Symmetry and Symmetry Unravelled: an evening of film and debate about cross-fertilisation between art and science

24 September 2015 from 19:00 to 21:00 hrs
Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
00 31 20 551 0746
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The dance and opera film Symmetry and the documentary about the making of the film, Symmetry Unravelled, bring the arts and sciences together in an exceptional manner. Filmmaker Ruben van Leer has combined dance and opera with the high-tech environment of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

Photograph: Ruben van Leer

The two films have inspired the Society of Arts to organise a critical debate about the relationship between art and science. Can artists and scientists learn from each other? And if so, what can they learn, and how? How can artists and scientists transcend the boundaries of their own disciplines, and what skills do they need to do so? Interestingly, CERN itself has a cultural policy for engaging with the arts. Why have they chosen to do so, how do they pursue that policy, and what do they hope to achieve by it? The language of communication is English.



  • Welcome by Barbara Visser, Society of Arts
  • Brief introduction to the film and documentary by Ruben van Leer, filmmaker
  • Showing of Symmetry and Symmetry Unravelled
  • Debate kick-off by Ariane Koek, Founding Director of Arts@CERN
  • Debate, moderated by Jan van den Berg, performing artist and filmmaker


  • Lukas Timulak, dancer and choreographer
  • Ruben van Leer, filmmaker
  • Stan Bentvelsen, professor of experimental high-energy physics and Director of the National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef)
  • Martin Scheffer, professor of ecology, Wageningen University
  • Patricia Pisters, professor of film studies, University of Amsterdam
  • Barbara Visser, artist and chairperson of the Society of Arts
  • Ariane Koek, founder of Arts@CERN
  • Ivo van Vulpen, particle physicist, National Institute for Nuclear Physics and High Energy Physics