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art & information exploding stars, small pleasures, and the humble oyster

As part of the University of Sydney, Seymour Centre provides
a strong Arts Education Program to support learning
through theatre. It does this in various ways, including programs
aimed at primary and secondary school, and partnerships with major
cultural events such as Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers’ Festival
and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. ART & INFORMATION, a
new series of performance lectures fusing drama and
academia is an extension of this ethos.

Beth Yahp, Tara Murphy and Mitchell Gibbs are the three
academics and performers in ART & INFORMATION. They share
information about an area of their expertise. Director Kate
Gaul has cleverly enhanced their presentations with objects,
projections, sound and lighting.

Creative writing lecturer, Beth Yahp, poetically opened with
thoughts about the Christmas beetle and George Perec’s concept
of the infraordinary. She discussed the importance of small
pleasures, rescuing astonishment from the ordinary and how
remnants can have significance in their own right.

Professor of Astrophysics Tara Murphy, talked about the two
neutron stars that collided 130 million years ago and how the
light waves and the gravitational waves arrived here just
1.7 seconds apart, in 2017 . Tara touched on some of the
fascinating, and at times bewildering, insights into this event,
its detection and some of the ramifications. She explained that
this confirmed another aspect of Einstein’s general theory of
relativity. Notably, this event, the ensuing radio waves and the
location of the source could only havebeen detected very
recently and as a result of worldwide collaboration
between astronomers, astrophysicists and other scientists. It
required technology and knowledge that has only been available
in very recent years. Tara discussed that knowledge is cumulative
and that this accumulation of knowledge was required to record
and define this event.

Mitchell Gibbs’ performance was titled The Humble Oyster. His
research was about the affects on generations of oysters of
climate change. Besides being able to draw on the precise
measurements and investigationsof the hundreds of oysters in a
laboratory environment he could also utilise generations of
research by his indigenous family. Mitchell is a Thunghutti man
through kinship of the Dunghutti nation and their information
is integral in his research. He is part of a movement for
academics in many different fields to draw on indigenous
knowledge. His presentation was fascinating, humorous and
thought provoking.

Lighting and Video Design by Morgan Moroney. Sound Designer and
composer is Zac Saric. Stage Manager is Emma Van Veen.
Production Manager is Daniel Potter and the curators are
Paul Dwyer, Barbara Campbell, and Timothy Jones.

ART & INFORMATION is at the Seymour Centre until 26th
November and is a wonderful display of art and science
coexisting and enhancing each other.

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