Living Assemblies - Design Your Silken Self

‘Living Assemblies’ is a hands-on workshop, led by designer and researcher Veronica Ranner, investigating the coupling of the biological material silk with digital technologies. 

This workshop is organised in partnership with The Arts Catalyst and in cooperation with Furtherfield.

We invite participants (experts in their own field – artists, designers, scientists, writers, technologists, academics, and activists) to join a weekend-long workshop, in which we will experiment with silk and a range of transient materials to imagine potential future applications for combining biological and digital media.

Traditional methods of crafting silk have barely changed in 5000 years, but recent explorations by scientists are uncovering extraordinary new potential uses for this material.  Reverse engineered silk is one of the few biomaterials not rejected by the human body. Rather, able to be fully absorbed by human tissue, it allows for a range of applications within and interacting with the body, including human bone and tissue replacements, biosensors and biodegradable electronics opening the potential to imagine new wearables and imlantables with a range of functions.

During this two-day workshop, participants will collaboratively explore the potential of reverse engineered silk, currently confined to laboratories. Taking the body as the first site for investigation, Veronica Ranner will ask participants to consider themselves as living assemblies that can be hacked, enhanced and patched into through using bio-digital materials. Activities will involve material experiments combined with a narrative design process to speculate on silk's possible future use in the world.

Workshop details


Day 1

With Veronica Ranner, Clemens Winkler and Luke Franzke, participants will be introduced to transient materials — such as reversed engineered silk — through hands-on experimentation with a range of materials, including agar-agar, gelatine, fibroin, glucose and silk-fibres. They will use digital methods and circuits and combine them with silken materials, to then begin forming their own ideas into speculative objects and artworks.
 

Day 2

Innovator, scientist and intermedia artist, Gjino Sutic will introduce the concept of ‘bio-tweaking’: improving and hacking living organisms, for example through metabolism hacking, neuro-tweaking, tissue engineering and organ growing. Participants will work together with science writer Frank Swain to construct narratives around their work. In the final session, participants will map out their ideas in discussion with the group.


Workshop Leader

Veronica Ranner is a designer, artist and researcher living and working in London. She researches the burgeoning domain of the bio–digital — a converging knowledge space where digitality and computational thinking meet biological matter. She dissects and creates tangible and immaterial manifestations of such collisions, examining hereby the polyphonic potential of alternative technological futures. Her current doctoral work explores paradigm shifts in reality perception by coupling speculative (bio)material strategies and information experience through design research. Veronica holds a degree in Industrial Design from Pforzheim University, a Masters in Design Interactions (RCA), and has worked trans-disciplinary with a variety of science institutions and biomedical companies, and she teaches and lectures internationally. Her work is exhibited internationally, including at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2012), Science Gallery, Dublin (2012), China Technology Museum, Beijing (2012), Ventura Lambrate, Milan (2013) and French Design Biennale, St. Etienne (2013). She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Royal College of Art’s Information Experience Design programme and is interested in complex networked cycles, emerging (bio-) technologies and biological fabrication, systems design, material futures and new roles for designers.

Co- facilitators

Clemens Winkler, designer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.
Luke Franzke, designer and researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.
Frank Swain, science writer and journalist.
Gjino Sutic, innovator, scientist and artist; Director of the Universal Institute in Zagreb, Croatia.
Other experts joining discussions during the workshops will be Bio-informatician Dr Derek Huntley (Imperial College).


Partners & Support

The project is a collaboration between The Creative Exchange Hub at the Royal College of Art, Tufts University (Boston, MA), The Arts Catalyst (London), and Imperial College (London), and hosted and in collaboration with Furtherfield (London). The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Creative Exchange is a national initiative that brings together the best creative and digital minds from leading universities with dynamic and entrepreneurial companies, to create innovative new digital products and services. The Creative Exchange is led by Lancaster University, Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art; funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Find out more at www.thecreativeexchange.org 

Furtherfield is the UK's leading organisation for arts, technology and social change. Since 1997 Furtherfield has created online and physical spaces and places for people to come together to develop and create critical and experimental art and digital technologies on their own terms.
 

