NEWS Art & Science I Invitation to Jour Fixe with Ralo Mayer I 7.5.2013

When: 7.5.2013, 6:00 p.m.

What: Ralo Mayer, ‘The Ninth Biospherian’: Performative Research and a Model of New Ecologies

Where: University of Applied Arts I Art & Science I Expositur Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3 I A-1030 Vienna

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From 1991 to 1993 eight people lived in Biosphere 2, a closed miniature world in the desert of Arizona. The unprecedented experiment had two research goals: a better understanding of the global ecology of our planet and testing future self-sustaining space colonies. While the controversial project had been a huge media hype at its time, it is all but forgotten today.
By approaching the history and context of Biosphere 2 with the method of performative research, it can be interpreted not only as a miniature version of Earth’s biological ecologies, but also as a model for cultural, technological and political transformations of the past decades. In this sense Biosphere 2 can be viewed as a temporal hinge, connecting the alternative and utopian movements of the 1960s and 70s with the various global changes after 1989. The point of departure for these investigations is the imaginary science fiction novel The Ninth Biospherian, which is translated into various types of media. The talk will address performative aspects of models and science fiction as well as questions of artistic research practices in contrast to academic and journalistic practices and will connect Biosphere 2 to a broader notion of ecology outlined by Bruno Latour and other object-oriented philosophies.

Ralo Mayer studied conceptual art and lives and works in Vienna. His work revolves around the constructed antipodes of nature and society, whose relationship he explores through a broad range of topics like post-Fordist realities, the history of space exploration and science fictional accounts. Employing dramatic means like script, roles and props, his performative research aims to transcend established investigation routines, leading to unruly translation monsters between various media. From 2003–2008 Mayer has been a fellow at the self-organized Manoa Free University, where he also started the on-going research series How To Do Things With Worlds about the creation, use and interpretation of models. Since 2007 he has been working about the closed miniature world of Biosphere 2, on which he is currently preparing a feature-length film together with Oliver Gemballa. Once in a while he manages to publish the shape shifting SciFi magazine multiplex fiction.

Art as Research. Research as Art. Anything goes?

JOUR FIXE Discussing Methods and Materials

A central part of a scientific paper is its “Materials and Methods” section that helps colleagues to elucidate and reproduce a given experimental set-up. It is this closer look that may decide upon the (mis) fortune or further development of the finding. In the JOUR FIXE we would like to provide a forum for discussion that has the goal to approach the practice of artistic and scientific methods. It is about the questions of traceability, precision and rigor, about the role of (lucky) chance, contingencies and accidents, about processes and plans, sketches and (art) works. Is there a necessity for using a “method”? What is a method actually “doing” – not merely in its very context but also in a societal sense? Is a method a constraint that should be avoided? The guests will report on their work and their approaches of engaging with interdisciplinary boundaries, artistic positions, and socio-cultural or economic strategies. In the best case, the audience will experience how things, processes, concepts, or matters of concern, that may affect us, are generated, negotiated or constructed.

JOUR FIXE Concept and Direction: Bernd Kräftner
with assistance of Valerie Deifel and Juliana Herrero