“Moving Across – Where Art Meets Science”

ChristmasCalendar2019: Day 2
Food: Food for Thought

It has been a week since we all gathered in a chilly but cosy Sunday evening at Stallet, here in Stockholm, for  “Moving Across – Where Art meets Science”
“Moving Across”, an event organized by a group of creative researchers from Karolinska Institutet, brought to a general audience a synergistic connection between interesting biomedical research and its artistic and entertaining explanation by the “Improv” group Improphilia. Sounds fun, right?

Photo Credit: Marina Stantic

In a mist of enjoyable and informative short presentations, we were able to discover the answer to some interesting questions, such as: “What do garbage collectors do in the brain?”, “What happens if our body fat is stored in the wrong place?”, “How do brain cells communicate?” or “What are biological solar panels?”. 
As a speaker, I got to explore and share my passion for astrocytes (the most abundant cells we have in our brain) and how astrocytes communication can be perturbed in neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The Improv interpretation of an astrocyte and its mission in our brain on the challenging journey to “protect the neurons” was beyond engaging and amusing! It inspired me to  continue improving on becoming the best science communicator I can.

Photo Credit : Marina Stantic

Even with my clear bias, I would definitely recommend being part of an event like this, either you are a passionate scientist and science communicator, a creative artist or a curious participant. It definitely touches you and brings different and perhaps”out of the box” perspectives to your own work!

Photo Credit : Marina Stantic

During the mingling part of the “Moving Across” and while surrounded by intriguing art installations, we were also invited to experience body illusions that are powerful means to study how the brain integrates all the sensory information that ultimately influences everything: from our movements, to the very own perception of our body!
I have also found extremely interesting to learn more about how data can be transformed into music by using algorithmic systems while observing an original dance tuned by body sensors and “hula hoop” moves. Visualising vivid and creative ink paintings spread around the room and illustrations based on the journey that neurons make to enable human brain function was another artistic bonus of this event.

Photo Credit: Marina Stantic

At the end of the evening, the mission was accomplished! The 140 people that filled the room got to experience and laugh about the scientific stories through the eyes of both scientists and artists in a fun, casual and open-minded space for discussion of the value of science to our lives, and to explore its intersection with artistic forms, such as theatre, music, movement and design. 
Importantly, outreach events like “Moving Across” convey and help our society to understand why research matters and takes an important investment of public funds. 
Therefore, can’t we all support more initiatives like these ones? One idea is to look into the annual event – European Researchers’ Night from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. I have participated in this night back in Portugal (where I am from), in which scientists went to the stage and performed theater plays, stand-up comedy and contemporary dance engaging the audience as well. It was so fun!
The challenge is out… and we all can take a step further and explore the crosstalk where Art meets science! To more Sunday evenings like this one! 🙂

Photo Credit: Marina Stantic

Feature image: Design by Alba Corman

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