A Conversation on Science in Contemporary Performance

An informal conversation event led by Vivienne Glance, Arts Catalyst's writer-in-residence

This informal conversation on science in contemporary performance brought together a small invited gathering of artists, writers, scientists and theatre practitioners. It will be led by Vivienne Glance who is Arts Catalyst's writer-in-residency during September 2012.

Vivienne Glance

Vivienne Glance is Arts Catalyst’s writer in residence for three weeks from 3– 21 September. Vivienne is a playwright, performer and poet from Australia. Her theatre work has been presented in UK, USA and Australia. Her latest play The Cat in the Box, an “absurd comedy with a dose of quantum mechanics”, premiered at the Blue Room Theatre, Perth, in August 2012. Her poetry has appeared in journals, anthologies and online publications. Her poetry collections are A Simple Rain, published by Lethologica Press (2012), and The Softness of Water, published by Sunline Press (2009). Vivienne is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, researching representations of science in performance and writing a full-length performance work.

Website

Vivienne Glance

Game of Life

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Novel Forms & New Materialities

Melanie Jackson, Philip Ball and Esther Leslie discuss the ‘invisible era’ of material culture

'Novel Forms & New Materialities’ explores the radical transformations to our material world provoked by contemporary science and technology. It asks how engagement with new forms and modes of material performance promises to conjure into existence unseen materialities, narratives and possibilities. An  evening of presentations, film extracts and discussion follows an afternoon creative writing workshop. You are invited to book for one or both.

As molecular biology and nanotechnology converge, promising a proliferation of new, designed biological entities and smart materials, how is our physical environment and visual culture affected? What is at stake in these manipulations of material at this this scale? How might this reshaped matter in turn shape our visual, tactile world, as well as our dreams?

Science writer Philip Ball sets the context and considers what cultural,sociological and scientific factors have enabled these technological advancements, and our changing relationship with materials in this new “invisible era”. 

Artist Melanie Jackson and writer Esther Leslie have been collaborating on an investigation into the impulse for transformation and novel forms. Contemporary science re-imagines biological and chemical function as an engineering substrate, a complex fully programmable animate object, opening up a potential for us to “grow” any form. Goethe's idea of the Urpflanze - a primordial plant that contains within itself an infinity of potential forms – recurs startlingly in the present moment when matter, from the molecule up, is coerced to adopt fantastical forms and exhibit new behaviours. They will present readings and extracts from a forthcoming film essay and exhibition The Urpflanze (Part 2).

Afternoon writing workshop, ‘Using Biological Themes to Engineer New Fiction’, with Rachel Rodman

Rachel Rodman demonstrates how existing literary works can be recreated using techniques from molecular biology. In this workshop, we will explore metaphors comparing texts and organisms, and examine how “genetically” altered works can serve as starting points in the composition of new fiction. 

Limited places. Early booking recommended. 

Rachel Rodman earned a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 2008 and has since worked to promote innovative collaborations between fiction writers and scientists. She has taught writing workshops at the University of Wisconsin, Birkbeck, and Middlesex University. Her writing work combine themes from the biological sciences and from literature/creative writing. She has presented her work at Kingston University and at the 2010 NAWE Conference. Examples of her work can be found at LabLit, PANK, and The Human Genre Project:
http://www.pankmagazine.com/author/rachel-rodman/
http://www.humangenreproject.com/page.php?id=117
http://www.lablit.com/article/713 
http://www.lablit.com/article/679 

Speakers' Biographies

Melanie Jackson is an artist and a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. Recent 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. Jackson's Urplanze (Part 2), commissioned by Arts Catalyst, will be presented at the John Hansard Gallery in 2013.
http://www.melaniejackson.net

Philip Ball is a science writer with a background in chemistry and physics. He worked for Nature magazine for 20 years and has release a succession of books including Made to Measure: New Materials for the 21st Century and Stories of the Invisible: A Guided Tour of Molecules.
http://www.philipball.co.uk/

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck. She is the author of Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (2005). Leslie is collaborating with Melanie Jackson on her new work Urpflanze (Part 2).
www.militantesthetix.co.uk

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Laboratory Life

An exhibition of five works-in-progress made by 21 international artists, scientists and doctors in an open laboratory, exploring bioscience and the use of medical technology. Organised by The Arts Catalyst and Lighthouse Arts, and led by artist Andy Gracie.

