Workshop: Astrophysics and Found Poetry
Janani Balasubramanian and Afra Ashraf
Workshop: Astrophysics and Found Poetry


One Session, 2 hrs, 6:30 PM ET–8:30 PM ET
Cap: 20 Students

*This workshop takes place over Zoom. Seats are limited. Tuition is sliding scale $50-$100.*

Join us for a one-session workshop with Janani Balasubramanian and Afra Ashraf! Found poetry is a practice of creatively reordering, redacting, and repurposing existing texts in order to unlock fresh meanings within them. In this workshop, we will engage with formal papers in astrophysics* as source texts for creating our own found poetry. This workshop aims to surface new perspectives and interdisciplinary connections.

We will engage in scientific inquiry by way of creative tools which will invite audiences of different backgrounds into the stories of cutting-edge astrophysics and offer playful approaches for science pedagogy. We’ll specifically work with contemporary research in brown dwarf** astrophysics, generated by astrophysicists in NYC in collaboration with the universe.

*No science/astronomy background is needed: only a curiosity about our shared cosmos and the celestial objects that live among us!

**Brown dwarfs are liminal celestial objects, neither planets nor stars.

JANANI BALASUBRAMANIAN is an artist and creative researcher who frequently works in deep collaborations with scientists, engineers, community organizers, nonhumans, and the cosmos. Their work has been presented at more than 160 stages across North America and Europe, including The Public Theater, MOMA, Abrons Arts Center, Andy Warhol Museum, Red Bull Arts, Ace Hotel, Brooklyn Museum, the High Line, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Residency support for this work has included the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Theater Devised Theater Working Group, Abrons Arts Center, and Mount Tremper Arts. Balasubramanian was a 2019 Innovator-in-Residence at Colorado College, 2019 Brooklyn College/Tow Foundation artist resident, 2018 artist-in-residence at the University of Colorado, and a 2018-2019 Van Lier Fellow at the Public Theater.

Balasubramanian is currently a 2020 Hemispheric Institute fellow at NYU; a 2019-2020 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow; artist-in-residence in the brown dwarf astrophysics group at the American Museum of Natural History; 2020 MAP fund grantee; 2020 Sundance Institute Fellow; 2020 Pioneer Works Narrative Arts fellow; the 2020-2021 visiting artist at Stanford University Institute for Diversity in the Arts; and a member of the Guild of Future Architects.

AFRA ASHRAF is a student at Barnard College and an astrophysics researcher at the American Museum of Natural History studying weather on planets and brown dwarfs. She has worked on machine learning projects as a part of the Hubble Space Telescope instrument science team and conducted research on the stellar activity of our Sun at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In addition to her research, Afra is involved in interdisciplinary collaborations that explore the intersections between art and astrophysics in order to better understand astrophysics (and science as a whole) as a shared human endeavor. When not doing science, Afra can usually be found reading Russian literature or eating mochi.

Workshop: Astrophysics and Found Poetry

Janani Balasubramanian and Afra Ashraf
Thursday, February 11, 2021
6:30 PM

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