Arc-hive Symposium: „Life as an object“

The symposium „Life as an object“ at Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana, on 17th and 18th February 2022, will be devoted to tackling key issues and specific challenges of contemporary artworks that are based on biological medium or processes and known to employ living systems in its content and form. KONTEJNER curators Olga Majcen Linn and Sunčica Ostoić participate in the symposium programme organized within the framework of Creative Europe project Arc-hive.

Thursday 17.02.2022.

  • Defining the field
  • 9:00 Oron Catts
  • 9:45 Ionat Zurr
  • 10:15 Jens Hauser
  • 11:00 Howard Boland
  • Caring for the field
  • 15:00 Olga Majcen Linn & Sunčica Ostoić
  • 15:45 Marta de Menezes

Friday 18.02.2022.

  • Learning from others
  • 9:00 Ida Hiršenfelder
  • 9:45 Rok Vevar
  • 10:15 Barbara Borčić

Elusive and temporary nature of relentless transformations, subversions, and transience, among other things, makes the biomedia artworks extraordinary, but also extraordinarily peculiar and demanding, not only to create but also to exhibit/stage, transport, maintain, collect, digitize/archive, store, conserve, historicize – in general, to care for.

These artworks do not operate exclusively in the visual register, but also in the auditory, tactile, olfactory, and others, and they do not function only as representations, but also as (micro)performative presences, which – at least for some – implies a sort of vitality as an imperative artistic and aesthetic element. How then, can these intrinsically ephemeral and unstable pieces enter the domain of museums, archives, and the like, which is a domain of permanence, even immortality? How should the parameters and conditions be defined? For example, how to retain the possibility to grow, to reproduce, to mutate, to be contaminated, to live, to exist in such spaces and contexts? Should we strive for ensuring the artwork’s longevity, at all? With the two-day symposium with internationally-renown speakers and participants, we aim to reach an internal consensus within the field and to conceive a cohesive strategy and tactics for dealing with the above-mentioned critical issues.

The panel „Defining the field“ will be dedicated to the elucidation of the field, its principal, distinctive and delineating/differentiating characteristics and discourses, to critically approach the established term “Bioart” and to an effort to devise a new terminology to replace it.

The second panel, entitled „Caring for the field“ will consist of artists and curators, who will present their views and attitudes toward the issues of curating, archiving, and collecting the artworks, with a special focus on their standpoint toward the necessity of constructing conditions for presentation in which the vitality of artworks is not compromised.

The following day, the third panel „Learning from others“ will consist of professionals from other areas, who have been dealing with comparable problems. On the one hand, it will serve as a presentation of best practices for comparison purposes. On the other, it will illuminate the manifold possibilities of multi-sensory archival approaches. The symposium will thus set off with a core understanding or statement of a radical inability of conjoining the contexts of living artworks and their preservation, durability, and permanence. Nonetheless, it will be an effort to ground and articulate this elusiveness by accumulating cross-sectoral knowledge, encouraging (self-)critique, providing comprehensive understandings, and offering possible concrete and innovative solutions to issues, fundamental to the field. Following the symposium, in cooperation with the project partners, scientific proceedings will be published, with the extended theses of the participating speakers.

Supported by