The exhibition was the result of nine days of intensive work in a collaborative open laboratory. It showed projects created by five groups of artists and scientists, led by artists, Andy Gracie, Adam Zaretsky, Kira O'Reilly, Bruce Gilchrist, and Anna Dumitriu.

The exhibition featured DNA tattooing, an astrobiological experiment with fruitflies, a Regency dress embroidered and stained using microbiology, interpretations of synthetic biology terminology made by the public, and a garden shed for DIY tissue culture. Laboratory Life was named after Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar’s well-known book about an anthropological study of a scientific laboratory.

Our science advisors are John Paul, Helen Smith and Tom Shakespeare.

The Projects

The Quest for Drosophila Titanus, led by Andy Gracie
Collaborators: Kuaishen Auson, Janine Fenton, Meredith Walsh

This group of artists and scientists were engaged in an astrobiological experiment using various phenotypes of Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly). Since the early 1960s Drosophila have also played a critical role in space research and are regularly used in experiments on the International Space Station. As such they offer themselves as a perfect organism with which to conduct an experiment about how life might survive elsewhere in the solar system. Taking inspiration from diagrams obtained from NASA the group developed an apparatus with which to expose the fruit flies to various environmental conditions found on Titan. The aim being to take the first step in developing a new species which could adapt to living there. The 'best' flies from each experiment were selected to form a breeding colony which would be the ancestors of this new creature. Their exhibition of work-in-progress includes the experimental chamber, video documentation of the experiments, a printed manual which describes the experimental process, the breeding colony and the memorial to failed individuals.

The Garden Shed Lab, led by Kira O'Reilly
Collaborators: Valerie Furnham, Columba Quigley, Genevieve Maxwell

This group created a space for exploring the relationship between biotechnologies and domestic everyday experiences, such as cooking, tinkering, composting, and gardening. They build a garden shed in their laboratory and inside worked with tissue culture - a technology now just over 100 years old. In order to practice home tissue culture, they made a sterile laminar flow hood and a tissue culture incubator. The group incubated chick embryos, opened the eggs, and attempted to create cell cultures from them, always mindful of the ethical issues of these practices. The group explored the early histories of tissue culture, re-creating an experiment first performed in 1926 by tissue-culture pioneer, Thomas Strangeways, who attempted to harvest cells from a fresh uncooked sausage. Their exhibition of work-in-progress features their garden shed lab, containing their home-made sterile hood and incubator, their laboratory equipment and photographs and video they made whilst on site.

Public Misunderstanding of Science, led by Bruce Gilchrist
Collaborators: Kate Genevieve, Simona Casonato, David Louwrier, Daksha Patel

This group of artists and scientists spent several days testing the public’s understanding of science. Visitors to their laboratory were invited to draw and illustrate their understandings of scientific information and protocol, while listening to scientific discourse on synthetic biology. Their exhibition of work-in-progress is an animated film, which features the drawings sound-tracked with the original discourse and field recordings made on-site at a medical laboratory.

Infective Textiles, led by Anna Dumitriu
Collaborators: Rosie Sedgwick, Sarah Roberts, Brian Degger, Melissa Grant

This group of artists, doctors and scientists worked on the development of a textile-based artwork that takes the form of a Regency style dress stained with bacterial pigments and patterned by antibiotics. Their work used ‘garage science’ methods and ‘DIY’ microbiological processes to explore the notion of infection control. During the lab they cultured microbes from the local environment including soil, buildings and other public places. They then stained silk thread with natural antibiotics – including cloves, turmeric and green tea – and used them to create embroidered patterns on fabric. Their exhibition features the Regency style dress, which has now been pasteurized so that the bacteria are no longer living, video documentation of their project, framed works (which show slides of cultured bacteria and moulds, Gram’s stain paintings embroidered with antibiotic threads and drawings made by visitors to the lab) and a table of items used in their lab. 

Tattoo Traits, led by Adam Zaretsky
Collaborators: Zack Denfield, Helen Bullard, Simon Hall

This group of artists and doctors examined the feasibility of a new notion – “DNA Tattooing”. They explored the ethical, legal, and health issues that might be raised by such a process. Their work involved the creation of a "new media" which they have referred to as Shecan, and the extraction of hybrid DNA from this media. They then adapted a tattoo gun, with the intention of tattooing a novel sequence of hybrid DNA into the nucleus of a living cell, something which is statistically improbable, but conceptually possible. Their exhibition of work-in-progress features The Shroud of Shecan, a monoprint cloth containing the residue of their new media, Whirling Dervish Human Centrifuge, a sculptural and performative device which also contains Shecan, the adapted tattoo gun, beans which have received DNA tattoos, photographs of their work, and a release which the group adapted to manage the legal and contractual issues associated with DNA tattooing.

