A weekend of transdisciplinary dialogue and creation at Hangar: Synergy

The last week of June we participated in the workshop Synergy: Interdisciplinary Practice and Theory, coordinated by Simon PennyRoc Parés and Mara Balestrini, within the GridSpinoza program organized by Hangar. The two and half days of the workshop were very intense and interesting. We brought together interests, methods and projects.

To us it was great to deal again with some of the questions that we posed about transdisciplinarity in the Common Grounds workshop of 2011.  At the time we followed a prototyping process. In Synergy, 2013 we followed the method of work that the workshop organizers  articulated around sharing and dialogue.

The workshop pursued the sharing of projects and ideas but also the creation of a protocol for the development of transdisciplinary projects. In this regard there were very enlightening interventions of each one of the three coordinators (Simon Penny, Roc Pares and Mara Balestrini) about how they felt  about transdisciplinarity, its objectives and its working methods.

Simon Penny approached the value and challenges of transdisciplinarity from a general perspective but remarked that transdisciplinarity is a process framed in social and historical contexts. What today is considered a transdisciplinary program, tomorrow will be an established discipline. He stressed the combinatorial  aspect of transdisciplinary work pointing, for example, to the translation of methods from one discipline to another. He also remarked the problems posed by the difficulties of communication and the need to play with the different languages ​and practices of each discipline that conrtibutes to a project.

Roc Parés approached his contribution from his experience in the intersection between art, science and technology, particularly new media. He stressed the opportunity to look in places where there is still no intersection between disciplines, and to delve into them to come up with new possibilities.

Mara Balestrini take on transdisciplinarity focused on her experience at the intersection of new technologies, the city and citizen engagement, a perpsective we can easily relate to. She shoed examples of projects where the use of mobile technology and the Internet in public spaces generated authentic engagement. She also shared her recent work on aspects of interaction between strangers in public spaces and its consequences.

During the following two days all participants described their own projects and then all of them worked together as transdisciplinary possible to create new proposals.

We came to Synergy wanting to know  about new methods but ended up opening up and morphing a little our project on internal contamination and joining in other project based on the concept of mistakes in general and science in particular and the role of misatkes in culture. We will describe this in more detail in future posts. In any case it was a very rewarding experience to know about other collaborative approaches from different disciplines. We left with very good connections and new potential partners.

A very good initiative.

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Science of the City in Menorca


During this weekend, from thursday 16th to saturday 18th of May, La Mandarina de Newton will be in Menorca to present Science of the City’s project. These days, at the Institut Menorquí d’Estudis (IME) in Mahon, it will take place the 7th European Spring School on History of Science and Popularization, this year dedicated to the topic ‘Science on Television’.

During this edition, students, scholars, researchers and professionals will have the opportunity to discuss the roles Television and Science play in our daily lives. Irene Lapuente (La Mandarina de Newton) will be participating in the conference and will present the project Science of the City on the last day of the event. Some of the videos from the first and second edition will be shown to the participants.

We will keep you updated!

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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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La Mandarina de Newton in the Netherlands

During the first weekend of March, Irene Lapuente (La Mandarina de Newton) travelled to the Netherlands, to Leiden and Amsterdam. This tryp was done thanks to the collaboration with the Atelier des Jours à Venir and the support of Fondation de France.

On March 1st, Irene was at the Faculty of Sciences, Leiden University, to give a talk about science communication models: ‘Beyond the Science Communication Model: Hybridization, Participation and Activism’. Irene was invited to participate in the Leiden Science Communication Seminars, a monthly series of seminars to discuss contemporary issues in science communication. She presented the ‘recipe’ we use and that she believes should be used to communicate Science: a transdiciplinary and participatory model. A model where communicating is much more than just a passive transfer of information: we hybridize disciplines, knowledge, and ways of thinking and working; we believe in a true dialogue and we avoid the monologue. As an example of this way of working, Irene explained the idea behind our project ‘Science of the City’. As you know, this is a project in which we mix different disciplines (science, urbanism, design, audiovisuals, arts…) and in which we have active participation at different levels. At the end of the talk we were quite happy with the feedback and the discussion generated within the audience. You can check the full presentation here:

The day after, March 2nd, Irene, Livio Riboli-Sasco and Leïla Perié had another appointment, now, in Amsterdam. They presented the concepts behind the project ‘Science of the City’ and lead a workshop for children. The aim was to motivate the kids to question and explore the science hidden in their city. The workshop started with a first challenge: the kids had to invent conversations based on questioning. Then, we performed an interesting exercise: with their questions, they had to change the interrogative words (why/what/how/when/where…) and reflect on how this would change the meaning of the questions and therefore, the answers. We also challenged them to question the science behind a series of pictures we distributed among them. Then, it arrived the most fun part for them: they had to explore their own city. They became little scientists and came up with the questions they would like to answer.

