the future, the past, etc.

foragers by dunne & raby

wild bacteria and plants are all that’s left to eat and human digestive systems are adapted with the help of devices to digest the stuff

inter-species collaboration(mended spiderwebs by Nina Katchadourian were rejected by spiders) 

inter-species collaboration
(mended spiderwebs by Nina Katchadourian were rejected by spiders) 

Olfur Eliasson’s reading list

Eliasson teaches at UdK

Most importantly, Eliasson wants to give his participants the tools to negotiate their practices within a wider context. ‘We won’t pretend that the commercial market doesn’t exist,’ insists the artist, ‘because that would be misleading.’ Since he regularly works on large private commissions, corporate projects and public works, his students can take advantage of observing the studio’s ‘day to day friction with outside elements’ such as clients, curators or publishers – an exchange the artist sees as necessary and ‘ethical’. ‘I am constantly navigating institutional architecture,’ he explains, ‘not just as a person but as a studio.’ Eliasson believes that no artistic idea is impervious to these structures and influences. To show students how to negotiate them, he would propose to let them follow the entire production process of a sample project, such as a public commission. 
Though Eliasson admires artists who never went to art school, he nevertheless thinks that art education is increasingly important. ‘The world is just so fucked up that it seems desperately to need art around. I think the participants will take away from the school the potential of being productive participants in the world. And I think this requires a sense of responsibility and precision. I hope they’ll learn to be a part of the world or “with the world”. Whether they then claim to be artists is completely beside the point.’ Though his aims may sound idealistic, Eliasson has proven with his own practice that it is possible to build an infrastructure to carry out exactly these kinds of imaginative, ambitious visions.

As for what he’ll get out of it, he already takes great pride in his team of collaborators (‘the kind of people who can cut a piece of wood more generously than I can’) and he’ll be happy to welcome more. ‘The inspiring thing about the school,’ says Eliasson, ‘is that I am going to meet a lot of people who can do things that I can’t.’

1 All quotes from a conversation with the artist on 15 August 2008.

More details about the school will be released at the official press conference to be held by UdK in October.

Suggested reading list for Eliasson’s school

Edwin A. Abbott, Flatland (1884)
Daniel Birnbaum, The Hospitality of Presence: Problems of Otherness in Husserl’s Phenomenology (1998)
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1980)
Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (1992)
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (1967)
Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism (1990)
Jan Gehl, Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space (1987)
George Kubler, The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (1962)
Bruno Latour, ‘From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik - An Introduction to Making Things Public’, in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (2005)
Doreen Massey, For Space (2005)
M. Minnaert, The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air (1954)
Chantal Mouffe, ‘Agonistic Public Spaces, Democratic Politics, and the Dynamic of Passions’, in Thinking Worlds: The Moscow Conference on Philosophy, Politics, and Art (2008)
Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (2005)
John Rajchman, Constructions (Writing Architecture) (1998)
Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Experiencing Architecture (1964)
Israel Rosenfield, The Invention of Memory: A New View of the Brain (1988)
Felicity D. Scott, Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics after Modernism(2007)
Francisco J. Varela, Ethical Know-How: Action, Wisdom, and Cognition(1999)
Lawrence Weschler, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin (1982)

Robonaut hand and human hand 

Robonaut hand and human hand 


“So, the highest-density spot ever measured on earth was Kowloon Walled City,” he said, referring to a regulatory no-man’s-land in the heart of Hong Kong claimed by both China and Britain, but ruled by neither. Roughly the size of five football fields, the district at its peak in the 1980s housed an estimated 35,000 people in a vertical thicket of chamber pots and darkness. It was demolished in 1994.

(disclaimer: this compilation was made by some youtube user that no longer exists, all that is left is these bytes i downloaded to my hard drive and share with you here)

It’s so interesting to see old visions of the future.  This video slices together scenes depicting food from several dystopian futuristic classics - 2001 A Space Odyssey, 1984, and eXistenZ
Crustless sandwiches filled with unrecognizable meats, something that looks like baby food, fake meat, and mutant reptiles. Mm… Listening to waiter from eXistenz makes me think what the stuff crawling around the bottom of the East River taste’s like, if it’s true, that “mutant reptiles and amphibians provide new and previously unimagined taste sensations.”  I wonder.