Reviews

Wired, Culture24

Partners

Laboratory Life is organised by Lighthouse and The Arts Catalyst, with support from the Wellcome Trust. It was conceived by artist Andy Gracie, based on the Interactivos? model developed by the Media Lab Prado in Madrid.

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Exhibition

SPACE SOON: Art and Human Spaceflight

"We are all already in Space... "

Major new commissions by Aleksandra Mir, N55/Neal White, and London Fieldworks
Projects by Michelle Griffiths, Jerry Dammers, Kodwo Eshun, Resonance FM and Laurie Anderson and a special appearance by Apollo astronaut Alan Bean.

This was Buckminster Fuller's reported response to the first flight into space by Yuri Gagarin. Artists - caught between fascination and repulsion by the new millennial push to Mars and return to the Moon - are still trying to decode the manual to Spaceship Earth.

For a short, intense period the Roundhouse was transformed into a rocket factory for a rocket going nowhere - Gravity by Aleksandra Mir. Outside, N55 and Neal White’s Space on Earth Station reversed into the future, while in the labyrinth of Roundhouse Studios, London Fieldworks investigated long-term space travel in SpaceBaby, while on the upper floors Michelle Griffiths constructed her Lunar Capsule. In the lead up to, and over the five days of its duration, Space Soon unfolded a spectacular succession of art and space events.

Major new commissions:

Gravity - Aleksandra Mir

Gravity was a monumental, ephemeral scuplture, a 22-metre rocket of giant junk, reaching to the top of the Roundhouse main space, built and dismantled in just 5 days. Click on the link opposite to see a film of the making of Gravity.

Space on Earth Station - N55 / Neal White

Radical Danish architects N55 and UK artist Neal White constructed and inhabited a Mars base-type series of microdwellings, taking over the entirety of the Roundhouse car park, in order to explore our terrestrial neighbourhood.

SpaceBaby - London Fieldworks

A durational sleep experiment and installation by artists London Fieldworks, investating long-term sleep and hibernation, with the University of Leicester Department of Genetics.

Lunar Capsule - Michelle Griffiths

Lunar Capsule was a whimsical Victorian butterfly-powered spaceship reminiscent of that in Jules Verne’s Earth to the Moon.

Events:

Taking Control

Symposium exploring the future of space exploration from the human perspective.

Cosmic Engineers: Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra - Tribute to Sun Ra + Special Screening of Out of the Present

The premiere of Jerry Dammers' new Spatial AKA Orchestra, presenting a tribute to the legendary jazz composer Sun Ra, and special screening of Andrei Ujica’s cult Russian space film Out of the Present.

Secret Artist on the Moon: Apollo astronaut Alan Bean

Legendary Apollo astronaut, Alan Bean, discussed his experience of being on the moon, the impact of spaceflight on the human mind, and the power of art.

Brilliant Noise - Glorious Soviet Cosmos

Film night with Alexei Federchenko's First on the Moon, Jane & Louise Wilson's Dream Time, and Semiconductor's Brilliant Noise.

Laurie Anderson in conversation

Laurie Anderson, NASA's former artist-in-residence returned to the UK, after the success of her show End of the Moon, to reflect on her NASA experience and her visit with The Arts Catalyst to Russia’s space programme with the writer and theorist Kodwo Eshun.

We're All Going to Die

Resonance FM's operatic, radiophonic concatenation of space ephemera and near-Earth collision paranoia. Featuring the divergent talents of Ken Hollings, DJ Original Bear, Tom McCarthy, Johny Trunk, DJ Rocket 88, Resonance Radio Orchestra and Lembit Opik MP.
Resonance FM
broadcasted live from the Roundhouse throughout Space Soon.

Near Earth: a week of space creation

In the lead up to Space Soon, The Arts Catalyst and Roundhouse Studios organised a week-long workshop for young people aged 14-19 years, taking them on a journey exploring space through digital photography, animation, sound and music, drama and the performing arts.

Links to artists' websites:

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Exhibition

Interspecies, London

Interspecies uses artistic and participatory strategies to stimulate dialogue and debate, showing artists in contact with real animals and negotiating a new power relationship, questioning the way we view our interactions with animals during Darwin's anniversary year.

