What happens when a group of artists, scientists and engineers come together? They create a series of art experiments in the form of performances that challenge our traditional notions of the interplay between art and science. The upcoming exhibit 9e2 Seattle consists of nine evenings of performances and installations at King Street Station. It runs Oct. 21–29.

The title of the exhibit is a reference to the original 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering exhibition that took place in 1966 in New York City. Organized by painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg and Bell Laboratories engineer Billy Klüver, the original 9 Evenings brought together artists like John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton and others who collaborated with 30 engineers and scientists to produce art inspired by technology and science.

Fifty years later, a local group of artists and organizers are commemorating 9 Evenings by bringing together artists, scientists and engineers from Seattle, Boston, Connecticut, Dallas, New York and San Francisco. Artists from Seattle include Gary Hill, sound artist and neurologist Thomas Deuel and choreographer Dayna Hanson.

Performances include Hanson’s premiere of 28 Problems, a dance inspired by calculus problems (see it opening night), Beyond the Metaphors — Butoh x DeepDream featuring Google Deep Dream researchers working with Butoh dancer Kaoru Okumura.

The Biology of Culture: Cue Signaling by Romson Regarde Bustillo featuring dancer David Rue (below) explores how cultural values and practices are influenced by the brain and genetics, and vice-versa. The piece will be performed on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m.

The video above is a rehearsal and not the actual performance

In his piece, Romson explores signal transduction (also known as cue signalling) — the process in molecular biology of transmitting signals from a cell’s exterior to a cell’s interior, resulting in a biochemical event within the cell. Romson consulted with Jason Berndt, a neuroscientist and molecular biologist, in preparation for the installation and performance.

Romson’s prints will serve as the backdrop and inspiration/cue for dancer David Rue, who translates the work into a movement vocabulary informed by contemporary technique and dances of the West African diaspora.  The prints have several layers of meaning influenced by Filipino cultural symbolism and modern coding languages. 

For John Boylan, creative director of 9e2 Seattle, the interplay between art and science is a way to explore the world around us.

“We have to have a better understanding of the way the world works, at multiple levels,” he says. “Some of those involve artistic creativity and some of those involve scientific rigor.”

Coleman Pester directed and choreographed PYLON II (see a rehearsal clip below) with collaborators Ari Chivukula, Monika Khot and Alexander Boeschenstein. The dance performance, featuring Tectonic Marrow Society, will be performed on Oct. 21 and 26.

The video above is a rehearsal and not the actual performance.

PYLON II continues Pester’s investigation of themes surrounding surveillance and control and its impact on the human body. White sheets hovering above the performance space will have visual projections created by Alexander Boeschenstein, which include 3d-renderings of the installation space, drone footage and surveillance video filmed moments before the performance.  

The performance features dancers Lorraine Lau, Cheryl Delostrinos, David Rue, Randy Ford and Jenna Eady.

“In 1966, a lot of new technology had already been invented in a rudimentary forms, from transistors to early computers to lasers,” says John Boylan, creative director of 9e2 Seattle. “The way we live today is — in part — due to [those] technological advances. The question is: Are we at another moment of technological breakthroughs — whether its virtual reality, augmented reality or huge advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience?”