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Signs of Life

Signs of Life is a Leverhulme-funded Artist-in-Residence grant which will bring director and designer of puppets, Mervyn Millar, to the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London. During his residency, Millar will investigate our emotional responses to animated objects, asking what happens to us when we indulge in the illusion that a dead object has life, intelligence, and emotion. The main output of the residency will be the development of a new piece of object-based theatre about how the mind perceives emotion in non-living things. Millar’s purpose in the residency and in the theatre piece will be to explore what processes are at work in these moments, and understand why they cause us such pleasure – and sometimes, discomfort – and to play with the implications of these ideas for our psychology and culture. The piece will mix puppetry and actors, and blend history, narrative, science, and movement. The second output will be a public symposium, which will bring together all the collaborators in the project, to reflect on the relationship between artists and scientists, as well as exploring new ideas in the perception of emotion in non-living things. Keep updated with Mervyn’s project via his blog.