Without a healthy serving of in-depth subject-specific knowledge most
of the projects probably wouldn't have got as far as they did. On the
artist side we were probably all fairly interdisciplinary in our
approaches from the start (in fact this was more or less why the
particular artists were invited onto the project). However, we did
have some very in-depth and specific knowledge from the scientific
participants - and they were a genuine driving force behind the
realisation of ostensibly artistic goals. We also had virtual or
physical mentoring visits from such interesting scientists as Tom
Shakespeare and Helen Smith. I'm not sure if there was a single and
coherent over-arching line of enquiry, though it became obvious that
the DIY ethic and methodology combined with a desire to push science
into unusual places was to the fore on most projects.
I don't want to monopolise this conversation with a discourse on
laboratory life though...
What I *am* interested in, though, is this idea of defining the media
in which contemporary work takes place. I think that most of the
interesting work being done now in what is referred to as media-art
in its most general sense is so transdisciplinary and collaborative
(as its hard to be an artist, a theorist, a biologist, an engineer
and a programmer all at the same time) that the media becomes
subsumed under the process.
McLuhan also said that 'Art at its most significant is a Distant
Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old
culture what is beginning to happen to it'. He also famously said
that its anything that you can get away with. Maybe the spirit of
these quotes is closer to what we are beginning to see unfolding...
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On 2 Mar 2011, at 22:44, Ele wrote:
> Hi Andy,
> This sounds a truly rich and exciting experience. The fluid and
> improvised nature of the experimentation sounds like it really
> worked too. It seems to reflect an integrated approach to making
> using whatever materials necessary (reminds me of the art school
> breaking down media specific art disciplines to just be Art). But
> did the project also rely on some in-depth subject-specific
> knowledge too?
> But do feel free to put those rehearsed debates aside. Were there
> over-arching lines of enquiry that emerged? Ideas, concepts,
> critical frameworks that worked across the board?
> I've just been to a talk by Boris Groys on the contemporary nature
> of the contemporary art musuem based on the questions of time based
> art similar to those discussed on this list over the last ten years
> (the loop, the original, hot and cold media etc). And I was
> reminded of McLuhans claim that every new media investigates the
> aesthetics of it's preceding media (or something like that).
> Perhaps this can be apparent in art exhibition making too. In that
> each generation of curators adopts the curatorial critique of the
> artists before them(?) Groys argued that the truly contemporary
> work emerges at the point of exhibition. And your description of
> the provisional nature of the 'workshop lab in public' or 'lab as
> exhibition' seems to keep the contemporaneity of the work alive in
> a particularly strong way.
> It would be interesting to hear of other examples of this involving
> different kinds of making?
> Sent from my iPhone