Resources & readings:

[1] Primo Levi (1984), Periodic Table, New York: Schocken Books Inc. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Periodic-Table-Primo-Levi/dp/0805210415)
[2] High Low tech instructions for circuits (http://highlowtech.org/?p=1372)
[3] Floridi, L. (2009). Against Digital Ontology in Synthèse,168(1): pp. 151-178. Available at: http://www.philosophyofinformation.net/publications/pdf/ado.pdf
[4] Hu, T. ; Brenckle, M. A., Yan, M. et al. (2012). Silk-Based Conformal, Adhesive, Edible Food Sensors in Advanced Materials, vol 24, nr 8, 1067-1072. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201103814.
[5] Hwang, S-W., Tao, H., Kim, D.-H., et al. (2012), A Physically Transient Form of Silicon Electronics. In Science 337(6102): 1640–1644. DOI:10.1126/science.1226325.          
[6] Transient Electronics (2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnmHZXvJhlk
[7] Fiorenzo Omenetto: Silk, the ancient material of the future (2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqqWw3xkMzA
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Republic of the Moon, London

A major exhibition in which artists consider their visions for a Republic of the Moon.

It's four decades since humans walked on the Moon, but it now seems likely that we will return there this century – whether to mine for its minerals, as a ‘stepping stone’ to Mars, or simply to do scientific research. In a provocative pre-emptive action, a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon here on Earth, to re-examine our relationship with our planet’s only natural satellite.

After two decades working with space dreamers from the European Space Agency to anarchist autonomous astronauts, The Arts Catalyst transformed Bargehouse into an Earth-based embassy for a Republic of the Moon, filled with artists’ fantastical imaginings. Presenting international artists including Liliane Lijn, Leonid Tishkov, Katie Paterson, Agnes Meyer Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, the exhibition combined personal encounters, DIY space plans, imaginary expeditions and new myths for the next space age.

Marking the start of its twentieth anniversary year, The Arts Catalyst animated the exhibition with performances, workshops, music, talks, a pop-up moon shop by super/collider and playful protests against lunar exploitation.  A manifesto declaring the Moon a temporary autonomous zone, with responses from artists and scientists to novelist Tony White’s call to “Occupy the Moon!” was published in print and e-Book formats to coincide with the exhibition.

The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the Moon not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. The exhibition asks: Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.

The artists

Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave together fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, from past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by English bishop Francis Godwin in the 1630s, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist has built a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).  Moon Goose Analogue: Luna Bird Migration Facility the documentary film of this project was Ars Electronica award of distinction winner 2012.

Katie Paterson Second Moon and Earth–Moon–Earth.  Second Moon is Paterson's project tracking the cyclical journey of a small fragment of the Moon as it circles the Earth, via airfreight courier, on a man made commercial orbit.  Second Moon makes an anticlockwise journey; orbiting at approximately twice the speed of our Moon, it orbits Earth about 30 times in one year.  The journey could be followed on a free App. Earth–Moon–Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon) involved using a form of radio transmission whereby messages are sent in Morse code, from earth, reflected from the surface of the moon and then received back on earth. The moon reflects only part of the information back – some is absorbed in its shadows, ‘lost’ in its craters. For this work Paterson has translated Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata into Morse code and sent it to the moon via Earth-Moon-Earth (EME). Returning to earth fragmented by the moon's surface, it has been re-translated into a new score, the gaps and absences becoming intervals and rests. In the exhibition the moon–altered score is performed on a self-playing grand piano.

Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme explores the repeating cycle of the Moon’s phases, projecting the word 'SHE', an epithet for the Moon, onto the lunar surface so the letters slowly emerge and then disappear as it wanes. Since lunar projection is so challenging technically, Lijn has worked with an astronomer to present a real-time animation of the projection accompanied by a sound work and by quotations from sources including Pliny and the Talmud to illustrate the profound connections between the Moon and the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of intimate photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) were the Republic of the Moon’s artists in residence throughout the exhibition, creating work and running talks and workshops. Corke and Betzwieser’s graphic art and installation projects embody a child-like wonder at the universe. Employing a range of DIY production techniques, their partnership is rooted in absurdism and theatrical performance characterised by slogans and catchphrases. At the Bargehouse, they coordinated protests against the exploitation of the Moon and working with scientists to help us look afresh at our closest celestial neighbour.

