Art In The Wet Zone - VBN

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12 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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LEA


BIOTOPI
A Revisited

Art In The Wet Zone


Structural considerations for an online docu
-
exhibition



Why deal with art in wet zone?




Our understanding of
humanity

based on that we have full control over
'our' world and culture, and 'our

selves', i
s in
a
crisis.


This does not mean we are going down or disappear, but rather that we
need to sense human be
ings, ourselves, and our role in some new
ways.


There are opportunities in crisis: It opens up new discoveries and
insig
hts
-

and, not least, new ways to recognize and gain insight.



This involves several levels of the h
uman 'sphere' of which I may only
elaborate on some of them here: The body, subjectivity, art and context.



Let us revisit

with the body.


In
the wet zone a body is not ’just’
a body.


A body is both physical and
virtual.


The body

is

stasis

and movement,

s
olid and liquid
;

thought and
feeling
;


a
paradox
, it seems,

for the
philosopher



and for the human
sciences.



[Internet Ear by Stelarc]

[Format: Online webpage


www.earonarm.net

] [Voice recording of Stelarc]
[Possib
ility: Set
-
up arm in Kaliningrad and Copenhagen to extend the conversations] [Possibility


you can
hear the conversation online?] [Possibility: Access blog from previous conversations]


The body is not 'itself'.


It is not useful as general reference framework
for understanding the world.


The body is "obsolete", in the words of
Stelarc whereby he
expresses the belief that as a static entity in a soul
-
and
-
body dichotomy without paradoxical implications and (self)
relationships, the body is
antiquated.


Outdated.



A new situation emerges

in the wet zone.


A transformative movement,
according to Brian Massumi, that is both affective (acting physically) and
sentient, seems to take its place. Or: Should.


I will return to this point
later.

Therefore, the question is
to find out what may substitute the
obsoleteness of (our perception and use of) the body?


Or rather, what
the body THEN 'is' or
'mean'?



Stelarc seems to insist that there are no dichotomies, when it comes to
the body.


The body is not something we can relate to exclusively as
'outside' (or 'inside', for that matter).


This is because we ARE bodies
-

which again means that the body is both 'meat' and 'idea' when we
perceive (it).


Hence, he speaks about the bo
dy as a 'physical
experience of Ideas'


here understood as a kind of natural conception
process. Brian Massumi, whom to my ears have understood Stelarc’s
particular interest in renegotiating our conceptual mental
apparatus

best
of all, describes it this w
ay: The body as Stelarc medium, is a 'sentient
concept.

(Massumi,

2002, p. 90)



The challenge is to write the re
-
joining of body and thought that Stelarc performs.
This requires the willingness to revisit some of our basic notions of what a body is
and d
oes as an acting, perceiving, thinking, feeling thing.

(Massumi, p. 90)


When I refer to
the ’body’ in the following, I also

imply ’thinking
’.


And
when body and mind are combined, then we are looking at the issue of
perception and
subjectivity.



According to Brian

Massumi, perception and thinking

is a continuum in
the conceptual performances of Stelarc

(p.
92).


The two cannot be
separated, but are extremes in the same process.


However, they are
exactly that:
extremes,

that we are able to use



go to extremes
’, as we

say.



This is a shared feature of the artists in

BIOTOPIA
-
exhibition: Going

to

the

extremes, but
never

crossing the

fine

line

of absurdity or

nonsense
.

The issues are examined scientifically.


[
Electrocyte Appendix

by Revital Cohen]

[Format: Streaming of film, full screen]
[Possibility: Further material from Revital] [Voice interview from Revital her self needed]


Like Stelarc,
Revital Cohen is

fascinated by the human body.


Especially
, she is intere
sted in

a
particular

research area that focuses

on creating artificial
Nano
-
cells for medical purposes
.

Revital’s work for

Biotopia
is
dealing with the possibility of using these cells to create an
artificial body

that a
llows people to become electronic organisms.


The
work consists of video projection (documentation) and drawings of the
artificial
body part
; t
he

appendicitis.



It is often

technology that exposes
human
in
new situations, which
facilitate

the enhancement of philosophical studies

of 'ourselves' and
our phenomena (however not as a


creation
’ of something ’new’

-

which
is considerably more complex affair that makes new phenomena and
representations outside the existing representation framework, appear
(emerge)
). We will never be able to see the world as one thing or
pe
rceive it as a p
anorama where

we
may only

describe
it
within a fixed
frame
-

and from a static point.


T
he point of Biotopia is to point out how
t
hings are moving out of the
ir

fixed frames.


Things should

not
be seen
as

phenomena experienced by a subject 'outside' the phenomena, but
as a result of one, so to speak, collaborative experience horizon, wh
ere
body and mind interact in

affective and sensitive process
es
. We need to
move with

things to try to understand them.


The exploration of

the body

by art

as both
the
transformer

of
flesh and ideas is one of the means at
our disposal to achieve such

conceptual

movement
.


[Blue Morph by Victoria Vesna and James Gimzewski]


As a scientist at UCLA in USA, Professor
James Gimzewski

is
specializing in genet
ic engineering and neuroscience
.


