Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dance The Higgs

Ah, another one of those!

I made no bones about my feeling on such things. This appears to be another attempt at incorporating physics into the arts. In particular, they're incorporating the apparent discovery of the Higgs into dance and photography.

Our Reintegrate project will translate the details of the Higgs boson discovery into a series of precisely choreographed visual images. By translating potentially the greatest breakthrough in particle physics in the 21st century through the intersecting artistic mediums of photography and dance, we will investigate the problem and benefits of communication across three disciplines that weigh heavily toward the non-verbal articulation of ideas.
 First of all, I don't quite understand exactly what is meant by the phrase that I've bold in that paragraph. Secondly, since we're "talking" about non-verbal articulation of ideas here, I would like to challenge the organizers to try this experiment: DO NOT tell your audience in advance what the dance is about. Don't even give them a title (thus, the non-verbal part). Just present the dance. After the presentation, do a poll and see what they think the dance is about. What are the chances that they actually will say "Oh, it is about the problem and benefits of communication across physics, dance, and photography on the discovery of the Higgs boson"?

Now, you could ask me "But ZapperZ, arts, such as dance, is very subjective and interpretive. You don't expect them to actually come up with not only an accurate answer, but also one consistent answer, do you?" And I would say, that's my whole point! If you want to communicate about the discovery of the Higgs, the importance of the physics of the Higgs, etc., your BEST BET in doing that is to convey an UNAMBIGUOUS message is via direct, verbal communication! It cannot be done effectively and unambiguously via "dance". I just don't see it.

If you want to do this simply for entertainment, fine. Knock yourself out. But I seriously question when this thing is being "intellectualized" as if such an exercise can actually produce anything meaningful, informative, and accurate. This is just too close to being an Emperor's New Clothes to me. A lot of people are going along with the "intent" but there hasn't been a lot of substance.


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