Brief CV
Christian de Lutz graduated from NYU with a BA in Art History and has worked as an artist, curator and journalist in New York and Central and Eastern Europe. His artwork explores the effect of technology on our changing perception and reception of the photographic and moving image, and seeks out new forms of political and cultural critique for the digital age. His work as a curator focuses on the enabling of emerging artistic positions that explore multiple viewpoints. Regine Rapp, art historian and curator, is an Assistant Professor at Burg Giebichenstein Art Academy Halle, where she teaches Art History and curatorial practice, and PhD candidate in Art History at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Her specializations include theory of word and image, installation art, the genre of artist’s books and inter-disciplinarity in contemporary art. She has worked at the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), at MoMA (New York) and the Franz- Mayer-Museum (Mexico City) and is a member at the International Association of Word and Image Studies (IAWIS). In 2006 Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp founded Art Laboratory Berlin, along with Sandra Frimmel and Margareta Tillberg who have since moved on. Since its first exhibition in 2007, Art Laboratory Berlin has offered a platform for inter-disciplinary contemporary art with such series as ‘Art and Text’, ‘Art and Science’ and ‘Art and Law’, showing artists such as Critical Art Ensemble, Dmitry Bulatov, Marcus Ahlers, and Viktor Alimpiev. The 2012 program is based around two series that resulted from an international open call: Time and Technology and Synaesthesia.
Curatorial Statement
We established Art Laboratory Berlin to fill in the many gaps found in an increasingly conservative art scene during the 2000s. To counteract what we saw as a drive to pigeon hole artistic positions, we have actively sought out ways to explore multi-disciplinarity in emerging art. Art Laboratory Berlin is a non-commercial arts centre whose focus has been to work with artists to produce exhibition as well as talks, lectures, workshops and screenings. In our first three years we produced four series – Art and Music, Art and Text, Art and Science and Art and Law as well as three exhibitions by guest curators from central and Eastern Europe. In the last two years we have held a series of two artist exhibitions and events, Artists in Dialog, which explore new strategies in artistic collaboration and in the relationship between artist and curator. We have also worked together with outside curators to produce the exhibitions OFF FENCE. Art on the California- Mexico Border and Sol LeWitt. Artist Books. We have a special interest in the effects of new technology on the visual arts, especially in the analysis by artists of the rapid change of power structures taking place due to technological change. The critical approach of artists, working together with scientists offers a manifold approach to a number of social and political issues confronting the public in the 21st century. The ground breaking work of Critical Art Ensemble, for instance, seeks both to de-mystify science for the greater public and disseminate information about new technologies that corporations and governments would rather remain obscure. The artistic and curatorial work of Dmitry Bulatov seeks new possibilities of cooperation and production between artists and scientists, invigatoring both fields through a dual critical approach. We are interested in positions that offer in depth exploration of inter-disciplinary approaches, as opposed to the decorative and spectacle orient approach often favoured by the market place and museums. While we make use of general curatorial guidelines for structuring series and exhibitions, our curatorial practice is basically inductive, coming from the work of the artist(s) outward and often leads to a changing or refining of the initial exhibition concept. In addition to the creation of exhibitions, performances and screenings, we also place equal importance on communicating to the public. Each exhibition and event is accompanied by a set of texts, online and in the gallery space which seek to bridge any initial gap between the artwork and the audience. The goal here is in communication; while we may produce a theoretical essay as well, the accessibility of this initial text is of primary importance. We also include artist talks, curator talks, workshops and lecture series as part of our program; our staff are always open and available to the public for inquiries. The 21st century has been a time of rapid change, especially in the fields of visualisation, biotechnology and communication. At first glance many of these changes appear to be moving faster than an art world still dealing with structural and theoretical issues from the 1960s and 1970s. Yet there is an extremely vibrant milieu of artists who are dealing exactly with the challenges of our new century. Through Art Laboratory Berlin we seek to offer them a venue.
