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