Particle physics art

A pandemic thought bubble transformed into performance art

It’s bubble time. Canberra bubbles, quarantine bubbles, travel bubbles.

And then there are the bubbles that Brian Lipson will produce, in a performance for one at the reopening of Melbourne’s experimental theater, Arts House, as eccentric Victorian London scientist CV Boys.

Performer Brian Lipson spent the pandemic diving deep into bubbles.Credit:Simon schluter

The show will last five minutes. The explanation goes for … as long as you want, really. The veteran actor and theater maker has had quite a pandemic to do his research.

“I realized how much I invest myself emotionally [Boys] was in bubbles, ”Lipson says. “The thing that strikes me most poignantly is how our lives have become more fragile like bubbles. And unpredictable. It is almost impossible to determine how long a bubble will last. They have a destiny that we cannot tap into.

And he thought about how we communicate from our little Zoom bubbles, all the while observing ourselves in the reflection as we do, watching our expressions and our surroundings. And he wanted to create something that brings it all together: emotional human interaction, and our fragility, and the physics of it, and the sheer aesthetic bliss of a perfect bubble.

They are embodied in the central CV Boys-based character, a true physicist whose wife had an affair and left him for a math professor at Cambridge, with the divorce being reported in the papers, leaving Boys mortified and heartbroken. The boys became well known for their public demonstrations of soap bubble science: but one of his students, future science fiction legend HG Wells, called him “one of the worst teachers who has never turned its back on a resistant public. ”.

It is almost impossible to determine how long a bubble will last. They have a destiny that we cannot tap into.

Performer Brian Lipson

The boys loved a practical joke. His Royal Society obituary notes that in his middle age he made a large “smoke ring box” and “having filled it with hydrogen sulfide, he fired at targets passing through Victoria Street. “. He took bubble-making supplies on visits to friends and “helped throw a party”

Lipson loves this combination of innocent joy and tragedy, like the way ineffable joy and inevitable mortality combine in a bubble. But the show isn’t just about boys. This is also the artist John Everett Millais, who painted the famous portrait of his grandson blowing a bubble that was turned into an advertisement for Pears soap, and that grandson, who grew up to be commander of the Royal Navy during two world wars but forever retained the nickname “Sir Bubbles”.


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