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The Identity Project at Hay

28 May 2010

The Identity Project
HowTheLightGetsIn - the world’s only philosophy and music festival - takes place this weekend at Hay-on-Wye. With a spectacular array of live performances and over 100 events, this year’s festival also plays host to the Wellcome Trust’s Identity Project.

Since the Identity Project was launched in November last year, events have been taking place around the country designed to provoke debate and discussion around the theme of what makes us who we are and how well we can ever truly know ourselves.

This weekend the Identity Project arrives at Hay, along with leading thinkers from all disciplines, for HowTheLightGetsIn. Now in its second year, the world's only festival of philosophy and music invites the public to explore the theme of 'Being Human' and debate the question - what is it to be alive?

The Identity Project strand launches with a full day of debate and discussion on Sunday 30 May. Speakers including prominent fertility expert Lord Robert Winston and controversial scientist of ageing Aubrey de Grey join together to debate issues such as whether mortality is part of being human, and how much genetics can really tell us about who we are.

Throughout the festival, a display of life-sized copper etchings - 'Portraits: Patients and psychiatrists' - will provoke audiences to reflect on the stories behind the portraits. Artist Gemma Anderson and psychiatrist Dr Tim McInerney will discuss the power of art to communicate aspects of the human condition at an event on Wednesday 2 June. 'Portraits: Patients and psychiatrists' is also part of ‘Skin’ - a major temporary exhibition at Wellcome Collection opening on 10 June.

Other events programmed include a screening of 'Martino Unstrung', accompanied by a talk from award winning director Ian Knox. Artist Tina Gonsalves will also lead a discussion alongside her new video installation - 'Chameleon' - exploring human emotion, intimacy and vulnerability.

HowTheLightGetsIn is organised by the Institute of Art and Ideas and is supported this year by the Wellcome Trust, Intelligent Life Magazine, Open Gallery, Prospect Magazine and the British Humanist Association.

Listings of 'Identity' events at Hay

Debate: Reclaiming The Flesh
30 May 2010, 10.30

The Globe at Hay, Hall
Is being human really about being physically human? Is the intellect a mere distraction bfrom the important stuff of bodily sensation? Radical French philosopher and playwright Michèle Le Doeuff, leading polymath Raymond Tallis and philosopher of mind Andy Clark rethink the physical. From £5

Debate: Mortality and Immortality
30 May 2010, 12.00

The Globe at Hay, Hall
Modern science promises to eradicate death as though it were just another disease. Is this plausible or is knowledge of our mortality essential to being human? Scientist and author of 'Ending Ageing', Aubrey de Grey, influential ethicist and policy maker Baroness Mary Warnock, and 'Red Tory' and theologian Phillip Blond question whether we should want to live forever. From £6

Debate: Genetics in the Dock
30 May 2010, 17.30

The Globe at Hay, Hall
The biological sciences have irrevocably altered the way we think of human life over the last century. But is genetics the whole story of who we are? Outspoken biologist Lewis Wolpert and prominent fertility expert Lord Robert Winston are held to account by John Dupré, author of 'Humans and Other Animals' and philosopher Mary Midgley. From £6

Play: Interior Traces
1 June 2010, 14.00

The Globe at Hay, Lower Gallery
A live performance of a radio drama exploring how new ways of seeing the brain might change how we see ourselves. Followed by a post-show discussion with ethicists and neuroscientists. Free; www.interiortraces.com

Installation: Chameleon
1 June 2010, 17.30

The Globe at Hay, Hall
A video installation exploring human emotion, intimacy and vulnerability. Focusing on emotional contagion, artist Tina Gonsalves uncovers how we innately and continuously synchronise with the facial expressions, voices and postures of others by unconsciously infecting each other with our emotions. Featuring discussion with the artist. Free; www.tinagonsalves.com

Film: Martino Unstrung
1 June 2010, 19.00

The Globe at Hay, Hall
A feature length documentary in which filmmaker Ian Knox and neuropsychologist Paul Broks travel America in search of the soul of the legendary jazz guitar great Pat Martino. Tracing his remarkable return from the depths of amnesia to the peak of artistic achievement, Broks explores the nature of memory, self, creativity and the mysterious brain mechanisms underlying the construction of personal identity. The film will be accompanied by a talk and discussion with the filmmaker himself, award winning director Ian Knox. Free; www.martinounstrung.com

Film: Animated Minds
2 June 2010, 16.00

The Globe at Hay, Lower Gallery
A BAFTA award winning series of short animated documentaries which aim to dispel myths and misconceptions about 'mental illness', featuring the testimony of people who have experienced different forms of mental distress. Free; www.animatedminds.com

Art: Portraits: Patients and psychiatrists
2 June 2010, 17.30

The Globe at Hay, Hall
Artist Gemma Anderson and forensic psychiatrist Dr Tim MrInerney reveal the stories behind the portraits and discuss the power of art to communicate aspects of the human condition. 'Portraits: Patients and psychiatrists' is a collection of life-sized, etched portraits of psychiatric patients and psychiatrists and will be on display throughout the festival. Each portrait is drawn directly from life onto the copper etching plate and the narrative imagery is inspired by dialogue with each individual. The portraits concentrate on relating psychiatric ideas and theories to the individual's personal history and identity. Free; www.gemma-anderson.co.uk

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