Thursday, March 26, 2009

Announcing Quantum Poetics, coming 2010 to a theatre near you (if you live near NYC)

Surprise surprise. It seems we only get our project pitches in anything resembling articulate shape when a grant deadline forces us to. This means, of course, that the project pitch is written in "grant-ese," a special language which requires four times as many words to communicate simple ideas. Like most grant apps for new Stolen Chair projects, the ideas are at the earlist, most zygotic stage; we won't have our heads firmly wrapped around this piece until 3 months after our first retreat and our first retreat won't be until October.

Science tells us what is true. Art tells us how those truths make us feel. Science is a building's structure. Art is the wallpaper. Science, we tend to think, will eventually know so much about the universe, perhaps art will no longer be necessary to describe human feeling. Recently, however, the fundamental truths of science have been discarded faster than last year's fashions, and new discoveries in neuroscience and theoretical physics have come to paint a chaotic, pluralistic vision of an unknowable world unrecognizable to our great-grandparents, but quite familiar to artists who have presented such fractured perspectives for decades. If art tells us the truth, then maybe science confirms the truth's truthiness? Or maybe: there is no objective, stable "truth," and scientists and artists are together joined in a journey to understand an ever-shifting reality. As science writer Jonah Lehrer writes, "Science needs art to frame the mystery, but art needs science so not everything is a mystery." In QUANTUM POETICS, Stolen Chair's 13th original work, we will fuse our experiments as a laboratory theatre with the experiments of chemistry, physics, genetics, and neuroscience laboratories around the world, guided by the question: how can theatre adapt recent scientific discoveries to the stage, creating a unique dramaturgy and performance style that speaks holistically to our contemporary human experience?

Since QUANTUM POETICS will be created over the course of our entire 2010 season--virtually doubling Stolen Chair's developmental time--we're still discovering the contours of the project. What we do know, however, is it will, like all Stolen Chair pieces, be developed by our resident company in a process likened to an "aesthetic supercollider" (Leonard Jacobs, NY PRESS), a collaboration further enriched through interviews with reknowned physicists, neuroscientists, geneticists, and chemists. We hope QUANTUM POETICS, our most far-reaching creation to date, may serve as a stepping stone for dialogue between the artistic and scientific communities, inviting each to draw inspiration from the other.

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