FUNDAMENTAL: Encounters in Art, Design, and Science

Wednesday 26 january 2021 from 16:00- 19:00
Online conference
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In their pursuit of fundamental questions, art and science largely use different methods, means, and objectives. The focus of this symposium lies on the overlap between the almost ungraspable fundamental processes in physics, and the experimental sites and machines designed and created to render these tangible—and, in essence, offer a shimmering zone of physical proof for their existence.

The philosopher Wilfrid Sellars once proposed a conceptual separation between our impressions of everyday reality—which he called the “manifest image”—and the underlying fundamental process of that reality—which he called the “scientific image.” Regardless of whether we agree with Sellars (or with any dualism, including mind-body, conscious-unconscious, etc.), it is possible to conceive of bringing the two together: there are instances when scientific images do become manifest ones. For example, when, ten years ago in 2012, the existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed by groundbreaking experiments at CERN in Geneva, the subatomic particle in question did not show up as a picture, but as a statistic incident: a slight bump in a graph. The Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator ever built, was designed to obtain this as part of a broad research programme to advance our understanding of the universe we live in. Indeed, ever-more elusive fundamentals need ever-more ambitious machines and structures: in 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope—a global network of synchronized radio observatories—rendered the first composite image of a black hole. Similar to the Higgs’s discovery, such an achievement, in equal parts science and art, bridges two ideas of the observable world and brings them together.

In 2020, Arts at CERN and HEAD—Genève, with Metahaven, co-organized the symposium Re: View from Nowhere, bringing together physicists, theorists, artists, and curators.  Fundamental is its successor, jointly organized with Kunsthall Trondheim.

16:00—16:15 Welcome, Summary of Previous Symposium, and Introduction — Mónica Bello
16:15—16:40 Metahaven
16:40—17:05 Daniel Tapia Takaki
17:05—17:30 Dunne & Raby
17:30—17:55 Jenna Sutela
17:55—18:10 Remarks and intro to Q&A — Stefanie Hessler
18:10—18:40 Q&A moderated by Stefanie Hessler

Anthony Dunne

Anthony Dunne is a partner in the design studio Dunne & Raby.  Dunne & Raby use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies. He is also University Professor of Design and Social Inquiry and co-director of the Designed Realities Research Studio at Parsons/The New School in New York. Between 2005-2015 he was professor and head of the Design Interactions programme at the Royal College of Art in London. He is the author of Hertzian Tales (1999, 2005) and co-author with Fiona Raby, of Design Noir (2001, 2021) and Speculative Everything (2013). Dunne & Raby’s work has been exhibited at MoMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Design Museum in London and is in several permanent collections including MoMA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK). Anthony was awarded the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education in 2009 and was made a Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts in 2021. Dunne & Raby received the inaugural MIT Media Lab Award in 2015.
Daniel Tapia Takaki

Daniel Tapia Takaki is a high-energy nuclear physicist and associate professor of physics at the University of Kansas. He obtained a PhD in Physics from University of Birmingham, UK and has been a CNRS/IN2P3 researcher at the University of Paris-Sud, France. He has worked for the ALICE and CMS collaborations at CERN’s Larger Hadron Collider, studying strong gluon fluctuations in the proton and lead nuclei to understand Quantum Chromodynamics and to determine the initial state of ultra-relativistic protons and ions at high energies. For his research funded by the Department of Energy, he has utilized the strong electromagnetic fields produced in multiperipheral collisions instead of ordinary hadronic collisions. More recently, he has studied applications of quantum mechanics in collider physics, including quantum tomography, to measure quantum entanglement and other quantum mechanical effects. He has worked with artists in collaboration with the Arts at CERN program and the Spencer Museum of Art. He is currently collaborating in an Interdisciplinary project with artist Janet Biggs. He also engages in conversations with artists in residence at CERN, more recently with artist Erich Berger. He is also leading the coordination of the Inter-American Network of Networks of QCD challenges, a new initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to accelerate the process of scientific discoveries in the physics of strong interactions.

Jenna Sutela

Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living media, such as Bacillus subtilis nattō bacteria and the “many-headed” slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela’s work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Moderna Museet, Serpentine Galleries, and, most recently, Shanghai Biennale and Liverpool Biennial. She was a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-21.

The work of the Amsterdam-based artist collective Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, and design. Films by Metahaven include Chaos Theory (2021), Hometown (2018), Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018), and Information Skies (2016), nominated for the European Film Awards 2017. Metahaven has participated in group exhibitions at Artists Space, New York, the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, the Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, the Busan Biennale, Busan, the Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, and M HKA, Antwerp, among others, and solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Izolyatsia, Kyiv, ICA London, e-flux, New York, and State of Concept Athens, among others. Their work is in collections of the Sharjah Art Foundation, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, among others. Recent books include the Digital Tarkovsky (2018), and PSYOP: An Anthology (2018), edited with Karen Archey.
Mónica Bello

Mónica Bello is a Spanish curator and art historian. In her curatorial work focuses in the crossovers between disciplines, emergent cultural phenomena, and the role of science and technology in the conception of reality and nature. Since 2015 she holds the position of curator and head of Arts at CERN at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva. At CERN she leads and designs the art programmes consisting of three branches; the artistic residencies, the art commissions and the exhibitions. In 2018 she was guest curator of the prestigious Audemars Piguet Art Commission, presented in Art Basel. Prior to her arrival to Switzerland she held the position of Artistic Director of VIDA (2010-2015) at Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, a pioneering award that fostered cross-cultural expressions around the notion of life. She initiated (2007-2010) the department of Education at Laboral Centro de Arte, Gijón (Spain). She curated exhibitions, events and publications internationally supporting creators and researchers from different fields and backgrounds. Bello is a regular speaker at conferences and participates in selection committees, advisory boards and mentorship programs. She is the curator of the Icelandic Pavilion in support of the artist Sigurður Guðjónsson for the next Venice Biennale.
Stefanie Hessler

Stefanie Hessler is a curator, writer, and editor. Her work focuses on ecologies and technology from intersectional feminist and queer perspectives. She is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway since 2019 where she recently co-organized the exhibition “Sex Ecologies” based in transdisciplinary research and newly commissioned works, and edited the accompanying compendium on queer ecologies, sexuality, and care in more-than-human worlds (The MIT Press, 2021). In 2022, she is curating Metahaven’s solo exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim. In 2021 Hessler was the chief curator of the 17th MOMENTA Biennale titled “Sensing Nature” in Montreal, Canada. Between 2020–22 Hessler is a visiting research scholar at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media at Westminster University in London, UK. She is the author of Prospecting Ocean (The MIT Press, 2019), and has edited books like Frida Orupabo (2021, Sternberg Press); Jenna Sutela (Kunsthall Trondheim, Serpentine Galleries, and Koenig Books); Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science (TBA21–Academy and The MIT Press, 2018); and Life Itself (Koenig Books and Moderna Museet, 2016).


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FUNDAMENTAL: Encounters in Art, Design, and Science
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