Moon Vehicle (Joanna Griffin and ISRO scientist P Shreekumar) a presentation of a project devised by the students at Srishti School of Arts, Bangalore, India, with artist Joanna Griffin. Its focus was to reclaim a cultural connection with the Indian Chandrayaan space programme challenging the now-dominant scientific narrative of the Moon and reasserting other imaginaries inspired by Indian narratives of self-determination and agency.

Pop Rock Moon Shop designed by super/collider sold all manner of discerning lunar ephemera.

A Manifesto for the Republic of the Moon published to accompany the exhibition, edited by curator, Rob La Frenais and including Tony White's specially commissioned short fiction Occupy the Moon!, it is available in print, or for free download in .epub and .pdf formats.


Artists websites
Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Katie Paterson
Liliane Lijn
Leonid Tishkov
WE COLONISED THE MOON
super/collider
Support

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese.  With thanks to Z33 co-producers of Moon Goose Analogue, shown In Space Odyssey 2.0.

Second Moon has been commissioned by Locus+ in partnership with Newcastle University and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.  Supported by Arts Council England, Adelaide Festival and Newcastle City Council

Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org

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Sailing for Geeks 2 : Ship-to-Shore

Sailing For Geeks 2 @ Fadaiat took place in the framework of "Fadaiat : freedom of knowledge, freedom of movement" event

Sailing for Geeks 2 : Fadaiat : ship-to-shore took place in the framework of "Fadaiat: freedom of knowledge, freedom of movement" event : a political, technological and artistic laboratory that took place in Tarifa (Spain) & Tanger (Morocco), on both sides of the tense frontier dividing Europe from Africa. Fadaiat means "through spaces" in arabic. Fadaiat 2005 had the theme of exploring ideas of open borders.

Sailing for Geeks 2 established a link between the two sides by sailing boat. On the boat, a crew of activists and artists physically explored the roads of migration between Morocco and Spain. From Gibraltar (UK) to the enclave of Ceuta (Spain), from Tarifa (Spain) to Tangier (Morocco), we entered each country from the sea, cooperating with the processes of immigration control. We traced and documented our course via GPS, radar and radio communication.

The idea of Sailing for Geeks 2 was to try to give a representation of what a border really is. Crossing the Straits of Gibralter by sailing boat is dangerous, with high winds, strong currents and a busy shipping channel, which made it possible for the crew to have some idea of what it is to cross this zone in one of the “pateras”, the boats of fortune of the illegal migrants.

The sailing boat also tested technologies of counter-surveillance deployed on shore by the Makrolab team. At Tarifa, radio ham Aljosa Abrahamsberg fastened an antenna on the Tarifa fortress to intercept maritime communications between cargo liners and Tarifa traffic.

In Tanger, the crew met two Moroccan Fadaiat-Tanger representatives, Hicham Limrami and Youssef Hbib from a Larache organisation which works with immigrants and particularly their children, trying to give them "a boat for life", a craft to succeed in Africa rather than to seek happiness beyond the sea. Both took part in the three day Fadaiat workshop animated by Indymedia Estrecho. "Indymedia enables us to have a support, to connect our local associations to the rest of the world. Here, in Morocco, there is no freedom of speech."

Sailing for Geeks 2 was about physical reality, its visibility and its connections to digital perception - about the collision of representation and the concrete world. Hence mapping the physical space, navigation challenges, fragments of historical and symbolic traces, police control systems and power relations taking place in the straits.

Sailing for geeks from Bandits-Mages on Vimeo.

For more detail, maps, logs of the crossing, etc, see the project web-site

 

This project was supported by The Arts Catalyst (UK), Ellipse (Fr) and Projekt Atol (Slo).

Links

http://www.fadaiat.net
http://volt.lautre.net/sail/S4G2/index.htm

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The Urpflanze (Part 2)

A new commissioned body of work and installation by Melanie Jackson, shown in Transformism at John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton in January 2013, and as a solo show at Flat-Time House, London, in March 2013.

