Michael John Gorman
Founding Director, BIOTOPIA
Michael John Gorman is Founding Director of BIOTOPIA. A new life sciences museum for Bavaria planned for Nymphenburg Palace, and Professor (Chair) in Life Sciences in Society at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich.
Previously he was CEO of Science Gallery International, dedicated to igniting creativity and discovery where science and art collide. Science Gallery spaces are in development in London, Melbourne, Bangalore and Venice.
Before starting up Science Gallery, Michael John was Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University. Prior to this he also held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT.
Michael John has written books on topics ranging from Buckminster Fuller’s designs to seventeenth century art.
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A Place To Play
Australian National Maritime Museum
In his classic study of play and culture, Homo Ludens, Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga writes about play as a “feeling of being ‘apart together’ in an exceptional situation, of sharing something important, of mutually withdrawing from the rest of the world and rejecting the usual norms”.
Many of the aspects of play described by Huizinga could easily be applied to museums, but do museums really define and understand themselves as places to play? Places to bring together diverse communities not necessarily into a gamified experience, but into a space where the normal rules of the external world do not apply? A place where new kinds of social and cultural encounter are permitted through a willing suspension of disbelief.
In this talk I will explore what it means to create a place to play, where different communities – scientists, artists, designers, are invited to step outside their comfort zones and into a place of safe and playful experimentation around serious themes and concerns, drawing on examples from the experience of creating Science Gallery in Dublin as a space for creative collisions of art and science to my current project to establish BIOTOPIA as a new kind of museum of life sciences and environment in Munich.