Novum 2015: Citizen Science and Arts and Interference

We spoke to Josep Perello, curator of the Citizen Science and Arts and Interference areas at Novum, the science, technology and innovation festival in Barcelona.

Josep Perello, Professor of Fundamental Physics at the University of Barcelona, director of the Office of Citizen Science and leader of the research group Open Systems, will once again be responsible for the Citizen Science and Arts and Interference areas, two of the principal themes at Novum. "The two fields are two differential features that do not exist in most festivals: a strong will to instigate participation and citizen action, and a clear intention to promote the growth of initiatives that may have an impact beyond the festival "says Perelló.

Citizen Science

In the field of citizen science activities there will be many different activities, "we will fill Wikipedia with terms related to citizen science, we will favor the relationship between different groups and researchers who already practice science in Citizen Science Day, we will organize workshops for all ages within the Party weekend (25 and 26 April), we will mount a small exhibition in such a central place like La Virreina to encourage citizen participation in some projects and finally present a small book containing about 20 citizen science projects from Barcelona" explains the curator himself.

Perelló also says that the festival is aimed at all audiences. He especially recommends the sample of citizen science projects that will be at La Virreina.

Barcelona is an unprecedented case on citizen science. It is the only city that thinks how articulate existing projects and makes it through the Office of Citizen Science by BCNLab. Josep Perelló says that "there are wonderful citizen science projects worldwide, but they never sit around a table to learn from each other. In Barcelona experiences are shared and displayed consistently. We can be proud of being pioneers in this field".

Arts and interference

The field of arts proposes very different practices that include design and closely related to innovation (social), science and technology. "We wanted to focus on those more participatory and multi-disciplinary practices that even question the limits of the arts," says Perelló.

MACBA hosts the Public Lab experiment that will take photos with balloons of very specific places in the neighborhood in collaboration with several local entities through the Tot Raval Foundation. The Disseny Hub building have a mobile bio-hacking laboratory, the Waag Society, they will present and manufacture various objects made with biomedical techniques. La Virreina will host a piece of digital art that is traveling around the world: a giant wall of LEDs that react to the water and create momentary lighting graffiti. Picasso Museum will present a tribute to the light sources of Montjuïc by artist Tom Carr. And finally we experience the capabilities of emergent live-graphic reporting  and Clara Boserman and Think Doodly to collect the intangible experience of Public Lab and Citizen Science Day.

We ask Josep that, as a commissioner, recommends activities that we cannot miss. "It’s very difficult to choose. If you want a fresh and playful experience, it is essential to experience Water Light Graffiti in La Virreina. If you want to enter more intensely into an activity you should not miss the results in the MACBA aerial mapping experiment by Public Lab that comes from New York and will study how to occupy urban space in the Raval, or visit the Disseny Hub to do, for example, jewelry with our own saliva with the help of Open Wet by the Waag Society in Amsterdam. All of them are unpublished projects in the city, innovative, participatory and widely recognized".

Novum Festival
From 14 to 30 April
More information about the festival here


Publication date: Thursday, 26 March 2015
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