The last 10 years
he

has

also

been operating

as an artist

i
n collaboration
with

his
colleague, Professor Victoria Vesna. Together, they

create
interactive
installations that mediate and visualize

especially the floating

field of
consciousness

located between scientific

and art
istic artifacts and
practices
.



Let me therefore turn to
the

perhaps
most obvious

part of

the exhi
bition
title, a
rt
-

and its relation to science.


It is part of the
conceptual
idea of
the exhibition t
o
ask questions about

the role of the humanities in the
wet zone
.



More than anything, t
he exhibition addresses the questions of what
happens to art in an age where technological and bio
logical life forms
challenge each other and
establish even closer

relations

to
each other
?
Biotopia

examines how art evolves in
this new s
ituation, exposed (or
inserted?
) (
In
)to

a situation between bits and

atoms, where very media
-
savvy
-
but
-
not
-
so
-
media
-
co
nscious, post digital humans move

about
.


It
is this situation
which, very

briefly defined, constitutes the


wet zone'
-

a
fluent field of
conceptual movement
.


...

part of the idea is to put the humanities in a position of having continually to
renegotiate their relations with the sciences


and, in the process, to rearticulate
what is unique to their own capacities...
(Massumi, 2002, p. 21)



[Group Without You by Mogens Jacobsen]


Which brings us to the contexts. Things

challenge us.


Our gaze is the
object
of others' gaze
s
.


Things look at us, but
always escape

a direc
t and
comprehensive
look
-
of
-
deep
-
'understanding'
. We are watching
ours
elves, as in Mogens Jacobsen's Group Without Y
ou. The
technology makes it possible to monitor

everyone
, but according to
Jacobsen
there is
no 'center' in this
surveillance
, or what the F
rench
(wet
) philo
sopher Michel Foucault called the
"Panopticon" (Michel
Foucault,

Crime and Punishment
, p. 168);
the

ubiquitous gaze
of media
and technology
.




"... The study of something I loosely called
bio power
,
namely all the mechanisms
through which what constitutes human species 'basic biological features may be included
in a policy of a political strategy or general power strategy.' (Michel Faucault, Quote
from a speech at the Sorbonne
, Paris,

1982)



It is lo
ng since
w
e
have transgressed
the border of

the

humanistic
Renaissance project


Utopia
’ as

Thomas Moore formulated it

-

and
Shakespeare poetically refined in

The Tempest

: The society
,

in which
everything is in balance and there are no wars or suffering.


It is
idealism
, and an ideal,

that ha
s

driven people from religion to science in
a constant search for excellence.


Today
,
utopia
is
probably best left as
a naive thought, something unattainable.


Man's position in this thought,
and idealism
’s

status, forms the background for several decades of
critique of humanism
-

and especially its fundamental dualistic view of
the world (nature / culture, tr
ue / false
etc.
)


[P O L Y T H E R A by Jacob Kirkegaard]



Jacob Kirkegaard
’s


POLYTHERA is a water, sound and light installation
based on an idea from science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, where
the slow
-
flowing liquid, covering the planet Solaris, slowly creating
metamorphoses
-

transformations of everything that exists. Installation
consists of a basin filled with water which is

brought to vibrate by sound
of frequency 34 Hz.


Stroboscopic light reveals

the sound that causes
the water to vibrate.


This creates a visual illusion: it looks as if the water
is moving in slow motion.



The

wet zone is also a metaphor for the basis of objective knowledge,
which in its capacity to be constantly
changing

eludes any fixed
categorization or "dualist" analysis.


Conve
rsely POLYTHERA, as the
title

also suggests
, invites
openness to
wards

a 'plurality' o
f possible
angles and analysis
-

what
with
in

some

sci
entific thinking is called

'emergence
'

of the real


[ by Paul Vanouse]




Biotopia denotes a movement of people, technology and art into a wet
zone in which dualisms
may be dissolved, but also

answer
ed

or
replaced with other countermeasures, and
-

maybe


some
hope
?


The
art works
in that

sense

designates

'emergence
s' in the fluent field;

well
planned attempt
s

to practice in the wet zone.




Paul Vanouse
’s

artistic practice is based on emergent media

i
n DNA
and biological phenomena. He describes himself as a radical
and
passionate
interdisciplinary

amateur
.


His work explores the complex
issues and questions

raised by various techno
-
sciences.


He perceives
and uses these techno
-
sciences as its medium.




The 'wet' aesthetics is very much not 'just' worn by a 'digital' art, but
by
the question of what happens when technology and
human science
really work? Is the artist the new scientist
-

or vice versa?


'Biotopia' ask
this question


and in the process seeks to mirror the current iterations
of the human sciences in the

wet condition of
a BIOTOPIA
.

Neither a
promise of a new Utopia, nor a singular event of strange Biotopes easily
forgotten, BIOTOPIA r
eartic
ulates

what is unique

in the emergent wet
zone in the intersections of artistic and scientific practice today.