SLoAS (Studio Lab of Art and Science) is a platform for diverse practitioners to traverse the boundaries of art and science, exploring the possibilities for purposeful change and enduring collaborations where these two fields meet.
The flagship of SLoAS project is a residency that brings together students from different disciplines in order to explore new ways of seeing and understanding our world. Hinging around a given theme, the semi-structured programme takes place in both ‘lab’ (technology/science) and ‘studio’ (art) environments comprising of thinking-strategy sessions, practical inductions, expert mentoring, critique of works, informative talks and experimental workshop time resulting in a final showcase. Unconventional collisions are encouraged where fine artists meet scientists and technologists meet designers.
From the 10th to the 14th of June 2019, SLoAS presented its first event, 3.14 Realities. It brought together students from the MA Art & Science and the BSc Digital Media Development at the University of Westminster Department of Computer Science & Engineering, for a creative week of work that included workshops, talks from guests from UAL, UCL and the Sainsbury-Wellcome Centre, mentoring session from tutors of both participating universities and finally a pop-up public exhibition on Friday the 14th of June at the Exposed Arts Projects.
Inspired by the fact that nowadays we expand our presence to the physical, psychological and virtual reality, the participants were invited to imagine what the tools of understanding their environment could be, should they lack the access to one of the three realities. Τhe students responded to the brief by creating the Akimbo project which consisted of three parts; the first was a statement about the fact that our Physical Self will carry on changing while our Data Self, will potentially remain unchanged – an idea that was expressed with a small installation of melting candles, copies of 3D prints of the 3D scans of the participants; the second was a question about how our Physical/Psychological Self can relate to our Virtual/Augmented Self – the guests at the pop-up exhibition were invited to interact with a sequence of repeating moves that the participants’ AR Selves were performing ‘in’ the room; the third and final part of the project was an experiment on the capability of an AR portable performance application to effect the mood of the user – the AR performance, of the second part, was loaded on smartphones where the guests were invited to interact with AR targets that were dispersed in several places in the room. This is an ongoing experiment.
The exchange of ideas from the very first day, with the collaboration enhancement exercises that formed the performance’s sequence and the project kick-starting workshop, the guest talks on Wednesday the 12th and the induction on AR and VR technologies at the XR Lab of the University of Westminster with the support that the technicians offered, led to a project that included performance, AR technology, and hands-on making. The participating students coming from both art and science/technology courses, collaborated and inspired each-other by giving an example of what the artistic or the technological method look like. On the last day of the SLoAS programme, the team had to curate a presentation of their projects and be critiqued; a final exercise, which while it was challenging, it did add to their experience as for how to present concepts and research to the public.
SLoAS started as a student initiative by a group of 2nd Year students at the MA Art & Science, in 2019. After its pilot event it aims to carry on, including more students of the course and rest of UAL, as well as, more collaborations with other institutions and organisations of art, science and technology.
The programme was funded by the Student Initiative Fund (Arts Student Union) and supported by UAL, University of Westminster, the XR Lab and the Exposed Arts Projects.
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For more information on SLoAS 2019-3.14 Realities please check here:
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