Oslo Fotokunstskole has invited Columbian artist Pedro Gómez-Egaña and curator Natasha Ginwala for a public discussion on the relationship between artistic practice and scientific demonstration. Every fall Oslo Fotokunstskole has a thematic focus on current subjects and the talk is part of this semester’s special focus on «Art and Science». We have talked to Pedro Gómez-Egaña about the upcoming talk and how he relates to science through his artistic practice.
Where: Kunstnernes Hus
When: Wednesday 03-12, 19:00
What will you and Ginwala discuss at Kunstnernes Hus?
We have drawn a diagonal trajectory starting with automata (clockwork machines that look like humans and that run themselves), and ending with scientific demonstration. The conversation will include ideas of cyclical motion in machines in tension with life and death (examples like Man Ray’s Object to be Destroyed), and also notions of rhythm and choreography.
The session will start with my performance “Mitre Marrows” which is about two automata that have sex and then possess me to write a story. That will be the way to set the mood …
How does your art practice relate to science?
One thing that interests me a lot about the history of science is the way phenomena like electricity, magnetism or cinema were popularised through dramatised or ritualised sessions that linked them to mysticism, theatre and also travelling circus acts. I work a lot with how an audience can enter a circumstance where something as simple as magnetism can be displayed as miraculous, or how natural history can be terrifying or pathetic.
You have recently published a book in the Dublett series published by Hordaland Kunstsenter. The book is a two-part publication, your new artist book titled Mitre Marrows and a collection of articles by five different authors. What work have you developed for the book and what was it like to work with this publication?
Mitre Marrows is a fiction that departs from the idea of automata, and, in a way, it seeks to fantasise on how the world would be described by an automaton. However, the figure of the machine is sometimes blurry, and blends with other mechanistic categories that are also very human. Things like social awkwardness, the habits of a loner, or “sexting”. The book has another centre of gravity and that is 5 architectural sites that embody a kind of “dream of the machine”. These places are Charles de Gaulle Airport, Brasilia, The Brighton Pier, Epcot centre and the Sydney Opera House.
You have a background from Norwegian Artistic Research Programme, where artistic practice is the method for research on a PhD-level. What is your experience with turning your own practice into research?
Hmm, for me there is really no difference between artistic practice and artistic research. In my experience the process of labelling something as “research” within a PhD programme has to do with ways of articulating one’s practice (i.e. one’s thoughts, questions and operations) in a way that relates them to a certain wider context. It is a very interesting exercise, it has affected my practice positively, and I have learned a lot from it, but it has not “turned my practice into research”.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
I am working on a new project that studies some small sculptures made in the early 20th century as a manifestation of industrialisation and speed. I am very interested in the way this period embraces technology in terms of a visibility of time. This is something that is much more difficult for us now in times of the digital and virtual, and I find this historical tension to be fascinating.
Pedro Gómez-Egaña (b. 1976, Colombia, lives and works in Bergen and Copenhagen)
Goldsmiths College, MFA Bergen Academy of Arts and Design, and PhD from the The Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme. He is currently coordinator of the MA programme in Arts at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design. His work has recently been showcased at the Performa Biennial, The Bergen Assembly, The Brussels Biennial, Kunsthall Mulhouse, and the Lofoten International Art Festival, amongst others.
Natasha Ginwala (b. 1985, India, lives and works in Amsterdam)
Is an independent curator, researcher, and writer. She was a member of the artistic team at the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014). Her recent work includes the multi-part curatorial project Landings (with Vivian Ziherl) presented at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, David Roberts Art Foundation, NGBK (as part of the Tagore, Pedagogy and Contemporary Visual Cultures Network), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and other partner organizations, 2013–ongoing, as well as The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke). Ginwala has contributed to several publications including Afterall Online, art-agenda, C Magazine, e-flux journal, Pages Magazine and Scapegoat Journal. In September 2014 she was curator-in-residence at Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen.
Om Oslo Fotokunstskole:
Oslo Fotokunstskole tilbyr to-årig utdanning i fotokunst i hjertet av Oslo. På fotoskolen kan du utvikle ditt eget fotografiske språk med noen av landets beste fotokunstnere som lærere og gjestelærere. Oslo Fotokunstskole er en kunstskole i Oslo for deg som ønsker å utforske dine kreative evner i et engasjerende og dynamisk miljø. I løpet av skolens første år er det fokus på analog fotografi og studentene har god tilgang til mørkerom i både farge og svart/hvitt. Den tekniske undervisningen fordyper seg under skolens andre år i digital fotografi, etterbehandling, printing etc. Skolen ble etablert i 1989 og holder til i lyse og velutstyrte lokaler ved Alexander Kiellands Plass. Utdanningen er godkjent for stipend og lån fra Lånekassen.