Test_Lab at Festival Ars Electronica
V2_ presented a special edition of Test_Lab: Summer Sessions at the Festival Ars Electronica 2009 in Linz. Respondent: David Stolarsky (Ars Electronica Futurelab), performance: Robot Cowboy (Dan Wilcox, Ars Electronica Futurelab).
In an intensive working session this summer at V2_, several young up-and-coming artists did reside at the V2_Lab, progressing the development of their art practice with support from V2_’s expert developers, project managers and curators. The outcome of these residencies were the focus of a special summer edition of V2_’s Test_Lab series at Festival Ars Electronica. In the Test_Lab series, V2_Lab introduces its artistic research themes, artists can preview and demonstrate works in progress, and the audience serves as a critical test panel through hands-on engagement.
V2_Lab is a place for artistic Research and Development (aRt&D). Here, generic technical solutions relevant to the fields of art and culture are developed and made available under open-source licenses whenever possible. V2_ projects involve artists, technicians, and scientists, working together to develop technology and tools for specific artworks. V2_Lab also offers technical and production support to artists. The V2_ artist-in-residence program is one instrument for accomplishing this.
For the 2009 summer residencies, we selected artists Tarik Barri, Melissa Coleman, and David de Buyser, who did projects in the respective fields of augmented reality, wearable technology, and interactive organic environments during July and August. By running these three residencies in parallel, V2_ aimed to promote a creative productive synergy between these enthusiastic young artists and their project teams over the summer. At the Festival Ars Electronica, Test_Lab: Summer Sessions revealed the results of this synergy. The program presented the projects born of the summer residencies and conducted debate on the artists’ experiences during this intensive working period. As is customary in V2_’s Test_Labs, the audience was invited to critically engage with the works in a hands-on way.
The presentation and the public testing of the works in this edition of Test_Lab will led to a discussion on the role of media labs today. V2_ has served as a laboratory since the early 1980s; its structure and approaches have developed and seen great changes over the last 25 years. Which approaches have turned out to be particularly successful – and which have dramatically failed? Which themes have recurred in the aRt&D carried out at V2_, and how have they contributed to the field? How have other labs developed? And which new strategies for media labs are out there at the moment? Festival Ars Electronica served as an ideal context for addressing these questions in the presence of experts and representatives of other international labs.
A second edition of this Test_Lab: SummerSessions takes place at the V2_ on September 17 in Rotterdam.