Interspecies asks: Can artists work with animals as equals? If not, what is the current state of the human-animal relationship? It has recently been shown that humans are closer to the higher primates than previously thought, with chimpanzee and gorilla behaviour reflecting politics, deception and even possibly creativity. What does this mean to the way we see ourselves as one species inhabiting a planet in crisis?

This exhibition centres around a durational work by Kira O'Reilly and draws together projects by Nicolas Primat and other artists who question the one-sided manipulation of non-human life-forms for art, and have tried to enter the animals' point of view as a fundamental part of their practice. It has to some extent been inspired by Donna Haraway'sWhen Species Meet but was triggered by discussions with the late Nicolas Primat.

The artists

Nicolas Primat specialised in directly working with monkeys and apes in collaboration with primatologists. In Portrait de Famille, he is playfully swarmed by a tribe of squirrel monkeys, in Demo Bonobo, he established a relationship via sexual signals with a group of Bonobo apes and in The Making of Les Petits Hommes Vers he and his colleagues make a science fiction film with a group of monkeys.

Kira O'Reilly's durational performance Falling Asleep With A Pig. The artist and pig (Deliah) cohabit a living space, partially viewable by the public for 72 hours. At some point the pig and artist fall asleep. The work addresses the ethics of human and animal interaction, acknowledging the implicit ambivalences and violence in the appropriation of animals as a resource.

Antony Hall's Enki Experiment 4 allows visitors to Interspecies to communicate with an electric fish on the same level, avoiding the use of language, instead stimulating a shared empathy through a physical connection. 

Ruth Maclennan's films Harry and Three short films on Hawks and Men explore the relationship between a bird of prey and the human being who trains it, capturing the rapt gaze of hunter and bird, recalling ancient ideas of shape-shifting and shamanic transformations. 

Rachel Mayeri's Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends juxtaposes footage of baboons taken in the field with a re-enactment by human actors, shot film noir style in a bar in Los Angeles. A tale of lust, jealousy, sex and violence transpires simultaneously in non-human and human worlds.

Beatriz da Costa's work PigeonBlog proposes an alternative way to participate in environmental air pollution data-gathering through equipping urban homing pigeons with GPS-enabled sensing devices. PigeonBlog is intended as a social experiment between humans and animals.

Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson's Radio Animal involves a specially designed caravan in which the artists to travel to various locations in the UK to gather material from people about their relationship to animals. They are particularly interested in animals that are considered ‘unwelcome’ visitors but have for whatever reason found their way into what we may consider our own territories.  Animal Radio is a Story Gallery, Lancaster commission funded by the Henry Moore Foundation.

Events

Interspecies included two symposia chaired by Rob La Frenais:

Non-Human Primates with Sarah-Jane Vick - primatologist and psychologist; Patrick Munck - artist, videographer and collaborator with Nicolas Primat; Rachel Mayeri - artist

Animals, Humans and Power with Giovanni Aloi - editor Antennae; Ruth Maclennan - artist; Helen Macdonald, author of Falcon; Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir; Karen Knorr - artist and photographer

Rachel Mayeri also held two Primate Cinema workshops on How to Act like an Animal as part of the exhibition

Links to artists' websites

Kira O'Reilly, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri, Beatriz da Costa, Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson

Supported by

Arts Council England, Darwin 200, A Foundation

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Crash - Moonlanding workshop

In conjunction with Republic of the Moon Exhibition, at FACT, Liverpool, WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) held a series of workshops for young people taking inspiration from unplanned disasters in space.

Filmmaker Tim Brunsden created this short documentary about the Freehander’s first session with WE COLONISED THE MOON including a short intro to Enter At Own Risk by Hagen Betzwieser as well as interviews with the Freehanders themselves.

The moment of landing is the most precarious. When we send machines into space a crash is what we fear the most. Massive investments of time and resources in technology, hope and ambition, obliterated. But in art failure can be a beautiful concept, the stimulus of new possibilities, an iconic dramatic pivot.

Taking inspiration from unplanned disasters with satellites and robots sent to observe, explore and record, We Colonised The Moon will work with teams of young people to build machines with a terminal end in mind. We will shoot high speed film of the crash impacts and award a prize for the most aesthetic.

Partnership

This three day workshop will see a group of young participants from the FACT Freehander programme, film and edit a documentary-style fim called Crash.

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"All that happened to us..."

