Co-Creating a scientific exhibition with the public' workshop summary - 2nd Session

Session two – iteration and integration

The next day, participants came full of new ideas and materials to improve what they had started the day before. They had some time to work on their prototypes and then the iterations started. The interchange of ideas between people of the other groups promoted discussion and also constructive inputs for the proposals. At the same time, it was an opportunity to return to the group with new ideas for their own proposals.

Then, they defined their final projects. The first group summarized their ideas as ‘science expresses but humans interpret it and get emotionally affected’, which sought to identify the creative process as emotions, emotions which in turn change the creative process. It would have two areas, one ‘experimental or creative’ where real experiments (crystallization processes and microbiological cultures) would took place, and the other, a multimedia area with video screenings of the experiments and creations to provoke an emotional reaction in the visitors. This should be built by a team of experts (scientists, multimedia technicians, engineers and technical staff), always keeping in mind the pedagogical aspects of the exhibition. They estimated a total cost of 23.000€.

  

The second group summarized their proposal with the message ‘evolution has no direction and no limits’, highlighting the need to know the past to understand the future. They proposed to build a museum that included an exhibition area with an interactive timeline, and an area of interactive games where the topic ‘evolution of technology’ would be explored. To carry it out, a multidisciplinary team would be required (biologists, designers, journalists, director/manager, volunteers) and the total cost would be 500.000€.

The third group entitled their proposal ‘The Limits of Technology’, which aimed to make the visitor reflect on when should technology be stopped. It would be a virtual tour (holography, 3D, Wii) to explore three topics: health, food and energy. The idea would be to pose dilemmas about the relationship between Nature and Technology. Through the virtual tour, the visitors would be encouraged to reflect and make decisions about positive and negative aspects of each topic (moral, historical, hypothesis). The first part would show the historical facts and the second, the current and future dilemmas. To develop the proposal, again a multidisciplinary team would be needed: programmers, designers, journalists, communicators and scientists. On the basis of hiring 20 persons for six months with an average salary of 2.000€/month, the group calculated a budget of 240.000€.

The fourth group proposed a trip trough the ‘natural inspiration in the technological creation’, considering that nature is a source of inspiration to technology. They proposed a tour through an interactive tunnel with three areas: an ‘inspiration’ zone with visual and auditory stimuli (images and sounds from Nature), a ‘discovery’ zone where the visitor would be presented with examples in which nature was used as a template, and a ‘creation’ zone to generate new ideas in a participatory way. These ideas would be projected in a big screen and the visitor would also be able to continue sending suggestions from home. To carry out this proposal one would need a team made of scientists, designers, programmers, graphic designers, and explainers. They estimated a total cost of 200.000€, but with the possibility to adapt the proposal to a less expensive, but still interactive, format.

  

Finally, the fifth group suggested to explore ‘the two faces of technology’ in order to raise public awareness of the benefits and drawbacks of technological progress, and also that the accessibility to technology is a determinant parameter of human quality of life with a strong effect on the opportunities that one can have. They proposed to create a tablet game (or a cardboard one) in which the players would have to create pairs of opposites related with different technological advances, focusing on six key topics. Additionally, with open questions, the participants would be encouraged to share their opinions and ideas about these topics, and stimulate transformation and change. The group did not estimate how it would cost to produce this interactive module, but they underlined the fact that it would be adaptable to a wide range of budgets.

Once all the groups had presented their proposals, we challenged them with a last exercise where they had to integrate all or some of the proposals into a single one, by finding a link between them. The intention was to identify the similarities, complementarities or differences between them. From the different possibilities, the groups suggested to integrate the first and fourth proposals as they highlight the aesthetic and emotional aspects of the creative process. They also mentioned the possibility of merging the second, third and fifth proposals to explore the role of technology in our society in a more complex way: the different faces of technological evolution and the need to define its limits.

  

The workshop was a way to reflect on the complex relationship between technology and nature and their role of society. At the end of the session, it was clear that there are many ways to translate these topics into exhibitions, but it was also clear that there are an obvious interest by the public to participate in the creation of contents. From the proposals generated in this workshop, the idea is now to keep working and exploring the nature-technology duality, with the help of new collaborators, in order to translate the results into a real exhibition.

This activity was also a opportunity to explore some innovative working dynamics that favor participation and interdisciplinarity, but also an opportunity to establish new networks of contacts, or worknetting (first work together, then connect the opposite to the much abused “networking”), as Irene from La Mandarina de Newton said. We hope this workshop will be the beginning of a new line of work for CSIC (Catalonia), open to everyone.

You can find more photos in our facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

—————–
Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.

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