Port Eliot Festival unveils a new stage - the Science Lab

astronomy, rocket science, quantum computing and the work of David Bowie

published: Thu 19th May 2016

around the festival site (Loop World Championship)

Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st July 2016
Port Eliot Estate, St Germans, Cornwall, PL12 5ND, England MAP
£165 (+ booking fee)
daily capacity: 7000
last updated: Wed 20th Jul 2016

Port Eliot Festival held between Thursday 28th and Sunday 31st July 2016 in the grounds of the Earl of St Germans Cornish estate at Port Eliot in Cornwall has unveiled a new stage for this year.

The Port Eliot Science Lab is the result of collaboration with fellow south west institutions, the University of Plymouth and the Eden Project, as well as the British Science Association. For the duration of the festival, the most startlingly unusual room in the House at Port Eliot, the Round Room, will become the festival’s first science lab, exploring science, hosting performances and inviting the audience to perform experiments and witness new developments in action. Experiments, lectures and debates will fill the room; an all-too-rare opportunity to chew over astronomy, bio-hacking, the science of sleep and memory or food science.

Experiments include the World’s first live duet between opera singer and a quantum computer, a David Bowie soundscape, Destination Space, electronic fortune telling, the future of the SW coastline, and the science of the sky.

In a summer likely to be filled with David Bowie tributes, Port Eliot presents a scientific performance rooted in the detail of his long career. David Bowie - The Sonification is a collaboration between Dr Alexis Kirke of Plymouth University and sonic pioneer and founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17, Martyn Ware, in which the pair have composed new sound pieces based on the data of David Bowie’s musical life Sonification is the translation of non-sound data into audio material. To create the work, Kirke and Ware analysed numerical data relating to Bowie’s album sales, his lyrics and his use of major and minor keys and transformed them into musical sonifications. They mapped statistical analyses of the emotions of songs and their sales on to musical features such as tempo, pitch and loudness and transformed these into independent sonic compositions. Originally commissioned for the V&A Museum’s ‘David Bowie is…’ exhibition, the work has been expanded to include the final Blackstar album.

Another performance piece will be - Superposition: A Live Performance in a state of the unknowing. The world’s first live quantum performance; a ground-breaking live duet between a mezzo soprano singer at Port Eliot and a quantum computer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. When the quantum computer performs a calculation, at certain points the elements of the machine enter multiple simultaneous states - in a way that is not really understood. This so-called superposition has inspired the aria to be performed by Juliette Pochin and the computer. Singer and computer will respond to each other, the computer producing electronic sounds which give the audience an audio experience of how the mysterious quantum superposition might sound.

In addition The Eden Project brings its Destination Space programme to Port Eliot. Led by one of Eden’s talented storytellers dressed in an authentic space suit, interactive demonstrations will explore how rockets make it into space and how the astronauts get home again. Eden has partnered with the UK Space Agency to create and deliver an exceptional National Astronaut Programme that will give children, schools and families across the UK the chance to learn about space exploration and Tim Peake’s current International Space Station mission.

The Cassandra Complex is an interactive, electronic fortune teller, which uses sensors to detect the attitudes and characteristics of the people taking part. Developed by Dr Simon Lock, Lecturer in Digital Art & Technology at Plymouth University, using a combination of sophisticated digital techniques and intelligent algorithms, the Cassandra Complex offers a kind of 21st century palm reading.

The room will also host an exploration of the 2014 storms which battered south west England, wrecking towns and villages and causing major damages to coastal routes. Studying for a PhD in Coastal Geomorphology at Plymouth University at the time, oceanographer Claire Earlie installed scientific instruments on the top of cliffs near Porthleven and revealed that they were being shaken 100 times more violently than ever before. The research allowed us to witness in scientific terms the physical impact of these events in real time and to gain an insight into the behaviour of our coastlines under extreme storms.

Dr Fly (James Hodge of Bristol University) will look into the private lives of the fruit fly and the bumblebee. Investigative walks, demonstrations and workshops, all featuring elaborate costume, will reveal what the behaviour of the fly and bumblebee can tell us about ourselves. Dr Fly will reveal the courting dance of the fruit fly and give festivalgoers the chance to meet the flies with no eyes, curly wings, stubble and legs instead of noses.

