Rising Ape Presents: First Contact at My Science Fair, Sunday 8 March, Wiltshire Music Centre
The year is 2026. We are not alone. A wormhole has opened to another galaxy, filled with alien lifeforms eager to share knowledge.
Local tech company ApeCorp sense a huge new market. But there’s a problem. The aliens can’t understand a thing we’re saying!
ApeCorp have invited the finest creative minds in Wiltshire (that’s YOU) to their pop-up imagi-lution suite for one simple purpose: inventing a communication machine prototype to send through the wormhole and start advertising to the alien customers. What could be easier?
Your team of friends and family is challenged to design and build a prototype communicator, tailored to the quirks of a strange new alien species and its world.
You can enter your communicator to be judged by the ApeCorp panel and the best ideas created over the day win prizes!
We’re excited about this chance to branch out of our typical adult audience and create an experience that challenges families. We hope you can join us as we attempt…. First Contact.
First Contact is one of many ace activities happening as part of My Science Fair.
My Science Fair runs 10am till 3pm at Wiltshire Music Centre, Sunday 8 March. Entry is FREE for all families.
Huge thanks to everyone who came along to the Island gallery and became Time Saviours over the last two weeks. We tasked you with designing and building prototype inventions so good we could send them back in time to help out/sell to our ancestors. We were not disappointed…
Yes, Rising Apecorp, and unexpected guest Napoleon Bonuspoints, were blown away by your ridiculous creations, such as:
the crocodile flail and scuba for Ancient Egyptian babies
the ice age dams built to keep doggerland and our connection to Europe open
the medieval cat armor (armor for cats)
the luxurious spa, science centre and tree house combo where the horses of cowboys could unwind
And of course the fully operational MOT Reminder cannon designed to scare off self-driving cars (literally blown away).
Well done to the two winning teams, who, in particular, brought extraordinary creativity to their solutions for the challenges of the past- or at least worked out how to suspend mannequin legs from the gallery ceiling. Commiserations to the teams coming last, we hope the Peter Kay Live DVD and George’s favourite glove make up for your efforts.
Above all, thanks so much to Creative Reactions Bristol for having us as fairly chaotic part of their programme for this year, and for the team’s support on the nights.
Enjoy the pics below to get a sense of how it all went. If you missed out, keep your browsers peeled for details of future events, we hope you can join us soon.
‘Really clever concept, good fun and I really liked the way the science is woven in!’ – Audience member
‘I feel grotty’ – Another Audience member
After a busy 2016, Rising Ape squeezed one more event in before the end of the year. A freezing, foggy 1st of December saw a small, boisterous crowd weathering extreme elements, limited visibility and the Conan Doyle-ish Capital D dread of it all to make it down to the Bristol Improv Theatre. There, together they became the audience for, well, The Audience.
Guided by courtroom algorithm ALIX, the Audience became shaped into a cohesive unit, passing judgement on the sentence for a dramatic court case, and getting a glimpse into what justice in the future might be like. The immersive experience aimed to get people thinking about the consequences of trusting machines with our thoughts and biases. And all through the brandishing of LED lights and making friends with a slightly sarcastic A.I.
After the interval, the energised group began a passionate discussion with a panel consisting of:
Dr Sabine Hauert, Lecturer in Robotics at the Bristol Robotic Laboratory
Andrew Charlesworth, Reader in IT & Law at the University of Bristol
Dr Rosie Clark, Research Associate in Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol
Antony Poveda, Producer for Rising Ape Collective and member of the cast.
Together the experts and audience discussed how far we are willing to trust algorithms with important decisions, personal experiences of the effectiveness of juries, and how little society is aware of the companies behind the technology we give data to. The engaging and highly productive session was filmed and we’ll be publishing the full video later in the New Year.
This production of The Audience was also incredibly valuable from our viewpoint. Learning from the performance at Green Man, we took the opportunity to tighten the script, take advantage of the new venue to really up the atmosphere (the mist certainly helped a bit there), choreograph new immersive moments, and, best of all, discover how well the performance works as a stimulus to get an audience talking with experts about these timely issues.
Want to experience The Audience for yourself? Follow us using the button below and look out for news of performances in 2017, as well as the film of the panel discussion, coming soon.
It’s been just over a week since our first event, Life on Mars, and we thought now would be the perfect time to sit back and reflect on it.
Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone for coming along and making it such an enjoyable evening. Your witty quiz names and animalistic competitiveness added so much to the proceedings.
For the first group of civilians on Mars, you settled in quickly. Drinking your way through the ethanol rations and indignantly defending your David Bowie album knowledge. In light of certain disagreements over quiz answers, future Rising Ape quizzes will come equipped with an academically formatted Harvard reference list. Still, the legendary Colin Pillinger would be delighted by your flattering biro portraits, and a couple of you were incredibly close to pinning the Curiosity on the Mars-y. Accordingly, inter-planetary points were awarded galore.
Next, we were very proud to see your ambition when taking on your mission to design a Martian rover. We were also slightly astonished with the lack of humanity when teams raided the scrapheap for building resources. We were reminded of a group of starving, rabid squirrels swarming in on a small packet of KP salted peanuts – needless to say, some did not survive.
Following your vibrant materials raiding, we were surprised by your incredible ingenuity, some of the rovers could actually roll across rocky terrain, and one was built without any tape at all! (We know most Martian rovers are built without sticky tape, be it sello or gaffer, but NASA don’t use straws as axles either – this was seriously impressive!)
When the sandstorm outside the colony had died down, our speaker Michaela Musilova inspired us with the science of astrobiology. She also shared with us stories from her time on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars colony experiment in the Arizona desert. According to her experiences on the MDRS, before we ship off to Mars, we need to seriously work on the psychological problems which we suffer from when cooped up with people in a small space. The Rising Ape Team thinks the only reason there hasn’t been a murder on Big Brother is probably the voting off process. Needless to say this isn’t an option on Mars.
Following Michaela’s talk we opened up to questions from the floor. The first of these came in at warp speed, with what is probably the hardest scientific or metaphysical question you can ask in three words: What is life? Keep this kind of curiosity coming Rising Apes, it’s what has made humanity special all along.
Here’s the night’s playlist because we know how much you colonists enjoyed doing the Martian Hop.