London LASER 20
Tuesday 21 March 2017
6.30 – 9.00pm (registration from 6pm)
University of Westminster, The Board Room,
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW
LASER: Talks on the intersection of art, science and technology
The event is free but please book at: londonlaser20.eventbrite.co.uk
London LASER and Arts Catalyst present an evening on ‘Man Made Clouds’, inviting artists Hehe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen) to discuss their long term ecologically orientated arts practice and writer Malcolm Miles to reflect on the place of aesthetics in these precarious times.
HeHe’s work reflects on the energy needs of contemporary life, visualising social, industrial and ecological paradoxes through installations and performances of technological landscapes. Their repertoire touches on worst-case technological accidents, exposing the hidden dimensions and implications of ecological threats. The actors of HeHe’s performance installations are the machines themselves: oil rigs, nuclear power plants, incinerators, cars, cranes, trains, and the electric devices of mass consumption. Installed in real world environments or eerie staged settings, technology is staged, placed in apocalyptic chromatic landscapes and dressed in an unnatural green afterglow. Hehe’s Helen Evans will reflect on how clouds occupy a special place in our imaginations with their countless forms and combinations offering infinite possibilities for metaphor – whilst much has been written about clouds, and they are often represented in art, design and architecture, few have addressed the man-made clouds produced by consumer culture. In visual culture, far from being neutral, representations of clouds embody distinct ideologies. hehe.org.free.fr
Malcolm Miles is author of Limits to Culture (2015), Eco-Aesthetics: art, literature and architecture in a period of climate change (2014), Herbert Marcuse: an aesthetics of liberation (2011), Urban Utopias (2008) and Cities & Cultures (2007); until 2016 he was Professor of Cultural Theory in the Architecture school at University of Plymouth and is now an independent writer and researcher on critical theories of culture and society. Here he will explore the role of aesthetics in oblique moves towards social change. In these dark times, threatened by climate change, struggling with precarity and social atomism, with no political light in sight, he will argue the case for aesthetics. Beginning with HeHe’s projects Nuage Vert, Fracking Futures, and The Future was about Fracking, and drawing on cultural history and theory from the 1880s to the present, the talk will offer possible formulations of an engaged eco-aesthetic and activism for the early 21st century. malcolmmiles.org.uk
Arts Catalyst commissions art that experimentally and critically engages with science, producing provocative, and risk-taking projects to spark dynamic conversations about our changing world. Arts Catalyst plays a leading role in the development of artists’ engagement with science, and critical discourse around this field. Through their commissions, exhibitions and events, they enable people to have distinctive, thought-provoking experiences that transcend traditional boundaries of art and science. artscatalyst.org
LASER is a program of evening gatherings, which bring together eclectic guest speakers working at the intersections of art, science and technology. Free of charge and open to the public, London LASER encourages lively discussion in an informal academic setting. London LASER is hosted by University of the Arts London (Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science and LENS) and University of Westminster (CREAM), and organised by Heather Barnett and co-chaired with John R A Smith. LASER is a project of Leonardo® /ISAST (the International Society for Art, Science and Technology).