Why science is a bit like art: An Unsee The Future Science Caketalk

Momo brings a special presentation to the online science festival on Sunday October 04 2020, comparing two human disciplines that are in the business of changing worlds.

 

The bloke from Momo:tempo, Timo Peach, is a music maker and creative with a big interest in how the human planet fits together – and how fellow artists are also trying to make sense of it. But in his edited lecture for Science Cake, he explores three hypotheses aligning the experience of exploring the world through art with that of science. Around introductions to his own reasoning, developed through his research cast Unsee The Future,  he tests his thinking by talking to two people along the way with some insights into those experiences.

Denise Poote is an artist and lecturer who’s work instinctively looks for movement, exploring spaces as “traces of activity”. Across marks, sculpture, digital and performance,  her developmental process follows a strong sense of data and evidence gathering to express something dynamic with contraints. Interrogating parameters and describing her pieces more like “outputs as snapshots of ongoing process” she says the frameworks of analysis her work creates can only ever be temporary against the “fluid practiced space of shared experience.”

Brian Kraemer-Banks is a science educator, creative and activist and Pearson’s FE Lecturer of the year 2019. Teaching biology and anthropology across 25 years, his innovation and passion in the classroom have always been based he says on one clear aim: “To unleash a love of learning in every learner so they will go forward into the world and be successful, fulfilled, and considerate members of society.” And he says he has learned: “Science and the humanities are not different disciplines – all knowledge is about searching for understanding of life’s mysteries before the clock runs out.”

“It’s a fun format, to make a little online lecture show, and I’ve drawn much comfort from the sense of progress and practical problem solving that science represents since childhood,” says Timo. “It’s linked tightly to my love of science fiction, of course. But if art thinking has become central to my view of how to transform a world in crisis, how does it compare with science thinking, which practically built the modern world? Are they in fact very similar disciplines in some practical ways, and both all the healthier and richer for being mixed?”

WATCH THE COMPLETE SCIENCE CAKETALK HERE:

A DIT TO BLUEDOT

Founder Lee Rawlings wanted Science Cake to be a way to cope with missing another festival he and Momo and a host of creative friends have fallen in love with, Bluedot Festival.

“It’s just so beautiful” he says, “that natural mixture of music, art and science lectures! We miss it terribly as a gang, so I thought I’d create a way to celebrate and explore a similar principle online. And I’m wowed at the mix of people who’ve said yes to me just asking them to join in.”

Covering a creative mix of space weather, marine ecology, model making and music, Science Cake 2020 also includes a special retrospective of a particular film project Momo contributed to.

“Andy Robinson’s Seasons Of War is an absolutely beautiful scifi short and some years on he and I were interviewed by creative director Simon Brett about the process of making it. A real creative treat to learn how to do something so good on a budget of pistachio shells” says Mr Peach.

 

 

Unsee The Future: Why science is a bit like art is streaming at 19:00 Sunday October 04.

Seasons of war: making a successful Doctor Who short film is streaming at 14:00 Sunday October 04.

 

Programme for Sunday’s Science Cake from – 11.30pm

Coming soon a day of talks, chat, fun and science. Online on the Science Cake Facebook page
On the hour every hour experience something slightly different. Just like the many layers of a very tasty cake. A science Cake.
11.30 We go live – Lee says hello!
12 Noon – Stuart Maudling (Marine Biologist) – Trash talk and turtles
1pm – Brian Banks (Award winning Teacher) – Some handprints to discarded gloves – How a smart ass ape has bitten off more than he can chew!
2pm – Seasons of War panel – Making a successful Doctor Who short film
3pm – Siddhant Deshmukh and Ayesha Tandon(Met)- Space weather
4pm – Making a Warrior as easy as ABC – Cosplaydocucomedyinterview With Martin De Denning
5pm – Space Exe – Model rockets and XRTC radio telescope
6pm – Music Hour from Finn Talisker and others
7pm -Timo of Momo:tempo – Unsee the Future: Why science is a bit like art.
8pm – Lee Rawlings an Trevor Bruce/ Videogames we loved to play -interactive
9pm – Dartmoor Skies – Live Mars hunt
10pm DJ Simon Brett – Music mix (link)
11pm Jez Winship from the Lost Chord – Science Cake Neutrino Batter Mix

Talking Distance, for Arts By The Sea Festival

Momo is commissioned by the Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole creative event to help celebrate its tenth year – by meeting eight creatives from the local scene, each sharing a walk of art with the Southbourne music maker. Safely, of course.

