Welcome to the Urgent Futures podcast! This podcast tries to clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos. Each episode, I sit down with leading thinkers for big idea dialogues about the research, concepts, and questions that animate their approaches to reality.
My guests today are Lia Halloran and Kip Thorne.
Lia Halloran is an award-winning artist who has exhibited widely in galleries and museums. She’s also Chair of the department of Art and Associate Professor at Chapman University. She lives with her wife and two children in Los Angeles, CA.
Kip Thorne is a Nobel-Prize winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical physics emeritus at Caltech. He is also the author of the best-selling books Black Holes and Time Warps andThe Science of Interstellar. He lives with his wife in Pasadena, CA.
Lia and Kip are the co-authors of the forthcoming book, ‘The Warped Side of Our Universe: An Odyssey Through Black Holes, Wormholes, Time Travel, and Gravitational Waves.’ This book is wild, to say the least. It’s a hybrid epic poem and art book, featuring Kip’s poetry and Lia’s paintings. But what I most appreciate about this book is how it manages to feel like one cohesive beast, rather than two different elements smashed together (no hate to Postal Service, of course).
As a poet myself, I’m thrilled to see a work like this come into the world. It’s playful, beautiful, trippy, and within all that still manages to educate. It’s so clear that these two love this stuff—not only the ideas but the art and poetry and the chance to make something surprising.
We shot this interview in Lia’s studio, where we were surrounded by her incredible work at full-scale. Contrasting the trippy foray into the universe’s weird warped side, you’ll notice some extremely down-to-earth moments in this podcast. I mean that not only in terms of how humble these two are, as well as many delightful moments of mutual admiration, but also with a few audio intrusions, things like neighbors, dogs, machinery, and so on.
This book feels like an immersive sensory experience, where complex ideas are distilled into verse, and visualized through the evocative medium of painting. It’s the jump-off point to a wide-ranging conversation that touches on the role of collaboration, working interdisciplinarily, the use of art and language as tools for visualizing complex science, and, you know, a whole bunch of wild stuff about gravity.
A quick note for those who live in (or will be traveling to) the Los Angeles area: artworks associated with the book will be on view at her solo exhibition at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Lia Halloran: Warped Side, which runs Nov. 4 - Dec. 23.
Additionally, a limited edition print of artwork from the book will be available for purchase on the website from October 31 - November 14. Subscribe to Lia’s mailing list or visit her website to learn more.
Episode transcript is too long for email, find it at the official Reality Studies page.
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CREDITS: The video was directed, produced, & edited by Adam Labrie. Music is by Eaters. Sound effects by Eric Matyas at soundimage.org. Image credit: Adam Ottke. For more information, please visit realitystudies.co.