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Superposition #005: Magic, illusion and perception 10/3/14 – 6PM



During this evening of talks, thought experiments and curiosities, three incredible speakers tackle ideas of perception and how we respond to new information.

Professional Magician and Slight-of-Hand artist, Tony O’Neill will be discussing his creative process within the magical syllabus and sharing his current findings on the power of suggestion and self belief.

Experimental jazz musician and neuroscientist Christophe de Bézenac will be talking about the blurring of self and other in music and psychosis. Having studied at Conservatoire de Strasbourg, and been a regular performer at international music festivals he will explain how perceptual ideas have guided his musical practice and how his musical work has, in turn, fed into his empirical/neuroscience research into psychosis.

Digital Artist Ben Dalton’s talk ‘Zines in the age of ‘big data’?’ introduces and proposes the idea of bundle publishing. At odds with current trends in digital distribution, bundle publishing involves editing a large collection of digital content and then publishing it on a specific date as a single, large file. Inspired, in part, by the Humble Indie Bundle initiative as a means of pay what you want, charity supporting, DRM Free, cross-platform game distribution.  Dalton asks what forms these user funded digital publications may take and what issues there may be surrounding distribution. This talk aims to raise questions about design, the future of live broadcast, crowd access to ‘big data’ and the role of spectacle in digital public space as a means of creating masquerade.

Monday 10th March 2014 – 6-8 PM

Additional Information: 

The Superposition is a collaborative community of artists, scientists and makers, based in Leeds. We meet to discuss the overlap of our three disciplines and to be inspired to create artistic work which can be considered ‘science’, ‘art’ and ‘making’, simultaneously. These evening events are not about arguing the merits of whose understanding or application of an idea is right; they’re about identifying the essence of what makes a specific idea beautiful and inspirational through the notions of play/ a playful interaction. The aim is simply to create and nurture conversations that may lead to new collaborations, which in turn result in the making of exciting new work.

Tony O'Neill-magician 2

Tony O’Neill: Professional Magician. My original interests were in the artistry of sleight of hand. But once mastered I became intrigued by other areas of Magical Syllabus. These days I’m most interested in playing and experimenting with my mind and others too, when they let me…and sometimes when they don’t.


Christophe de Bézenac is a musician, researcher and lecturer based in the UK. After studying at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, he completed a PhD which examined perceptual ambiguity in music, taking an ecological approach (University of Leeds, 2007). During this time he became actively involved in the European experimental jazz/music scene. He regularly performs at international festivals/venues and lectures in improvised music at HE institutions. Christophe’s research interests have also led him to work in the field of cognitive neuroscience, more specifically, examining the neural correlates of ambiguity (between self and other). In addition to his artistic pursuits, he is currently conducting behavioural/imaging (fMRI/EEG/TMS) research in the clinical psychology department at the University of Liverpool. The aim of this work is to shed light on mechanisms underlying agency in both health and psychosis, where self/other boundaries can become blurred.

Ben Dalton is currently investigating the theme of design for digital pseudonymity at the Royal College of Art, London. He is on research leave from the Faculty of Art, Environment & Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, to undertake PhD research in to Digital Public Space as part of the AHRC Creative Exchange. Ben has recently shown work, presented talks and devised workshops exploring themes of digital identity performance at Time & Motion FACT Liverpool, FutureEverything Manchester, Today’s Art The Hague, Abandon Normal Devices Liverpool, WWW2013 Rio de Janeiro, Sensuous Knowledge Bergen, and Designing Interactive Systems Newcastle. Ben has a background in ubiquitous computing and mobile sensor networks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, and has assisted research in the Århus University Electron-Molecular Interaction group, University of Leeds Spintronics & Magnetic Nanostructures lab, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, London. Over the last several years Ben has been a regular guest Professor at the Bergen National Academy of Art and Design, teaching in the school of design. He has recently completed two EPSRC funded research projects as co-investigator in to visualising pedestrian usage patterns in interactive urban spaces, and wearable computing sensors for ubiquitous computing applications. He is also currently co-directing the Data is Political project which explores the aesthetic, ethical and spatial dimensions of information and its relation to power, the production of knowledge, and construction of urban spaces.




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