STAGE — Scientists, Technologists and Artists Generating Exploration — is a full-scale laboratory embedded within a science and engineering school devoted to collaborations among scientists and artists. Specifically, it is at the helm of one of six core research themes, that of "Arts, Sciences and Technology," at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME).
The STAGE Lab's distinct research focuses on creating and developing new theatre and film work inspired by science and technology. Technology is integrated into the staging of our plays as a vital part of telling the story, not just for special effect. Rather than science lectures disguised as plays, these are emotionally engaging, entertaining stories. It's these visceral experiences that have an enduring impact, capturing the public's attention and stimulating interest in science and technology.
Impact on the researchers themselves is equally significant. Scientists, engineers and artists work together in the same room, at the same time. In keeping with the PME's interdisciplinary approach, professionals, students and faculty learn to be truly cross-disciplinary by working in an environment in which they collaborate across disciplines. That kind of training and exposure drives people to think and work in new ways.
Our way of working also raises new questions. With technology integrated into stage performances, will we arrive at a new art form that centers on conveying a story — that is, something that lies between live theatre and the technology of the moving image? Might we come up with new technologies that arise out of the needs of a particular project? Might artistic practice lead a scientist to new ideas, or a new way of doing science?