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18 Mar 2013

'Synaesthesia/ 3: History of the Senses' at Art Laboratory Berlin

Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport, A Banquet for Ultra Bancruptcy, 2013 (installation view)

'Synaesthesia/ 3: History of the Senses' with works by Simon Davenport & Carl Rowe, Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi
Art Laboratory Berlin


Opening: 22.03.2013, 8 PM Exhibition runs: 23.03. - 12.05.2013 Open: Fri-Sun, 2-6 PM and by appointment Perfomance by Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport: 22.03. at 7PM; 23.03. at 2PM & 7 PM; 24.03. at 2PM & 7 PM

Olga Shmakova

Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34
13359 Berlin

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'History of the Senses' deals with the phenomenon of synaesthesia from the point of view of art and media history. The two artistic positions refer back to different movements from the 20th Century giving Art Laboratory Berlin's four-part exhibition series on synaesthesia a historical component, whilst nevertheless dealing with contemporary issues.

Simon Davenport & Carl Rowe // Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy
The British artist Simon Davenport and Carl Rowe currently work on a number of artistic projects that combine the performative with artistic research on a cultural history of the senses. Simon Davenport sees synaesthesia as a means to unsettle and disorient. In earlier performative works, for example, he combined heavy drum beats with the spraying of steam and the recitation of poetry. Carl Rowe's art projects, on the other hand, combine socio-political commentary and humour with culinary methodology. An important art historical reference point for him is Filippo Marinetti's Manifesto 'La Cucina Futurista' (1930).The manifesto promoted the renewal of the Italian food system with the aim of the strengthening, revitalization and spiritualisation of modern society. It simultaneously included colours, shapes, textures, smells, sounds and noises.

'A Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy', developed for Art Laboratory Berlin, is based on the Marinetti's manifesto, which forms the starting point for a series of performances followed by an exhibition. The overarching theme of synaesthesia provides a basis for the study of aesthetics, politics and participation, as well as for the reactions of the participants. 'A Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy' is made up of five performances for six guests. During a six-course menu selected foods are combined with images, sounds and scents. Each course is designed as an aesthetic experience, allowing the audience to participate in simultaneous sensations.

Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi // CIRCUS 8

The Italian composer Pietro Grossi (1917 - 2002) was one of the first programmers to contribute pioneering work in computer generated music. In 1964 he was among the first to introduce the experiments of John Cage to Italy. A year later he became the professor of electronic music at Konservatorum Luigi Cherubini in Florence. He also used his composing programs to develop early computer graphics. With the use of 'QBasic' he developed the program 'HomeArt'. Sergio Maltagliati studied under Pietro Grossi in the 1980s and developed new methods of musical compositions, in which the score underwent a significant visualisation. Maltagliati has reworked the Grossi's original programs by adapting the programming code to create a generative program that simultaneously produces sound and abstract colours and shapes.

The work 'Circus 8' (1986/2008) consists of eight pieces and is based on Grossi's 'HomeArt' programs, which automatically generated sound. Maltagliati has expanded Grossi's principle with software programs and added visual graphic variations. The visual data generated by the computer approximates the graphic score for a sound composition (cf. John Cage). Whilst the work 'Circus 8' adds a media historical dimension to Art Laboratory Berlin's Synaesthesia series, it also brings an important new component into the discussion: the computer as artificial brain with its own form of digital synaesthesia.