Panel: The Volatility and Stability of WorldMaking as Techné
Although selling or exhibiting ideas as a work of art – a practice initially described as Concept Art – has become common practice, the resulting artefact is often constrained in space and time, materialized by traces, acting only as clues that can be only truly and subjectively captured by memories. Subcategory of the afore mentioned practice, Process art belongs, as its scheduling is suggesting, to the performance category, as a Rube Goldberg machinery cannot possibly acquire eternity and not even pretend or fake it. Enter the realm of System Art, designing and linking processes while building a lexicon, effectively and practically ending up in not only creating the music but the orchestra and the instruments which go along with it. System Art can be categorized by analyzing the system’s inputs and outputs, from the self contained algorithmic machine that belongs to generative systems to the hyperlinked globalized and realtime-expanding connective systems. It does allow for increasing complexity through the multiplication of parameters, historically linking itself to the concept of “Oeuvre totale”, at least through the conjunction of media, where data can flow unobstructed thanks to digitalization. Methodological by nature, System Art does borrow industrial methods and analytical approach, both in conception and production, only forgiving about deontology or efficiency as it does not want to be true as science or primarily profitable. It does spread the deeply human need to understand, control and trespass technology or as the cyberneticist from the 60’s would put it, “aim for an unrestricted cooperation in between machines and minds”. Still in its infancy, its status progressed from “utopia” to “prospective prototypes” and to “artistically and technically approved” in the last few decades. This presentation will cover some “historic references” and “theory one-liners” and mainly a few examples extracted from the recently released monograph of LAb[au], organized by system type and praxis, complemented by some artist’s works exhibited at Mediaruimte, LAb[au]’s curated artspace in Brussels, Belgium, covering an ever broader scope of actual practice and considerations in Digital Art.
- Jerome Decock is an media artist and electronic engineer who is one of the founding members of LAb[au]. Founded in 1997, LAb[au] is an artist group located in Brussels, Belgium. It has been founded with the aim to examine the influence of advanced technologies in the forms, methods and content of art. With a background in architecture their members and projects are concerned with the construct of ‘space’ and the way it can be planned, experienced and conceptualised in an information age. Even if their projects can be classified as urbanism, design, art, music or dance they all are grounded on an architectural thinking. The attention lies in the relation between architecture, light, motion and sound and advanced technologies. Following the cybernetics agenda, the projects of LAb[au] deal with processes and systems based on rules. The setting of these rules becomes the major artistic act, the creation process, defining the content and message of the artwork, it’s architecture as code. This method, which LAb[au] qualifies as ‘MetaDesign’, is determined by the technological and artistic parameters. It focuses on the transcription of information and its processes to textual, graphic, visual, sonic, spatial… forms, artefacts. The group name of LAb[au] inhabits a phonetic and a written meaning – the one of the French pronunciation ‘labo’ standing for an experimental approach and the one of ‘bau’ (german word for construction) for the pragmatic realisation of projects. This alliance between theory and practice motivated the group to found the gallery ‘MediaRuimte’ in the city centre of Brussels in 2003. The gallery work stands for LAb[au]’s typical function of a collaborative agency as for a trans-disciplinary work. LAb[au] showed its work at Kunst-Station Sankt Peter (Cologne, 2010), BOZAR (Brussels, 2009), Emocao Art.ficial (Sao Paolo, 2008), Club|Transmediale (Berlin, 2007), TENT. / Witte de With (Rotterdam, 2006), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, several times), Sonar (Barcelona, 2004), New Museum (New York, 2003), Nabi Art Center (Seoul, 2003), ICA (London, 2002), Bauhaus (Dessau, several times), Louvre (Paris, 2000), Ars Electronica (Linz, several times), …among many others. lab-au.com