A podcast of stories, ideas, and speculations from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Each month, we'll bring you into a conversation between visionaries from the worlds of arts, sciences, humanities, engineering, and medicine on the nature of the imagination and how, through speculative culture, we collaborate to create the future.
Today is an unusual and very special episode of Into the Impossible. In winter of 2015, the Clarke Center produced a collaborative project with the performance artist Marina Abramović and the science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. The multi-day workshop cultivated a series of interactions between a story that Stan was writing about a multi-generational spaceship heading to another star, and the performance art gestures of Marina’s that are a journey into our inner self. We improvised readings and performance actions to find the ways in which these seemingly diametric experiences touched on the common idea of how we extend our sense of time and space from the moment to the eternal. Out of this, we created an installation with multiple audio tracks, which was then further developed for the Venice Biennale. We also made a short film, which you can find a link to on the podcast webpage, and the audio tracks were mixed and choreographed by Adam Tinkle into the podcast we are featuring today: The Hard Problem: An Audio Voyage, by Kim Stanley Robinson, Adam Tinkle, Marina Abramović and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination.
We’re looking at wonder and imagination today, through the plays of Herbert Siguenza (playwright, actor, and director; founding member of Culture Clash) that take us from Pablo Picasso in 1957 to a post-apocalyptic California, and the art (and green thumb) of Jon Lomberg (astronomical artist), who worked with Carl Sagan on the original Cosmos and has created a garden that can help us imagine our place in the universe. Both ask, as Herbert does in the persona of Picasso himself, “How can we make the world worthy of its children?”
How do we imagine the impossible? On today’s episode, we talk to physicists and writers (and writer-physicists) about this question. Along the way, we’ll touch on a range of topics, from how to detect gravitational waves to how the hippies saved physics, from the history of science to the metaphors of science, from the birth of the universe to the creation of poetry about the birth of the universe. Featuring David Kaiser (physicist, MIT), Rae Armantrout (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet), Freeman Dyson (physicist and writer), and Brian Keating (astrophysicist, UC San Diego).