The invisible world below your feet: fracking, geology and you. Talking about our rocky underworld can provoke strong reactions - especially where fracking is concerned. Join geologist and British Science Association Award Lecturer, Hazel Gibson, to explore how we think about the 'land beneath our feet' and discover what happens in the subsurface and how it can affect our lives.

The British Science Association brings Story Collider to Port Eliot. True stories, told live, are a powerful tool for creating emotional connections and expressing the human side of science. The Story Collider is a bridge between science and society, to help people see the effect of science in all of our lives, and to give scientists the tools to understand and interact with the broader culture. True, personal stories with a science twist, featuring storytellers plucked from the Port Eliot Festival line up. Some stories are heart-breaking; some are hilarious; all are true, and, in one way or another, about science.

The Science of the Sky. How do clouds form? Why do they stay up? Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Professor of Sky Gazing at the Port Eliot University of Atmospheric Research, will lead a practical science class, introducing students to the science of clouds, using amazing live demonstrations and experiments. Watch as a Stratus cloud is created before your eyes. Observe an Altocumulus formation appear on the surface of a sandwich toaster. See a bottle of supercooled water freeze in an instant, and learn how this reveals the formation of the amazing ‘fallstreak hole’ cloud.

Port Eliot Science Lab programmer, Grace Craigan, said, "We have been itching to bring science to the festival. Our audience has told us that they would love to get involved in science events on site. The Science Lab will be very special, both light-hearted and challenging and a chance to jump into subjects that you didn’t know you were interested in and a world that’s often weird but always fascinating. Experiments and debates will fill the room in an all-too-rare opportunity to chew over astronomy, rocket science, quantum computing and the work of David Bowie in one place."

The line-up of musicians comedians, and poets also includes Noel Fielding, Gwenno, Ryley Walker, Isy Suttie, Bo Ningen, Michael Chapman, Bill Ryder Jones, Andrew Weatherall, James Acaster, NZCA/Lines, Meilyr Jones, Vangoffey, Imarhan, Erol Alkan, Money, Sidestepper, Younghusband, and Murray Lachlan-Young. Plus 78 RPM Orchestra, Erol Alkan, Amber Arcades, John Andrews, Florence And Virginia Astley, Bizarre Rituals, Black Peaches, James Blackshaw, Will Burns, Laura Cannell, Tim Dee, James Endeacott, Pete Fowler, Nick Hand, Darren Hayman, Ted Kessler, Paul Kingsnorth, Amy Liptrot, The Magnetic North, Rob St John, Stephen Parker, Martha Sprackland, Luke Turner, Simon Fisher Turner, Emma Warren, Andrew Weatherall, Roy Wilkinson, M.Craft, Money, Saint Sister, Sam Lee, Imarhan, The Milk, Sidestepper, Kernow King, Ceilidh Liberation Front, Tamu Massif, Lail Arad, Fenne Lily, Jalen Ngonda, Maniere des Bohemiens, The Mostar Diving Club, The Severed Limb, Goonzian Quartet, Haunt the Woods, J C Deathtrap, Java Five, Mad Dog Mcrea, Matt Harvey, Rambunctious Social Club, Rory Butler, Simon Spoons, Suzie Mac, The Black Tambourines, The Jolenes, The Organisation, The Roosters, The Wireless, Tankus the Henge, Vince Lee & the Big Combo, Wesley Gonzalez, and Will McNicol and Luke Selby.

buy tickets now >

Early bird tickets are priced at £165 each (please note there's an additional booking fee).

Child aged 14 to 17 years inclusive tickets are priced at £100, tickets for children aged 8 to 13 years inclusive are priced at £70, and children aged 7 years and under can attend for free. A campervan pass is £60 with £40 for an electric hook up.

Family options and day tickets are also on sale.

Port Eliot is a combination of books, music, fashion, film, food, wildlife, water and conversations set around the ancient and beautiful stately home and mediaeval
monastery at St Germans in south-east Cornwall sit in more than 100 acres of woodland gardens and park.

Throughout the festival, visitors will also be able to roam the gardens and park - created by landscape gardener Humphrey Repton - which stretches down to a secret estuary of the river Lynher, above which stands Brunel’s railway viaduct.



Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st July 2016
Port Eliot Estate, St Germans, Cornwall, PL12 5ND, England MAP
£165 (+ booking fee)
daily capacity: 7000
last updated: Wed 20th Jul 2016


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