Complex systems

Art, science and technology

What relationship do we have with our cells? Do we think of them? Shall we talk to them? Are we aware of the links, interactions and battles that are constantly taking place in our body? We are part of a great system of interconnections, a huge cluster of oddities yet to be explored.

Our cells collide, collaborate, chain, camouflage, commit suicide, strategize, rebel, conceive, fight, work as a team, and give rise to extraordinary phenomena.

And we?

Complex systems  is a workshop that proposes the collaboration between science, technology and humanities to carry out a collective creation. Based on the knowledge provided by a group of experts invited by the Épica Foundation, the participants will pool their talents and abilities in order to explore the limits of knowledge and discover new forms of creation.
In addition to the creative work, the results of the workshop will be useful for the invited experts to make inquiries in their fields of work, giving them the opportunity to refine simulation algorithms and making a contribution to social welfare.


The Fundación Épica de La Fura dels Baus is a multidisciplinary creation center around the performing arts, for which the dialogue between humanities, science and technology is one of its fundamental principles. The exchange of knowledge, experiences and research of the professionals involved will be essential for the development of the workshop.
In addition to the sum of talents, another of the pillars of the center’s methodology is working in action: beyond theories and reflections on concepts, more research and development will come when they are put into practice. The exercises, tests and improvisations will be present in the workshop from its beginnings and will represent most of the sharing.
Another of the contributions of the Épica Foundation will be Kalliópê, the flagship mobile application in its performances. Purpose-built for real-time audience interaction, this app offers viewers a second narrative: it complements the main plot of the show, guides audience members through spaces, and gives them tips and pointers on how to engage with audiences its environment.

Invited experts

Among the invited experts are two research groups from the Institut Germans Trias i Pujol –which propose, on the one hand, to evaluate the perception of minority neuromuscular diseases and, on the other, to simulate the cellular movement of cancer-; the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Bellvitge –which will analyze the benefits to the memory system derived from emotional impacts-; the Department of Philosophy of the UAB which will study team dynamics and how knowledge is transferred in groups of people- and the Gaming specialists from the University of The Arts Utrecht, who will observe how the strategies and roles of games are applicable and transferable to other types of interactions.

Week 1

For the execution of their studies, the invited experts provide the workshop participants with different proposals that are useful both for documentation for the performance and for carrying out scientific analyzes based on the experiences created. The Research Group on Neuromuscular and Neuropediatric Diseases of the Institut Germans Trias i Pujol proposes that half of the participants experience first-hand the symptoms of two minority neurodegenerative diseases (FSH and ALS) while the other half acts as caregivers. In this way, everyone can get closer to the day-to-day life of people who live with these pathologies in order to transmit their experiences to the public and, in addition, the IGTP can evaluate in a new way the way of feeling and experiencing their limitations in groups of individuals unfamiliar with these situations and compare them with the perceptions of the patients.
For its part, the IGTP Cancer and Epigenetics Group intends to study the dynamics of the cancerous process through activities in which the behavior of cells is simulated by humans. To achieve this objective, the participants develop actions that emulate some of the behaviors of cancer cells, as well as the interactions between them. This allows cellular relationships to be transformed into human relationships, thus creating a complex system and a presentation of it to the public, and gives researchers the opportunity to analyze and interpret the results of the experiment to see how similar cell behaviors are to humans.

Week 2

Gaming experts from the Utrecht University of the Arts offer participants two game routines to apply to their performance, either on stage or by testing them with members of the audience. The first, of disruption, raises the possible consequences of generating an established order and forcing it to be broken. The second, persuasion, aims to establish a game system that must be interpreted by the players, analyzing how it spreads and spreads as it grows. These two routines, added to the ideas of cellular interactions, serve as a source of inspiration for some scenes of the performance where an atmosphere of progressive chaos is generated starting from a strict order.
For its research, the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute proposes three tasks: to study the benefits in the general memory system derived from the emotional impact of attending an Epic performance as an audience, to analyze the repercussions on the functioning of memory that can have the simulation of diseases in the participants and, finally, evaluate the change in the stereotypes of the patient that both the participants and the audience can have regarding the performance. This research is carried out questionnaires that the objects of study must answer via the web or through Kalliópê, the flagship app for interaction with the Épica Foundation that is used in all its performances.