28 September 2015

LUNÄ Talk: Immortal, Artificial and Extraterrestrial Life

Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, NL

Initiated by: Marjolijn Dijkman

Hosted by: Marjolijn Dijkman (Artist), Peter Pels (Prof. Anthropology, researcher for The Future is Elsewhere, Leiden University) and Dirk van Delft (Director of Museum Boerhaave), Anke Bangma (Curator at the National Museum of World Cultures, Leiden)

Guests: Dorien Zandbergen (Anthropologist of Digital Culture), George van Hal (Science Journalist), Jaap van de Herik (Prof. Professor in Law and Computer Science, Leiden University), Maarten Lamers (creative researcher, Media Technology MSc, Leiden University)

Location: part of the exhibition 'Global Imaginations' at Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, NL

Admission: 10 Euro's (dinner included)

Start: 16:30

Book here

Super Blood Moon Eclipse: There is a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27/28, 2015. It happens to be the closest super moon of 2015. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest the September equinox. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s first full moon of spring. This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart.


Artists impression of a moon colony, ESA / I want! I want!, W. Blake, 1793

This LUNÄ Talk will take place during full moon, similar to the ritual of the original 18th century Lunar Society. Throughout time the moon has often been used as a surface for speculative projections by scientists as well as artists. This LUNÄ Talk discusses extraterrestrial life, robotics, artificial intelligence and the imagination of these themes in the arts. All guests will be seated at a replica of the oval table which was used by the Lunar Society in Birmingham which existed from 1765 till 1813 .

The Lunar Society of Birmingham was founded in 1765 and was a society of scholars, amateur scientists, poets, industrialists and artists. Among the founding members were Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles), James Watt (steam engine), Joseph Priestley (oxygen) and Josiah Wedgwood (porcelain). They gathered at full moon (in connection with the return journey in the dark) and discussed and dined at an oval table on science, art, philosophy, politics and commerce. They were inspiring meetings on how science, technology and art could serve society, social change included. All this on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. In 1813, the Lunar Society ceased to exist.

The LUNÄ Talk at the Museum Boerhaave is keeping up with this tradition and invites diverse table companions into an inspiring conversation. On the table lies the question of how science and fiction relate to each other, focusing on topics such as immortality, robotics and extraterrestrial life. Among the guests include Dorien Zandbergen, anthropologist with a special interest in digital culture. George van Hal, science journalist who wrote the book 'Robots, Aliens and Popcorn' amongst others. Jaap van de Herik is an expert in the field of artificial intelligence. Furthermore, around LUNÄ in Museum Boerhaave sit artist and initiator Marjolijn Dijkman, anthropologist Peter Pels, curator Anke Bangma from the National Museum of World Cultures and Dirk van Delft, Director of the Boerhaave Museum.

Afterwards these guests will have a joint meal with the public served in the foyer of the museum.