Frederik de Wilde’s investigations don’t stop at nanotechnology and ultra black paintings, he also explores biotechnology, data networks, or any other scientific fields of research to uncover new frontiers of the intangible, inaudible, invisible.
That might sound highly conceptual but as the interview with the artist demonstrates research into elusive energy measurements and other barely perceptible phenomena quickly gives rise to reflections about politics, art history, economic emergency, universe hacking and very practical innovations in ‘clean’ energy
When Harmony Went to Hell. Congo Dialogues at Rivington Place in London brings side by side archive photos shot by Alice Seeley Harris while Leopold II was still the sole owner of the land and new work from Sammy Baloji, a Congolese artist who has spent the past few years investigating the legacies of colonialism in his country
Ice Lab presents some of the most innovative and progressive examples of contemporary architecture in Antarctica, drawing together projects that not only utilise cutting-edge technology and engineering, but have equally considered aesthetics, sustainability and human needs in their ground-breaking designs for research stations
The show invited artists whose work reconsiders the notion of territory in a time when the obsolescence of concepts such as the nation state and borders coincides with new forms of nationalism and a corollary desire to affirm the individuality of a community or to protect their privileges with the construction of new physical demarcations
Contour 2013, the 6th Biennial of Moving Image, presents videos, installations and performances in Michelen’s prison, football stadium as well as in a church and a museum. Under the title Leisure, Discipline and Punishment, the event examines social roles and relations within society.
As usual in this kind of international photo competition, there’s a couple of winning shots about Palestine, some portraits of magnificently coiffed people, plenty of violent deaths, prisoners living in dire conditions and almost half of these talented photographers are Italian. I’m very impressed by the Afrometals series, btw
While highlighting established artists such as Gerhard Richter, the book also includes emerging and mid-career artists whose work ranges widely. Artists such as Jeremy Wood who plots his movement across the globe through GPS tracking, Tatsuo Miyajima who does digital light displays, Eduardo Kac who does transgenic bio-art or Santiago Sierra who paid workers to shift a heavy rock back and forth are among the international artists included in this book. Often controversial, these artists push the boundaries of what would traditionally be considered art
A few years ago, Z33 House for Contemporary Art invited established names and young talents to visit several sites in the region, pick up the one they’d like to work with and then submit a project that would engage with the cultural background of the area and entice passers-by to look differently at the surroundings. The result is pit – art in public space
Our society is governed by all sorts of systems and structures that organise and steer life. No system, however, whether political, judicial, economical, socio-cultural or spatial, can comprise life in its entirety. Every system has gaps, leaks and ambiguities.
The artists in the exhibition Mind the System, Find the Gap seek out these gaps. They set forth from this intermediate position to unveil, circumvent or criticise ruling systems and structures
The top floor of the crumbling art deco industrial building is filled with contemporary artworks that address de-industrialization and post-industrialization. As you can expect, many of the works come with a sense of doom similar to the one experienced by local communities when the mine closed in 1987. The artists selected for the biennial confront issues such as the dematerialisation of production, new forms of labor, the loss or transformation of social ideologies, the challenges of creating energy, counterfeit luxury goods and the parallel economy it generates, etc.
Genk is a city almost entirely devoid of any grace but it is also the site of the 9th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. And who needs grace and glamour when you have an exhibition as sensational as as the one that Cuauhtémoc Medina curated in a disused coal mine at the outskirt of the city?
The industrial revolution was a revolution for engineers. Now designers are at the forefront of a new revolution. They are part of networks that enable them to develop new materials and systems, build their own machines, and seek new tools for production and distribution. These developments offer an alternative to mass production and open paths to a new economy and society
Sebastian Stumpf’s photo documentation of his performances in the ‘gaps’ of Tokyo architecture. The artist is literally filling in the hiatus in the dense architectural structure of the city, squeezing himself in the overlooked spaces between the buildings. The action makes us suddenly aware of this ‘urbanism interrupted’, and calls our attention to what is in-between, behind, or beyond
I was as flattered as i was surprised when my favourite art center in Europe 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
I had a little chat with the artist who hung a gigantic disco-ball over Paris, threw 12 tons of asphalt on the road to create a absurdly twisted bike lane in Montreal, rode his polluting bicycle in parks, knitted New Orleans street lamps into a satellite-shaped structure, silenced an alarm bell under a vacuum system and famously got his pedal-powered 86′ Buick Regal car pulled over by the police
I’ve seen Trevor Paglen’s fascinating photos in numerous contexts, from new media art festivals to activist conferences and contemporary art exhibitions. But i’m no different from most people: the more i see Paglen’s work, the more questions i want to ask him. I’ve finally decided to catch up with him and interviewed him via skype for the upcoming Z33 catalogue
Architecture of Fear explores how feelings of fear pervade daily life in the contemporary media society. The cause of fear seems interchangeable and constantly fluctuating. Shifting from one thing to the next, often relating to invisible or indirect phenomena’s (terrorism, viral diseases, pollution, financial crisis), anything has the ability to become a potential threat. Rather than an immediate emotional strategy for survival fear is becoming a constant low level feeling in the background that gives rise to a new global infrastructure based on security, prevention and risk-management
Since 2003, young photographer Charlotte Lybeer spent extended periods of time in gated communities and contemporary theme parks to document how these places neatly designed around a central theme managed to give an illusion of safety and dream lifestyle
I love Walter Van Beirendonck. He puts men on stilts, wraps them in latex, has them wear T-shirts with prints of preoperative drawings for plastic surgery, sends them on the runway with gas masks, corsets, prosthetic horns or with the face adorned with stick-on latex interpretations of Maori facial tattoos, etc. Actually, i think i adore that guy
Jurema Action Plant is a machine which interfaces a sensitive plant (Mimosa Pudica). Its aim is to empower plants by enabling them to use similar technologies as humans use. It is also explores new ways of communication and co-relation between humans, living organism and a machine. Plants don’t have nerves, wires or cables but much like humans, animals and machines, they have an electrical signal traveling inside their cells
While worn, exposure to the noise is structured through a sequence designated by a composer which controls the behavior of the sound-prevention valves. The composer also determines what values are adjustable by the listener through the single knob built into the device. The headphones mechanically create a personal listening experience by composing noise from the listener’s environment, rendering it differently familiar
Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium, has just opened an exhibition with a very promising title. Architecture of Fear explores how feelings of fear pervade daily life in the contemporary media society.
