Arctic Perspective Initiative

Arctic Perspective highlighted the cultural, geopolitical and ecological significance of the Arctic and its indigenous cultures. In collaboration with the people of Igloolik and other communities in Nunavut, Canada, artists and architects are devising a mobile media and living unit and infrastructure, powered by renewable energy sources, which can be used for nomadic dwelling environmental monitoring and media based work 'on the land', away from the established Arctic settlements.

API was initiated artists Marko Peljhan and Matthew Biederman.

The API project website gives details of the process of the project, including the team's visits to Igloolik, Foxe Basin and other Inuit communities in Nunavut, Arctic Canada, the international open architecture competition to design the media unit, and the construction of the prototype unit.

Publications


Cahier No. 1: Arctic Architecture (ISBN 978-3-7757-2679-5) is now available - order online here
Cahier No. 2: Arctic Geopolitics & Autonomy (ISBN 978-3-7757-2681-8) - order online here
 

Exhibitions

Arctic Perspective, London
21 May - 30 September 2010
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London, UK
The Arctic Perspective exhibition at Canada House showed film and photographic documentation of the API project, including specially commissioned architectural models of the winning entries from an international open design competition for the mobile unit, which received more than 100 entries from over 30 countries. The winning unit architectural designs are by Richard Carbonnier (Canada), Catherine Rannou (France) and Giuseppe Mecca (Italy). Presented in conjunction with the London Festival of Architecture.

Arctic Perspective, Dortmund
18 June - 10 October 2010
HMKV Phoenix Halle, Dortmund, Germany
A large-scale exhibition of Arctic Perspective, organsed by HMKV, was held in Dortmund in the framework of European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010 and the international media-art conference ISEA 2010. The exhibition focused on the notions of architecure, geopolitics, autonomy, technology and landscape. As well as documentation from the API project, the exhibition also featured other positive nothern initiatives that reflect the values of API.

Contemporary Nomadism: Autonomy & Technology in the North (Discussion event)
20 May 2010, Canada House, London
Artists, academics and architects explored the API's cultural, historical and political contexts. Panel: Marko Peljhan, artist and instigator of Arctic Perspective Initiative, director Projekt Atol (Slovenia), David Turnbull, science sociologist (Australia), Richard Carbonnier, architect (Canada), Inke Arns, curator, artistic director HMKV (Germany). Chair: Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute (UK/Canada)

Arctic Perspective Open Space Conference
24-26 September 2010, PHOENIX Halle, Dortmund, Germany
The API open space conference gathered some of the most dynamic thinkers from and on the circumpolar regions and the open source technology and tactical media communities in an intense three-day situation involving critical debate and reflection.

Support

API is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007 Programme, City of Dortmund, Federal Centre for Civic Education, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City of Ljubljana and Arts Council England.

Partners include the Arctic Perspective Initiative, HMKV in Germany, Projekt Atol in Slovenia, C-TASC in Canada, Lorna in Iceland and Arts Catalyst in the UK.

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Body Visual

An exhibition of new commissions by artists examining key areas of medical science

Helen Chadwick worked with scientists and staff at the Assisted Conception Unit of Kings College Hospital. Letizia Galli's work was informed by findings in the field of neurology, and Donald Rodney's deeply personal reflection on medical science stemmed from his own long-term treatment for sickle-cell anaemia.

Exhibition dates and venues

Barbican Centre, London, UK, 1996
Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria, 1996
St Barts Hospital out-patients department, London, UK, 1997
Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and the Montage Gallery, Derby, UK, 1997
NGBK space, Berlin, Germany, 1997
Storey Art Gallery, Lancaster, UK, 1998

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Atomic

James Acord, Mark Waller, Carey Young explored the economic and cultural legacy of atomic power in a series of new commissions

The 'Atomic' exhibition confronted fears and assumptions about science and the nuclear industry. Featuring the work of the American 'nuclear sculptor' James Acord, the only private individual in the world licensed to handle radioactive materials. 'Atomic' dealt with the tricky issue of the idealism behind the 'white heat of technology' of the fifties and sixties and attempts to break down the wall of secrecy which has shielded the nuclear industry since the cold war. 
 
Acord had an ambition to break down the wall of secrecy which has shielded the nuclear industry since the cold war. His 15-year self-organised residency on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home of the atomic bomb, was a tragi-comic dance between Acord and the US Department of Energy as he sought permission to sculpt with the stuff of the nuclear age. Atomic leads us through his perilous journey to a site-specific display of his nuclear reliquaries - specially commissioned for his UK residency at Imperial College London.
 
As a counterpoint, artist Carey Young travelled to the former USSR to photograph the remnants of the nuclear-fuelled space race, the hero-worship of Gagarin and the ironic spectacle of the pride of Russia's technological achievements displayed among knock-down Western consumer goods.
 
Meanwhile, Mark Waller gained access to some of Britain's nuclear power stations to film a short thriller, 'Glow Boys', to be shown as an installation, about itinerant nuclear power workers who mysteriously develop superhuman qualities, featuring Mark E. Smith of The Fall. 
 
2 - 27 October 1998, Imperial College Gallery and Queen's Tower, Imperial College, London, UK
The exhibition at Imperial was accompanied by a round table discussion Art & the Atomic State. A schools programme led by James Acord supported the exhibition.
 
July - August 1999, Kluze Fortress, Bovec, Slovenia
The Atomic exhibition was shown at Kluze Fortress near Bovec. The fortress is at the head of the Soca Valley, near one of the main entry points to Slovenia from Italy and the exhibition has received a constant stream of visitors, mostly European tourists. James Acord gave his notable lecture-performance in the capital, Ljubljana.
 
2 Oct - 28 Nov 1999, Yard Gallery, NOW, Nottingham, UK
Atomic toured to the Yard Gallery at Wollaton Hall Museum in Nottingham as part of the NOW Festival, a festival of contemporary arts organised by the City Council. James Acord was artist-in-residence at the NOW Festival. Accompanying the exhibition was a schools programme, led by James Acord, who also gave a talk.
 
Atomic catalogue available from Cornerhouse.
Softback. Glows in the dark.
Essay by James Flint.
48 pages. 21 colour, 10 b&w illustrations.
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Makrolab Venice

Makrolab, Isola di Campalto, Venice, Italy

The Arts Catalyst organised the launch event for Makrolab in Venice and the Arts Catalyst/Projekt Atol/Tramway Makrolab publication marking 5 years of Projekt Atol’s Makrolab first phase, culminating in Makrolab in Scotland 2002. The second 5 years starts with Makrolab in Venice 2003.

Projekt Atol organised the siting of Makrolab on the Isola di Campalto in the Venice lagoon as part of the 2003 Venice Biennale.

External Links

Projekt Atol's website for Makrolab_Venice.

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Makrolab Scotland

Makrolab is a high-tech, art-science project. A temporary sustainable laboratory designed to support 4 – 6 artists and scientists working and living alongside each other in isolation for periods of up to 120 days.

Within the Makrolab, researchers study telecommunications, environment, migration and weather patterns. Makrolab's creator, Slovenian artist Marko Peljhan sees these multiple-dynamic global systems as the source of understanding how our planet functions on social, technological and natural levels.

Makrolab in Scotland took place during the International Year of Mountains, declared by the UN General Assembly. Makrolab is sited on the Clunes Beat, Atholl Estate, Perthshire from late May to the end of July 2002.

Over three months during summer 2002 a crew of artists, scientists and media activists inhabited the Makrolab in the Scottish highlands.

crew 1:

  • Fraser MacDonald
  • Abigail Reynolds
  • Matthew Biedermann
  • Anna Jakomulska

June 5 - June 18

crew 2:

  • Tomasz Szymura
  • Ewen Chardronet
  • Ilana Halperin

June 18 - July 1

crew 3:

  • Lisa Parks
  • Ursula Biemann
  • Katrin Lund
  • Miles Chalcraft
  • Ewen Chardronet

June 29 - July 7

crew 4:

  • Katrin Lund
  • Miles Chalcraft
  • Calum Stirling
  • Helena Johard
  • Dan Belasco Rogers

July 7 - July 14

crew 5:

  • Helena Johard

  • Stephen Kovats
  • Helen Evans
  • Calum Stirling

July 15 - July 29

crew 6:

  • Tim Knowles
  • Stephen Kovats
  • Helen Evans
  • Adam Hyde
  • Honor Harger
  • Ewen Chardronet
  • Nina Czegledy

Partners & Funders

  • Organised by The Arts Catalyst and Projekt Atol with the Tramway, Glasgow, in partnership with:
  • Atholl Estates
  • Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College (an Academic Partner of the UHI Millennium Institute)
  • Supported by the Arts Council of England, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Henry Moore Foundation, SciArt Awards, Mobitel and BT Open World and Mobitel d.d. In association with Tramway.

