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Climate Change Takes Centre Stage at Manchester Science festival in 'Sentinel'

by Tom Stockton 24.10.17

Manchester Science Festival 2017 kicked off in spectacular fashion this Thursday and Richard Evans' ethereal visual and musical performance 'Sentinel'  at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale was among many events on offer. Evans' composition of drum beats, synths, and samples alongside the live mezzo-soprano of Olympia Hetherington was complimented by graphics and representations of big data by Valentina D'Efilippo to create a truly immersive experience centring on humanity's relationship with climate change.

Among the themes represented through this musical and visual collaboration were climate change, rising sea levels, nuclear weapons and mass migration. Through this, the piece was able to drift seamlessly from one aspect of the anticipated effects of climate change to another. Particularly striking were the lifesize visualizations of seas rising as the water level on a projected screen soared above the audience's heads and D'Efilippo's use of graphics to express the unequal effects of climate change globally through the varying vulnerability of world populations. 

Following Evans' thought-provoking piece the audience was able to engage in a discussion with academics including Immunologist Dr Jo Pennock and virologist Professor David Robertson from the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences as well as Dr Ed Hawkins, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Reading's National Centre for Atmospheric Science who has been involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The audience was able to consider the science behind the performance as well as discussing how best to communicate climate change to the global population in order to best inspire action to address its causes. 

Sentinel was performed at Waterside Arts Centre on Thursday 19th October. You can read more about the making of the performance: https://blog.msimanchester.org.uk/the-making-of-sentinel/ and see what else is on at this year's Science Festival running from 19th-29th October across greater Manchester: http://www.manchestersciencefestival.com