In a series of moving image works and ceramic sculptures, Melanie Jackson continues her ongoing investigation into mutability and transformation, which takes its lead from Goethe’s concept of an imaginary primal plant, the Urpflanze, that contained coiled up within it the potential to unfurl all possible future forms. Contemporary science likewise imagines the potential to grow or print any form we can envisage, by recasting physical, chemical and biological function as an engineering substrate that can be programmed into being. These emerging technologies present new possibilities for the instrumentalisation of life on a previously unimagined scale.

In March 2013, Jackson's multifaceted work was installed throughout the ground floor of Flat Time House, the former home and studio of artist John Latham (1921-2006).

In the eighteenth century, the development of sophisticated techniques of ceramic production signified a victory of chemistry, culture and capital over formlessness. It pushed the capacity of the material to accommodate highly detailed representations, to radiate colour and sheen, to perform. Like clay, liquid crystals also have a visceral biological and mineral morphology that can collapse into formlessness, whilst harbouring the potential to assume (or emit the image of) any form. The mastery of the material is played out in a desire for the real in high definition, and a longing for the appearance of unknown and fantastical forms.

Jackson’s exhibition extends fairytale themes of absurd disruptions in vegetal scale, from Zola's ‘revolutionary’ carrot to the fantasies of remediation that science may have in store for us. The work begins in the botanical garden and leads us to the laboratory, from the clay pits to the factory floor, from its own animated voxels to the interior of the screen, and the forms and processes of its own production.

Melanie Jackson has collaborated with writer Esther Leslie on the production of a text that has informed the work and a publication that will be distributed as part of the exhibition.

In her essay for the exhibition guide, Isobel Harbison describes: “Jackson’s is an expansive, ambitious and intuitive work not easily reducible to cursory description. Her attention to the illusory surface textures of protean forms is not solely attentive to liquid crystals but extends metaphorically to other social and scientific developments (a fictional Jack-and-the-Beanstalk becomes a modern genetic scientist, or crystals self-organise into a palace whose display function changes consumer society forever). Perhaps most interestingly, her work carries within it a reflection on the new nature and task of the contemporary artist. Jackson’s real enquiry seems to be about the modified face of representative sculpture in the digital age, from Greek mythology’s morphology to natural biology, and from the produce of the clay factory floor to the process of 3d printing.Significantly, her sculptural inquiry is brought forward in video in conjunction with three-dimensional form embodying both kinds of contemporary physical encounter, now as often on screen as in the flesh.”
 

Biographical information

Melanie Jackson inhabits different tropes of art making to interrogate possibilities of representation against the engaged practices of the world. She is interested in ways in which thought and affect is conducted through the material, and much of her work has explored this against the context of work, production and the flow of international capital.  She is currently investigating the relationships between nature and technology through a series of experiments with fauna and flora, and the technologies available to her. Melanie is a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, her solo exhibitions include The Urpflanze (Part 1), The Drawing Room, London (2010), Road Angel, Arnolfini, Bristol (2007), Made In China, Matt’s Gallery, London (2005).  She won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2007.

Support

Melanie Jackson's commission has been supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and the Slade School of Fine Art. The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.

Website links

Melanie Jackson

Flat Time House

 

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Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility

An ambitious commission that tells the story of the artist's project to raise and imprint her colony of Moon Geese and train them for life on the Moon

Agnes Meyer-Brandis’s poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, a major commission, the artist developed an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth within her project Moon Goose Colony at Pollinaria in Italy; giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions and housing them in a remote Moon analogue habitat. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann)

The remote analogue habitat simulates the conditions of the Moon and was accessed and operated from Meyer-Brandis’s control room installation within the gallery, where instructional videos, photographs and vitrines of the geese’s egg shells and footprints were displayed.

Meyer-Brandis developed the contested history of Godwin’s original fiction – posthumously and pseudonymously published as if the genuine account of the travels of Domingo Gonsales.  She wove a narrative that explores the observer’s understanding of the fictitious and the factual, with a nod to notions of the believably absurd.

