Current events

The UOC lines up a show blending dance and technology for the City and Science Biennial

  Foto: Unplash/Ahmad Odeh (CC)

Foto: Unplash/Ahmad Odeh (CC)

Anna Torres Garrote
Two members of faculty from the UOC are organizing a series of activities on Science and Art, which is one of the themes of this cultural event that starts on Thursday 7 February

Hiroaki Umeda is a Japanese dancer who fuses contemporary dance with modern technology, synchronizing audiovisual productions with his minimalist movements on stage. Next weekend, the Teatre Condal in Barcelona will host two of his shows: Intensional Particle and Accumulated Layout. UOC professors Pau Alsina and Irma Vil have presented these two proposals within the framework of the first City and Science Biennial that will begin this Thursday 7 February.


Umeda choreographs his own shows and generates soundscapes and visual digital abstractions, reinterpreting the intentional aspect of the particles in his performance Intensional Particle. In Accumulated Layout, his body is transformed into an instrument as he uses his movements to play with the light on stage. These are two dance productions from one of the most successful creators of avant-garde performance in Japan.

Additionally, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya is organizing the first session for the season of science-fiction films at Cinema Phenomena, kicking off on 7 February with the film Ex Machina. It is also preparing Discussion about art and science, and conversations for Artists in the laboratory at the Centre de Cultura Contempornia de Barcelona (CCCB) on 8 February; the Espills: art and science installation by Playmodes at CosmoCaixa Barcelona from 9 to 17 February; and the Harmonic series of dialogues on 11, 18 and 25 February at the municipal facility Vil·la Urnia. All activities are free to attend and form part of the first City and Science Biennial, an initiative promoted by Barcelona City Council in collaboration with 118 other companies.

The curators from the UOC that have devised and thought out the activities under the theme of Science and Art are Pau Alsina, professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and director of the research group DARTS and the journal Artnodes, as well as Irma Vil, professor at the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, director of the journal Mosaic, and art, science and technology researcher with the research group DARTS. The UOC thus reaffirms its commitment to bring society closer to the knowledge generated at the University and to promote spaces for co-creation.

Ex Machina. Season Phenomena: Science-fiction films

A young programmer who works in one of the largest computer companies in the world wins a competition prize: spending a week’s holiday in the private mansion of the company’s executive president. There, he will take part in a strange and fascinating experiment: interacting with the world’s first artificial intelligence, which lives in the body of a beautiful female robot.

Ex Machina (2015) is considered one of the best film explorations of a computer’s ability to generate the morally important powers of a person. It poses questions such as the advancement of robotics and artificial intelligence, humans’ relationship with robots and the limits between human intelligence and strategic artificial intelligence that is difficult to control. After the screening, Francesc Nez and Carme Torras will hold a short discussion about these issues, which will be moderated by Pau Alsina.


Artists in the laboratory

Cities have become spaces of hybridization of knowledge and culture. The initiatives and the programmes presented at this round table are focused on the collaboration between artists, scientists and technologists. Monica Bello, head of the Arts programme at CERN; Llus Nacenta, director of Hangar; and Tere Badia, director of Culture Action Europe, will also be participating in the event.


Discussion about art and science

What happens when art, science and technology come together? What have we learned so far about this collaboration? What do scientists, technologists and artists get out of it? And what about society and people in general? Behind these questions there are universal question marks about mankind, nature, life, the world and the universe, and about the experiences that shape us as human beings.

This dialogue among internationally renowned experts hopes to show examples of this art-science hybridization, and reflect on these and many other questions with a far-reaching informed view. Dean of the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Gunalan Nadarajan; bioartist Marta de Menezes, and full professor of media theory from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Ingeborg Reichle, will also be participating in the discussion.


Espills: art and science installation by Playmodes

Inspired by the processes of crystal formation and erosion, Espills is a solid light sculpture, constructed from laser light and three-dimensional sound projections. A series of figures that float in the air and abstractly suggest the transmutation of matter from chaos to order – dust that becomes crystal, which is eroded and returns to dust.

