On July 4, 2012, scientists revealed the God Particle — and Gilles Jobin rediscovered the law of coincidences. The award-winning choreographer from Geneva looks back at that momentous event as he talks about Quantum, a dance piece that uses concepts of particle physics, which is touring India. The event has been organised by Embassy of Switzerland and Pro Helvetia. Excerpts from an interview with Jobin:
Why do you have a special affection for Higgs Boson?
It was in 1964, the year I was born, that Peter Higgs announced the existence of this particle, which is also called the God Particle. As I was growing up, experiments and studies were being carried out to prove his theory. What was surprising was that when scientists at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, announced on July 4, 2012 that they could finally confirm the presence of Higgs Boson, I was present on the campus.
What were you, a choreographer, doing at CERN, the powerhouse of nuclear science research?
I was the first choreographer to undergo an arts residency programme, titled Collide@CERN, whose motto is ‘Great art for great science’. They selected artistes the way they selected scientists; it was very difficult. I learnt a lot about physics at CERN.
How is Quantum inspired by your stay at CERN?
Quantum is an abstract piece. I call physicists the masters of abstraction. I am using the idea of motion generator in particle physics to see if dancers can generate movements that can evoke sensations in
the viewer. These could be sensations of balance or of being suspended in space, like a pendulum.
How have you crafted the piece?
German artiste Julius von Bismarck has created a light installation of four industrial lamps under which six dancers perform. They are like pendulums that hang or move back and forth or back to back.
Do science and art move on the same plane or are they opposed in nature?
Science and art have similar strategies and I am interested in studying some of these strategies.