 

Covid 19 may have changed everything, but for many performing creatives and indie artists it has been devastating. If art can be a place of refuge or defiance, processing or simply play, how might ordinary creatives make sense of this chapter of crisis? It’s a question at the heart of Arts By The Sea’s new podcast series with Timo Peach, Talking Distance.

As the bloke from Momo:tempo, a music maker and creative himself and voice of the futursim research cast Unsee The Future, Timo is interested in art’s place in ordinary life and how it helps us shape the world around us. So he jumped at the chance to spend some personal time with people from across the creative sector to hear something of their experiences dealing with crisis, work and inspiration.

“Getting outside has been one of the lifelines of lockdown,” he says, “and everyone in this part of the world knows it is a privilege point. Art too is often a lifeline, so I was keen to hear different experiences of artists hustling for health and wellbeing as much as rent right now.”

 

The podcast takes presenter and listener on a forty minute “walk of art”, exploring somewhere locally that’s been significant to each Talking Distance guest on their creative journeys – the theme of this year’s festival.

“It’s been a just lovely experience” says Mr Peach.”Our guests are ordinary people dealing with an enormously weird period in history, like anyone. But their art has given them different ways of dealing with and testifying to the difficulties – and we all managed to find fun together amid the fears.”

DISCOVER ALL THE TALKING DISTANCE EPISODES TO DATE RIGHT HERE, AT ARTSBYTHESEA.CO.UK >

 

BRANDING A RAMBLING CHAT

After he’d had the invitation to jump into the project from Andrea Francis, festival director of Arts By The Sea, Momo had to devise a whole format for this listen, which was right up Timo’s street, of course.

“I am contracturally obliged to point out wherever I go that the lovely first lady of Momo actually came up with the name,” he says. “I may bite my knuckle at not having thought of it, but she pulled a blinder there, we all love it. And I got to play about with visual and sonic branding to bring it alive.”

This included a slightly odd musical identity.

“Y’know, I just decided not to question it as it came out of me,” he says, “I wanted something playful and eclectic and it turned out sort of wonky Art Of Noise. It’s not like Timey Blimey, the signiature tune to Unsee The Future, which I took enormous delight in turning into a live piece for the band, but it’s sort of joyfully distinctive. And I’ve still woken up with it as my morning earworm a few times.”

“I couldn’t be hoping more that we find a way to do many more of these episodes,” Timo concludes. “Art helps people move between deep and silly easily in conversation, everyone has been so positive but open to share. And there are just so many figures I can think of and so many I want to meet making real creative sense of life in this part of the world.”

  

Talking Distance will be sharing a new episode every morning of festival week from Monday September 28 2020.

 

 

Back around the city

For the Great Get Together in June, in partnership with the Jo Cox foundation, Momo was commissioned to return to a favourite score celebrating everything we’ve been missing about events and community – Steve Hollingshead’s photography expo Around The City In 80 Festivals. And it felt like some pandemic relief.

 

This summer, Momo:tempo’s composer and creative protagonist Timo Peach was invited to revisit his music written for a unique flow of very human images of London’s outdoor event life. A poigniant piece of work, two months into the UK’s Covid19 lockdown. A project originally commissioned  by Picture: Potters Fields, an outdoor arts event commissioned by the Mayor’s Office as part of the Cultural Olympiad in London, complimenting screenings of action from the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012, in Potters Field Park by Tower Bridge – Around The City In 80 Festivals.

Revised and substantially updated for The Great Get Together 2020, it presents a year in the life of a city committed to human cultural complexity, as seen through the lens of photographer Steve Hollingshead. And the effect is heartwarming, amusing and charming.

As Steve says on behalf of all the partners bringing back the work: “It’s a reminder of just how important communities – in all their variety – are to a nation’s wellbeing. And how extraordinary a city London is.”

 

Mr Peach agrees, and says he felt it was a piece of work arriving at just the right time.