Thanks to a programme created by the artists, different games of reflection and symmetry shape geometric volumes that evolve in time. This programme is able to orchestrate the lasers through banks of oscillators: periodic mathematical functions that can describe sounds, shapes, vibration and movement. Each visual representation integrates its own sound design with sonification algorithms that transform the light into music and complete this alchemical landscape.


Harmonic series: dialogues on art and science at Vil·la Urnia

Barcelona is one of the most active cities in Europe with regard to collaborations between art, science and technology. “Harmonic series” is a series of dialogues between artists, scientists, technologists and thinkers in the city aimed at introducing these creators and their artistic ideas to the public, reflecting collectively on the major issues of the day, in short, about our place in the world.

Following a presentation by the UOC’s vice president for Globalization and Cooperation, Pastora Martnez Samper, the first session will open up a conversation between Joana Moll, Marina Garcs, Mnica Rikić and Jlia Borrs as they discuss the challenges currently facing us as individuals and as a society: environmental pollution, climate change, civil vigilance on the internet and the policy of algorisms, and the challenges of robotics and artificial intelligence. These are challenges that become clues as to how we will have to relate with each other and our surroundings.

The second session on 18 February will be presented by professor Pau Alsina, following which experts Andy Gracie, Carme Jordi, and Nria Vergs Bosch will engage together in discussions. The speakers will aim to respond to far-reaching questions such as: Where in the brain is a creator’s brilliance located? What do neurosciences know about it? How do we relate to our surroundings?

The third session will focus on mathematics, which are either implicitly and explicitly present in both the arts and the sciences. Mathematics is the language of science, but computer code has become the language of today. Alba G. Corral; Maria Antnia Huertas, professor at the UOC’s Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications; Jos Manuel Berenguer; and Snia Fernndez-Vidal are the artists and scientists taking part in this multi-faceted dialogue. They will speak about mathematics, geometry, software, programming and data visualization, as well as music and quantum physics. Professor and curator Irma Vil will moderate the round table.


Dialogue: Is transparent science, open to all, possible?

The UOC’s vice president for Globalization and Cooperation, Pastora Martnez Samper, has also been invited as a scientist to take part in another Biennial activity: a dialogue to be held at La Pedrera on Sunday 10 February at 6 pm.

There are currently communities of researchers and citizens who create, store, share and deliver their results to society in order to speed up the transition towards a knowledge-based society. However, for many groups, academic knowledge is barely accessible. Is it possible to promote collective intelligence in order to make decisions as a society? How should these actions be implemented? Are we ready and prepared to share knowledge?

The experts will consider how to incorporate the principles of open science and how transformative approaches can be promoted to change the culture of public bodies and interested organizations.


The first City and Science Biennial

The City and Science Biennial will take place from 7 to 11 February in over 70 different locations around the city of Barcelona, representing one of the most important scientific knowledge, research and experimentation poles in Europe. Nobel Prize winner in physics Jerome Isaac Friedman and Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Ada Yonath will also take part in the event alongside other international experts. The programme will delve into the relationship between scientific knowledge and citizen involvement with the aim of providing answers to numerous questions and uncertainties that have arisen to this regard. The Biennial will collaborate with academics, researchers, educators and scientists from Barcelona and aims to create spaces for open reflection among all those who wish to attend.


Photograph of Pau David Alsina Gonzlez

Pau David Alsina Gonzlez

Expert in: Digital culture and technologies; innovation in cultural management and production; interrelation of art, science, technology and society; new media; post-structuralist philosophy.

Knowledge area: Arts and philosophy.

View file
Photograph of Irma Vil dena

Irma Vil dena

Expert in: Digital culture, art and new media, curation, documentation in the creation, production, dissemination and preservation of multimedia content and digital art, and visual design and communication

Knowledge area: Digital creativity and aesthetics, audiovisual documentation, graphic design, and curating of art and new media.

View file

Enllaos relacionats