I’m going to visit it on Thursday but in the meantime i thought i’d ask one of the participating artists, Jill Magid, to tell us about the work she is showing at Z33 and more generally about her experience with impersonal power structures (police, intelligence agencies, security systems, etc.) which, whether they contribute to it or fight it, are part of this ‘architecture of fear.’
For Z33, design collective Numen / For Use left the gaffer tape in Vienna and Zagreb and used nets to turn the whole exhibition space into a giant playground that can be explored horizontally as well as vertically. The idea might look incredibly simple but the result evokes floating architecture and flexible “landscape” as much as jungle gym
To understand how mysterious jumping fish can survive in a puddle with trucks driving through it, Mateusz Herczka recreated a South American puddle in an unheated Belgian space. The huge cube of glass and metal contains a reconstruction of a puddle found in the middle of a road in Guyana, with a truck wheel rolling through it. His work is documented in an exhibition which recently opened in Antwerp
The work of Kris Verdonck focuses on the confusion of man in an estranged world due to technological development. The tension between man and machine, between living species and dead materials creates an atmosphere of Unheimlichkeit or eeriness. This ‘current state of the world’ – with its environmental problems, ecological disasters and wars – is the central theme through his oeuvre
To enter garden installation EXOTE, part of Kris Verdonck – EXHIBITION #1, visitors have to wear protecting clothes. They can then walks on the bark soil between plants and parrots, just like a nature explorer. The terrestrial plants, crustraceans, insects, fish, amphibians, birds and other organisms they encounter are all “Invasive Alien Species”, they thrive outside their natural distribution area and threaten biological diversity
This week, i’m having a chat with Lieven Standaert, the designer behind Aeromodeller2, a project which explores the possibility to build a 90-meter, zero-emission, airship that will never need to land to get its fuel, creating hydrogen from the elements it encounters and anchoring when it needs to replenish its energy in a renewable way. Aeromodeller2 might not be the most efficient nor the fastest airship but it leaves more space to imagination, dream and aspiration than anything Boeing can come up with
Ready-to-use Models, a work-in-progress project developed for Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal, attempts to question the current definitions used to indicate living creatures. Does one denominate a manipulated organism as an object, product, animal or pet? What consequences does this choice of definition entail for our perceptions, feelings and behaviours regarding living creatures?
The exhibition analyses the most recent developments in Italian contemporary art through a selection of works by the 16 artists nominated to the 2011 Emerging Talents award. Good surprises await the visitor
Apologies for updating this blog only once in a blue moon. I’ve been spending the past few days on a quest for the perfect flat. Now that mission is accomplished, i can announce that normal service will resume on Friday (tomorrow i’ll be visiting a couple of shows in Florence.) In the meantime, here’s some of the most stunning images i saw this afternoon at The Museum of London which is running a London Street Photography show until September 4, 2011
For ‘Cook Me – Black Bile’, designer Tuur Van Balen used leeches and his own blood too cook a recipe for controlling the feeling of melancholy. Synthetic biology and the new interactions it can trigger within our body are proposed as a new form of cooking, guided by one’s personal metabolism
One of the artists i was most happy to discover at the exhibition Alter Nature: We Can in Hasselt a few days ago was Antti Laitinen. The finish artist fills one room of the art space with a video triptych and a series of photos from It’s My Island. The work documents Laitinen’s sisyphean attempt to build his own island (and therefore micro-nation) in the Baltic Sea. The artist accepted to answer my questions for a short interview
The exhibition looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this
Raketenbaum is a performance and a diptych showing how Michael Sailstorfer had a fruit tree catapulted into the air by compressed-air cylinders attached to its root balls
The Documentary Real was probably the most satisfying conference i attended this year. I had planned to write down my notes from some of my favourite talks when Robrecht Vanderbeeken from KASK (the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent) informed me that the videos of the symposium were online
The exhibition “West Arch – a new generation in architecture” shows 25 architecture studios from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany which all respond to present demands and problems in an experimental and unconventional way
By cutting thousands of little pieces of polarization filter and putting a rotating polarization filter in front of them, Wim Janssen succeeds in imitating television static by using an almost banal technique
Called Usus/Usures, the exhibition investigates a specific phase in the life of construction materials: the time when they are subjected to use and are gradually re-shaped by human beings passing through them, walking on them, touching, pressing, stroking, scratching or holding them
The crushed vehicle does not only serve as an entry point to a discussion about the Iraq conflict, it also comments on the increasingly harsh impact of war on civilian and cultural life. A display at the museum states that at the start of the 20th century, 10 % of war casualties were civilians. Today, they make up 90%
Some 100 works by photographers as Sibylle Bergemann, Evelyn Richter, Ulrich Wüst, Ute Mahler, Will McBride, Helga Paris and Roger Melis. In black and white, they have documented everyday situations that reflect the more recent history of East-Germany beyond high politics – snapshots that show the professional and private everyday life, political activities, urban landscapes, interiors and nudes