There’s more to The Brain Banquet than the name suggests; Guerilla Science’s latest offering, The Brain Banquet will see a WW2 bunker in London’s Dalston transformed into a 9-room spectacle for your senses. Featuring specimens from the Royal Veterinary College, sonic and visual artworks, a memory maze and of course, a banquet, the event aims to imitate, celebrate and explore the most complex thing in the universe: the human mind.
Guerilla Science, the brainchild of the inspiring Jen Wong, is an organisation that aims to challenge negative misconceptions about science; dedicated to science by stealth, Guerilla Science creates unconventional and eye-opening atmospheres that help more people discover the unimaginable realities science reveals to us and prove once and for all: Science is not boring!
The Fabulous Times was invited to an informal gathering to sample the menu, the cocktails and meet the people behind this unique event. Developed in partnership with Headway, a charity for survivors of brain injury, The Brain Banquet will not only encourage you to contemplate and enjoy the amazing brain but appreciate how vulnerable yet amazingly adaptable it is from the stories of Headway survivors and director Ben Graham.
The Feast: The menu itself was also created in collaboration with survivors at Headway alongside Neuroscientists and headed by chefs Josh Pollen and Mike Knowlden at Blanch and Shock. The five-course menu will truly explore all five senses: the banquet opens by riffing off ingredients associated with improving mental dexterity; coloured lights will help challenge the way food is perceived and finally memories of cut-grass and meadows will flood back with a Vernal Grass Cheesecake with Tonka Beans with foraged herbs. Many of the dessert ingredients naturally contain the grassy aromatic compound coumarin (the science bit), which promises to evoke memories triggered in the brain by this scent.
One course, an interpretation of ‘Ham, egg and chips’ was designed with members of Headway; many brain injury survivors have a reduced sense of smell and taste so this dish focuses on texture and sound. A fun, delicious and thought-provoking dish.
Future events: Alongside the food, speakers will discuss different facets of the mind: Dr Felicity Callard of the University of Durham will join Dr Daniel S. Margulies of the Max Planck Institute for Human and Cognitive Brain Sciences to uncover the brain’s networks and how these relate to creativity. Unlike a lecture, this event encourages guests to ask questions and engage with the experts such as neuropsychologist Dr Vaughan Bell of King’s College London who will discuss what happens when the mind deceives us: hallucinations and delusions.
Finally, the entire bunker will be filled with art installations to explore. An interactive memory clinic represents the architecture of the brain simultaneously allowing you to anonymously share memories, fears and hopes. The event features a ‘Sonic Tour of the Brain’ as well as artwork by Agatha Haines, previously part of the Festival of Imagination at Selfridges.
Book tickets: The Brain Banquet takes place from the 13th to the 15th of March with tickets selling out fast. The event incorporates an interactive art exhibit, a banquet (equally exciting vegetarian options available) and access to eminent brain scientists whilst also creating awareness for the important work at headway, it is not to be missed.
A limited number of tickets are available each night: £45 per head for a five course meal and welcome drink. Please feel free to BYOB. Get your tickets here.
The Fabulous Times, hopes to see you there. Edible science is my favourite kind of science!
Supported by the Welcome Trust