Oxford academic, William Poole [1], in his Preface to the 2009 edition of The Man in the Moone [2], explains the importance of Godwin’s work, “First, it is a work of literary sophistication.  It is narrated by a slightly implausible figure who does a number of very implausible things, not least fly to the moon and back.…its supposed time-frame further heightens readerly problems about who and what to trust in this text, and why… its finely integrated discussion of various state-of-the-art ideas about astronomy and cosmology – magnetic attraction, diurnal rotation, and the possibility of interplanetary travel and extraterrestrial life.  The dramatisation of these discussions in The Man in the Moone is at once a form of popular science and also a form of popular fiction.  This is the age-old problem of fiction – the probable impossible intermingled with the possible improbable."

The Moon Goose Colony

A film in 19 installments by Agnes Meyer-Brandis tells the story of the artist's project to raise and imprint her colony of Moon Geese and train them for life on the Moon, watch the introduction here.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese. 

Notes


1 William Poole is John Galsworthy Fellow, New College, Oxford, and author of The World Makers: Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth (2010).
2 The Man in the Moone (1638) (Broadview Editions) by Francis Godwin and William Poole (Paperback - 1 Nov 2009), preface

Reviews and blogs about the show

    The Rhizome

    Art Monthly (February 2012) review 

    Liverpool Daily Post, Moon Goose Analogye interview 

    BBC World Service - The Strand, Agnes Meyer-Brandis interview 

    Criticismim.com - Moon Goose Analogue 

      Partnership

      Commissioned with FACT and first shows in Republic of the Moon, Dec 2011-Feb 2012 at FACT, Liverpool

      Presented with AV Festival, Newcastle-Gateshead, 2012

      Pollinaria, Italy

      Supported by

      Arts Council England Grants for the Arts

      Artist's website

      Agnes Meyer-Brandis

       

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      Republic of the Moon, Liverpool

      A touring exhibition of artists' works that reimagine the future of the Moon. Combining lunar narratives, fantasies and futures, Republic  of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

      As the players in the new 21st century race for the Moon line up – the USA rejoining China, India and Russia and jostling with private corporations interested in exploiting the Moon’s resources – a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon: a ‘micronation’ for alternative visions of lunar life.

      Republic of the Moon challenges utilitarian plans of lunar mines and military bases with artists’ imaginings and interventions. Combining beguiling fantasies, personal encounters, and playful appropriations of space habitats and scientific technologies, Republic of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

      The last race to the Moon was driven by the political impulses of the Cold War, but shaped by extraordinary visions of space created by writers, film-makers, and artists, from Jules Verne, Lucien Rudaux, and Vasily Levshin, to HG Wells, Stanislav Lem and Stanley Kubrick. Can artists’ quixotic visions reconcile our romantic notions of the Moon with its colonised future, and help us to reimagine our relationship with our natural satellite in the new space age?

      Curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT, Republic of the Moon includes major new commissions by Agnes Meyer-Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, and works by Leonid Tishkov, Andy Gracie, Liliane Lijn and Sharon Houkema.

      The Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In this major new work  the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book ‘The Man in the Moone’, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist will build a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).

      Luring us onto the surface of the Moon, WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) will create an immersive audience experience, Enter At Own Risk. For this new commission, the artists will create an intimate immersive installation in the form of a laboratory-like room in which a lone astronaut tenderly gardens a group of rocks, spraying them periodically with the smell of the Moon - a scent the artists have had synthesised based on reports from the Apollo crew.  The artists question what is real and what is imagined? the nature of the fake and the authentic object, the art of showmanship and illusion through this experimental performance piece, drawing on the entertainment iconography of early astronaut training.

      Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon, by contrast, brings the Moon down to us. Tishkov tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

      Transforming the everyday into the mesmerisingly beautiful, Sharon Houkema’s M3, created with characteristic simplicity with an overhead projector and a bucket of water, conjures a moon so tantalisingly close you can almost hold it.

      Interweaving artistic metaphor and scientific rigour, Andy Gracie‘s DIY-astrobiology experiment Drosophila Titanus attempts to select and breed an organism – a new strain of fruit fly – that might survive on Titan, a moon of Saturn. The artist recreates the environmental and atmospheric conditions found on Titan using everyday materials such as vodka, smoke alarms and a bicycle pump. The first iteration of the experiment was performed by Gracie with Kuaishen Auson, Janine Fenton and Meredith Walsh, in Laboratory Life co-commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Lighthouse earlier this year.