“From that weird bubble of love in the summer of 2012, in the summer of 2020 these images are a beautiful reminder of how people can be when they get together. Ridiculous and wonderful. It’s a tonic for the heart in the more soberly weird times we’re in at the moment.”

It’s a piece that gave rise to one of Momo’s favourite pieces of music, an edit of the whole original score and an “accidental Christmas tune” as Mr Peach puts it, 80 Bells.

“Quirky and homemade as it is, it’s still a contender for Play At My Funeral,” he says, “and this new score is a sort of 45 minute mix of it across a few movements. You could put it on as a playful ambience at home any time of day, to top up your happy.”

 

 

 

Part of Hollingshead’s new London In Common project, the latest evolution of his years of work walking the UK capital’s streets and open spaces capturing daftness and beauty and community, the point he says is the ways in which London’s calendar reflects natural cultural mixes, not cardboard cut-out diversity.

“The point isn’t really “global” events, or single-issue specialist gatherings – it’s the bloke who happens to be Hindu and taking part in the Sumo Run or the Naked Bike Ride or whatever – all those natural moments of collision that we all are, they are the points of interest to me. And London just is that.”

Tackling such a broad canvas of culture was always going to be a tricky ask for a composer, of course.

“It was a joy to revisit the playful score for this, about a city bursting the Venn diagrams of us lot. A testimony to how celebrations help to make place. But how to do the sort of travel show job of placing the audience with some obvious musical references and where to juxtapose with deliberately different? It’s not easy to get respectfully and effectively right. Especially on a project studio budget. But I’m not sure it’s the point at all.

“I’ve always wanted to bring together an 80-piece festival orchestra of cazoos, sitars, penny whistles, violins, taiko drummers and the whole darned lot live. Here, I had to be a bit honestly cartoon about the sound, partly because that’s Momo’s sound but also because it’s most crucially the spirit of the expo. It’s joyous and unpretentious and accidental seeming and home made and friendly. With just a hint of something modernist and city about the middle movement. And all an honour to be part of, despite being unable to do this justice. I’m joining in with the play. And the sort of quirky triumph of it all.”

 

 

Finally, Momo says: “I’d suggest you give yourself a full screen, headphones and a celebratory glass of something and remind yourself of life beyond the current party we’re all stuck in. That humans are a lot more interesting than just scared and rude.”

 

Enjoy Around The City In 80 Festivals 2020 right here:

 

Connect with Steve Hollingshead at 1001 Days in London on Twitter >

And at: hollingshead.london >

 

Momo meets Steve Hollingshead at the launch party of previous expo, 1001 Days in London, and suggests cities can bring down walls and dispell zombies:

 

 

 

Momo:tempo Pandemonstrates for lockdown mental health

Bournemouth music maker and creative Timo Peach releases a special one-off new piece, testifying to the strangeness of “the summer that would never come” to help raise support for Dorset Mind’s new Creative Minds campaign.

Momo has released a brand new tune in response to the Covid19 crisis, and the song, Pandemonstrate, attempts to both look back and forwards, to face some creative possibilities.

“This is such a moment in time to pause and reflect,” says writer and producer Mr Peach. “I am always wanging on about art testifying, but I suddenly realised around Easter that it hadn’t even occurred to me to look up from my own grand schemes and try to testify to this historic experience as an artist.”

A deliberately nostalgic-seeming slice of retrowave, Pandemonstrate sets a distinctly 1980s summery tone, but it’s feel-good vibes are a little bitter-sweet, reflecting the duality of a time of griefs and fears that has also glimpsed a possibly cleaner, healthier future. A duality that is likely to manifest in an increase mental health support need – just when budgets have dropped into the dark.

“As all of us are so mindful of our health workers and their challenges responding to the pandemic, it can be hard to know how best to demonstrate a response that feels meaningful enough. I’ve felt it. Living through this crisis is such a weird experience for everyone, in so many unequal, different ways, we’re all having to process a lot as we try to find support, find work, look after each other and watch some things helplessly” Timo says. “So I’m mindful of the next health challenge brewing seriously all around us – how we make sense of all this and find good mental wellness, looking to such an uncertain-seeming future.”

