Art Laboratory Berlin Open Call for Proposals (Lá Fora… 306)

Art Laboratory Berlin Open Call for Proposals

Deadline: 15 August 2010

Art Laboratory Berlin is seeking artists and/ or artist collectives with proposals for two projected series to be exhibited from mid 2011 to late 2012.

The projects should involve an investigation of the themes from a 21st century viewpoint, taking into account the myriad changes, technologically, socially, visually in world culture over the last 25 years. We are particularly interested in work that goes beyond the post-modern structures that are commonplace in much of today’s art world.

1. Synesthesia

Synesthesia, a blend of the two Greek words “sensation” (“aisthesis”) and “together” or “union” (“syn”), implies the experience of two, or more, sensations occuring together. In almost all the cases it is a visual sensation caused by auditory stimulation (see John E. Harrison: Synesthesia. The Strangest Thing. Oxford, 2001).

In history we find a strong interest in synesthetic perception during certain periods such as the Renaissance, the Romantic era, the end of the 19th century (e.g. Rimbaud, Wagner) and especially at the beginning of the 20th Century Not only did the young generation of avant-garde artists experiment with the effect of simultaneous stimulation of the senses (color and sound in Kandinsky), but even involved the audience. The Italian futurist Marinetti, for example, proposed so-called tactile dinner parties, where the guests were wearing pyjamas covered with special tactile materials (sponge, cork, sandpaper, felt) and were sprayed with perfume between courses.

“How do interrelations across different senses – synesthesia – express themselves in the two domains of perception and language? First in perception, synesthesia reveals itself in responses to light and color and form, to sound, to touch, taste, and smell. To a synesthetic perceiver, music may produce visual images whose shape, brightness and color follow the music’s melody, harmony and tempo” – see Rimbaud’s “le déreglement de tous les sens” (Lawrence E. Marks: Synaethesia. Perceptin and Metaphor. In: , Aesthetic Illusion. Berlin 1990).

How are we confronted with this phenomena of synesthesis in the late 20th and early 21st century?

Art Laboratory Berlin is interested in works that investigate different combinations of sense perception, and its interaction with memory, the brain, and connections between various artistic and scientific disciplines. Of special interest would be work that involves smell, or taste in combination with sound and the visual. Also of interest would be work that investigates people who experience synthesia in their daily life (e.g. famous synesthestes such as Rimsky Korsakov or Nabakov) or artists investigating their own synesthetic experiences.

2. Time and Technology

The development of new technologies over the past 25 years has greatly influenced the way we live our lives. The personal computer with its graphic user interface (GUI), the internet, mobile telephones have revolutionized the way we work and communicate. How has this all effected our sense of time? On one hand new technologies have made communication cheaper and more efficient. On the other hand in many countries working hours have increased, and the line between working time and leisure has been blurred.

The science of genetics is altering the speed of evolution. Computers carry on actions in time spans that are so small that they are incomprehensible to the human mind. The market place demands more productivity in shorter time periods; while medicine promises to expand our life span.

How exactly are these technological advances influencing our sense(s) of time?

Art Laboratory Berlin is interested in works that investigate how the technological changes of the last 25 years have changed and influenced our perception of time, as well as how we structure our time, plan our days, and live our lives. How do these changes alter our biology? What are the conflicts between different ‘types of time:’ biological, subjective, objective, social, etc.? What is the contemporary connection between time and space – actual space, virtual space vs. actual time and virtual time? How will these changes effect our future as a society and as a species?

How to apply

Proposals are welcome that address any of these questions or that are related to the topics. There is no restriction in terms of media.

Please send a proposal on CD or DVD (WIN compatible) by 15 August 2010 to

Art Laboratory Berlin, Prinzenallee 34, 13359 Berlin, Germany.

Included should be your contact, a CV (or CV of the collective members), a proposal description (with visuals if possible), and URLs for any additional information about your work that may enhance your proposal.

Please do NOT send portfolios (or any envelope larger than A5). Art Laboratory Berlin will not return the sent material. However material can be picked up during opening hours in Autumn 2010, after email confirmation.



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