      In Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme, the artist reveals her concept to write on the Moon from the Earth using a laser beam. The word ‘SHE' is projected onto the surface of the moon, the meaning of this word being gradually transformed as the Moon moves through its phases, the work combines territorial appropriation, the technological extension of human consciousness and mythologies. moonmeme is a symbolic union of opposites and an homage to the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

      The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the lunar orb not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.

      Occupy the Moon

      To coincide with the opening of Republic of the Moon, Arts Catalyst has commissioned Tony White to write a short fiction Occupy the Moon.

      Supported by

      Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition and programme curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT. It has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England.

      Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese. Pollinaria, Italy

      FACT, AV Festival 2012, Arts Council England

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      A Field Users Guide to Dark Places - South Edition, Office of Experiments, 2010

      An evolving, experimental database of techno-scientific and industrial sites in the UK. This first phase covers the South of England.

      A Field User's Guide to Dark Places - South Edition Now Online.

      This is an Arts Catalyst commissioned online database of sites of secrecy, science and technology in the UK by the Office of Experiments. The South Edition of the database was created and presented as part of our exhibition Dark Places, in 2009-10, curated by Office of Experiments, The Arts Catalyst, John Hansard Gallery, and SCAN.

      It is part of the ongoing Overt Research Project, run by Office of Experiments. to map and record advanced labs and facilities around the UK, and to involve the public in this exploration and revealment. 'A Field Guide to Dark Places' is the first of these experimental resources. It draws on and develops responses to the vast infrastructure of the techno-scientific and industrial/military complex, probing aesthetic, political and philosophical questions around spaces that are inaccessible or in some cases secret. It is focused on physical sites in the South of England (with reach of Southampton where the exhibition was shown).

      Participate

      The initial research was conducted by artists Neal White and Steve Rowell. The artists' aim now is to extend the scale of this work by opening up this resource to enthusiasts, amateur scientists and urban explorers and extending it across the UK. If you would like to take part, we ask that you attend a physical event. We run a number of events at which you can register to become an official Overt Researcher. These have most frequently included 'Critical Excursions'.

      In order to register here as an Overt Researcher, we ask that you attend an Overt Research Project event. For more information on these events, please use the contact form.

      Critical Excursions

      The form of a Critical Excursion is experimental and varies depending on context. Recent Critical Excursions have included an intellectual and emotional tour of physical sites by vehicle "Secrecy & Technology: Legacy of the Cold War' around Southampton, with around 50 attendees. We utilised an experimental mix of factual, historic -informational and conspiracy video / audio on board a coach whilst moving around physical sites. Exceptional highlights were entry into a former Nuclear Bunker, a drive-past of Porton-Down and lunch and lecture at ISSEE (International School of Security and Explosives Education) at the Department of Homeland Security. More information and responses to the Critical Excursion are available at the following links.

      New Scientist Blog - New Scientists take.
      Angela Last Blog - A Mutable Matter reflection.
      Geoforum Editorial - Theoretical Framing by Dr Gail Davies for the Scholarly Journal Geoforum.

      Media

      BLUEPRINT has published an extensive six page full colour featureon office of Experiments Dark Places project in the April 2010 Edition. Only available as a printed publication.

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      Kapelgraf Zero-G, Vadim Fishkin

      Experiment with floating drops and installation, created for MIR Campaign 2003

      Vadim Fishkin: "I remember the impression a black-and-white telecast from a Soviet space station made on me as a child. I recall the moment when a cosmonaut poured out water from a glass - the suspense and transformation of the water into amorphous shapes and different oblong drops captured my attention so much that I forgot about the people levitating around it.

      Many years later, it all came back to me with a Stanislaw Lem novel. The story was about extraterrestrials from Venus who described our material civilization with accuracy, but failed to
      recognize people as individuals and creators. Instead, they talked about particles of some strange, soft (liquid) mass, continuously separating into oblong drops. It remained for them a puzzling substance - a form retaining information - that they couldn't decipher.

