Friday, March 9, 2007

Thacker: ARTISTS IN THE LABS - space, studio, lab

From: Eugene Thacker
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 12:03:14 -0500 (EST)

Hi all - I was thinking about this relation between the artist's studio and scientist's lab. For some resaon I was reminded of the string of Frankenstein creature-features produced by Universal pictures in the '30s and '40s. Was still fascinates me about those films are the lab scenes - all bells-n-whistles, neon lights, and Tesla coils - what are all those bulky machines doing? (The one in the original James Whale-version of _Frankenstein_is perhaps only outshadowed by the one in _Frankenstiein Meets the Wolf Man_.)If I saw that exact set up now in a gallery I would probably like it quite abit (especially if it was "interactive"). It seems that the space of thelaboratory is oftentimes regarded as a space of alienation for then on-specialist. Can the same be said of the artist's studio? We have,similarly, a popuar image of this (how many shoddy films of Van Gogh vs. Gaugin have been made?), but one thing I see first-hand is how these two spaces - laband studio - are changing in the context of work in fields like new media, HCI, games, etc.

I know that the obvious question here is how the Latourian laboratory is replicated, transformed, or questioned in bioart. I'd like to hear others on this...

I'd also like to thrown in the question not of the space of the lab or studio, but what it means to "dwell" in the lab or studio. Heidegger's essay is in many ways too mystical for me ("Building Dwelling Thinking") but he does point to the consonance between building - dwelling -inhabiting: "Building as dwelling unfolds into the building that cultivates growing things and the building that erects buildings." What if we take this phrase "growing things" quite literally?

But this leads not just to what it means to build or to dwell or to inhabit, but how space is enscribed by those acts. There's a short passage in Marx's Grundrisse where he talks about the difference between ants and humans. Both build, but only humans (he says) make models before actually building. Curiously Marx doesn't connect this modeling to commodification. But in what way is the lab or studio a space of property, or better, a space of propriety?Labs are expensive, so is equipment, and so are ideas. *So how do scientists and artists dwell in relation to propriety?*

to post a response, click on the "comment" button below
to return to the main page, go to

No comments: