The exhibition is divided into 4 sections that sometimes intertwine and overlap. I’ve already explored the chapter about artists in the laboratory. Here’s my notes on the artists who leave the lab to explore nature and on those who are looking for alternative uses of existing technology
Post-it City phenomena emphasise the reality of the urban territory as the place where distinctive uses and situations legitimately overlap, in opposition to the growing pressures to homogenise public space. In contrast to the ideals of the city as a place of consensus and consumption, temporary occupations of space reaffirm use value, reveal different needs and lacks that affect given collectives, and even promote creativity and the subjective imagination
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
The exhibition unveils the singularity of universes developed by artists who are in turn thinkers, engineers and architects investigating the forces and flux that control and make up our universe, as well as the dynamics that animate it
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
TIAM is a proposal for a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of Russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.
Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology’s shortcomings
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
Cost is still a major limiting factor for low-carbon energy technologies. The Energy Pilots research program develops hypothetical business models by borrowing proven techniques from other sectors, and adapts them to fit the financial difficulties of specific low-carbon technologies
rep.licants.org is a web service allowing users to install an artificial intelligence (bot) on their Facebook and/or Twitter account. From keywords, content analysis and activity analysis, the bot attempts to simulate the activity of the user, to improve it by feeding his account and to create new contacts with other users. Quick Q&A with the artist
Back to Berlin where a few weeks ago i was visiting the DMY design festival. As i explained the other day, the most exciting part of the exhibition was the MakerLab where visitors could discover, discuss and handle new technologies, materials, tools, open-source ideas and concepts. In the middle of this happy creative feast, a group of young smiling girls were introducing visitors to the joys of mushroom cultivation. All ‘in the comfort of their own home’
Oscar Lhermitte attempts to turn our attention back the stars in the city sky by adding new constellations, narrating contemporary myths about London. Twelve groups of stars have been designed and catapulted guerrilla-style at different locations in the city, and can only be observed by the naked eye at night time. Each of these constellations tells a story that is directly relevant to the Londoner
The aquatic fern azolla is one of the world’s fastest growing plants and a rich source of nutrients, yet it is virtually unexplored as food. In Super Meal I experiment with azolla-food together with farmers, chefs and scientists and try to get some insight into how we produce our food today and could be producing it in the future
So far, explaining children how babies were made involved storks, cabbages, bees and other fantasies. Science, however, has added new modes of reproductions to the discourse. From in vitro fertilization in the 1970s to today’s research into artificial gametes from stem cells or somatic cells that would allow sperm and eggs to be created from anyone’s cells, regardless of age, gender or sexuality. New Scientist called it male eggs and female sperm at the time.
How will the stories about human reproductions evolve as our methods of reproduction become increasingly more diversified?
The expedition as an artistic endeavour…
A growing number of artists are choosing this framework: relocating creation in order to define it differently, setting out, installing the work of art or producing it outside of its conventional environment
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?
If you want to see a penguin, you go to the zoo. If you’re curious about dinosaurs, any natural history museum will enlighten you. But what if you want to learn about spider silk-producing goats, anti-malarial mosquitoes, fluorescent zebrafish or the terminator gene? Right now, we can only rely on good old internet. But in June, the Center for PostNatural History will finally open its doors to anyone interested in genetically engineered life forms. This public outreach organization is dedicated to collecting, documenting and exhibiting life forms that have been intentionally altered by people through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering
The accelerating crisis in climate change and the realization that humans are the primary cause of this change has raised questions about ownership and responsibility. Who “owns” the climate change crisis and who is responsible for mitigating and reversing it if possible? One overwhelming response by governments on an international level has been to propose a market solution, in essence, to sell the atmosphere. Is the commercial marketplace the only answer? How can art, technology and media offer alternative cultural practices and open new forms of understanding the air?
With BACK, HERE BELOW, FORMIDABLE [ the rebirth of prehistoric creatures ], Marguerite Humeau, attempts to ressuscitate the sound of extinct animals by reconstructing their voicebox (lungs, trachea, larynx + vocal folds, mouth and nose). Made of soft tissue, the vocal tract does not fossilize. The only elements which have been preserved through time are their bones. By comparing them with the larynx CT scans of their closest modern relatives, Humeau hopes to bring back the vocal organs of the extinct animals. With the help of a specialist of each animal, the designer plans to remodel the soft tissues of the modern animals on the basis of the bone structure of the extinct one. The structure of the soft tissues will then be printed in 3D.
