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EARTH LAB: co-production by the Polytechnic Museum and Ars Electronica Center
The Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, Russia, and Ars Electronica Center with the participation of SilaSveta studio, present the project EARTH LAB—an exhibition of science, art, and technology experiments addressing the key issues of the modern life on our planet. Visitors are welcome to act as researchers and travelers on a journey of discovery along a parcours consisting of infographic sequences and experimental arrays, many of them interactive. The exhibition will run from June 22 - September 25, 2016 at the former Red October chocolate factory in Moscow.
EARTH LAB, a laboratory of a somewhat different
Actually, a laboratory isn’t usually open to the public. It’s a site where the specialized knowledge is produced and experiments run. These experiments aren’t always successful, and the motives and interests behind such trials are tremendously diverse. Nevertheless, all such research activities have one thing in common: their objective is engendering new insights.
EARTH LAB conceives of Planet Earth itself as a laboratory in which every available square meter is dedicated to research on a broad spectrum of topics. What sort of noise does the Earth make, how does its “pulse” sound, and why is it revolving slower and slower? Might artificial leaves counteract the increasing pollution of our air, and could flies be the garbage-busters of the future? And speaking of flies: Why aren’t we snacking on insect bars now that nutritional as well as environmental considerations suggest that this is the way to go. And in light of the fact that the number of cells that make up the human body is only a tenth of the number of bacteria in and on it, than is it perhaps the case that microorganisms are what ultimately govern the human species? There are so many questions to answer as we go about advancing our basic understanding of processes at work on the Blue Planet.
Indispensable for such understanding are unconventional new (thought) experiments. And who could be better suited to taking leave of well-trodden paths than artists, who work on concrete solutions to problems but also call the R&D enterprise itself into question and thereby shed light on why we know so much about some things and so very little—or even virtually nothing—about others.
Participating artists are ART SAT (JP), ::vtol:: (RU), Búi Bj. Aðalsteinsson (IS), Sonja Bäumel (AT), Massoud Hassani (AF/NL), Cornelia Hesse-Honegger (CH), Dmitry Bulatov and Alexey Chebykin (RU), Julian P. Melchiorri (IT/UK), Kono Michinari / Takayuki Hoshi / Yasuaki Kakehi (JP), Yulia Glukhova (RU), Ursula Neugebauer (DE), Leo Peschta (AT), Finnbogi Pétursson (IS), Vadim Kolosov (RU), Shinseungback Kimyonghun (HK) and Marek Straszak (PL). The exhibits also include projects created under the auspices of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Ars Electronica Linz (AEC).
Curators of the exhibition— Manuela Naveau (Ars Electronica Center, AU) and Natalia Fuchs (Polytechnic Museum, RU), will introduce a wide range of issues engaging interest of contemporary artists, as well as scientists, and technology developers. An additional section of the exhibition will be dedicated to Russian artists – participants, winners and nominees of Prix Ars Electronica of various years.
Natalia Fuchs on the collaboration with Ars Electronica: “We have come a long way to begin this partnership with the Ars Electronica Center, and I am very glad that it was the Polytechnic Museum that succeeded in reaching strategic agreement. We are knit together by the ideas of public education, science and technology communication, as well as the purpose of creating a platform for free thought and experimentation not only for professionals, but for all people, visitors of our exhibitions, lectures, and special events. In the context of the EARTH LAB project, I feel deeply attached to its idea of rethinking our planet as a laboratory in a creative way, and also to the artists whose works were selected for the exhibition”.
Manuela Naveau, curator of the exhibition on the part of Ars Electronica, also recognizes the significance of the partnership with the Polytechnic Museum: “The Polytechnic Museum has teamed up with the Ars Electronica Center in the project EARTH LAB in order to closely investigate the phenomenon of technological culture and the impact of the alliance between art and technology on the future of our planet. What are the challenges we meet in our lives and in the interaction between the modern man and the resources of the Earth? How much do we really know about our planet? Nowadays, the artists are almost permanent actors of innovations along with scientists and technologists. We suggest our audience to become involved with this process and create their own experience of scientific, technological, and art experimentation, and its purpose for the modern society”.
The exhibition is to be complemented with an intensive parallel programme co-curated by Alexey Shcherbina (MIGZ Festival of Modern Music and Media Art) packed with lectures, workshops, meet-the-artist sessions, performances, concerts, video screenings featuring international winners of Prix Ars Electronica represented in the exhibition’s main section, as well as Russian artists. Alexey says: “In recent years, the Polytechnic Museum has created a new community of creative intellectuals, scientists, engineers, software developers, and other technology professionals. Collaboration of these outstanding characters builds up the Russian section of the project between the Polytechnic Museum and the Ars Electronica Center in Moscow, and the project itself is certainly a major step towards integration into the global community”.
Exhibition dates: June 22–September 25
Venue: Red October, 2 Bersenevsky lane, bldg. 1