BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Intermedia
Performance Studio, in collaboration with Buffalo's Subversive
Theatre Collective, will present several free public events this
weekend designed to help members of the audience not only
understand, but actually experience, three very different theories
of how the mind works.
"Improvising Consciousness" will include a lecture and three
interactive workshops in which audiences will explore the idea that
that cognition -- our mental processes and the product of these
processes -- may be an accident of history.
The program will be directed by Josephine Anstey, UB associate
professor of media study, working with a creative team of UB
graduate students: Neil Coletta and Isaac Johnson (media study),
Min Young Kim (English), Vanessa Webb and Tyler Brown (theatre and
All events will take place at the Manny Fried Playhouse, 255
Great Arrow St., Buffalo. Those who want to participate can sign up
The program will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13 with a performative
lecture by Anstey discussing three distinct theories of mind:
Julian Jaynes' radical hypothesis of the bicameral mind, which
holds that until late in the second millennium human beings had no
consciousness but obeyed the voices of gods that they actually
heard in their heads; an extrapolation of Jaynes' theory of the
contemporary configuration of mind, which he called the analog-I
and which Anstey terms the I-Construct mind; and finally an
imagined future Multi-Mind, which builds on the provocative
insights of Roseanne Stone and Truddi Chase, marrying concepts of
multi-personality disorder and the fluidity of personality enabled
by the Internet.
The lecture will be followed by three interactive workshops: on
Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 - 5 p.m.; and on Jan.15 from
noon to 3 p.m.
Participants will take part in exercises in which their minds
will be temporarily "stolen" in order to permit them the
phenomenological experience of alternative mind configurations.
Methods will include interactive computer-based and material games
played with other participants and live actors, and an alter-ego
workshop in which avatars of the self are produced and engage in
The UB Intermedia Performance Studio is a collaborative
initiative involving researchers, scientists and artists from the
UB departments of Media Study, Theatre and Dance, and Computer
Science and Engineering. It creates intermedia experiments in
virtual and mixed reality, digital technology, computer science and
The group is particularly interested in exploring how digital
technology and virtual environments can affect interpersonal
dynamics (i.e., individual interactions with virtual actors and
intelligent agents), as well as the communal relationships that are
traditionally a part of live performance.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.