Hammer Museum, Wednesday January 25, 4-6pm, free movement workshop for all
as part of the In Real Life series in the Hammer’s courtyard

Drawing on a thrilling year of research and experimentation in SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence Program (SETI = Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Nina Waisman has started up the Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI) in Los Angeles, joined by founding member and movement expert Flora Wiegmann.

This Wednesday’s participatory workshop, generously hosted by the Hammer Museum and supported by 18th Street Arts Center, will lead into a series of workshops and Spring performances throughout Santa Monica, made possible by The 18th Street Arts Center. All events feature LA-based dancers and choreographers, names are just below the workshop description!

This week’s workshop will offer movement and thought exercises along with scientific information to make physically palpable for you our ongoing explorations of the following questions: How can humans “try on” non-human behaviors in order to perceive them viscerally, gaining knowledge unavailable through classic data analysis? What can we learn from the highly successful behaviors and communication methods our microbial colleagues and ancestors employ? How do human logics and languages compare to microbial behaviors?

Why explore microbial behaviors? To start, microbes are doing a much better, quicker job than we are at adapting to the many challenges thrown at us by the cosmos, the planet, and by our impact on both. Additionally, recent scientific research has found that microbes, like people, use movement and phrasing to communicate among themselves and with other species. It turns out that “all mobile unicellular organisms possess the fundamental characteristics of nervous systems” (Dr. Lori Marino). Perhaps fundamental cognitive capacities and "modes of reason" we think unique to humans belong in some form to microbes. We know that they communicate and that many are multi-lingual. And, if you believe in evolution, you may consider that science shows that microbes have survived and communicated with each other over 3.5 billion years.

Surely there are a few things we can learn from cultures exponentially more adapted and long-lived than we are? And for fun, looking into the future, astrobiologists agree that microbes are the most likely form of life we will encounter out in the cosmos. Can our terrestrial microbes help us communicate with or understand their extraterrestrial cohort?

Through simple, playful meditations and movement exercises, LEI seeks to give us access to some of the vast treasure of behaviors and communication techniques invented and enacted by microbes. Cognitive scientists have found that to exercise a new behavior is to open the mind to a whole new suite of logics.

All ages and skill levels are warmly welcome

The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI)
Director: Nina Waisman

Movement expert and founding member: Flora Wiegmann

Collaborators and Performers (Hammer performers indicated with *):
*Vanessa Baish, *Jonathan Bryant, *Fonzy Cervera, *Hyosin Choi, Hyoin Jun, Nehara Kalev, Murphia Moore, *Jasmin Orpilla, *Gabriela Simon, Juliana Snapper, *Micaela Taylor, *Flora Wiegmann

Lead: Carole Kim

Thanks to:
18th Streets Art Center: Nina Waisman’s residency at 18th Street Arts Center and its associated collaborative public events and performances are made possible by The 18th Street Arts Center, with funding provided by City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, the California Arts Council, and The James Irvine Foundation. 18th Street Art Center is the leading artist residency in Southern California, with a mission to provoke public dialogue through contemporary art making.

The Hammer Museum

Deep gratitude for the generous support and brilliant minds offered by the SETI Institute Artist-in-Residence Program and The Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center, along with art and science collaborators listed here.

Workshop Location:
Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Free admission to the Hammer Museum is made possible through the generosity of Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter

More info:
and here:

Nina Waisman, Director
As a former dancer turned multi-media artist, Nina Waisman is fascinated by the critical roles that movement and sensation play in forming thought. Her interactive sound installations, videos and collaborative performances highlight the subliminal training and possible hacking of such embodied thinking. These works focus on related issues including surveillance, invisible labor, machine-human feedback loops, nanotechnology. Venues include House of World Cultures, Berlin; LAXART; CECUT, Tijuana; OCMA; the Beall Center for Art & Technology, Zero1 Biennial, the San Diego Museum of Art, The New Children's Museum in San Diego. She has taught at institutions such as Cal Arts, SFAI, UCSD, and spent 2015 as an artist in residence at SETI Institute. Waisman is starting a new series of collaborative artworks exploring the role of embodiment in forming non-human intelligences, ranging from microbial on through plant, animal and extraterrestrial intelligences. More info: http://www.ninawaisman.net

Flora Wiegmann, Founding Member, Movement Expert
Flora Wiegmann is a Los Angeles-based dancer and choreographer. She works in both live performance and film, often making research-based work that is specific to its particular site. She has had the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Fritz Haeg, Silke Otto-Knapp, Alix Lambert, Amy Granat, Miljohn Ruperto, Nina Waisman and Tom Lawson. Her projects have been presented at the ICA, Philadelphia; The Kitchen, New York; the California Biennial and LAXART in California, The David Roberts Foundation and The Camden Arts Centre, London; The Banff Center for Creativity in Canada, and Université Rennes in France. More info; http://florawiegmann.com

Related Information

Nina Waisman is an UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts MFA Alumna.

Image detail is courtesy of Artist Nina Waisman and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

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