Alien Embodiment Laboratory

Discover the Alien Embodiment Laboratory, an exciting fusion of Art+Science presented by artist Dr Steve Klee and cognitive neuroscientist Dr Kirsten McKenzie from the University of Lincoln.

Saturday 8 June 2024, 2-4pm. *Please arrive 10 minutes before event starts.

Location: Lincoln Museum AV

During this immersive event, designed for people aged 16 to 24, we use art to share and connect with scientific ideas about how we see our bodies. The event seeks to create an interactive space where participants can explore and reshape their relationship with their bodies, while also offering the opportunity to take part in a scientific research study [UoL Ethics Ref: 2024_16422].

This research is being organised by the University of Lincoln. 

The workshop includes:
•    A presentation on the science of body appearance and the reasons behind the prevalence of body dissatisfaction.
•    Screening of an art video (12 mins) inspired by psychological science, and addressing questions like: What is a body? Where is my body? Do I own my body? These questions are explored imaginatively using science fiction; a research team embarks on an interstellar journey, encountering and learning from extra-terrestrial beings.
•    Discussion of the presentation and video
•    Involvement in embodiment illusions: Feel as if a rubber hand belongs to you, experience your finger stretch to twice its normal length!
•    Participants creating their own alien bodies!  

Schedule of the day:
o    14.00 – 14.10: Questions for the Audience
o    14.10 – 14.20: Screening of Art Video (The Institute for Predictive Images)
o    14.20 – 14.45: Discussion of art video & questions from audience
o    14.45 – 15.15: Interactive embodiment illusions
o    15.15 – 15.45: Science of Body Image presentation – including opportunities for questions
o    15.45 – 16:00: More interactive embodiment illusions, Questions from audience, plus volunteers for ‘alien drawing’ task

Places are limited, please book in advance.




About the researchers:

Dr Steve Klee
Steve Klee joined the University of Lincoln in 2017. Prior to that Steve was a Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Kent, and has also taught at University of the Arts London, London Metropolitan University, and Goldsmiths, University of London. 
Steve Klee is an artist and theorist who explores posthumanism, aesthetics, cognitive science (body representation, embodiment), and art-science methodology. The through-line here is the question of human agency: how do biological and socio-historically constrained subjects act upon their world? What are their potentials and limitations?

Dr Kirsten McKenzie
Kirsten joined the University of Lincoln School of Psychology in 2015 as a Senior Lecturer. Prior to this Kristen was an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus and a Post-Doc at the University of Manchester, having completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham. The over-arching focus of my research is body representation; from the cognitive effects of bodily illusions on the experience pain through to the effects that visual representation of bodies (or a lack thereof) has on body image, inclusivity and social engagement with places and spaces. Kirsten is particularly interested in the processes underlying body representation, body image and spatial awareness in individuals across the gender spectrum, and the cognitive and perceptual processes leading to somatic misperception and pain. Kirsten uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques.