Tuesday June 23rd
At Tickbird&Rhino, our goal has always been to bring people together and explore fascinating ideas through great conversation. That hasn't changed during these challenging times, and with the wonders of modern technology by our side we continue to do just that.
For our first online panel discussion we gathered together an incredible group of accomplished people from around the world and got them talking about the things currently occupying their time. Working in the arts, sciences and public health, each is a leader in their field and we asked them to come together to discuss how the current crisis has changed what they do and how they do it.
As is usual for our kinds of events, once we start the conversation we let it unfold naturally and follow wherever it takes us on the night. In this case the evening evolved into a fascinating discussion that covered everything from open science to the pandemic-fueled existential crisis being experienced in many professions as the world grapples with understanding our new 'normal'.
We are currently preparing the
recording of the event
and will post it here shortly.
Gowri Gopalakrishna (Amsterdam) – Epidemiologist. Gowri is currently examining research integrity through a large-scale survey funded by the Dutch government. Actively involved in the SARS epidemic (2003) and now COVID-19, her interest is in open science and the impact of "speed science" during the pandemic.
Zisis Kozlakidis (Lyon) – Virologist. Zisis is the Head of Labs and Biobanking at WHO / Int'l Agency for Cancer Research, and European contact for National Institutes of Health (US). He is part of the Tickbird&Rhino collaboration Shift Happens: Ephemeral Transformations, a remodelling of epidemics in sound.
Colby Benari (London) - Portrait painter. Colby is co-founder of Flat43.com, an organisation working to "sort shit out and save the world" through the support of artists and women leaders. Colby is also head of the Academic Careers Office at University College London developing the careers of scientists internationally.
Jana Miniarikova (Amsterdam) – Geneticist. Jana is co-developer of a breakthrough gene therapy for Huntington's disease. She is the CEO and co-founder of ScientiCore, an organisation that acts as the "connective tissue" between researchers, bringing them together to help accelerate scientific advancement.
Roland van Dierendonck (Oslo) – Bio-artist/Educator. Roland works in multiple media, utilising the unpredictability of living matter at the intersection of science, art and technology. He recently organised and led workshops to create work that explores the societal and economic impact of the pandemic.
Kitty Liao (Cambridge) – Engineer. Kitty's background is in multi-disciplinary system design in low temperature settings. She worked at CERN until taking part in a humanitarian hackathon that led her to found Ideabatic, a company developing SMILE, the “Smart Last-mile Vaccination Cooling System” for delivering vaccines to challenging destinations.
Bill Paxton (Liverpool) – Virologist. Bill holds a chair in Global Health at the University of Liverpool where he “studies the outlier” in host viral interactions. Originally focussed on HIV, then HCV and Ebola, he and his team have now turned to SARS-CoV-2 to aid with the urgent response to the pandemic.
Irene Nooren (Amsterdam) - Scientist/Philosopher. Irene has a background in biophysical chemistry and biomolecular structures. Her research blends biological processes with informatics for society. She currently manages innovation on the bridge between science and digital infrastructures.
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Virus Into Sound
Dr Zisis Kozlakidis
head of laboratory & biobanking
IARC / WHO
Ephemeral Transformations is an ongoing collaboration between the artist Jockel Liess and virologist Dr Zisis Kozlakidis that is exploring new ways of modelling epidemics in a creative and more accessible form.
In the first phase of this project, Jockel was given access to anonymised genetic samples gathered during an outbreak of H1N1 influenza in Brazil in 2017.
Treating this sampling as 'snapshots' of the epidemic's evolution, Jockel took the data from the virus' RNA and, breaking it down into strings of nucleobases (a, c, g & t), assigned a sonic element to each of these parts.
Then, using the mutation of the virus as framework, Jockel created a generative algorithm that recompiled these sonic elements, building them back up into an aural experience, making it possible to listen to this specific epidemic in an orchestrated form as it unfolds over time.
With this first phase now successfully completed (essentially providing "proof of concept"), Zisis and Jockel have begun to investigate ways of making the framework predictive, allowing the listener to hear where an epidemic might lead, if left to run it's course. They are also expanding the project into the visual realm by creating an immersive environment that can be presented in both a gallery and clinical setting.
The goals of this project are two-fold: the artist is aiming for an aesthetically pleasing experience (that remains scientifically coherent), while the virologist continues to look for new ways of communicating what occurs during an epidemic to those people directly affected by it.
Click the link to listen.
We recommend wearing headphones and turning up the volume, innit.
Dr Zisis Kozlakidis is Head of Laboratory and Biobanking at the IARC / WHO (International Agency for Research on Cancer). He is also a virologist and Innovation Fellow at UCL working on the front-line of diseases outbreaks around the world.
Jockel Liess is an audiovisual artist and composer specialising in live-generative audiovisual systems that create abstract, meditative environments.
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To find out more about Tickbird&Rhino