      The Kaplegrafs are devices that can translate data into the language of "water drops" and use water to convey meanings that transcend normal linguistic conventions. In normal gravity, the Kapelgraf translates a time-based substance (sound-voice) into a more substantial but still ephemeral substance (drops of water). In microgravity conditions, the drops remained in space, changing direction in mid-air according to the subtle variations in the balance of forces on the aircraft. The coloured drops were programmed to “visualise” sequences of Johann Strauss' Blue Danube while levitating around in elliptical paths.

      Credits

      Producer: DUM (Ljubljana)
      Drop rhythm by Tomaz Grom
      Special thanks to Bojan Vukovic for technical assistance
      Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)
      Flight: MIR Campaign 2003
      Funded by the European Commission Culture 2000 Fund and Arts Council England

      Exhibition

      MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (Arts Catalyst/MIR)

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      Arctic Perspective Initiative

      Arctic Perspective highlighted the cultural, geopolitical and ecological significance of the Arctic and its indigenous cultures. In collaboration with the people of Igloolik and other communities in Nunavut, Canada, artists and architects are devising a mobile media and living unit and infrastructure, powered by renewable energy sources, which can be used for nomadic dwelling environmental monitoring and media based work 'on the land', away from the established Arctic settlements.

      API was initiated artists Marko Peljhan and Matthew Biederman.

      The API project website gives details of the process of the project, including the team's visits to Igloolik, Foxe Basin and other Inuit communities in Nunavut, Arctic Canada, the international open architecture competition to design the media unit, and the construction of the prototype unit.

      Publications


      Cahier No. 1: Arctic Architecture (ISBN 978-3-7757-2679-5) is now available - order online here
      Cahier No. 2: Arctic Geopolitics & Autonomy (ISBN 978-3-7757-2681-8) - order online here
       

      Exhibitions

      Arctic Perspective, London
      21 May - 30 September 2010
      Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London, UK
      The Arctic Perspective exhibition at Canada House showed film and photographic documentation of the API project, including specially commissioned architectural models of the winning entries from an international open design competition for the mobile unit, which received more than 100 entries from over 30 countries. The winning unit architectural designs are by Richard Carbonnier (Canada), Catherine Rannou (France) and Giuseppe Mecca (Italy). Presented in conjunction with the London Festival of Architecture.

      Arctic Perspective, Dortmund
      18 June - 10 October 2010
      HMKV Phoenix Halle, Dortmund, Germany
      A large-scale exhibition of Arctic Perspective, organsed by HMKV, was held in Dortmund in the framework of European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010 and the international media-art conference ISEA 2010. The exhibition focused on the notions of architecure, geopolitics, autonomy, technology and landscape. As well as documentation from the API project, the exhibition also featured other positive nothern initiatives that reflect the values of API.

      Contemporary Nomadism: Autonomy & Technology in the North (Discussion event)
      20 May 2010, Canada House, London
      Artists, academics and architects explored the API's cultural, historical and political contexts. Panel: Marko Peljhan, artist and instigator of Arctic Perspective Initiative, director Projekt Atol (Slovenia), David Turnbull, science sociologist (Australia), Richard Carbonnier, architect (Canada), Inke Arns, curator, artistic director HMKV (Germany). Chair: Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute (UK/Canada)

      Arctic Perspective Open Space Conference
      24-26 September 2010, PHOENIX Halle, Dortmund, Germany
      The API open space conference gathered some of the most dynamic thinkers from and on the circumpolar regions and the open source technology and tactical media communities in an intense three-day situation involving critical debate and reflection.

      Support

      API is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007 Programme, City of Dortmund, Federal Centre for Civic Education, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City of Ljubljana and Arts Council England.

      Partners include the Arctic Perspective Initiative, HMKV in Germany, Projekt Atol in Slovenia, C-TASC in Canada, Lorna in Iceland and Arts Catalyst in the UK.

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      Data Landscapes

      Exhibition and symposium exploring the use of data and models of climate science within visual  arts contexts.

      Data Landscapes explores the use of data and models of climate science within visual arts contexts. The  Data Landscapes exhibition features works by Tom Corby, Gavin Baily + Jonathan Mackenzie; Lise Autogena + Joshua Portway.

      The exhibition will be preceded by a half-day symposium on Friday 20 May, investigating the creative potential of climate data, and how multidisciplinary art-science practices can appropriate data models and disseminate them to new audiences. 