 

 
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Makrolab, 2002

A publication that marks the first five years of Marko Peljhan's Makrolab, focusing on its 2002 presence in the Scotland Highlands during the International Year of Mountains.


Over three months during summer 2002 a crew of artists, scientists and media activists inhabited the Earthbound satellite of Makrolab in the Scottish highlands. This journal, designed by Paul Khera, includes an essay by author and theorist Kodwo Eshun, a text by Makrolab's creator, Marko Peljhan, and diaries, pictures, plans, project documentation and materials from many of the artists and scientists who were resident on Makrolab.

The Makrolab is a high-tech, art-science project, a temporary sustainable laboratory designed to support 4 – 6 artists and scientists working and living alongside each other in isolation for periods of up to 120 days.

Within the Makrolab, researchers study telecommunications, environment, migration and weather patterns. Peljhan sees these multiple-dynamic global systems as the source of understanding how our planet functions on social, technological and natural levels.

Funded by the Scottish Arts Council and the Tramway, with thanks to the Atholl Estate and the contributors. Makrolab is managed by Projekt Atol.

Publication details

Makrolab
ISBN 978-0-9534546-2-4
Edited by 
Published by Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol and the Tramway, 2002
Colour and monochrome, 56 pages, soft back
Dimensions 200mm x 220mm
Weight 240g
£9.95

Buy online from Cornerhouse Books

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Commission

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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Artists Airshow

A day of art and flying in and around Europe's largest wind tunnel.

Airshow used the then deserted research facility where supersonic flight was developed and the ghosts of sixties rocket projects linger. Artists’ installations and transmissions were sited in the abandoned wind tunnels, test tanks and life-size helicopter flight simulators. There was a programme of flying events presented by artists and guided tours of the wind tunnels organised by the Farnborough Air Sciences and led by the engineers who formerly worked in the facility.

A highlight of day was Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicle no.6, a full-scale chair suspended beneath a weather balloon with a camera and transmitter. This apparatus was released from a launch pad - on an extremely windy day - and rapidly rose above the earth ultimately into the blackness of the stratosphere on the edge of space. With the naked eye, the audience on earth at Farnborough watched the balloon and chair recede and disappear into the sky, but they were then immediately able to follow the rest of the journey on a giant screen via a live video downlink from the escape vehicle.

Zina Kaye demonstrated the use of the Observatine UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), a petrol-powered unmanned surveillance airplane created with onboard camera and computer, controlled via an internet browser. The airplane took off from the Farnborough airfield runway, and the audience were able to follow the airplane’s flight by sight in the skies as well as on monitors. 
Miles Chalcraft’s Tear-Rain was a two-stage, 6-foot rocket aimed to deliver a year’s worth of tears over the assembled audience (as a small burst of rain at the end of another bad summer). The momentary cloudburst was to be observed with a rocket's eye view by an onboard wireless camera and simultaneously relayed to a large TV monitor. 

Luke Jerram’s Ghost Plane was a site-specific new commission: an apparition in the wind tunnel. A ghostly spitfire summoned up by eddying air currents shimmering across a reflective bed of mercury, Ghost Plane echoed the aircraft tested at Farnborough and the engineers who once used mercury to measure the shifting air pressure in the wind tunnels. Stefan Gec’s Celestial Vault, commissioned for MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, is a video installation recorded in the giant centrifuge at Moscow’s Star City cosmonaut training centre. It was sited in the return chamber of the large wind tunnel.

Tim Knowles was commissioned to create a site-specific balloon drawing machine, which produced randomised wind drawings by wind-blown balloons. Installed in the sonic wind tunnel, Flow Motion’s Dissolve. a digital audio installation, takes as its starting point Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Louise K Wilson created Loop, a site-specific video and sound installation using footage shot from the cockpit of a Slingsby Firefly of a repeated aerobatic manoeuvre performed in the skies above Northumbria in August 2004

Marko Peljhan gave a talk about his ongoing collaboration with the Aerosonde corporation, which manufactures long-distance UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for use in environmental surveys in oceans and inhospitable terrain such as Antarctica.

To conclude the day, 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.

External links:

YouTube 1st International Artists Airshow, 2nd International Artists Airshow

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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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