The Operating System

CREATIVE PRACTICE AT THE CROSSROADS :: ‘PERFORMANCE SCIENCE’ AT SYMPHONY SPACE

 Crossroads is conceived of as a communications project. I had been presenting the science of climate change and sustainability to people of all flavors for five years…I came to believe that it’s not that people weren’t getting it, they just weren’t feeling it. I was looking for a better way to convey the scale and urgency of the problem. To connect it to people’s lives in a very real and very tangible way. At the heart of The Crossroads Project is live performance. It’s performance art, but also performance science. – Dr. Robert Davies, Physicist

There’s something that happens when we watch a well made documentary – even a well made online video – that simply doesn’t translate into a lecture hall or plain text. It’s the inclusion of our senses into the way we receive an idea… something anyone working in advertising (or other, less well meaning propaganda) knows well – and it’s something that’s been revolutionizing the way forward thinking businesses approach (and capture) their audience for some time. (See: politicians, megachurches, global brands)

With ‘The Crossroads Project’, Physicist Dr. Robert Davies – long time public lecturer and educator based at Utah State University’s Climate Center — seeks to revolutionize the way we communicate research by playing on the other senses simultaneously — LIVE. Here, an audience receives scientific findings in tandem with strong visual imagery, rounded out by the emotional swells we are all familiar with experiencing listening to live music.

Dr Robert Davies + Fry St Quartet

Dr. Robert Davies (left) and Fry Street Quartet – photo by Mary Kay Gaydos

This exciting venture into the future of sensory education takes place Thursday, February 13 (7:30 pm) in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space. Supported by the Fry Street Quartet — praised by The New York Times as “a triumph of ensemble playing” — the project draws upon the complementary perspectives of art and environmental science to address the complex challenges of global sustainability and climate change.

Described by its collaborators as “performance science,” The Crossroads Project combines compelling research and vivid imagery to examine humanity’s predicament, and then unleashes powerful music in an effort to take the audience on a journey from intellectual understanding to visceral experience, and finally to personal resolve.

Dr. Davies will provide live commentary, and the Fry Street Quartet – will perform Rising Tide, a newly-commissioned work by composer (and soon departing Symphony Space Artistic Director) Laura Kaminsky, plus pieces by Haydn and Janacek.

The visual sense is brought into play via striking images from painter Rebecca Allan, environmental sculptor Lyman Whitaker, and National Geographic photographer Garth Lenz.

Following the performance, there will be a discussion with Dr. William H. Schelsinger, President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Dr. Gavin Schmidt, deputy director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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Tickets are $32, $27 for Symphony Space members, and $20 for those 30 and under, available at www.symphonyspace.org.

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