So he approached Dee Swinton at Dorset Mind, and long-time champion of their’s Dan Willis, to see if there was merit in using the song as a useful springboard to raising funds for the charity and awareness of the potentially significant extra emotional challenges facing society.

“With all my research into the human planet with my podcast Unsee The Future, exploring as I have been the components of crises that we’re currently facing, I’m mindful that we already had a global mental health pandemic” he says. “The coronavirus is really just a blacklight marker highlighting systemic problems not dealt with yet. So this is an incredible opportunity for us. If we’re willing to face it.”

 

Buy the brand new single Pandemonstrate by Momo:tempo now >

Art as an enabler

A big believer in the empowerment of facing big global problems as ordinary people, who might just feel helpless about such issues, Timo says he felt he had to make a piece of music that evoked the summers of 30 years ago.

“I turned 18 at the end of the summer of 1988. First year driving, the year I started making music, met the lovely first lady of Momo – many formative things go back to then for me,” he says, “but so do many of our problems around the world. The 1980s gave us the political paradigm we’re living in now” he suggests. A culture, he thinks, that has contributed to drying up bolder visions of tomorrow.

“We are way overdue to reawaken our imaginations and start writing new stories of us. It’s imperative now. This is my call to that. But as a music maker and a creative, I’m interested in how ordinary us lot can find empowering ways to engage with the complex story we find ourselves part of now, in such times of transition and change. I’m convinced that allowing ourselves to explore creativity and artistic responses to the worlds around us and within us can help us write whole new stories of us – but I think it starts by acknowledging it’s all pretty overwhelming.”

Pandemonstrate is out now on Bandcamp and all sales are going towards Dorset Mind’s Creative Minds campaign, which is aiming to raise £2,000 to help the team simply keep offering their support services.

 

DONATE TO THE CREATIVE MINDS CAMPAIGN >

WATCH THE LOCKDOWN VIDEO:

Don’t feel alone in trying to make sense of the pandemic and its effect on you. Explore the services of Dorset Mind >

 

Lingo: Empower the creative individual by getting over individualism >

Read the related blog post exploring a theme of Pandemonstrate.

 

Momo helps A Fish Out Of Water

Light puppet theatre project Banana Moon brings a delightful vignette story to Light Up Poole 2020, exploring a sense of flow in mental health – with a little musical storytelling support from Momo:tempo.

 

Have you ever felt that you just don’t fit in? This is the question posed by Banana Moon Puppets‘ story A Fish Out Of Water. The tale of a boy and a fish finding each other, it’s a graphic silent movie in gentle technicolour, some of which is musical, thanks to an invitation to the bloke from Momo to help create the experience.

“When Anna first contacted me with the idea, I was really intrigued about the process,” says Timo Peach. “It’s such delicate craft of a truly ancient seeming kind and as I sat with this tiny narrative I felt moved to be part of it.

Artist Anna Shiels has been developing her light puppetry style for some years, often using it in schools performances. But it can be an instincutal process as much as a planned one.

“I have little ideas for things but often find a style, a shape, is the starting point to physically play with and see how the characters want to behave. It’s a quite flowing process and it can surprise me how a story turns out.”

The effect is gently magical, and seems to Timo suspended somewhere between ancient and modern storytelling.

“It’s such a tiny experience,” he says, “but it’s oddly moving. It’s interesting that the tone of the music that fell out of this for me is very slightly sort of far-Asian. There’s obviously something of a very old perhaps Japanese tradition in the craft, but there’s also something very 21st century about the theme of lostness and yearning for flow. I didn’t try to tap into any culture with the sound, just follow the starting point of loose rhythm and organic sound that Anna and I discussed, but she was very open to work with and there is a hint of both old and new Tokyo about the complete end result. I quietly love it.”

“It strikes a significant chord with ideas of mental health and emotional wellness” he says.

Light Up Poole is a public art festival of light design, with performances of A Fish Out Of Water taking place in Scaplans Court in old Poole high street regularly across the evenings of 20th, 21st and 22nd of February 2020.

With thanks to Manuela Boeckle for photography.

Listen to the complete pocket score to A Fish Out Of Water on Soundcloud right here: