What happens when eight artists invade scientific laboratories? Find out in the Think Art-Act Science exhibition on view September 21 through November 12 at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) in the Walter & McBean Galleries.
Transforming the galleries into a working lab, the exhibition is composed of artists who took part in the Swiss artists-in-labs program, an immersive nine-month residency in a scientific research institute or a university science department. During these residencies, the artists gained deep insights into the methodologies of scientific research in areas ranging from biology and biodiversity to cognitive neuroscience and psychology to nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and physics.
is the Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Department
Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies at SFAI. He is a prolific,
world-renowned curator who received degrees from the Central Academy of
Fine Arts in Beijing and has curated numerous exhibitions and biennales
including Shanghai, Venice, and Istanbul. He has been a consultant in
many international institutions including the Walker Art Center
(Minneapolis) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York), and he continues to
be a significant international voice on cultural differences in several
art journals (Frieze, Art monthly, Third Text).
IrÃ¨ne Hediger is Co-Director of the Swiss artists-in-labs program at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ICS) at the Zurich University of the Arts and curator of the travelling exhibition Think Art â€“ Act Science. After her studies in business administration, she got a degree in organizational development and group dynamics (DAGG) and a Master of Advanced Studies in Cultural Management at the University of Basel. She specializes in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary creative processes and practices and in the development of inclusive and participatory outreach concepts for a general public. She is part of a think tank on new media arts in Switzerland and has developeded international art-science collaborations with China and India.
Peter Lang is a Swiss artist living in Berlin, working under the artist name Pe Lang. His access to the latest developments in micro-systems and nano-technology during his residency at the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) inspired him to develop kinetic speakers to analyze site-specific attributes and human perception of sound. The installation, Kinetic Speakers, shown in Think Art â€“ Act Science, permits the variable listening and processing of external sound sources. As a versatile sound artist, Pe Lang has exhibited and performed in several museums, galleries, and festivals in Europe and North America, including the Gosia Koscielak Gallery in Chicago, the Espacio Menosuno in Madrid, the Transmediale in Berlin and the Elektra Festival in Montreal. Among other honors, he received the sitemapping/mediaprojects award in 2008 from the Swiss Federal Department of Culture. He continuously performs his works in Europe and abroad.
Armenian by origin, Alina Mnatsakanian is a trans-medial artist who has
lived in Tehran, Paris, Los Angeles, and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. A
recurring topic in her work is the theme of movement encountered through
painting, video, installation and, since 2007, robotics. In her works,
she establishes subtle references and interactive situations. Every new
experience requires a unique treatment, from painting and sculpture to
video, performance, and robotics.
Artists Alina Mnatsakanian and Pe Lang discuss how they were both inspired and bewildered during their collaborations with scientists. “There was so much knowledge, but they are not really able to share the knowledge with each other,” said artist Pe Lang. “That’s maybe a little bit in the nature of science and … how well they are trained to share knowledge.”