[Renewable] Transformative Ecologies Exhibition and Symposium in Mons 2015- Opening Today

Rasa Smite rasa at rixc.lv
Wed Aug 19 11:19:05 EEST 2015


Dear people on Renewable list!

this might be of your interest, if you are in Belgium this summer or 
planning to visit Mons 2015 – European Cultural Capital:

The Transformative Ecologies 
<http://rixc.org/en/home___/0/rixc-is-curating-an-exhibition-transformative-ecologies-in-mons-belgium/> exhibition 
will open today at 18:00 in the Maison du Design 
<http://www.maisondudesign.be/> gallery in Mons, Belgium. The show 
features the result of the "techno-ecological" researches initiated by 
Latvian and Belgian artists who are exploring sustainable food and 
energy futures.

“The quality of groundwater is heavily affected by human industrial 
activities. Looking for innovative ways to get clean waters to irrigate 
agricultural fields, artist Rihards Vitols is currently experimenting 
with a new type of agronomy that relies on "cloud-farming". In his 
scenario, people will raise thousands of helium balloons over their land 
to collect water from the cloud....”

(interview at 
http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2015/08/aka.php#.VdNLhSyqqko)

The exhibition is open till August 30, and is complemented by 3D BioLab 
symposium, taking place in August 20-21, in Cafe Europa container as a 
part of RIXC residency.

Best,

Rasa Smite

artist, researcher and curator

RIXC.ORG


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Press release, August 19, 2015, Riga-Mons


TRANSFORMATIVE ECOLOGIES
Exhibition
August 19-30, 2015

3D BioLab Art and Science symposium
August 20-21, 2015

Mons 2015 – European Cultural Capital

http://rixc.org | http://www.mons2015.eu

TRANSFORMATIVE ECOLOGIES exhibition takes place from August 19 to August 
30, 2015 in Maison du Design gallery in Mons 2015 – European Cultural 
Capital. Curated by Riga based artists and curators – Rasa SMITE and 
Raitis SMITS, the exhibition features innovative art science works by 
Latvian and Belgian artists, who are envisioning sustainable future 
scenarious with regards to the food and energy. The artists of 
TRANSFORMATIVE ECOLOGIES have used innovative methods to create sonic, 
visual and 3D representations of various environmental and biological 
data collected during their long term “techno-ecological” researches.

Gints GABRANS, well-known Latvian contemporary artist, in his new 
artwork METABOLIC DOMINANCE offers a vision on future of food by 
proposing to use cellulose disintegrating enzymes, which allows 
obtaining nutrients from grass, wood, paper... RIXC artists Rasa SMITE 
and Raitis SMITS together with Martins RATNIKS keep exploring 
human-plant communication by analyzing and mapping the words out from 13 
000 messages received during their TALK TO ME art project: what exactly 
people say to the plants so they grow better, taller and more beautiful? 
'Interspecies' communication is also explored in Belgian artist's 
Anne-Marie MAES work TRANSPARENT BEEHIVE – a living sculpture with the 
bee colonies that have been monitored, measured and visualized. 
Likewise, sound artist Voldemars JOHANSONS in his artwork from 
ATTRACTORS series has observed the movement trajectories of an ant 
colony, creating a 3D object from selected data. Negotiations with 
micro-size species – the bacteria, have been used in two other works by 
Rasa SMITE and Raitis SMITS from BIOTRICITY series: together with 
Voldemars JOHANSONS and Janis JANKEVICS they have made real-time 
sonifications and visualizations of bacteria-electricity generation 
process. And together with video artist Martins RATNIKS – Rasa SMITE and 
Raitis SMITS have created new video and data visualizations of POUND 
BATTERY, which is an outcome of a seven-month long artistic and 
scientific research, observing out-door “bacteria battery” installation 
in Riga Botanical garden.

Exhibition also includes artworks by two young Latvian artists: Paula 
VITOLA with her PRIVATE ATMOSPHERE has made a costume that helps to 
people to create theor own 'ideal' and very private environments, yet – 
not escaping, but rather being a part of a society. And last but not 
least, Rihards VITOLS with “akA” (Well) project proposes to launch a 
unique agricultural field – “cloud-farming” by using helium balloons to 
collect rain water. On the occasion of Transformative Ecologies 
exhibition opening, blogger, curator and critic Regine Debatty has 
interviewed Rihards VITOLS, you can read it here: 
http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2015/08/aka.php#.VdNLhSyqqko

TRANSFORMATIVE ECOLOGIES exhibition is complemented by 3D BioLab 
symposium that will take place in the following days – August 20th and 
21st in Cafe Europa. The Day 1 will offer the workshop on 3D data 
visualization, using as a point of departure the data from two artistic 
science research projects – BIOTRICITY by Rasa SMITE and Raitis SMITS, 
and INTELLIGENT BEEHIVE by Annemie MAES. During the Day 2 artists Gert 
AERTSEN and David DE BUYSER will introduce their approach to 3D object 
generation by conducting the workshop on WIND POWER, SOUND AND MOVEMENT.


