KOSMICA Mexico 2014

KOSMICA is an international festival for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in space


KOSMICA returns for the third time to Mexico from 18 to 21 November 2014 at the Center for Digital Culture, Laboratorio Arte Alameda and Multimedia Center of the National Arts Centre.
Artists, scientists, performers, scholars, space explorers, workshop leaders and musicians from Mexico, UK, France, Canada and USA among others, to explore the cultural and artistic aspects of space exploration, and topics including the history of alcohol in space, sex in zero gravity, and nostalgia for the Earth.
This festival is managed by the artist Nahum Mantra in association with The Arts Catalyst (London) and with support from the National Council for Culture and Arts and the National Institute of Fine Arts.
Planet Earth/Unknown Direction, November 18, Centro de Cultura Digital.
A Brief History of Alcohol in Outer Space, November 19, Centro de Cultura Digital.
Humans Phone Home, November 20, Laboratorio Arte Alameda.
After Barbarella, November 21, Laboratorio Arte Alameda.
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Making a universe

Making a Universe explores artistic and scientific practices that deal with contained and extreme environments.

Alistair McClymont creates poetic machines that contain 'natural' environments, making a universe of their own.  Scientists similarly create miniature stars that imitate the birth of stars.

Alistair McClymont recently completed a three-month residency at the Central Laser Facility.  Dr Ceri Brenner is a physicist who enjoys communicating the extreme and inspiring science that she and others carry out at CLF.

The CLF produces some of the world’s most powerful light beams, providing scientists with an unparalleled range of state-of-the-art laser technology. These high powered lasers are used to recreate the extreme conditions inside stars and planets, others can reveal intricate detail on a microscopic scale enabling scientists to build up a complex picture of the exact molecular interactions that lead to disease.  The CLF also uses laser beam 'tweezers' capable of holding individual micro-droplets that make up clouds helping scientists gain an insight into climate change.

Alistair's previous work has included making night-time rainbows, suspending raindrops in mid-air and creating tornadoes with deceptively simple machines. A UK based artist working in sculpture, photography and video, McClymont describes these as ‘phenomena’ artworks, in which he tries to capture natural, often overlooked occurrences and evoke a sense of wonder.

He will be discussing his work, and time spent at the CLF, thinking about his work with scientists on experiments both as an outsider and insider, and how this has influenced his practice.

Making a Universe explores artistic and scientific practices that deal with contained and extreme environments

Book online here


Dr Ceri Brenner is a Physicist who enjoys communicating the extreme and inspiring science that she and others carry out at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Ceri’s role at the CLF spans research, innovation and communication. In particular, she is studying a form of micro-sized particle accelerator that is formed when the most intense laser light in the world strikes matter, for applications in medicine, manufacturing and security. Ceri will discuss her work, research interests and her experience of having an artist working amongst scientists. She has been closely involved in facilitating the artists' residency and will also give an introduction to the high energy density experiment on the Gemini laser that Alistair took part in during his residency.

Alistair McClymont as artist in residence has been following a team of scientists working with the Gemini Laser at the CLF studying different aspects of laser interaction. He describes the project, "My goal with this project is to investigate the strong similarity I see between scientists and artists, I wanted to do this by taking part in their experiment. My hypothesis is that both ultimately search for truth and both see beauty in that truth.

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A Brief History of Arts Catalyst, 2014

2014 marked the 20th anniversary year of Arts Catalyst and here we celebrate some of the 120 artists’ projects that we have commissioned over those two decades.

Based in London, Arts Catalyst is one of the UK’s most distinctive arts organisations, distinguished by ambitious artists’ projects that engage with the ideas and impact of science. We are acknowledged internationally as a pioneer in this field and a leader in experimental art, known for our curatorial flair, scale of ambition and critical acuity.

Our primary focus is new artists’ commissions, presented as exhibitions, events and participatory projects, that are accessible, stimulating and artistically relevant. We aim to produce provocative and risk-taking projects that spark dynamic conversations about our changing world. This is underpinned by research and dialogue between artists and world-class scientists and researchers.

