Interdisciplinary artist Ansuman Biswas created 'Epistemic Tides' in response to his conversation with Martin Archer.
This is how he got there...
Ansuman Biswas was born in India and trained in the UK. He has an international practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre. He is interested in hybridity and interdisciplinarity – often working between science, art and religion, for instance, or between music, dance and visual art.
Over the last few years his work has included directing Shakespeare in America, translating Tagore, designing underwater sculptures in the Red Sea, living with wandering minstrels in India, being an ornamental hermit in the English countryside, touring with Björk, surviving blindfolded in an unknown place, travelling with nomadic shamans in the Gobi Desert, playing with Oasis, collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, living for a week with nothing but what spectators chose to give him, singing for 24 hours non-stop, organizing grassroots activists in Soweto, meditating in a box for ten days with no food or light, creating a musical in a maximum security prison, bathing strangers, being a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, holding seminars in a Burmese monastery, running a club for women in Hamburg’s red light district, playing with terminally ill children, making a radio telescope sing and dance, being locked in a Gothic tower alone for forty days and nights, flying on a real, live, magic carpet, and stopping time.
Ansuman is co-chair of the Live Art Development Agency. He is a trustee of Longplayer, the thousand-year long musical composition, and a trustee of Arts Catalyst, working between science and art. He has had a leading role in developing academic programmes at Dartington College of Arts and at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has pioneered new models of interdisciplinary collaboration at Hewlett-Packard's research lab in Bangalore and has been artist-in-residence at the National Institute of Medical Research in London. He has been part of a ground-breaking study group for the European Space Agency on Cultural Utilization of the International Space Station and he has been Creative Director of the Tagore Centre. He has worked as a theatre composer at the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Ballet, Shakespeare’s Globe, and London’s West End. His visual art work has been shown in museums and galleries throughout Europe, USA, and Asia.
Dr Martin Archer is a ‘UKRI Stephen Hawking Fellow’ in Space Plasma Physics and Public Engagement at Imperial College London, studying how the weak plasma that fills the solar system, and in particular Earth’s space environment, makes seemingly empty space an incredibly complex and dynamic place. His research career has focused on many of the dynamical processes present, investigating their origins, properties and consequences. This work has been highlighted by NASA and ESA and covered by outlets including BBC, ABC Australia, USA Today, Scientific American, New Scientist, Xinhua and many more.
Martin also been a strong proponent in developing award-winning innovative and impactful research-based outreach and public engagement activities for over a decade, sharing the excitement and importance of physics in accessible ways to a variety of often underserved audiences. Projects have included new models of citizen science or collaborative research projects with schools/public, making scientific data more accessible through methods such as sonification, and evidencing who engages with physics, why, and how we can reach those outside of the scientific echo chamber. These projects and their evaluations have formed the basis of peer-reviewed publications. Martin also has a long history of working with media. He was previously a DJ on Kiss FM and now works with broadcast and online channels in presenting, writing, or consulting capacities.
on sonification and acts of listening
Change happens because of the influence of people who are influential - it's disingenuous of scientists to pretend it's not charismatic individuals who convince people that things should be done a different way...
I was really struck by the work with Eltham Hill School... You can hear things that would be impossible to recognise in reams of data.
on scientific modalities, biased interpretation and the senses
For me, what's most important about experimentation is the mystery, the not being in control, the feeling of reliquishing control.
on experimentation, not-knowing and the perils of epistemic control
What I do is observational science... the lab is 'out there' and the experiment is about teasing things out of the data.