Some of the works attempted to engage in broader political issues. Julian Ronnefeldt of Luna Nera came to Weimar with a vague project in mind and organised a collaboration in which most of LoungeLab the artists participated.

Behind the site of the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp is the controversial Cold War memorial Buchenwald2 (consisting of numbered steel poles driven into the forest floor). After much discussion, Julian Ronnefeldt and the artists decided that even though they did not want to engage with the atrocity of Buchenwald, the very contentiousness of Buchenwald 2 and its memorial made it appropriate material for engagement and made the art-action orchestrated by Ronnefeldt permissible. We went therefore into the forest at night (with permission) and created a sound piece by gently tapping on the steel poles with wooden sticks, recording the sound onto minidisks that the artists wore. The sound was then mixed by Dijgital Riot and exhibited as an installation with video shot by Pearl Gluck and Gillian McIver.

Fuelling the project was the announcement that, on 9 November, the third day of the festival, a neo-Nazi march was planned in the centre of Weimar, which presented a challenge to the university and the festival participants as well as to the town’s citizens.

“The idea was based on a kind of homeopathy,” says Ronnefeldt,” By bringing the poison away from its primary locus and into the LoungeLab we re-presented it as a part of our own history and lived experience, so we can accept it - hopefully - learn from it, and then move on.”

A non-site specific project was created by Ikarus, who apply the principles of product design to fine art, collaborating with Pearl Gluck and Katherine Moriwaki on a project that questioned the issues raised by industrially-processed food. A live freerange chicken was exhibited in a cage, while next to it in another cage a number of motorised Chicken McNuggets walked around. Above was a video contrasting live chickens with chickens as “industrial grocery products.” The point was not about vegetarianism, but to highlight the disassociation of industrially processed food from its sources. Unfortunately the live chicken upset some of the audience. It was suggested, without evidence, that the sound of the McNuggests walking could upset the chicken. The artists were faced with the choice of removing the chicken or removing the nuggets, and removed the nuggets, replacing them with inactive ones. After the festival the chicken was returned to the farmer.

The Lab presented a number of installations and performances all within the 4-day period before the opening of the festival. It was definitely one of the most high-pressure situations most of the artists had ever experienced, as it was accompanied by some technical problems. However the good will and hard work of the organisers Felix Sattler, Alexander Klosch and Carina Linge, together with the student volunteer workers, went a long way to mollify artistic frustrations and the positive response of the public to the Lab restored our spirits. A plentiful supply of vodka also calmed any troubled waters, and when the Lab concluded on the Sunday night with a webcast featuring an artists dinner organised by Ikarus, we felt that our time spent as lab rats had been a success.

The experiment showed all of us the value and possibilities inherent in collaborative work processes, idea-sharing and that the subsuming of the artistic ego can be beneficial given conditions of mutual trust, respect and creative energy. So, can art be open source? The initial conclusion based on the LoungeLab experiments is that, yes it can. Where we take it next, remains to be seen.

Gillian McIver 11.02

Gillian Mciver is a member of the Luna Nera artists group and participated in LoungeLab 2002.

LoungeLab 2002 participants:

Luna Nera (London)
Ikarus (Weimar)
Artificial Paradises (UK/Spain)
Jon Fawcett (UK)
Dijgital Riot (Weimar)
D-Fuse (Canada/UK)
Katherine Moriwaki (US)
Pearl Gluck (US)
Helena Jonsdottir (Iceland)
Micz Flor (Berlin)
Ian Birse and Laura Kavanaugh (Canada)

Year01 Forum Index

Ikaras: "chicken"

LoungeLab performance space
Communion Wafer Re-Distribution System - Sandrine Albert
and Ikarus