We have a deep commitment to artists and artistic process. We work with artists at pivotal stages in their careers, providing opportunities for them to develop bold projects in unusual contexts. This small booklet draws together some examples of projects that have involved:

  • flying teams of artists and scientists in zero gravity in Russia
  • recreating historical bio-warfare experiments off the coast of Scotland
  • setting up live scientific experiments as art installations
  • siting futuristic art-science labs in remote landscapes
  • enabling artists’ access to restricted scientific establishments

We continue to produce projects that develop enduring themes around deep time, autonomous research, bioethics, and the global commons (oceans, poles, atmosphere and outer space), working with both established and emerging artists to create inspiring and thought-provoking new art experiences.



A Brief History of Arts Catalyst
Edited by Nicola Triscott
Published by Arts Catalyst, 2014 
Designed by Abake & Margherita Huntley
Colour, 34 pages, softback and electronic

Download a copy of a new publication, showcasing some landmark projects from the first 20 years from the column on the left.

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Experimental Ruins - West Edition Field Guide, 2012

A collaborative publication, Field Guide, documenting the Experimental Ruins West Edition workshops and critical excursions collated by Luce Choules

A participatory project to explore the Capital's uncharted places of scientific secrecy and technology.

Experimental Ruins: West Edition was a critical excursion and an artwork devised by Neal White of The Office of Experiments (OOE). It is part of a series of artworks by OOE which use a technique called Overt Research to explore the UK landscape as a multi-layered territory that can be interpreted through aesthetic, archaeological, geographical and techno-scientific interpretations. This participatory project focused attention on the history and geography of post-1945 scientific research, and the facilities and spaces created to house technological advances, that were developed around the periphery of London and especially the corridor to the west. Participants explored the often improbable, underground or unremarkable suburban settings in which scientific research institutions have pushed the frontiers of investigation.

Experimental Ruins is a long-term project lead by Office of Experiments' Neal White (NW) and Steve Rowell (SR).  Project activities include Experimental Ruins Workshop at UCL (NW / SR), Dark Places -  group show (NW&SR), the Secrecy and Technology Tour (NW & SR) all commissioned and curated in collaboration with The Arts Catalyst. Other related projects include independent tours and fieldwork; Secrets of Portland (NW), TelePort for the 2010 Falmouth Convention (SR) and two excursions into military and post-industrial terrains in the Northeast during Steve's 2010 HaSS Fellowship at Newcastle University.

Collaborators websites

Office of Experiments

Field Users Guide to Dark Places - South Edition

London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre

Supported by

Experimental Ruins: West Edition is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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Clean Rooms, 2002

Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, Clean Rooms asks the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

Clean Rooms was an exhibition of artworks by Critical Art Ensemble, Gina Czarnecki and Neal White, challenging our responses to biotechnology: a science often perceived as secretive and sinister.

Publication details

Clean Rooms
ISBN 978-0-9534546-1-7
Edited by Rob La Frenais and Eileen Daly
Published by Arts Catalyst, 2002
Designed by PKMB
Colour and monochrome, 48 pages, softback
Dimensions 220mm x 200mm
Weight 190g


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Body Visual, 1996

Three artists examining key areas of medical science were commissioned for a series of exhibitions. This book is a record of their works and findings.

Helen Chadwick collaborated with scientists and staff at the Assisted Conception Unit of Kings College Hospital and her work features images of embryos that had been rejected for IVF implantation.

Letizia Galli's work was informed by findings in the field of neurology and explores the chemistry of the brain and the relationship between the neurotransmitter dopamine, addiction and love.

Donald Rodney's deeply personal reflection on medical science stemmed from his own long-term treatment for sickle-cell anaemia and is a meditation on the hope of science within genetic research.

Authors include Pallab Ghosh, Virginia Bolton, Louisa Buck, Gian Luigi Gessa, David Thorp and Alison Bybee.

Publication details

Body Visual
ISBN 978-0-9534546-3-1
Edited by Nicola Triscott
Published by Arts Catalyst, 1996
Designed by Chris Grottick
Colour and monochrome, 36 pages, softback
Dimensions 295mm x 207mm
Weight 190g

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