      Exhibition

      Works by Tom Corby, Gavin Baily + Jonathan Mackenzie; Lise Autogena + Joshua Portway

      Our modern understanding of climate arises from modeled data, gathered from multiple sources and synthesised across models of various types. ‘Data Landscapes’ presents two artworks that utilise real-time data to create poetic mappings of global systems.

      ‘Data Landscapes’ is organised by CREAM (The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster) in partnership with The Arts Catalyst. It forms part of an AHRC funded network project which has been exploring the use of data and models of climate science within visual arts contexts.

      The Southern Ocean Studies by Tom Corby, Gavin Baily + Jonathan Mackenzie reveals hidden systemic complexity using climate model outputs of the Antarctic Southern Ocean. Currents circulating the central Antarctic land mass are generated in real-time and mapped against other environmental data sets. These produce flickering constellations of carbon circulation and wind direction, developing something that might be called a systems or materialist poetics. The project has been produced in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey.

      The project software runs in real-time generating the ocean currents encircling Antarctica, to, which are, mapped various ecological data sets. These geophysical phenomena visually mesh to produce filamented structures from data describing tidal flow, wind direction and geochemical and atmospheric flux. While it’s tempting to see the swirling forms as representative of an Antarctic wilderness, in actuality the patterning effect is as much a product of human activies as natural ecologies. The Southern Ocean is a crucial component of the Earth’s climate system as it may be responsible for absorbing 15% of the planets carbon emissions. Carbon saturation of this stretch of water caused by inaction on climate change, has had knock on effect in terms of increased heat transference throughout the planet; the intricacies of the patterning are bittersweet representing both the beauties of a complex Earth system and a political and social failure.

      The project has involved extensive research into how climate systems work, climate model technologies and scientific research methodologies. In doing so it has received expert advice concerning climate data and modelling from Nathan Cunningham, David Walton, Andrew Clarke and Claire Tancell from the British Antarctic survey; access to climate data sets from Bob Hallberg from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Southampton’s Oceanographic Centre and the ARGO programme.

      Lisa Autogena + Joshua Portway’s Most Blue Skies combines the latest in atmospheric research, environmental monitoring and sensing technologies with the romantic history of the blue sky and its fragile optimism. It addresses our changing relationship to the sky as the subject for scientific and symbolic representation. Fed by live global atmospheric data, the installation calculates the passage of light through particulate matter in the atmosphere and computes sky colours for five million places on earth, while displaying ongoing calculations and a global map of sky colours. A specially developed lighting system reproduces the colour of the current bluest sky in real time.

      Most Blue Skies is an ongoing project by Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena. The first editions of Most Blue Skies were shown at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2006, Copenhagen Climate Summit, 2009 and Tensta Kunsthalle, Sweden, 2010. A scaled down presentation of the project will be shown here.

      Most Blue Skies attempts to answer the child’s question: “Where is the bluest sky in the world?” - and it is a painstakingly laborious pursuit for an answer: Advanced realtime satellite and atmospheric sensor data is processed by custom-built software, simulating the passage of light through the atmosphere and calculating the colour of the sky at millions of places on earth. Minute by minute, as the earth rotates and weather systems change, the location of the most blue sky is displayed, along with the most accurate possible reproduction of it’s colour.  It plays with the tension between the simplicity and romance of the image of the blue sky, and the complex technology involved in measuring and representing it. It explores our changing perception of the sky space above us and the effort required to sustain a human vision of nature.

      Developed with support from Tom Riley, Newcastle University, Space and Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, The Met Office, UCL Colour and Vision Research Laboratory, The Alexandra Institute, The US National Physical Laboratory and NASA.

      Symposium

      Friday 20 May 2011, 1:30 – 6pm. Free.

      The Data Landscapes symposium will investigate the creative potential of climate data, and how multidisciplinary art-science practices can appropriate data models and disseminate them to new audiences. For more details click on the link opposite.

      Video footage is available at http://data-ecologies.ning.com/page/data-landscapes

      Supported by

      Data Landscapes is supported by the AHRC, University of Westminster and Arts Council England.

       

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