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Fulcrum Arts is excited to present The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI) in partnership with LEONARDO for the LEONARDO LASER Garden at the Ars Electronica Festival 2021. From September 8 through 12, a short film on The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences will be shown in the LASER Linz Garden, as well as streamed on this asynchronous multi-platform among other talks, performances and online exhibitions.

Titled [Anti]disciplinary Topographies: Culturing transnational dialogue for creative hybridity, the Leonardo LASER Garden is a critical node in the Ars Electronica Gardens, taking up the festival’s call to foster a “new digital deal.” In the segment “Architecting Global Communities,” LEI joins in asking how we can build stronger communities committed to social justice, elevating underrepresented voices, and bridging the digital divide through interdisciplinary collaboration, transnational communication, and planetary citizenship.

The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences (LEI) is a project developed by artists Nina Waisman and Flora Wiegmann, centering “embodied thinking” as a means for learning from species who have survived on this planet far longer than we humans. LEI began this work with a focus on microbes, which have survived and communicated with each other for over 3.5 billion years, sustaining all life on our planet. Through performances, science-driven meditations, and movement exercises, LEI seeks to access the vast treasure of behaviors and communication techniques invented and enacted by microbes. It suggests that perhaps by behaving a bit more like microbes, we might learn some of their highly sustainable, collaborative ways.

LEI evolved out of Nina’s year-long research in non-human intelligences at SETI Institute Artist-in-Residence Program, generously supported by SETI AIR and Montalvo Arts Center. Upon Nina’s return to LA, Flora joined her to co-found LEI, where collaboratively they researched and developed a dance language, choreography and performances based on microbial behaviors, generously supported by 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, California and Fulcrum Arts. The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences at Arroyo Seco Weekend was produced by Fulcrum Arts and commissioned by Goldenvoice for live performances on June 23 and 24, 2018.


Directors, Choreographers: Nina Waisman, Flora Wiegmann

Dancer-collaborators: Jamie Carr, Madison Clark, Venus Fields, Kearian Giertz, Maya Gingery, Kai Hazelwood, Colleen Hendricks, Sarah Jacobs, Spencer K Jensen, Michelle Lai, Carol Mcdowell, Samantha Mohr, Natali Micciche, Nguyen Nguyen, and Michelle Sui.

Costumes: Milan DelVecchio

Scientist-Participants: Penelope Boston, Director, NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI); Moh El-Naggar, USC Robert D. Beyer Early Career Chair in Natural Sciences; Fathi Karouia, Senior Research Scientist at NASA

Videography: Tyler Hubby, Christopher Wormald

Editing: Justin Streichman

Music courtesy of Miguel De Pedro/Kid606 

The Laboratory for Embodied Intelligences at Arroyo Seco Weekend was produced by Fulcrum Arts and commissioned by Goldenvoice.

Additional support by: The 18th Street Arts Center, The Hammer Museum, SETI Institute Artist in Residence Program, and The Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center