Laboratory of the Future is a large-scale international art project directed towards the future. REGRESS PROGRESS, which opens the project, focuses on two questions: should we once again expect progress in the coming years, an expansion of the capitalist system of production? Or will it be a regress, which may turn out to be a fortunate one after all?
Elodie Pong, "Endless Ends", video loop, installation, 2009, photo courtesy of the artist and Freymond-Guth Ltd. fine ARTS
REGRESS PROGRESS, a project which runs till January 15, 2012, will undergo dynamic development and organic transformations throughout the life of the exhibition, while taking into account the random and spontaneous aspects of real life.
Artists carried out individual projects (Paweł Althamer, Cai Guo-Qiang) and collaborations (Simon Leung and Rirkrit Tiravanija, raumlaborberlin) in the first part of the project. Curators, on the other hand, prepared two group exhibitions, "Where Is the Green Rabbit?" (Ewa Gorządek) and "Landscape of the Future" (Fabio Cavallucci), with works by such artists as Hubert Czerepok, Fischli & Weiss, Vadim Fishkin, William Kentridge, Robert Kuśmirowski, Aleksandra Mir, Steven Pippin, Sascha Pohflepp, Michał Budny, Søren Dahlgaard, Christian Falsnaes, Carlos Garaicoa, Elodie Pong, Katarzyna Przezwańska, François Roche, Superflex and Nico Vascellari.
In Paweł Althamer's project titled "Wall" (2011), which was carried out in Warsaw's Wola district, viewers can observe children working together to design an overpass linking two schools separated by a wall. One is a Polish Waldorf school, the other is Jewish Lauder-Morash.
The New Yorker Cai Guo-Qiang shows an intriguing project "Summer Solstice" (2011) in which the museum is turned into a huge plant pot for young birch trees. Simon Leung, this time acting as a curator, and Rikrit Tiravanija, playing the main character of "War After War" (2010-2011), are also artists coming from New York. For their project they created Warren Niesluchowski, an eccentric nomad, artistic globetrotter, a homeless citizen of the world who values one thing above all else: hospitality.
Thanks to the "Grated Futures Getting Behind the Scenes" art installation (2011) made by raumlaborberlin architecture team, the biggest hall at the Centre for Contemporary Art was transformed into a lecture hall, designed as if from the point of view of the world after fuel shock. The space which will remain in its current shape until the end of the project, can be entered through time tunnels; there is a table and a garden with a deck, as well as a space with a "machine for dreams".
- "Where Is the Green Rabbit?"
Relations between art and science are at the focus of the exhibition "Where Is the Green Rabbit?" Alba, a green rabbit commissioned for the American artist, Eduardo Kac was first presented at the Avignon festival in 2000. After injecting a gene responsible for green fluorescence, found in aeqourea victoria medusas, into the animal's genome, the rabbit's fur started to glow a beautiful green.
Hubert Czerepok's "Reaching the Stars" (2011), a work not lacking irony sums up the artist's thorough study on the Polish 1960s space programme. The project was inspired by a recent demand made by Polish members of parliament to continue research and work on the programme. "Der Lauf der Dinge" / "The Way Things Go" (1987) is, on the other hand, a ludicrous and nail-biting film made by the art duo Fischli & Weiss. The film shows a long chain reaction of subsequent acts of self-destruction using everyday objects which play the main part. It presents various ways of transmitting energy between objects and systems, at the same time being a metaphor of life.
In "Tour en l'air" (2009), an installation made by Vadim Fishkin, silver stars-cum-balloons dance in space to Tchaikovsky's waltz, bringing to mind "A Space Odyssey" and the music of the spheres. Science and engineering go together with poetry streaked with absurdity. William Kentridge's film collage, "Journey to the Moon" (2003) in which the artist plays the part of a scientist who dreams about distant, unknown worlds and finally travels in his own imagination without leaving the lab, is a tribute to the avant-garde French director, Georges Méliès.
"DATAmatic880" (2007), a work by Robert Kuśmirowski which refers to the famous 1960s computer, is a fake science lab taken straight from a time machine from the mythical era of the first cybernetic inventions. In a series of collages titled "Aim at the Stars" (2008) Aleksandra Mir links traditional notions of Christian iconography (the so-called holy pictures) with photos of spaceships and telescopic images of the universe. Religion and science are two paths allowing to search for answers about the beginning of Creation, about the meaning of life and about its end.
"Quantum camera" (2010), an object made by Steven Pippin, is a camera in which the process of shooting takes place in a self-serving closed circuit. It is accompanied by a series of dramatic photographs with pictures of cameras recording the moment of self-destruction; there is also a commentary made by the artist, "Photographic Philosophical Treatise (The End of Photography)". In her work "The Golden Institute" (2009), Sascha Pohflepppresents a futurological fantasy: Jimmy Carter is elected the US president in 1980. He carries out a programme to search for natural energy sources; Golden Institute for Energy is founded in Golden, Colorado. The institution has unlimited funds to make the United States the country with the most energy in the world.
- "The Landscape of the Future"
The exhibition titled "The Landscape of the Future" evokes feelings of the future landscape. Michał Budny surprises with a realistic installation in on a scale of 1:1 (untitled, 2011) which is a tall wooden fence made of solid gnarled planks and includes a gate with a bolt. In a series of photographs from the "Dough Portraits" cycle (2008) Søren Dahlgaard shows an extensive panorama of a hundred dehumanised but nonetheless individualised human types. What they have in common is raw dough formed on their heads instead of their faces. Christian Falsnaes presents "You’re My Heart, You're My Soul" (2009), a video documenting his performance: the artist's unpretentious dancing wandering in a landscape of Hanoi's degraded suburbs, accompanied by a karaoke version of Modern Talking's song.
Carlos Garaicoa, on the other hand, alludes to Russian constructivism. In the installation "Bend City (Red)" (2008) he shows a cardboard model of a city which can be easily associated with socialist central planning and a children's cut-out book, exploring the colour red.
Elodie Pong's "Endless Ends" (2009) is an installation with a looped video made of film endings with "the end" signs. Is the end a new beginning? Katarzyna Przezwańska travels between geometric abstraction and careful observation of nature. In her work "Leaf" (2011) a green oak leaf is painted light green. Architecture designed by François Roche has a hybrid and organic character. The city from "An Architecture 'des humeurs'" (2010) turns into a monstrous robotised spider. Superflex's film "Flooded McDonald's" (2008) is a deeply evocative yet realistic and dreamy image of a flooded global-chain restaurant; and Nico Vascellari presents a massive sound landscape in an installation "Untitled / Forest" (2011). The collage of sounds made of countless pop songs is accompanied by a visual collage created from their album covers.
All current information will be available in the new magazine "Tranzystor – cswzu".
Project opening: June 20, 2011 at 18:00.
The opening is accompanied by music events inside and around the Castle. At the opening event, the band Orkiestra Owoce Przyszłości will perform.
In July KINO.LATO presents the programme PROGRESS, followed by REGRESS in August.
A lecture meeting titled "Is Polish society ready for innovation and progress?", moderated by Witold Gadomski, is held the next day after the opening, Tuesday, June 21 at 18:00.
Laboratory of the Future Act 1 - REGRESS PROGRESS runs through January 15, 2012.
Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2, 00-467 Warsaw, Poland
Director: Favio Cavallucci
phone (+48 22) 628 76 83, 628 12 71-3, 628 64 08
fax (+48 22) 628 95 50
Source: press materials.