In a fusion of art and science, Ioannis Sidiropoulos presented the exhibition-performance “Sound Motion and the Brain” on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 November, at Southbank in Melbourne.

The event, revolved around the artist’s doctoral journey into data-driven research, providing attendees with a sensory experience, that highlighted the artist’s skill in creating unique artistic expressions through science-based data.

“I feel incredible joy that all this work has come to life,” said Ioannis Sidiropoulos to Neos Kosmos.

A ‘window’ into the world of neuroscience through Performing Arts

In his exhibition-performance, the Greek artist offered a ‘glimpse’ into the fascinating world of brain neuroscience, through the lens of performing arts.

Ioannis’ research examines how music and environmental sounds affect the creation of movements during movement improvisation, collecting data from the reactions of 11 participants to 15 auditory and musical stimuli.

He transformed this data into an exhibition of images, including melodic range spectrograms, motiongrams, and neuroimages of the brain areas activated during the experimental processes, as well as an improvisational movement-dance performance.

According to Sidiropoulos, this production, designed to emphasise both the artistic and scientific dimensions of the research, serves as a source of knowledge for the audience, unveiling the “similarities and differences in people’s movements corresponding to each sound.”

The performance featured a solo improvisational dance and movement demonstration by the Greek artist, drawing inspiration from the data gathered during his research followed by a Q&A session.

In the end, Sidiropoulos extended his gratitude to his academic advisors, specifically “Dr. Roger Alsop and Dr. Bradford Moffat, who with their continuous guidance and support throughout these years, made a crucial contribution to the completion of the creative component of my doctoral research project.”

He also thanked his friends, family, the experiment participants, and all those who play a daily role in the successful culmination of his doctoral studies.

In a fusion of art and science, Ioannis Sidiropoulos presented the exhibition-performance “Sound Motion and the Brain” on Thursday and Friday, November 16 and 17, at Southbank in Melbourne. Photos: Neos Kosmos

An academic journey in the world of arts, influenced by Greek traditions

Showcasing “Sound Motion and the Brain,” marked a significant milestone in Ioannis Sidiropoulos’ academic journey.

As he indicates, the pandemic disrupted his research during a time when COVID-related restrictions coincided with a ‘creative and pivotal moment’ in his life, resulting in a temporary pause in his research.

“Despite adversities and challenges, the enthusiasm is heightened by the fact that I am here with my team and professors, and the work is now poised to be unveiled to the public,” added Sidiropoulos.

An actor, dancer, filmmaker, educator, writer, and doctoral researcher at the University of Melbourne – Victorian College of the Arts, he earned a scholarship from both the University of Melbourne and the A.G. Leventis Foundation in Greece, then graduated with excellence from the Higher Drama School in Athens, during which time he began wondering “what goes on in our brain when we hear the same sounds and music yet move in entirely different ways?” – a curiosity that sparked the inspiration for his current research.

Photo: Neos Kosmos

Born in Kastoria, a city in northern Greece in the region of Western Macedonia, and growing up with dances from Western Macedonia, the versatile artist states that “movement” has always been part of his life, with traditional dances shaping his body’s “rhythm.”

His love for traditional Greek dance led him to study physical theatre in England, where he earned a Master of Art in Physical Acting and Performance with distinction from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom.

In addition to teaching drama, physical theatre, and creative writing in secondary education in Greece and the United Kingdom, he has conducted experiential workshops on dance-theatre improvisation. More recently, he taught at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne.

Since 2010, he has been engaged in the performing arts as an actor, dancer, filmmaker, artistic creator, director, across various countries including Greece, England, Scotland, Sweden, the United States, and Australia.

His involvement extends to participating in performing arts and screen-dance film festivals on a global scale.

Photo: Neos Kosmos

Seizing opportunities globally

After graduating from drama school in Athens, Sidiropoulos joined an international summer program in the United States under the guidance of director Robert Wilson, which included seminars and lectures by the conceptual and performance artist Marina Abramovich, enhancing his determination to pursue global opportunities.

At an open-day event, he showcased his work in the presence of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Hugh Jackman and Winona Ryder.

Amidst his doctoral journey in Australia and despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Ioannis Sidiropoulos maintained his restless artistic spirit.

He also released his inaugural poetry collection in Greece, titled “Human Relationships,” (Ανθρώπων Σχέσεις), which is set to be presented at the 2023 Greek Book Fair at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture in Melbourne this weekend, on November 25-26.