Historian Ben Woolley discusses the attitudes to science, experimentation and even death that 18th century painting so perfectly captured in Joseph Wright of Derby's An Experiment on a Bird In The Air Pump. Ben Woolley tells the story of a neglected masterpiece: Joseph Wright of Derby's An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. Until recently, Wright was dismissed by many art critics as a minor provincial but Wright was in fact a virtuoso painter whose scientific paintings give a unique insight into the Enlightenment in Britain. Ben Woolley's deconstruction of this epic painting takes him from Wright's birthplace in Derby to East Germany, where he witnesses a reconstruction of the famous Magdeburg hemispheres experiment. He visits London's Royal Society and uncovers the strange history of animal experimentation in the 18th century.
At the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival in Missoula, Montana, average people perform public sex acts on an outdoor stage. In a mansion once occupied by The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson reads his own Tarot cards and talks sweetly to his beautiful actress girlfriend. Across the country, men build their own full-size castles and rocketships that will send them into space. Palahniuk himself experiments with steroids, works on an assembly line by day and as a hospice volunteer by night, and experiences the brutal murder of his father by a white supremacist. With this new direction, Chuck Palahniuk has proven he can do anything.