Jad Abumrad on Unanswered Questions and Making Concepts Dance

Apr 2, 2015

What does a shrimp sees when it looks at a rainbow? How well can we really know the minds of animals? Why do we blink?

These are some of the questions that Radiolab creator and co-host, Jad Abumrad, tackles with each episode of his show.

"I love the challenge of taking that heavy abstraction and making it dance," he says.

"It's sort of like taking a giant elephant and strapping on ballerina shoes. Can I make it move, so it never feels like a leaden bit of homework?"

Credit thesaradarling

Recently, Abumrad has taken his questions to the stage with his performance, entitled "Gut Churn." He uses audio clips, still images, sound manipulation, and video to discuss how fear is actually essential to innovation and creativity.

He will perform Saturday, April 4 in Iowa City, as part of the Mission Creek Festival.

In this Talk of Iowa interview, Abumrad talks with Charity Nebbe about his creative process, his relationship with co-host Robert Krulwich, and his background in music composition.

"I realized that Radiolab actually was a kind of composition," he says. "It was actually a musical version of journalism."