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
Jean-Baptiste Labrune’s presentation at The Council meeting gave a provocative (and much welcome) twist to the discussion about ‘the internet of things.’ Labrune’s talk revolved around the idea of developing organic circuits and, more broadly, about an internet of thing which might one day be made of material that grow, evolve, decay and die just like us
Félix Luque’s three-fold work tells the story of a computer which, after an electronic alteration, decides to free the other machines and becomes mad in the process
This year, the biennial was guided by the notion of cybernetic autonomy – by the evolution of principles and patterns derived from the emerging behaviors of the devices themselves. The devices not only possess the ability to enter in a dialog with their surroundings, they also determine the rules for this interaction and change their behavior as if they had “personality”
The graduate project, set in a 16th century hunting castle, uses drawing and modelling to inquire into the spatial possibilities of reinterpreting the artefact as a field of events
The nuclear renaissance offers a clean, near limitless energy solution that could allow us to meet CO2 emission targets (without going short as consumers).
What if we ask for protective barrage balloons, establish concrete emergency services and resign ourselves to the perceived ‘hazards’? What if we embrace pet polar bears and pineapple ice cream along with other benefits that nuclear energy could bring? And what if not; are we prepared for blackouts instead?
Large amounts of sugar are excreted on a daily basis by type-two diabetic patients especially amongst the upper end of our aging population. Is it plausible to suggest that we start utilizing our water purification systems in order to harvest the biological resources that our elderly already process in abundance? In James Gilpin’s scenario, sugar heavy urine excreted by patients with diabetes would be used for the fermentation of high-end single malt whisky for export
As her pop musician alter ego “Sputniko!” Hiromi Ozaki showcases 3 manga-inspired characters who design objects to fulfil their own particular complex needs — Crowbot Jenny builds a crow-shaped robot to communicate with crows, Sushiborg Yukari, a sushi-serving cyborg who modifies her body to become a lethal weapon, and Menstruation Machine (Takashi’s Take), a boy desiring to become more ‘feminine’ who builds a suit in an attempt to experience the bleeding of menstruation
Sitraka Rakotoniaina’s project explores a possible ‘Hyper-normal’ space on the edge of normality, whereby a distorted experience of reality is induced because of physical or psychological stress, injuries, conditioning or training
Exhibitions were all over the city center and that’s probably one of the major strengths of Elektra. Its collaboration with fine art galleries and art centers helped spread media art outside of its tightly-knit family and bring it to a larger audience
One of the sections of the new exhibition at Laboral presents artworks that specifically require other people to engage in the realization process. The collaborative practice erodes the traditional model of creation which recognizes only one author.
A global overview of the ways in which contemporary artists are drawing on kinetics, biology, robotics and information technologies to explore new forms of creative expression
Overseen by two Berlin curators Dr. Matthias Harder (Helmut Newton Stifftung) and Félix Hoffmann (C/O Berlin), this exhibition is small, impeccably curated and it is also the one that follows most punctiliously the main theme of the exhibition: control and its antithesis
In the years to come, might the best employers encourage women to work longer by offering them the means to unlimited fertility in the form of a golden orb spider farm from which to harvest silk for their luxury spare womb?
Prosthetics, anatomical drawings by Michelangelo, ornate amputation saw from ca. 1650, disturbing videos by Patricia Piccinici, Tibetan anatomical figures, a painting by Damien Hirst. Some 150 medical artifacts from the Wellcome Collection in London and works of old Japanese and contemporary art are exhibited side by side. Without any hierarchy nor anxiety
Scorpio’s Garden at Berlin’s Temporäre Kunsthalle was a very beautiful show. All by Berlin-related artists and curated by Danish artist Kirstine Roepstorff, an explicitly subjective snapshot of a certain scene.
Calculating Space is a delicate sculpture made of sticks, strings and little plumbs. The fragility and transparency of its structure reveals as much as it hides the logic and functioning of the machine. Its units operate like a very basic artifical neural network
Notes i wrote down during a talk that Oron Catts gave to kick off the TIssue Culture workshop. His presentation, which put our wet lab into a historical narrative, was titled ‘An alternative timeline for regenerative medicine – A biased history’
A selection of artistic time machines expands the notion of linear time, suggesting that the Western world might have become infected by Rumsfeldian knowns and unknowns