[ISEA2011] Panel: Anna Du­mitriu – Un­nec­es­sary Re­search, what’s the point?

Panel Statement

Panel:  The Institute of Unnecessary Research

This paper de­scribes the In­sti­tute of Un­nec­es­sary Re­search (IUR) from its in­cep­tion in 2005. The IUR is an in­ter­na­tional group of artists, sci­en­tists and philoso­phers ob­ses­sively in­volved in their own cu­rios­ity dri­ven re­search work­ing both (in­sid­i­ously) within and out­side of acad­e­mia. The struc­ture of the IUR is based on a typ­i­cal aca­d­e­mic model, with var­i­ous ‘de­part­ment heads’ re­spon­si­ble for their own spe­cific areas of re­search. Ap­point­ment to the IUR is ap­par­ently open but highly nepo­tis­tic (based on the aca­d­e­mic model). The re­searchers in­ves­ti­gate sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy from a wholly artis­tic par­a­digm, mak­ing wide and var­ied con­nec­tions, but work­ing solidly within their fields in such a way that their re­search could be of equal in­ter­est to the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity as to the artis­tic one. The re­search is widely dis­sem­i­nated via per­for­mance events and ex­hi­bi­tions within the com­mu­nity in a non-elit­ist way, with a view that any­one can un­der­stand any­thing, if it is ex­plained in a way that pro­motes un­der­stand­ing. Au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tion is also keyand often vis­i­tors to events par­tic­i­pate ‘hands on’ in the ex­per­i­ments/per­for­mances.

  • Anna Du­mitriu’s work blurs the bound­aries be­tween art and sci­ence. Her in­stal­la­tions, in­ter­ven­tions and per­for­mances use a range of dig­i­tal, bi­o­log­i­cal and tra­di­tional media in­clud­ing live bac­te­ria, in­ter­ac­tive media and tex­tiles. Her work has a strong in­ter­na­tional ex­hi­bi­tion pro­file and is held in sev­eral major pub­lic col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing the Sci­ence Mu­seum in Lon­don. She was a mem­ber of the e-Mo­bi­LArt pro­ject (the EU funded Eu­ro­pean Mo­bile Lab for In­ter­ac­tive Art) and Artist in Res­i­dence at The Cen­tre for Com­pu­ta­tional Neu­ro­science and Ro­bot­ics at Sus­sex Uni­ver­sity. She is known for her work as di­rec­tor of  “The In­sti­tute of Un­nec­es­sary Re­search”, a group of artists and sci­en­tists whose work crosses dis­ci­pli­nary bound­aries and cri­tiques con­tem­po­rary re­search prac­tice. She is cur­rently work­ing on a Well­come Trust funded art pro­ject en­ti­tled “Com­mu­ni­cat­ing Bac­te­ria”, col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Adap­tive Sys­tems Re­search Group at The Uni­ver­sity of Hert­ford­shire (fo­cussing on so­cial ro­bot­ics) and has re­cently commenced her role as Lev­er­hulme Trust artist in res­i­dence on the Mod­ernising Med­ical Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy pro­ject at The Uni­ver­sity of Ox­ford, UK.  unnecessaryresearch.org  normalflora.co.uk