‘Gut Feelings’ A SMARTlab Show & Tell with Dr Leslie Hill,25th June ’09.
Dr. Leslie Hill, Principle Research Fellow in Performance Technologies at SMARTlab, will speak on her current research project, ‘Gut Feelings’, undertaken in collaboration with Professor Qasim Aziz at the Wingate Institute of Neurogastroenterology.
On an anecdotal level, ‘gut feelings’ are widely recognised as a significant phenomenon of human experience, but often undervalued in comparison to the rational or the cognitive. Biology offers a scientific explanation: the body’s one and only ‘second brain’ resides in the gut in the form of the enteric nervous system which responds autonomously to sensory perception and regulates body function on a millisecond-by-millisecond basis. Recent international bestsellers, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (2007) and Gut Feelings by Gerd Gigerenzer (2007) give fascinating examples of how gut feelings, based on immediate sensory perceptions, guide humans to good decisions with greater frequency than decisions undertaken through ‘rational’ processes of mental deliberation. Gut feelings, thus, provide a unique and direct window into the self and, Dr Leslie Hill proposes, by extension an excellent departure point for autobiographically informed creative work.
In this project, Hill explores how working with and from ‘gut feelings’ can be a rich seed bed for performance practice and performance pedagogy. Through mapping the biological, instinctive, primal and sensory nature of gut feelings onto performance practice, the project interrogates the ephemeral nature of performance and the creative process using some of the empirical tools and biomarkers of science while honouring the principality of the sensory and the personal.
As part of the project Hill has devised a creative methodology for artists working across different mediums through these processes. Hill has piloted this working method in 4 week-long intensive practical sessions in the UK, two in London, one in Bristol and one in Glasgow. 56 artists have taken part in the pilot.
Leslie Hill, a performer and filmmaker, is now in production on a new film work called ‘Gut Feelings’ with well-known British filmmaker Andrew Kötting (Galivant, This Filthy Earth, Offshore). She is also developing a live performance, ‘From the moment I saw you I knew I could love you’, devised in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company summer 09 which will premiere at Chelsea Theatre in London 31st October, 2009. This research project is supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and Arts Council England.
In this informal cocktail setting, Hill will talk about her work with neurogastroenterologists at Barts, her work with artists on the pilot workshops and about the film and performance she is currently developing.