The second edition of Art+Science, a festival bringing together art and science, was held from 27 April to 25 May in the Cultural Centre of Belgrade, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and other venues in several cities in Serbia. On this occasion, more than twenty artists from all over the world showcased their works inspired by scientific and technological achievements.
The program presented by the Center for the Promotion of Science (CPN) is a part of the European Digital Art and Science Network, a global project co-financed through the EC Creative Europe framework in which CPN is one of the partners. Over the past two and a half years, the authors working in a wide area of digital art have applied to participate in the competition under the aforementioned project, which awards the most outstanding works with residencies at the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the CERN.
In Serbia, for the second time a national selection was organized in order to select creative and authentic works to be originally produced for the Art+Science exhibition. This year, the winners of the selection are young artists Isidora Todorovic and Marija and Milan Licina. For Isidora Todorovic, mentoring support by astrophysicist Dragana Ilic´ was most helpful in the preparatory, research phase. Her work Horologium Nocturnum represents the frequency of various natural phenomena – the rise of global temperature, the NEO (Near Earth Object) phenomena and certain events on the Sun.
Marija Licina is oriented towards animation, graphic design and illustration, and Milan Licina focuses on creative coding, generative sound and visual arts, light and prototypes of physical interfaces. Their audio-visual installation To the Distant Ones… is inspired by the notion of meaningful communication.
“The initial idea was to ask how we can present humanity to another, unknown and perhaps even artificial intelligence. The emphasis is on non-verbal communication – we did not try to create a new language, but the work we created was the result of research and comparison of selected words in four languages (Serbian, English, Japanese, and Latin)”, the authors said, pointing out that the name of the installation itself is designed to address those who will come after, which also applies to our own future.
At the Cultural Centre of Belgrade the visitors also had the opportunity to see the works of the winners of the global competition, the German group Quadrature. They won a residency at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, and they also want to visit the International Space Station, as well as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
“Science, its findings or methods are, for us, inextricably linked to art. Both areas are looking for answers, still unanswered questions, and new possibilities. The scientists we met at the European Southern Observatory are very passionate about what they do – there is an air of some sort of crazy dedication to the topic they deal with – which is a phenomenon that we have also observed with many artists”, point out the authors from the Quadrature collective who presented the performance called Orbits at the opening of the exhibition in Belgrade, while their works Masses and Unclassified Objects were exhibited in Artget and Podroom galleries.
In order to “break through” the distance imposed to the audience by the regular exhibition space, Dusan Rodic presented himself in the foyer of the Cultural Center Hall with a massive and complex installation Tuning In, created in cooperation with the authors Mi-Ah Rödiger and Timo Preece.
“The reactions I have observed with the audience are smiles, movement, and curiosity. I like to see fingerprints on the glass of the solar panels, this way I can see that the audience has the desire to touch the artistic work”, he said. His desire is that art should be available to everyone, and that in the future there is no difference between scientists and artists.
For the first time in the Art+Science Belgrade, artists belonging to distant cultures and sensibilities also presented themselves – specifically from South Korea and Peru. The young Peruvian artist Alex Guevara started his works Noqayku, Unit and Corteza out of curiosity and experimented with different technologies.
“I believe that by bringing together art and technology it is possible to create something completely new that goes beyond the reach of both disciplines. Artists can inspire scientists to think in new ways and see their field from another perspective, while artists can learn from scientists more about logical and sceptical thinking about the unknown”, Alex explains.
In their works Flower and Cat or Human, the South Korean duo Shinseungback Kimyonghun dealt in a wider sense with the question of the mankind´s trust in hi-tech and the confidence in its flawlessness.
“As technological and scientific forces become more powerful than the natural ones, we will face the unprecedented changes in humanity. Since we still have control, the future depends on ourselves. We need to be realistic rather than pessimistic or optimistic in order to make the right decisions and hold on to what we care about”, they warn.
You can find more information about the local and international participants of the Art+Science program here.