The Mad Scientist Festival was held for the first time in September 2014 at the Natural History Museum in Bern, Switzerland. It proved a success with over 1000 visitors and extensive media coverage and since then happened two more times, in September 2015 and again in 2016, for a special edition commemorating 1816, the “year without summer” – and the year Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, in a villa next to Geneva.
The aim of the Festival is to unite artistic positions revolving around science. By presenting scientific subjects not by scientists but by artists, the festival hopes to give the audience a different view point on what science does and why. Science is part of the cultural fabric of our time, it is not only about facts, but also about stories. Science delivers more than just expertise for tricky questions in the fields of technology, economics or politics. It also asks questions about who we are what the world is made of. It is irritating and entertaining, it inspires hopes and fears. The Mad Scientist Festival wants to explore all these subcontexts of science, and we are convinced that this is done best by inviting artists that work on these subjects. Artists are depth drillers in superficial times.
The Mad Scientist Festival is funded by several important Swiss scientific and cultural foundations. It seeks unconventional partners and venues for the festival events, like night clubs, public spaces, (art) museums. It tries to attract an audience not usually involved with artistic ore scientific practice – it tries to show that science and thinking about science can be fun, without setting clear pedagogical goals, without making the audience feel like they are back in school.