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Highlights - DAVID BYRNE'S THEATER OF THE MIND - Stories of Impact - Nicholas Bruckman, John Tracey, Ian Moubayed

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Q: Who is David Byrne?

David Byrne: ...I have no idea.

Most people know me through music, but when I was in high school I saw science and the arts as being equally creative fields. More recently, I just started taking an interest in how the brain works, and there's been this explosion of literature. As much as I love reading about neuroscience, I realize that experiencing some of the phenomena is just on a different level. I wanted to create an experience that shows us we're not who we think we are. Theater of the Mind is an immersive Science Theater project. With this show, I've tried to marry a narrative to the experience of different scientific phenomena that reveal how malleable our perception memory, and identity really are.

To make a production like this work, it's a big invisible team. There's actors, lighting designers sound designers, technical people so it's a really complicated system. This is the Theater of the Mind. How do we operate in a world where we're not sure what's real and what's not. If things are unreliable, then what do we trust? People think of science as being intimidating, but it also doesn't mean that you can't understand it or can't enjoy it. Our emotions, our sense of self, our relationship to other people is all connected to our perception, that you can't separate one of these things from another. They all work together to make us what we are.

What is consciousness? The mind produces thoughts, sensations, perception, emotions. How can these inner felt experiences be produced within the darkness of the human skull?

Nicholas Bruckman is founder and CEO of People's Television, a production studio and creative agency that produces independent films, and video storytelling for brands. Collaborating with the The Simons Foundation through their 'Science Sandbox' Initiative, he directed Theater of the Mind, which takes audiences into the creative inner workings of Musician and Artist David Byrne’s brain, showcasing Byrne’s immersive theater performance, which attempts to conceptualize the idea of our sense of self and how malleable the mind truly is.

He directed the award-winning healthcare justice documentary Not Going Quietly, executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass.

John Tracey is Program Director of Science, Society and Culture projects at the Simons Foundation whose mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences to unravel the mysteries of the universe. The foundation champions basic science through grant funding, support for research and public engagement.

Ian Moubayed started his career as a cinematographer, collaborating with Emmy, Peabody, and Oscar-winning filmmakers. His work includes Netflix’s The Great Hack, NBC Peacock’s The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show, and HBO’s The Vow.

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