Campus News

Bridging disciplines at the Indeterminacy Festival

erialists from The Bird’s Nest will be attached to the silo, creating a vertical dance with string and then disseminating this string to dancers on the ground.

Aerialists from The Bird’s Nest will be attached to a grain silo at Silo City, creating a vertical dance with string and then disseminating this string to dancers on the ground. Photo: Courtesy of Stanzi Vaubel

By ROBBY JOHNSON

Published May 9, 2018

Stanzi Vaubel
“String functions metaphorically as a link between old and new models, as well as unlikely partnerships.”
Stanzi Vaubel, PhD candidate, Media Study, and director
Indeterminacy Festival

Next week’s Indeterminacy Festival will bridge the gaps between disciplines by showcasing collaborative work that explores the nature of uncertainty.

The festival, now in its second year, will explore the theme of “emergence” by creating unlikely connections across disciplines.

“The theme of emergence is important because it offers an opportunity to explore what is possible when ideas, colliding with other modes of thought, might become something new, something other than they once were, something unplanned,” says Stanzi Vaubel, PhD student in the Department of Media Study and director of the festival. Vaubel is co-producing the festival with Sarah JM Kolberg, a PhD candidate in visual studies

The event will tackle this theme with a series of performances from 8:30-10 p.m. May 18 and 19 at Silo City.

Taking part in the performances will be community groups from around Buffalo — including the youth choir from Our Lady of Hope of Church, the Baker Memorial UMC Choir, the Parkinson Dance Ensemble, musicians from Buffalo String Works, with artistic collaboration from Starlight Studio and Just Buffalo Literary Center, to name a few — in addition to the UB departments of Music, Theatre and Dance, Architecture, Physics and Geology. 

For example, a discipline like dance will connect to a very different one – physics – through the insight of physics faculty member Doreen Wackeroth, who will help create an immersive simulation of the Large Hadron Collider.

Indeterminacy Festival promotional poster.

Choreography will be implemented in the performances, but other subject matter will also be in the mix. By using string as a metaphor for connecting people and ideas, audience members will navigate a walkable net that will carry them between different spaces at Silo City. Aerialists from The Bird’s Nest will be attached to the silo, creating a vertical dance with string and then disseminating this string to dancers on the ground.   

They also will be engaged with the string metaphor through the performance of a long wire string instrument, designed by an engineer collaborating on the project, that lends a sonic and musical dimension to the string metaphor.

“String functions metaphorically as a link between old and new models, as well as unlikely partnerships,” Vaubel says. “These examples are intended to illustrate how far-reaching the festival is in its scope to re-think how we relate to the arts and sciences as a means to re-think our present and future.”

She hopes all of these elements together will encourage people to think and engage in new ways.

“I hope the audience will have that experience of discovery, that they will feel firsthand the possibilities that arise when we risk not knowing and rigorously engage with the world that surrounds us,” she adds.

The performances at Silo City will be the culmination of a week of workshops and other events that widely explore the concept of emergence and its application across the disciplines. Visiting artists hosted in partnership with the Techne Institute will travel to Buffalo for the week from as far away as Rio de Janeiro, Geneva, Paris and Norway.

Beginning May 14, participants will be able to watch a screening of a recently released documentary on Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and the Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, or a screening of “Particle Fever,” a documentary tracking the first round of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. Also on the schedule is a sailboat tour and an afternoon planting activity with 5 Loaves Farm.

A full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s website. Space is limited at all events and reservations are suggested. URLs to register can be found at the bottom of the “Detailed Festival Schedule” page.