April 25-30, 2016 - Tucson

Pre-Conference Workshop

Monday, April 25, 2 pm to 6 pm

Consciousness and the Arts I


Robert J. Sawyer James Kerwin/Kipleigh Brown, Dorian Electra, Marilyn Schlitz

The creative arts are intrinsic to consciousness. From the earliest cave paintings through 100,000 years of storytelling, drumming and dance rituals to modern film, music and art, we humans have used images, sound, movement and language to transmit knowledge, elicit emotions, explore inner and outer worlds and intensify conscious awareness. Today, theater, cinema, literature, music, dance, painting and sculpture are familiar forms of creative art. But how does creativity and art relate to deeper levels of consciousness? How can artists address consciousness more profoundly?

In part one of this workshop, award-winning authors, filmmakers, actors and musicians share their own work to address, for example, how films, books and songs represent alternative realities, dreams, "switching minds," mind downloading, AI and Transhumanism, ghosts and the afterlife, as well as parallel "what if?" worlds of science fiction and fantasy. We look at music and the moving image, and how documentarians approach fundamental issues such as consciousness and dying.

Entertainment is in consciousness. How do writers and performers best engage, influence, alter and manage consciousness in their audience? Which great artists have done it best, and how? How can entertainment best be used to discuss and educate about consciousness? In this workshop, entertainers will describe how they approach feelings, emotions and consciousness awareness: Nick Day (filmmaker), Robert J Sawyer (award-winning Sci-Fi writer), Nell Teare (actress, screenwriter), James Kerwin (filmmaker, writer), Dorian Electra (musician, songwriter), Kipleigh Brown (actress), Laura Nigro (filmmaker), and Marilyn Schlitz (filmmaker).


Consciousness in Science Fiction: A Case Study

Robert J. Sawyer is a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science-fiction writer whose work — including the novel FlashForward, basis for the ABCTV series of the same name — often deals with the nature of consciousness. Nine of his novels discuss the Hameroff-Penrose Orch OR theory, most significantly Quantum Night (Penguin, March 2016), which combines anin-depth exploration of Orch OR with a riff on David Chalmer’s philosopher’s zombie thought experiment. Join Sawyer for a discussion of the research that informed his thinking about consciousness andan exploration of the challenges faced in dramatizing complex theories of consciousness for popular audiences. He has spoken onconsciousness at TSC 2010 Tucson (plenary address), the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Penn, Google, and TEDxManitoba. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Winnipeg and Laurentian University, and has published in Science (guest editorial) and Nature (short story).



James Kerwin & Kipleigh Brown

Director/screenwriter James Kerwin and actress/screenwriter Kipleigh Brown present a vision for their upcoming feature-film adaptation of Czech playwright Karel Capek's classic science fiction story "R.U.R." Touching on the nature of consciousness, intelligence, emotions, and humanity, "R.U.R." broke new ground when it was first performed in 1921. A short "teaser" film based loosely on the play will screen during the session, followed by a discussion of the story's themes and the challenges of adapting it for modern audiences. 

Kipleigh Brown played Taylor in "STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE" and Hoyle in the noir feature "YESTERDAY WAS A LIE." She was selected as a "Hot Leading LadyofFilm" by "Film Fetish" and named "Best Actress" at ShockerFest. Credits include Disney's "Suite Life," "Relative Strangers," and "Top Story!"at the iO West. She currently appears in the series "STAR TREK CONTINUES."

James Kerwin's films haves earned numerous grand jury prizes, as well as the Geekie, Accolade, Telly, Axiem, Panavision Grant, and Norris Award. He was named "Best Director/Screenwriter" by Visionfest for "YESTERDAY WAS A LIE," his feature debut from eOne. He currently writes and directs for the series "STAR TREK CONTINUES.”


Dorian Electra — Dorian is a singer, song-writer, filmmaker, and visual artist, known for her unusual pop music videos on economics and philosophy of mind.  She will be screening music videos from her visual concept album "Mind Body Problem." Each song on the album is inspired by a philosophical thought experiment from philosophy of mind and has an accompanying music video that tells its story. The album spans diverse genres from psychedelic rock to90s dance to hair metal and more. Dorian will be discussing her experience attempting to make theoretical questions about consciousness appealing and relatable to a mainstream audience. Additionally, she will be sharing plans for her upcoming music videos and projects.


Marilyn Schlitz

Monday Death Makes Life Possible

Death Makes Life Possible: How can we transform the fear of death into an inspiration for living? This is the fundamental question that is addressed in a feature length documentary that explores death and different ontologies about consciousness and worldviews on an afterlife. This film provides a catalyst for deep conversations about death awareness and the nature of consciousness. It had its broadcast premier on the Oprah Winfrey Network, taking the discussion into the mainstream. In this presentation, the writer and executive producer of the film (and its companion book) will talk about the use of media to shift social consciousness about death awareness.

Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, award winning writer, and charismatic public speaker. She serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. She has written and produced a feature film, Death Makes Life Possible, with Deepak Chopra.



Early Workshop Fees:

TSC Student Registrants                $40 half day

TSC General Registrants                $60 half day

General Public - Student - Workshop only $75 half day

General Public - Workshop only  $125 half day