Merge Festival launches this week, a cultural programme of events on London’s Bankside. Curated by Illuminate Productions, the festival opens up London’s lost buildings, commissioning events in abandoned and undiscovered venues.

Each year, art and science projects have a strong presence at Merge, a tradition that has continued this year. Bompas & Parr, reknowned for their immersive flavour installations (often involving jelly of some sort), are getting into brain stimulation. In their installation, Sensed Presence, they give visitors a chance to experience the God Helmet, a form of brain stimulation that can often elicit spiritual or paranormal experiences. Bankside’s rich and often dark history, they say, is the perfect setting in which to see a ghost!

Peter William Holden presents an exciting installation merging art, music and robotics. Visitors to Dance Machines can participate, flicking a number of switches to change the rhythm of the tap dancing feet. Candy Chang brings psychotherapy to the streets, in Sidewalk Psychiatry. The installation encourages the public to re-evaluate themselves through ten psychological questions posed on the streets. Its interesting reflection on the inaccessibility of psychological services, and the psychological isolation of living in London.

Merge are also holding their annual event The Crucible, a meeting place for artists and scientists. It is held in the Gordon Museum of Pathology, at King’s College London – an historic collection of human tissues, maintained for medical education and closed to the public. The Gordon Museum itself has an artist residency, currently held by  Central St Martin’s Art & Science tutor Eleanor Crook.

As a part of Merge, international digital artist Tamiko Thiel will present Fractured Visions: To See Again. The installation uses Augmented Reality to manipulate the buildings around London Bridge. Curated by AXNS Collective, it is a collaboration with psychiatrist Dominic ffytche, an exploration of altered visual perception sometimes found in neurological dysfunction. Book tickets to the launch and tours below.

Merge runs from the 19th September to the 18th October, in venues across bankside.

[divider]Book tickets to Fractured Visions [/divider]

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