Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium, is (as you might have noticed) one of my favourite art centers in Europe. There are many reasons for that. The main one is that Z33 is one of the very few cultural spaces proposing a programme where art meets design meets science meets contemporary issues. Then there is the way they make bloggers' life so easy by making available online their exhibition guides as well as impeccable photo sets documenting their activities. For free! Art lovers who might not be able to travel to Hasselt to see their shows are probably as grateful as i am for the gesture.
So i was as flattered as i was surprised when they got in touch and asked me if i'd like to curate the catalogue of their 2011 activities. 2011 was a vintage year at Z33. They opened a show about manipulated nature, had some spectacular tape and suspended nets events, hosted a solo show of theater genius Kris Verdonck and investigated the the firm grip that fear has on contemporary society.
Some of the texts in the book have been published on my blog last year and almost as many were written only for the paper publication. The new texts consist of essays, studio visits and interviews with artists such as Charlotte Jarvis, Gair Dunlop, Marcia Nolte, De Geuzen, etc.
I'm still amazed at how brave Z33 have been, they allowed me to select the artists and designers i wanted to talk to, let me decide what my essays would be about and were remarkably patient with my notoriously laid-back attitude towards deadlines.
I'm quite looking forward to visiting/blogging their ongoing show: Mind the System, Find the Gap.
The first episode of #A.I.L - artists in laboratories, the radio show about art & science/technology i'm recording for Resonance FM is broadcast today Monday 21 May at 16.30 (GMT.) There will be a repeat on Thursday at 22.30. You can catch it online if you don't live in London. And of course there will be podcasts.
This week i'm talking with the lovely and lively Anna Dumitriu, visual artist and respected founder and director of The Institute of Unnecessary Research. She explains how she finds herself locked inside university laboratories to collaborate with scientists on major projects. We're talking about bacteria and how the problem is not that they exist but that they keep talking to each other, we're talking panda blood transfusion ahead of the Paris edition of Trust Me, I'm an Artist and there's even a mention of the robot that steals your face.
Anna has a show opening this Wednesday at The Barn Gallery in Oxford. Normal Flora: Bioart Responses to Modernising Medical Microbiology blurs the boundaries between art, textile crafts, and science. It uses a range of digital, biological and traditional media including live bacteria, projections and textiles. I'll be going on Wednesday, expect blurry images on my flickr stream.
On Friday at 4pm, set your radio to 104.4fm if you live in London and your browser to http://resonancefm.com/ if you don't. That's when the pilot for programme i've recently recorded for Resonance104.4fm, London's edgy, radical, art radio is going to be aired. The focus of the programme is art & science/technology.
Critical designers Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen were kind and kamikaze enough to join me in the studio for the first episode. We've discussed topics as diverse as the beauty of life support machines, pigeons that poop soap, using design to infiltrate synthetic biology, collaborating with scientists and communicating the complexities of a projects that explore the impact of science on society.
The last part of the broadcast takes the form of a quick agenda of exhibitions to see in and around London if you're interested in art&tech/science. I'll update this post with a podcast of the show if you can't catch it on Friday afternoon.
Futures episodes won't be aired before next month. A new one will be broadcast every week, last 30 minutes and focus on an artist or collective whose work i admire such as London Fieldworks, Anna Dumitriu, Zoe Papadopoulou, Ruairi Glynn, Thomas Thwaites, Tom Keene, c-lab, Semiconductor, etc. I've also been sent on a mission to get Bruno Latour.
The ten last minutes of each programme will be dedicated to the agenda, and once in a while i'll add audio snippets from the festivals i attend as a speaker or blogger.
So if you are curating, organizing or participating to an art&tech/science event in the UK in the coming months, do get in touch and i might plug it in the agenda.
The same goes for anyone who'd have a great idea for a title, i'm far from happy with the current one, Artists in Laboratories.
Finally, i'd like to thank Tom Besley and Richard Thomas of ResonanceFM for trusting me with a microphone. I know i wouldn't want to listen to my silly voice and silly accent on the radio.
You might remember that over 8 months ago i spent 7 days in Pittsburgh for a A/S/T Book Sprint. Together with curator Andrea Grover, art and science writer and pop star Claire L. Evans and architect and designer Pablo Garcia, i spent a whole week locked inside the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University discussing and writing about the intersection of art/science/technology with explorations into maker culture, hacking, artist research, distributed creativity, and technological and speculative design.
Andrea also had the bright idea to involve graphic designers Jessica Young, and Luke Bulman from Thumb in the whole production process. Each evening we would gather around their computer screens and watch how these two talented designers had given shape to our ideas and texts.
The book is finally out! It's called New Art/Science Affinities and you can either buy it on Lulu or download the PDF for free.
Don't expect to read the ultimate compendium of all things art and science (it was written in only 7 days by 4 people after all), it would be more appropriate to see it as a subjective snapshot of what the art&science community is up to right now (or rather 8 months ago). What i can say with certainty is that the book is the result of one of the most exciting moments of my blogger life. So thank you Andrea for inviting us to book sprint, to Golan Levin for hosting us at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, to Astria Suparak from the Miller Gallery for her continuous support. And a huge thank you to all the artists we've contacted at the very last moment with an urgent request to send us photos or to talk with us on skype.
Views inside the book:
Just a quick post to explain this long-ish silence. I miss you readers but right now i'm wrapped up inside a Book Sprint, a one week-long collective authoring of a book. The first Book Sprint edition was launched in Berlin during Transmediale. Titled Collaborative Futures, it was written by some of the smartest people i know. Following in their footsteps is a humbling experience. The Book Sprint i'm participating to is directed by the lovely Andrea Grover, as part of her research fellowship at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Our A/S/T Book Sprint explores the work of contemporary artists who are working at the intersection of art/science/technology, with a focus on the recent shift from artist/inventor dependent on industry or academy (as embodied by pioneering programs from the 1960s such as Art and Technology at LACMA and Experiments in Art & Technology), to independent agent (artists conducting scientific research or technological experiments outside the framework and discourse of an institution).
I'm in delightful and talented company: Claire L. Evans is an art and science writer who actually makes a living as a pop star. Pablo Garcia explores the spatial arts--architecture, design, and the visual and performing arts, in a variety of scales. His portfolio is as impressive as his knowledge of the history of the A/S/T field. Andrea also had the bright idea of involving graphic designers Jessica Young, and Luke Bulman from Thumb in the whole production process. It's a blessing to be able to spy so closely on the working activity of these two.
And yes, the show is every bit as fun as it looks.
More updates soon.
Storefront for Art and Architecture and ForYourArt have invited 6 bloggers to curate Postopolis! LA, a live five-day event of near-continuous conversation about architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, and design to be held in Los Angeles from 31 March to 4 April 2009.
The 6 bloggers are David Basulto of ArchDaily/Plataforma Arquitectura, Geoff Manaugh from BLDGBLOG , Dan Hill of City of Sound, Bryan Finoki of Subtopia , Jace Clayton from Mudd Up!, and me (we-make-money-not-art, in case you had forgotten where you've just landed.)
The speakers come by the dozen. They are listed, scheduled right here and all of them are awesomissime. The location is as swanky as it gets, it's the Rooftop Terrace at The Standard, Downtown LA. Entrance is free.
The new media art-y crowd might be particularly interested in the following talks:
Postopolis is part of Los Angeles Art Weekend.