[ISEA2008] Paper: Irène Hediger & Jill Scott – Artistsinlabs: Reality Jamming between Lucid Fields of Practice


The paper begins with an outline about technical progress and our information society in so called “developing” countries and constructs a set of relevant questions for the future of art and science collaborations. These questions focus on the role of the artist in relation to the business of scientific knowledge. Is empirical knowledge only situated in a specific time or place or can it co-exist simultaneously in two parallel lucid fields of practice: media art and the visual sciences? In this light *Lucid Fields” are comprehensible and factual fields of realities and paradoxes that exist today rather than the fictional illusions of tomorrow. The authors claim that the potentials of the cogent and the coherent communication are increased when media art is mixed with scientific research, particularly if the aim is to make critical scientific issues more articulate and transparent for the general public. The authors will arrive in Singapore early and cull information from interviews with Asian media artists (some who have been resident in science departments at NUS Singapore) with prior interviews that have already made with Swiss media artists who have been resident in science labs. The results will compare the role of an artist as a critical enquirer within the scientific field to that of an artist as a valuable outsider from the field of new media. The interviews with Swiss artists are related to an accompanying exhibition on at the same time in ISEA, about artificial Intelligence, physics and relativity, environmental science and biotechnology. In relation to knowledge, a set of critical issues are addressed in the questionnaire about the relation between utopic and dystopic interpretations of humans and their machines; the visual/acoustic augmentation of real space as a factual information, genetic engineering and the paradox between energy and progress. Through this methodology the authors hope to shed light on the different roles of media artists in relation to situated knowledge and cultural difference and if this information-reality is evenly shared across art and science fields of practice.

  • Irène Hediger, The Swiss Artistsinlabs Program, was born in Switzerland and she has a Bachelor in Business Administration, (Zurich Business School) and Master of Advanced Studies in Art’s Management from the University of Basel. Since October 2006 she has been the Co-Director of the Swiss artists-in-labs program at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, University of the Arts, Zurich. This program is a collaboration with the Ministry for Culture, Switzerland which places artists from all disciplines into physics, computer, engineering and life science labs to learn about scientific research and make creative interpretations. She has curated media exhibitions at the Mühle-Exhibtion Space, Geschinen since 2004, and from 2002-2006 was Project-Coordinator/Curator at the Institute of Theory, Zurich University of the Arts. In 1998 she was Graduate Recruitment Executive/Member of the Training Committee at Goldman, Sachs & Co.Bank and has been a career consultant & coach for women at BALance Netz and a Project Manager and corporate design Consultant at CI Programme for Corporate Identity.
  • Jill Scott, The Swiss Artistsinlabs Program, was born in 1952, in Melbourne, Australia and has been working and living in Switzerland since 2003. Currently she is Professor for Research in the Institute Cultural Studies in Art, Media and Design at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) in Zürich and Co-Director of the Artists-in-Labs Program. She is also Vice Director of the Z-Node PHD program on art and science at the University of Plymouth, UK. Her recent publications include: Artists-in-labs Processes of Inquiry: 2006 Springer/Vienna/New York, and Coded Characters Hatje Cantz 2002, Ed. Marille Hahne. Her education includes: PhD, University of Wales (UK) MA USF, San Francisco, as well as a Degree in Education (Uni Melbourne) and a Degree in Art and Design (Victoria College of the Arts). Since 1975, she has exhibited many video artworks, conceptual performances and interactive environments in USA, Japan, Australia and Europe. Her most recent works involve Neuro-Media, interactive media and electronic sculptures based on studies she has conducted in Neuroscience, particularly in somatic response and artificial skin (e-skin from 2003) and in retinal neuro-morphology. Currently she is also artist-in-residence with the Stefan Neuhauss Neurobiology group: Institute for Zoology. University of Zurich)

Full text (PDF) p. 211-213