Debrief with the MA/MFA Students - Low Tech Lab 2016, Saatchi Gallery London

saatchi

On January 15-17, our MA/MFA in Transdisciplinary New Mediastudents partook in the LowTechLab 2016 project at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Meanwhile, here at the PCA campus, we projected the live stream of the presentations in our gallery on Friday January 15. We recently caught up with the students who participated in the event and got an insight into what went down for the rest of the project.

So tell us, how did it go?
It was a very open ended fluid project, we presented when we wanted.
There were a total of 30 artists from around the world, most of which, were presenting or performing remotely via skype. And those who operated out of London were a combination of artists, designers, musicians, architects, thinkers, inventors, and a chocolate maker! The organizer of the event, Raul Marroquin, is an Amsterdam based Colombian video and performance artist.

Tell us a bit about what these other artists — who seem like they come from very transdisciplinary backgrounds — presented.
The theme of the project is low tech so presentations ranged from ideas, to performance art, to products. It was a combination of people interpreting the meaning of low tech, or people situating themselves in the realm of low tech as a practice.

For example, an Irish artist named Micheál O’Connell came to Saatchi to present two of his pieces that work with low tech non intrusive information hacking. To elaborate, his wife got a parking ticket and in the UK, you receive an email directly concerning the fine you have to pay, along with a URL to view an uploaded image of the offender midst offense. He played around with changing certain letters and numbers in the link provided and found that he could see many different images of strangers committing traffic offenses.

Elena Corchero is a designer who works with new clothing materials, and also works with designers and brands to create meaning as a solution to cut down on waste and extended life on products. So her presentation was more on concept and ideas and presented three previous projects she worked on. One was a toy that you can put together by binding bits of felt and has two little LED lights for eyes that lights up when you touch the “animal’s” ears together, so the idea she is selling is the interesting concept of how you can teach kids about electronics. Another project she accomplished was to manage to interlace bits of glass into fabrics so that for example, if you’re driving in the dark, light can reflect off it but in daylight it looks like “normal” fabric.

Jacques Cöp, the chocolate maker, made an amazing raw vegan chocolate that was actually really delicious. He took part in LowTechLab 2016 because his techniques are pretty low tech. He uses all non processed ingredients because he makes the body do the processing. The ingredients aren’t roasted, he doesn’t use processed sugars, so your body has to work to process the food, and in doing so, your body gets a lot more of the vitamins and good stuff from the chocolate.

What did our PCA students present?
Four groups of students presented their work ranging from a dying tweeting plant, a 3D printed object made from pinhole camera photographs, a twitter brail wood wall piece to an interactive tent. You can check out the projects on our blog!

What did the MTNM students get out of participating in LowTechLab 2016?
This was our first exposure to an international arts lab and we were encouraged to meet and interact with people in multi and transdisciplinary fields so it was a great way to network and exchange ideas and practices. Raul Marroquin was a great person to work with; he has a wealth of knowledge he shared with us and gave us great feedback on our work. It was a constructive start to the new semester for the MA/MFA students, as we had tangible results to all the work that we had put in during the fall semester.

Klaus Fruchtnis, Chair of Photography at PCA and one of our advisors, will actually be exhibiting with Raul in July 2016, in the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Bogota.

What can we look forward to from the MTNM students this semester?
Unlike the first semester where projects were group based, each student will be working on their individual projects from here onwards and be looking to apply for grants, funding and scholarships to realize their endeavors and begin seeking out external collaborations, such as we did for LowTechLab 2016.