The needs for experiments in art and culture

Alex Adriaansens


In the last 15 years we have seen a vivid development of artistic practices relating itself to social, cultural, artistic, political and economic issues emerging out of our technological culture.

One of the developments that we can see relates to an emerging interdisciplinarity in all knowledge domains.

Traditional separations between once clearly defined practices and knowledge domains have over time expressed themselves in specialised institutions, specialised languages and specialised money flows.

This is also strongly reflected in the way the arts has organised themselves and in how each art practice led to specialised art institutions (performing arts including music, theatre, dance, visual arts, fashion, design, media arts and within media arts photography, cinema, video, network art).

The once more unified arts and sciences got more and more split up in these specialisations that became ever more autonomous, but because of this also more introvert.

Over the last decennia we can see a growing interest, but also need, for an interdisciplinary approach in all domains and practices, this also the arts.

Understanding ones own practice within a broader context of developments, is needed to step out of ones own protected self-referential framework, thus to be able to innovate and rethink oneself.

Social, cultural, economic and artistic innovation nowadays can’t be seen without this tendency towards interdisciplinary practices in which people from different domains and practices are collaborating in research and development, and thus defining new ways of artistic production and presentation in which research and innovation are keywords.

This can only be done by rethinking our art institutions and art spaces and how they can deal with contemporary urgencies posed by issues as globalisation, migration, urbanisation, ecology, durability, technology etc.

Understanding the complex relations and interdependencies on all levels of our world is related to the need to construct new models to understand these relations, to understand the way we can act and interact in and with it.

LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries in Gijón is very clearly an answer to this development in society in general and the arts specifically.LABoral can be a driving force for the innovation of the city and region.

Its opening is already a clear expression of the direction this centre is looking at. Part of the opening exhibition will be a presentation of ten artists that have been selected through a call for proposals for the exhibition LABcyberspaces.

his was the first call and about 120 artists working in different artistic practices submitted their projects. It was ranging from computer animation and gaming, to net art and mapping projects using modern information technology and information networks.

The call was juried by several international experts who chose ten artists to be presented in this exhibition.

LABoral can expect from this first call a growing interest for this competition as young artists, designers and architects from all over the world are eagerly looking for platforms where they can do high level research, develop projects and step into well facilitated production spaces that are based on a more interdisciplinary setting.

Here they can exchange knowledge and their experiences with specialists from different fields and practices, and get access to knowledge domains which normally are hardly accessible for them in regular art institutions.

Designing and critically reflecting our contemporary society—the last decennia—dealing with big transformations on a social, cultural and economic level, is a big challenge for many artists, designers, theatre makers, scientists and architects.

Media in this context are not about representation but about constructing new social and cultural realities. Media are viewing and experience machines reflecting these realities and bringing them into our sight. That’s also the reason why many young artists are challenged by media as it offers opportunities to directly act and interact in and with our technological culture and the realities it constructs.

The works selected by the jury very well reflect this attitude as well as the diversity of practices in this field.