An exploration the biomechanics of ageing; the third event in the Speciens to Superhumans series created with Shape

Speciens to Superhumans

A series of events exploring contemporary issues around biomedical science, disability and ethics, and how these are explored, represented and critiqued in art.

A one-day participative workshop exploring the implications of the biomechanics of ageing for contemporary dance practice.

While traditional dance science looks at how to enable an elite dancer to achieve perfection in both performance and aesthetics, this participative event will seek to explore what we can learn from the science of ageing about how a disabled or older dancer’s body works and what they need in order to perform to full capacity and to unlock their body’s full potential.

For both older and disabled dancers, achieving elite standards may be neither possible nor what they are striving for, and this event will seek to explore the nuances between the social model of disability and the medical model of ageing, to see what common ground emerges.

This collaborative event, the third in the Arts Catalyst/Shape series Specimens to Superhumans, was hosted by Roehampton University.  The day was led by choreographers Ann Dickie, Director of From Here to Maturity Dance Company and Anna Bergström, Associate Artist at Candoco Dance Company, audio and digital artist, Trevor Mathison. Drawing from expertise across the University, Professor Raymond Lee and his colleagues Dr Siobhan Strike and Dr Jin Luo from the Active Ageing Unit at Life Sciences Department also participated in the event.

Created in collaboration with and the support of:

Shape www.shapearts.org.uk

Roehampton University’s Dance Faculty www.roehampton.ac.uk

Louise Portlock and Frank McDaniels from Gloucestershire Dance www.gloucestershiredance.org.uk

Funded by

Wellcome Trust People Award www.wellcome.ac.uk

 

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Synthesis: synthetic biology in art & society

The Arts Catalyst and UCL explored the cultural dimensions of synthetic biology in a week-long interdisciplinary exchange lab and series of public events

Synthetic Biology is an emerging area of research, which applies engineering principles to biology in order to design and fabricate new biological systems that do not exist in the natural world. It promises new drugs and materials for medical applications, and new routes to make biofuels and chemicals. It could have profound implications for the way we perceive and use living things.

Synthesis: synthetic biology in art & society was an intensive exchange laboratory for artists, scientists and other disciplines to collaboratively explore synthetic biology's ideas and techniques, and its social and cultural implications.Participants were selected through an international open call.

Two public evening events during the week were intended to broaden the exchange with the public.

We Need To Talk About Synthia

We Need To Talk About Synthia was a panel discussion and artists’ presentations, exploring the cultural and societal implications of synthetic biology. The event's title was inspired by Craig Venter and his team who in 2010 built the genome of a bacterium from scratch and incorporated it into a cell to make what they called the world's first synthetic life form. They called it Synthia.Panelists are Professor John Ward, Head of Synbion, the UCL-Birkbeck Synthetic Biology Network, Oron Catts, Director of SymbioticA, The Centre for Biological Arts School at the University of Western Australia, and Dr Alistair Elfick, University of Edinburgh. It will be chaired by Dr Jane Calvert.  Embedded video of the event can be accessed by scrolling down or here at The Arts Catalyst Vimeo album.

Artists’ presentations by Tuur Van Balen, Andy Gracie, and Daisy Ginsberg.

Synthetic Biology Film Night

An evening of films on the broad theme of synthetic biology included short films of animation, science-fiction, and documentary - followed by the classic 1962 B-movie ‘The Day of the Triffids’, based on the novel by John Wyndham in which a species of mobile stinging plants, created in an experimental lab, begin to take over the world. Film programme

Synthesis Exchange Laboratory

The Synthesis exchange laboratory was devised and led by Professor John Ward and colleagues at UCL with artist-designers Oron Catts and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. The exchange process was intended to explore and challenge the notions of synthetic biology, the level of control and manipulation of living systems, the application of engineering logic, and the social and cultural dimensions of synthetic biology; with the hope to inspire proposals for future projects from all participants. Other contributors to the laboratory include scientists Alastair Elfick, University of Edinburgh, and Ferman Federici, University of Cambridge, and historian and philosopher Joe Cain, UCL.

Artist Melanie Jackson was commissioned to make an artist's film from her engagement with the laboratory process and investigations of synthetic biology.