   

They took their own photos and their own notes, like a ‘field’ explorer! And they actually came back with a lot of interesting questions and ideas. After this, it was time, within each group, to choose which of the questions they would like to work on and to make the storyboard of their own ‘Science of the City’ video. The workshop finished here, but this was not the whole story! The students will keep working on their projects. The final goal is to produce some videos and to exhibit them at the Science Center of Amsterdam, the Nemo Museum, during the Fim & Science Festival in April. We will keep you updated!!

You can find all the photos of the workshop in the Science of the City Facebook page.

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La Mandarina de Newton and Science of the City in Zagreb!

During this weekend (February, 1st-3rd, 2013) La Mandarina de Newton is going to Zagreb, Croatia. There we will participate in a series of events to promote science, organized by Ecsite’s member Aquis and L’Atelier des Jours à Venir. Irene Lapuente, the founder of La Mandarina de Newton, will present our project Science of the City. It will be a busy weekend: there will be workshops, video screenings, roundtables, interviews…

Some of these events will be open to the public. Tomorrow there will be an open lecture and interactive conference as well as the opening of the Science of the City exhibition at the Student Center. On Saturday there will be a video screening of some of the videos of the project and people will have the opportunity to make suggestions and questions about the topics at the intersection of  Science/Technology/City.

This is La Mandarina de Newton across borders!!

We will come back to you soon with the results of this intense weekend!

¡Science of the City also on Facebook!

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Critical Design Cycle: Presentation on Internal Contamination with Miquel Porta

Next Friday, January 18th, at our space in Gràcia, we will have a first presentation about the central topic of our cycle on critical design.

The focus is on “Internal Contamination”, i.e., the existance of persistant toxic materials in our body due to our interaction with our increasingly complex artificial environment. The whole problem will be presented by Dr. Miquel Porta, an internationally renowned researcher and expert in these subjects.
This is topic with a lot of implications, interwoven causes and complex webs of interests and behaviours. We thought it was a difficult “wicked problem” and we have decided to approach it from the perspective of “Critical Design” in order to create dilemmatic objects and open up a project to include designers, scientists, science communicators, educators and plain citizens.
The project is organized around several presentations and workshops that will take place from January to April 2013.

This is the first one and you are invited to join. If you are interested, please register through Eventbrite:

We expect to meet you at Espai Mandarina!.

The presenter.

We have the honor to have with us one of the most renowned experts in “internal contamination”: Dr. Miquel Porta.

Miquel Porta (Barcelona, ​​1957) is a physician and epidemiologist. He has promoted the integration of biological, clinical and socio-environmental knowledge in research and teaching of health sciences.

He is currently head of the Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer Unit at the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research (IMIM) in Barcelona. He is also Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His research focuses on: 1) the clinical and molecular epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, 2) ‘diagnostic delay’ and early detection of cancer, and 3) the health effects of persistent toxic compounds. He belongs to the editorial boards of several international journals, and has published over 300 scientific papers in international journals. He has taught in numerous American and European universities, including Imperial College (London) and Harvard, where he enjoyed a sabbatical. He has been president of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology, of the European Epidemiology Federation, and of Científicos por el Medio Ambiente.

Miquel Porta believes that scientific leadership must be projected beyond the academic world and, therefore, he intervenes occasionally in the media, such as the newspaper El País. His latest non-scientific article (whose title is “Las quiero a morir”) is à propos Spotify and the massive enjoyment of music (published in the January-February 2013 issue of  the journal ”Claves de Razón Práctica”).

進化 -Jinhuà: from image to science, from science to design

A collaboration between La Mandarina de Newton and the Science Section of the Barcelona Ateneu. 

 

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Announcing the winners of Science of the City II!

This second edition of Science of the City will have different phases. It will travel around different cities of the world where it will incorporate new videos, new ideas and new debates.

So far, the first phase of this second edition ended on December 15th. It got a high level participation. The members of the jury have been Irene Lapuente, Ramon Sangüesa, Albert Folk, Claire Ribrault and Livio Riboli-Sasco. They had a hard job choosing for the best videos. Finally, they decided to hand the prizes to these three following videos:

La basura en la ciudad (150€)

Avorriment a l’Institut (150€)
Biogas (150€)

We would like to congratulate the winners and all the rest of the participants for their effort and their learning experienced!

The following steps will lead us to connect the participants with science researchers in the following fields: waste, perception and energy. We will keep you informed!

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