Places / Russia

Happy Birthday, Laboratoria

To a great young institution! The only institution in Russia that is consequently developing links between scientists and artists, encouraging them to work together since five years now. Founded by Daria Parkhomenko and run by her and a great young team of unstoppable dynamic young ladies, it has not only positioned itself in the Moscow art scene, it is also becoming involved in many interdisciplinary art-science projects around the world.
In 2011 Lab and the Austrian Culture Forum organized the project “Dust in Science and Art”, a project involving 20 Russian and Austrian artists.

For its 5th birthday the lab organized a special exhibition that I visited for you. Find here some images and the press text by laboratoria:

LABORATORIA Art&Science Space
Laboratory of moving borders
Artists: Dmitriy Bulatov and Alexey Chebykin, Evelina Domnich and Dmitiy Gelfand, Natalia Egorova, Vladislav Efimov, Anna Zholud, Natalia Zintsova, Dmitiy Kawarga, Where the Dogs Run group, Alexandre Pankin, Roman Sakin, Valya Fetisov, Sergey Shutov, Urbanfaunalab (Alexey Buldakov and Anastasia Potemkina), ::vtol:: (Dmitiy Morozov), 310 group
Curator: Daria Parkhomenko

Frontier is a term that traces back to Middle Age France and was used to describe territories that lie near the borderline of other states or sometimes even beyond. It also means a region on the edge of a settled area, especially during the period of expansion to the Wild West in North American development.
Frontier is a territory with undefined borders, which exist in a state of temporary movement. Science art is exactly this kind of borderland, where sophisticated research is taking place, leading humankind to a new vision of the world.
The exhibition Frontier, which coincides with the 5th anniversary of Laboratoria, aims to investigate the boundary characteristics of science art. For art, it is an opportunity to step into the territory of experiment; for science, it is a field of an unbarred experiment and reflection.
Artists respond to new tendencies in science and technology very sensitively and emerge as pioneer explorers; sometimes they have to work with expressive media that have not gained critical acknowledgement yet. The results of these experiments are hybrid artworks that take on all possible shapes and forms. Science art can be biological, robotic, generative art and performances based upon the most recent scientific developments or audio-visual, interactive, and virtual environments. A short time ago science art was still regarded as a marginal zone of contemporary art – today we see it as a full fledged participant in artistic development.
Gradually these hybrid forms of art are appearing in Russia. And it is Russian science art that is in focus of the exhibition Frontier. For the past five years Laboratoria has created a platform where artists and scientists collaborate; it has initiated artistic interpretations of acute scientific research such as brain research, investigations of alternative energy sources, robotic technologies, and bioengineering.

In the course of its research Laboratoria has distinguished several types of science art that depend on the ability of the artist to step into the territory of science and on the ways the artist transforms his visual language. Depending on the level of engagement of the artist and scientist in the process and on the way in which the borders of art and science are trespassed, it is possible to classify the resulting artworks into three groups.

1. The borders of understanding
Symbiosis of art and science
The artist and the scientist perform as co-authors of the artwork. The disciplinary border dissolves. Scientific issues are investigated critically and with the help of new media.
Sergey Shutov (consultant – neurobiologist Konstantin Anokhin), The Ministry of the Truth of Peace Dove, 2011-2013
Dovecote is a scientific station for observation and experiments, investigating the behavior of doves. 3D cartoons are projected on a screen installed inside the construction. The main characters of these cartoons are pigeons that behave in an unusual way: for example, they jump as if they were sparrows. One can follow the reactions of pigeons either in real time or through a webcam. The exhibition will show the results of recent experiments.

2. The borders of the possible
This group comprises artworks in which contemporary technologies and new visual languages come first.
Vtol (Dmitriy Morozov), Conus , 2013
The ornament of a seashell is read by self-made digital microscopes, then analysed by the computer algorithm and transformed into sound. The artist uses the shells of a tropical shellfish Conus – the bright ornament of the shells informs the visualization of arithmetic models, such as cellular automata.

3. The border of feeling
Art is dominating
These are projects in which artists, staying in the framework of their habitual language, advert to science as a field of artistic inspiration.
“Where the dogs run” group. The Faces of the Smell, 2012
The viewer has to step inside the perception zone of the snuff tubes. The construction generates the portrait of a viewer that reflects his/her smell. Gas detectors scan the olfactory pattern while the specially created program transforms the air content data into the facial features data, which in the end is visualized as a composite picture.
Natalia Zintsova, The Border, 2012
The waves are approaching the coast one by one. Each new wave leaves its trace on the sand. One wave drags a rope into the sea, the other throws it back to shore. Each time the rope takes a new shape. The artist carries out an experiment trying to materialize the evasive border between the land and the sea.

Moscow, Obuha lane, 3
Tue-Fri 12:00–8:00 pm, Sat-Sun 2:00–8:00 pm
Mon – closed

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