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3D BioLab Art and Science
SYMPOSIUM PROGRAMME
CAFÉ EUROPA, Mons, Belgium
Wednesday, 19.08.2015

18:00 > 20:00
Exhibition Opening with Bacteria Battery art-science public show by Rasa 
Smite and Raitis Smits / RIXC and audiovisual performances by Rihards 
Vitols / Trihars and Martins Engelis / VADi.

Thursday, 20.08.2015

12:00 > 16:00
Symposium Day 1: BIOTRICITY, a poetics of green energy, INTELLIGENT 
BEEHIVE research and 3D DATA VISUALIZATION: workshop conducted by Rasa 
Smite, Raitis Smits by Annemie Maes.

17:00 > 20:00
3D BioLab Public Program: Renewable Futures lecture, artist 
presentations and participatory discussions (Playing Fields I).

Friday, 21.08.2015

12:00 > 16:00
Symposium Day 2: WIND POWER, SOUND AND MOVEMENT RESEARCH, AND 3D OBJECT 
GENERATION: workshops conducted by Gert Aertsen and David de Buyser

17:00 > 20:00
3D BioLab Closing Program: lectures and participatory discussions 
(Playing Fields II), workshop result demos and art science performances.

Sunday, 23.08.2015

15:00 > 18:00
FAMILY 3D BIOLAB (for local participants): VIRTUOSO workshop – 
introducing experiments from the 17th century scientists–amateurs and 
how artists today work with science: building battery from mud, using 
bees as living 3D printers, 'harvesting' drinking water from the clouds.


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TRANSFORMATIVE ECOLOGIES
Exhibition Artworks:

METABOLIC DOMINANCE (2014–2015)

Gints Gabrans (Latvia)

In 2004, the US Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects 
Agency announced a competition with the aim of providing soldiers with 
the means of carrying out battle operations and relocating without food 
stores. Under the project Metabolic Dominance we offer genetically 
modified human ingestion system bacteria, which synthesize cellulose 
disintegrating enzymes, thereby allowing to obtain nutrients from every 
material around that contains cellulose, for example, grass, wood, or 
else, in circumstances of urban warfare, from paper. Cellulose is a 
sugar glucose polymer that is indigestible for an ordinary human 
metabolism.

Credits: Developed in collaboration with microbiologist Jānis Liepiņš 
and the company GenScript (www.genscript.com)


UNTITLED (FROM ATTRACTORS SERIES) (2012–ongoing)

Voldemars Johansons (Latvia)

Public experiment was carried out by the artist in the exhibition space, 
creating, growing and observing an ant colony. A software was made to 
gather precise data and with recognition methods to monitor and record 
the movement trajectories of individual agents. The data of the ant 
movements during the 30-day long experiment were collected and 
interpreted using various methods of data-analysis. In this exhibition 
the artist has built 3D object by using an innovative visualization 
approach.

Credits: Developed in collaboration with biologist Voldemars Spungis and 
curator Daina Auzina


THE TRANSPARENT BEEHIVE (2012–2014)

AnneMarie Maes (Belgium)

The Transparent Beehive is a living sculpture in the form of an 
observation beehive made from plexiglass, wood, aluminium and steel. 
Inside was a living bee colony that had access to the outside world 
through a plexiglass pipe. The beehive is internally structured like a 
book. Each wooden frame is enhanced with microphones which pick up the 
vibrations and sounds of the hive and which monitor continuously the 
colony’s buzz. Cameras inside the hive monitor the growth of the wax 
structures and the activity of bees. Additional sensors measure 
temperature, humidity and other microclimate measures. Data is treated 
by sensory processing, pattern recognition and AI algorithms and 
visualized using sophisticated computer graphics algorithms in order to 
make the state of the colony tangible.

Credits: AnneMarie Maes – artist & beekeeper, artistic concept and 
images (photographs, videos,data-processing & visualisations); Balthazar 
de Tonnac – informatics; Vincent Malstaf – audio engineering; Billy 
Bultheel – sound processing.


TALK TO ME. Human-plant communication (2011–2015)

Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits / RIXC, with Martins Ratniks (Latvia)

Talk to Me is an artistic inquiry into human and plant communication, 
exploring the relationships between nature and people, biological and 
social processes in particular. Scientists have nowadays performed 
various experiments in order to verify the old assumption that 
communicating with plants makes them grow better. RIXC artists developed 
a human-plant communication interface, through which people were asked 
to send encouraging messages to the growing plants, "equipped" with 
web-cam, wi-fi and loudspeakers.

