15 Mar 2023

Geometry for Aliens

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Artist Leila Dear explores whether geometry could be a universal language

What do our attempts to communicate with extra-terrestrials say about us? Jerwood artist in residence, Leila Dear uses geometry as a way of thinking about interdependence and non-human design.  In this episode of The Process she explores whether geometry could be used as a ‘Lingua Cosmica’, a universal language by which to communicate with other intelligences beyond earth.  Given the prevalence of geometric patterning within the natural world and the universal limitations of physics, could geometry provide a way of relating to other minds without preferencing our own?

She puts the idea to Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI institute (the Search for Extra-terrestrial Life) who is sure we will find evidence of aliens within the next 20 years.  This led Leila to reflect on the other forms of mind we already share the earth with. She is joined by science writer Philip Ball to discuss how a better understanding of animal and plant intelligence might help us de-centre the human.

Leila Dear

Leila Dear is a British-Iranian artist and educator whose multidisciplinary practice looks at ways of engaging with the structures of the natural world. Often working with geometric techniques from the Islamic tradition and elemental phenomena such as pure vibration, she explores commonalities between art and science and ideas of a beyond human, natural, intelligence.


Producer: Alannah Chance
Series Presenter: Laurent John
Theme music: Ka Baird
Additional music: Aylu (Mana Records) & Lord Tusk
Mastered by: Nick Ryan
Produced as part of the Creators Programme 2022

Supported by

The Rothschild Foundation