Exchange lab participants

Melanie Jackson, artist, UK
Laura Cinti, artist, UK
Brendan Clarke, philosopher & historian, UK
Irilenia Nobelli, bioinformatics, UK
Tom Bailey, theatre practitioner, UK
Veronika Valk, curator, Estonia/Australia
Niccolo Casas, architect, Italy
Eliza Dominguez Huttinger, systems & synthetic biologist, UK
Anne Brodie, artist, UK
Thiago Soveral, architect, Brazil/UK
Helen Bullard, artist, UK
Joy Yueyue Zhang, social scientist, UK/China
Jennet Thomas, artist, UK
Nathan Cohen, artist, UK
JD Talasek, curator, USA
Sneha Solanki, artist, UK
Katy Connor, artist, UK
Orkan Telhan, artist-designer, USA
Matt Johnson, industrial designer, UK

Partners and funders

Synthesis is organised by The Arts Catalyst with UCL and Synthetic Aesthetics. It is funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, with support from The Arts Catalyst (Arts Council England funded), the SynBion network (funded by BBSRC and EPSRC), SymbioticA (The University of Western Australia) and Synthetic Aesthetics (funded by EPSRC and the National Science Foundation).

Further labs are intended in Edinburgh, Stanford, US, and Perth, Australia.

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Experimental Ruins Workshop

Workshop continuting the Neal White/The Office of Experiments' ongoing 'Overt Research Project' (invitation only)

The Experimental Ruins Workshop continues Neal White/The Office of Experiments' ongoing 'Overt Research Project', an ongoing series of enquiries into the experimental spaces of science and technology, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst.

In this workshop, Gail Davies (UCL, Department of Geography) and artists Neal White and Steve Rowell (The Office of Experiments) invited participants to explore what constitutes an 'experimental ruin' within the fabric of our urban centres. The workshop was a collaborative engagement between geographers, artists and others interested in the experimental geographies of science and technology.

In their initial field research project for The Arts Catalyst's exhibition Dark Places, Neal White and Steve Rowell focused attention on the rural landscapes of Southern England, documenting spaces in which large-scale scientific and intelligence facilities are sited, ranging from research centres to military proving grounds. In the second part of the project, London becomes the setting, a space that requires a different method of enquiry.

The workshop encompassed discussion of the ways we might identify: the material traces of biological, technological, informational and radical experiments in London; the temporal and spatial imaginaries embodied in such experimental sites, whether open, closed, subterranean or aerial; the methods for encountering and expanding engagements around these spaces, and the stakes involved in doing so.

With talks, discussion and exploration between geographers, artists, historians of science and technology, and the archivists and archaeologists of contemporary history, the event was part of ongoing discussions around the 'geographies of experimentation' and the nature of experimental aesthetics; shaping future forms of enquiry around these experimental remainders that are both collective and contested.

Supported by

The Arts Catalyst, UCL Department of Geography and the ESRC fellowship (Grant no RES-063-27-0093)

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Planetary Breakdown: autonomous infrastructures for a sustainable future

An event investigating artistic strategies for sustainablity and survivability following impending climate change. A collaboration between Arts Catalyst, Intersections, AV Festival and Baltic.

"Following Helen and Newton Harrison’s notion of the ‘Force Majeure – that we should be preparing for different forms of governance following radical blows to the existing infrastructures by inevitable climate change – Autonomous Infrastructures looks at the many models created by artists and by communities of people operating semi-autonomously in society in intentional and utopian communities. The event examines the symbolic nature of many of these initiatives and proposse the future realisation of unrealised artists infrastructures." - Rob La Frenais

Produced by Intersections (Newcastle University), Arts Catalyst and AV Festival 10.

Programme
Day 1 Tuesday 9 March 2010
Autonomous Infrastructures: sandpit (invited)

The first day was a invited group of around 30 people, mainly artists. We looked at different approaches artists are taking to the question of change and sustainability and, working as small teams, hothouse some potential strategies. 

Day 2 Wednesday 10 March 2010
Symposium: Planetary Breakdown: autonomous infrastructures for a sustainable future

Day 2 was a public symposium with three panels looking at alternative approaches to: communities, trade and energy. The symposium brought together an exceptional range of artists, academics and other industry experts to look at future approaches to living. It explored the possibility of creating new autonomous infrastructures across energy, trade and transport, offering a space for everyone to contribute to an active dialogue about our futures. Speakers: Alternative Communities: Malcolm Miles, Lise Autogena, Nicola Triscott, chair David Butler. Trade: Kate Rich, Ashok Sukumaran, chair Sally Jane Norman. Energy: HeHe, London Fieldworks, Bryony Worthington, chair Rob La Frenais

Reviews of Planetary Breakdown symposium

 

 

 

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