Over 13000 messages were received during the two-year period of the 
human-plant communication experiment performed in various exhibitions in 
Tallinn, Basel, Riga and Ventspils. The content of collected messages 
now are mapped and analysed by most commonly used words, selected 
messages made audible, whereby the video made from web-cam images 
represents the growing conditions of the living plants in different 
locations. The future stage of the project includes building a 
self-sustainable human-plant communication device that is powered by 
"bacteria-battery", generating electricity from soil and water.

Credits: Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits – artistic concept, authors of the 
Talk to Me book, data analysing, mapping and visualizing; Martins 
Ratniks – video editing, design of the book, Davis Bojars – technical 
solutions, Kristine Briede – video documentation.


BIOTRICITY. Bacteria Battery (2014–2015)

Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits / RIXC, with Voldemars Johansons (Latvia)

Biotricity is an art-science research that uses negotiations with living 
microorganisms for free electricity. Bacteria, who live in a mud, water 
sediment, waste, soil, inside of our bodies, that is, everywhere where 
they can 'eat' organic matter and where there is nearly no oxygen, 
release free electrons. For several years RIXC artists, together with 
scientists, have experimented with MFC (microbial fuel cells), the next 
generation biotechnology – monitoring bacterial activity in dark gallery 
spaces, organizing public DIY workshops on how to build 'bacteria 
batteries', and installing bio-energy 'power-stations' outdoors in 
ponds. In a result, the art installation was created, consisting of a 
double cell “bacteria battery” that interprets bacteria fuel generation 
process into live sound and image structures. Thus Biotricity is 
providing an aesthetic perspective on the interaction between nature and 
technology, ecological systems and electronic networks, human and 
micro-worlds.

It is Latvian mud that sings – accordingly to the words by his 
excellency ambassador of Latvia in Sweden said during the opening 
Biotricity installation opening in Stockholm, April 2015, as a part of 
the programme of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Credits: Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits – RIXC artists collective, artistic 
concept; Voldemars Johansons – sound artist, sonifications; Janis 
Jankevics – video and live visualizations; Arturs Gruduls – biologist 
working with MFC, scientifc solutions; Solid State Physics Institute, 
Latvian University – partner, scientific solutions.


POND BATTERY. A poetics of green energy (2014–2015)

Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits / RIXC (Latvia)

Pond Battery is a continuation of Biotricity art-science research 
project. To monitor the bacterial electricity generation process in 
out-door conditions, RIXC artists use contemporary language and tools of 
science and innovative technologies. Last summer six “bacteria cells” 
were installed in the pond of Botanical Garden of University Latvia in 
Riga. Live stream with web-cam images with continues measurements of 
bacteria electricity fluctuations and its sonifications were delivered 
on-line, making audible and visible the invisible activity of nature – 
such as was is happening at the bottom of a pond, and which otherwise we 
can neither see nor hear. Collected data from the seven month long 
observation of the Pond Battery – from summer to winter, are now 
transformed into new visualizations, sound and video, creating sensual 
and emotional experiences – a poetics of green energy.

Credits: Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits – artistic concept, visualization 
graphics, sound composition; Voldemars Johansons – sonification; Martins 
Ratniks – video editing; Arturs Gruduls – scientifc solutions and 
monitoring; Davis Bojars, Aigars Alnis – technical support; Solid State 
Physics Institute, Latvian University – partner, scientific solutions.


PRIVATE ATMOSPHERE (2014–2015)

Paula Vitola (Latvia)

Private Atmosphere is a costume that can help you not only to survive , 
but live comfortably in the world that is inevitably affected by other 
people. You can create your ideal environment within the actual 
environment and still be a part of a society. The helmet is equipped 
with technology that helps you to see and hear what is happening around 
you and also gives you the freedom to choose whether to use it or not.

Credits: The work is done in collaboration with Adri Schokker and 
students from Liepaja University on the new media art week “iWeek” 2014 
– Santa France, Iris Van Der Harst, Matiss Locmelis, Maija Barbare.


akA (Well) (2014-2015)

Rihards Vitols (Latvia)

In the near future ground waters will be overly polluted because of 
industrial activities. The question is brought up – how to get clean 
water? The artists offers a possibility within to start a new agronomy 
type “cloud-farming”. People will fill their lands with thousands of 
balloons to collect water. And those who will not be able to afford it 
will rent their land. The artist himself has started to collect moist 
and temperature data about sky over his own land.

Credits: Rihards Vitols – artistic concept, video editing, Janis 
Jankevics – video.

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More info: http://rixc.org

Contact: rixc (at) rixc.lv, rasa (at) rixc.org (Rasa Smite), +371-26546776

Organized by RIXC in collaboration with Mons 2015, Technocite and 
Brussels Urban Bee Laboratory.

The project is a part of Mons 2015 – European Capital of Culture – 
Digital projects.
Co-financed by Latvian Ministry of Culture of Republic of Latvia, and 
European Economic Area Financial mechanism.

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