Window of Opportunity

Maverick comic and performer, Ken Campbell, in new show specially commissioned by The Arts Catalyst for Greenwich Festival

In a world that rarely raises its eyes, let alone expectations, to the stars, who are the scientists who think space should be our ultimate goal? And why do they think we are running out of time to get there? Window of Opportunity gave Ken Campbell the chance to develop his growing fascination with science, as seen in his recent TV show 'Reality on the Rocks'.

Commissioned and promoted by Greenwich Festival and The Arts Catalyst.

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Artists and Cosmonauts

Four evenings of artists' film and performance, talks and presentations, featuring legendary Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev

Scientists, philosophers and artists from Britain and Russia presented reflections on the Russian space programme and the nature of living in space. With the legendary Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, member of the first mission to the International Space Station.

Friday 1 & Saturday 2 March 2002 - Lilian Baylis Theatre
MIR Flight 001

New works from The Arts Catalyst's MIR Flight 001, a multidisciplinary microgravity research laboratory for artists, scientists and philosophers at Star City, Russia.

Premieres of:

Gravity: A Love Story -  Morag Wightman & Craos Mor
Zero Genie - Jem Finer and Ansuman Biswas
Wave Particle - Jem Finer and Ansuman Biswas
Kosmos in Blue - Flow Motion
Too G - Andrew Kotting
Universal Substitute - Andrey & Julia Velkanov

Plus talks/presentations by Anthony Bull, Marko Peljhan, Kevin Fong, Louise K Wilson, Mikhail Ryklin, Anna Alchuk, Alexei Blinov

Friday 15 March 2002 - Institute of Physics
Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev

In one of the most beautiful sequences of the film 'Out of the Present' by Berlin film-maker Andrei Ujica, the cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, alone in space on the Mir Space Station, contemplates the rivers, the continents, the perfect sphere or a real world in the setting sun: meanwhile way down below the tanks rumble and humanity, though invisible, stirs restlessly during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

One of the most experienced cosmonauts and arguably the human who has lived longest in space, Sergei Krikaleve made a rare personal appearance between missions to debate on issues of culture and space with the artists and cosmonauts team.

Friday 19 April 2002 - Lilian Baylis Theatre
A Dancer in Weightlessness

Kitsou Dubois presented the premiere of her film (with Eric Duranteau), 'Trajectoire Fluide' (Fluid Trajectory), emerging from her 4-year research project with the Biodynamics Group at Imperial College. Professor Robert Schroter, Head of the Biodynamics Group, contextualised the project, and Dr Nick Davey, lead scientific investigator, gave a talk and demonstration of the scientific research aspects of the programme.

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Parallel Universe

Experiments and reflections on science from non-Western cultures, with a major new commission, CAT by Ansuman Biswas, and performance-lecture by Paul Wong

CAT - Ansuman Biswas

In CAT, Ansuman Biswas performed an experiment / demonstration drawing on the image of Schrödinger's Cat, the famous paradox in quantum physics. The work arises from a comparative study of modern scientific methodology and the 2,500 year old Indian science of vipassana. It lasted for ten days, during which time the artist remained sealed and meditating within a light and soundproof chamber. He attempted to maintain continuous, detailed observation of all sensory phenomena.
 

Dead Man Talking - Paul Wong

A multi-media presentation by Paul Wong (Canada/China) on Western science and Chinese medical practices, with reference to cultural attitudes towards death.
 

Programme of events:

Fri 20 March:
Lecture/performance by Luis Eduardo Luna (Brazil) on the link between sound and shamanic practices in the Amazon.
Sat 21 March:
Dead Man Talking, multi-media presentation by Paul Wong.
Sun 22 March:
Presentation about Islamic science by Professor Ziauddin Sardar of Middlesex University followed by a discussion of CAT between theoretical physicist David Peat and Jungian analyst Chris Hawke
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We're All Going To Die (Space Soon)

SPACE SOON A special concert curated by Resonance FM

Is it possible to have a clean death in a vacuum? We're All Going To Die was an operatic, radiophonic concatentation of space ephemera and near-Earth collision paranoia, hosted by Resonance104.4fm. It featured The Bohman Brothers, Ken Hollings, Tom McCarthy, DJ Original Bear, the Resonance Radio Orchestra, DJ Rocket 88, Jonny Trunk and Lembit Opik MP. Resonance FM broadcast live from the Roundhouse throughout Space Soon.

 

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CleanRooms, London

New works by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White, Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa, and Brandon Ballengee challenge our responses to biotechnology and explore its origins and implications

Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, the works in the CleanRooms exhibition ask the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

CleanRooms included major installations by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White and Brandon Ballengee, with performances of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble.

In Gina Czarnecki's Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raises a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreates one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. You, the visitor, fulfil the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

US group Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa present their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduce their transgenic bioproducts. An installation and a video of the performance explains their work and explores the pros and cons of transgenics

Brandon Ballengee's installation From Farm 2 Pharm, created as a participatory project alongside the Oldham exhibition of CleanRooms, traces the history of humankind's struggle for dominance over natural evolutionary forces with a gallery installation of images of domesticated/engineered organisms.

Events programme

The exhibition was part of the extensive programme of associated Darwin Centre Live events including artist residencies by Brandon Ballengee and Michael Carklin and the Working with Wetware forum.