Projects realized (Selection)
Art and Law III: Seized – Critical Art Ensemble & Institute for Applied Autonomy (3.10. - 15.11.2009) The exhibition SEIZED dealt with the FBI raid on the home of CAE member Steve Kurtz in Spring 2004 and the four year law case that followed. In May 2004 Steve’s wife Hope died unexpectedly due to an undiagnosed heart defect. Emergency services workers saw a biotech laboratory in the couple’s house and contacted the FBI. During a three-day-raid the authorities confiscated Kurtz’s computers, archives and artworks. After four years of legal wrangling, the court threw out all charges against Kurtz. In the installation Body of Evidence CAE and the Institute for Applied Autonomy turn the perpetrator-victim-relationship upside-down. As the FBI had stolen CAE’s artistic material, they, in return, confiscated the debris left behind on Steve Kurtz’s lawn by the FBI agents - pizza boxes, Gatorade bottles, hazmat suits and biological sample bags, as well as written notes and a cigar butt. Besides Body of Evidence the exhibition documented works and performances by CAE, on which Steve and Hope were working just before the raid, such as Free Range Grain (2003-2004) or Molecular Invasion (2002-2003). Art Laboratory Berlin, in collaboration with the arsenal – institut für film und videokunst e.v, also presented the film Strange Culture by Lynn Hershman Leeson, documenting the event, at the Arsenal Cinema along with a panel discussion. Art and Science I: Senses Alert – Dmitrij Bulatov (29.03. - 04.05.2008) Contemporary Art already long ago turned away from a solely anthropocentric point of view. Currently in Science Art, it is concerned, among other things, with ecological phenomena and the existence of newly emerging life forms. The Kaliningrad based artist Dmitrij Bulatov views the contemporary art scene as a kind of petri dish of living material for his investigations. In connection with his scientific research and artistic practice, Bulatov has staged an active evolutionary dramatization of ‘post-biological’ forms whose paradoxical development completely changes our idea of the surrounding world. Bulatov’s three part project Senses Alert, 2004-2007 was devoted to a critical reflection of the newest technologies, their development and use in contemporary society and art. Biology is no longer concerned with just the decoding of (genetic) information about human and animal life forms, but also, in a further step, with manipulating these codes. What use and value does genetic experimentation have when mankind begins to alter and form itself and its environment, purely bounded by its own short-sighted conceptions? In an attempt to deal with these complex questions, Bulatov, together with scientists from the Moscow Academy of Science, initiated an experiment in genetic technology from which emerged life forms on the borderline between the animal and plant kingdoms. The interdisciplinary conflict between the scientific-technological and the ethical-aesthetic viewpoints provides an opportunity to define a field of discussion in which Art and Science can interact. Artists in Dialog Wunschgarten: Wild Urban Offshoots – Alex Toland and Myriel Milicevic (28.8.- 26.09.2010) Wunschgarten: Wild Urban Offshoots was the second exhibition in our ongoing series Artists in Dialog, taking the form of a discourse between two artists having a certain theme, motif or stretgy in common. Alex Toland and Myriel Milicevic both work on the border between art and life and environmental sciences. Toland considered the project 'habitat hacking' and Milicevic described the project as 'reconstructing cross-species life worlds'. Together they chose the immediate area around Art Laboratory Berlin in Berlin-Wedding as a place to investigate interactions between the local population and urban flora and fauna. The exhibition space functioned as a laboratory for mapping, sketching, and prototyping, and was a series of dialogues: between the artists and the local community, between city dwellers and nature, between urban planning and urban wilderness. The artists started their investigation by mapping the various food sources available in the neighbourhood: 1. Local food sources (such as gardens) but also the green areas providing nourishment for the local fauna; 2. Traveled foods (all things brought in and sold at restaurants, cafes and markets). They then went on to explore future options for common production, co-production and co-habitation between human urban dwellers and local fauna. In their project the artists created tools to help people to interact with animals and plant life in the neighborhood: A telescope for recognizing local birds, a seed apron to help plants disperse... such tools as well as other measures were developed in the streets and courtyards of the Soldiner Kiez and in a series of workshops and neighborhood walks. Finally the artists encouraged local inhabitants (and other visitors) to take part in the project.