Working with Wetware, 20 June 2002.
This forum explored the work of artists who work directly with living biological systems. Speakers included Steve Kurtz (US), Oron Catts (Aus) from SymbioticA, Marta De Menezes (Portugal), Ruth West (US), Sandy Knapp (UK), Brandon Ballengee (US) and Gina Czarnecki (UK). The forum was chaired by Kodwo Eshun.

GenTerra performances by Critical Art Ensemble, 21-22 June 2002

Biotech drama workshops led by Michael Carklin 7 - 18 July 2002

Catalogue

The CleanRooms catalogue is available to buy online from Cornerhouse Publications

Price £11.95
ISBN 9780953454617
Pages 48, Binding softback, illustrated in colour and b&w
Dimensions 220mm x 200mm, Weight 

Exhibitions

Gallery Oldham, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK

5 October - 30 November 2002

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, UK

20 June - 3 August 2003

Stills, Edinburgh, Scotland

Gina Czarneckis's Silvers Alter was also show as part of the Designer Bodies: The Future Of Human Genetics exhibition at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3 April - 6 June 2004

 

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CleanRooms, Oldham

New works by Gina Czarnecki, Neal White and Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa challenge our responses to biotechnology: a science often perceived as secretive and sinister.

Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, the works in the CleanRooms exhibition asked the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

CleanRooms included major installations by Gina Czarnecki and Neal White, and performances of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble.

In Gina Czarnecki's Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raised a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreated one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. The visitor fulfilled the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

US group Critical Art Ensemble with Beatriz Da Costa presented their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduced their transgenic bioproducts. An installation and a video of the performance explained their work and explores the pros and cons of transgenics

Artists in Residence

The exhibition at Oldham was accompanied by an extensive programme of educational and interpretative events, including artist residencies by Ruth Ben Tovim and Brandon Ballengee, Saturday workshops for children, talks and demonstrations. New York artist Brandon Ballengee worked with local unemployed young people to explore the origin, growth and contemporary practice of genetic engineering. From visits to local farms, pet stores, parks and markets, Ballengee and his collaborators traced the history of humankind's struggle for dominance over natural evolutionary forces, creating a gallery and on-line installation from images of domesticated and engineered organisms, titled From Farm 2 Pharm.

Catalogue

The CleanRooms catalogue is available to buy online from Cornerhouse Publications

Price £11.95
ISBN 9780953454617
Pages 48
Binding soft back
illustrated in colour and b&w
Dimensions 220mm x 200mm
Weight 190g

 

Exhibitions

Gallery Oldham, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK
5 October - 30 November 2002

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, UK
20 June - 3 August 2003

Stills, Edinburgh, Scotland
Gina Czarneckis's Silvers Alter was also shown as part of the Designer Bodies: The Future Of Human Genetics exhibition
3 April - 6 June 2004

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Corporate Personae

A seminar exploring the role of artists in examining the activities of big business

Corporate Personae was a seminar on corporate social responsibility and the role artists and activists, such as Platform, The Yes Men and With, play in “identity correction” and interrogating the activities of big business. The event featured a performance by artist Lucy Panesar and launched Arts Catalyst/SCAN's Dark Places programme.


Speakers

Dan Gretton (Platform), David Leitner (Cambridge University), Lucy Panesar (Artist), Felicity Mukherjee (NFHC International Inc), Alasdair Hopwood (WITH).

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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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Sky Writing

Artists’ Airshow was an experimental day of art and flying in and around Europe's largest wind tunnel. Airshow used the now deserted research facility where supersonic flight was developed and the ghosts of sixties rocket projects linger.

Concluding the day with Anne Bean literally created a spectacular drawing for the sky, using balloons, parachute flares and small rockets, in collaboration with pyrotechnicians Mark Anderson and Nick Sales.

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Poetic Cosmos of the Breath, Tomas Saraceno

An experimental solar dome, launched at dawn

Tomas Saraceno is an artist and architect whose utopian vision for cities that float in the air - changing form and joining together like clouds - has led him to create a series of experimental structures such as balloons or inflatable modular platforms that can be inhabited and exploit natural energies. For the 2nd International Artist Airshow Tomas Saraceno was commissioned to create one of these experimental structures at dawn. Despite being postponed due to heavy rain, Saraceno successfully launched his large new experimental solar dome at dawn on Saturday 22 September 2008, with an audience of 40 people.

The project was inspired by the dome created by Dominic Michaelis in 1975, for the film Hu-Man.

External links:

A report on the morning appeared on Michaela Crimmin's RSA's Art & Ecology blog: "On a recent Saturday morning I experienced one of the great rewards for working with artists. I got up before dawn to go to Gunpowder Park to see the latest work by Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno. ... Trained as an architect, Saraceno’s work poses the idea of floating cities. At the invitation of Arts Catalyst he brought a giant inflatable to the early morning autumn mists of Essex. It lay there, a huge circle of sheeting on the ground, held down by sandbags. A small group of lucky, lucky people were there in the dew. Slowly we helped the giant fill with air and grow as the sun came up and saw it brought to life, the colours of the foil which forms part of the material spectacularly colourful as the sun reflected off it.

"This is why I work with artists – this is a serious, magical, unique, positive experience. This is invigoration for the Green movement, for the Climate Change lobby, for the scientists pouring over statistics and charts. Thanks to Saraceno and to Arts Catalyst we who were there will remember this morning for the rest of our lives.

YouTube Poetic Cosmos of the Breath

Poetic Cosmos of the Breath was a collaboration between The Arts Catalyst and Gunpowder Park.

Supported by:

Arts Council England, East and the Henry Moore Foundation and Landscape+Arts Network Services

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