Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Call for debate on killer robots

By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

An international debate is needed on the use of autonomous military robots, a leading academic has said.
Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield said that a push toward more robotic technology used in warfare would put civilian life at grave risk.
Technology capable of distinguishing friend from foe reliably was at least 50 years away, he added.
However, he said that for the first time, US forces mentioned resolving such ethical concerns in their plans.
"Robots that can decide where to kill, who to kill and when to kill is high on all the military agendas," Professor Sharkey said at a meeting in London.
"The problem is that this is all based on artificial intelligence, and the military have a strange view of artificial intelligence based on science fiction."


Sunday, 3 May 2009


EYE OF THE STORM - AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY, 19 / 20 June 2009, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, UK. EYE OF THE STORM aims to explore a range of controversies, from esoteric arguments between physicists over the structure of the universe, to disputes about the causes of species decline and climate change, and highly charged public controversies around the use of stem cells and the distribution of genetically modified organisms. When heated debates around the challenge of climate change have shown how abstruse uncertainties within a scientific community can be amplified and distorted to challenge the whole notion of human-caused greenhouse warming, EYE OF THE STORM sets out to examine the relationship between scientific uncertainty and public controversies around science.


Onsdagen den 20 maj 2009, kl.14.30-18 (inkl. paus)
Lokal: Börssalen, Källargränd 4, 2 tr., Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Föredragshållare: Stephen Bronner, Professor of Political Science, Comparative Literature and German Studies, Rutgers University, NJ
Föredragshållare: Barbara Taylor, Professor of Modern History, University of East London
Föredragshållare: Robert Bernasconi, Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis
Moderator: Marie-Christine Skuncke, Professor i Litteraturvetenskap, Uppsala universitet
The aim of this symposium is to encourage a critical discussion of the legacy of the Enlightenment from the perspectives of ethnicity, gender, religion and politics. -- Stephen Bronners intresseområde är politisk teori. Han har bl.a. skrivit böckerna: Moments of decision: Political history and the crises of radicalism (1991); Of critical theory and its theorists (1994); Reclaiming the enlightenment: Toward a politics of radical engagement (2004). Barbara Taylors forskningsinriktning är "upplysningens kvinnor" och hur den sociala och ekonomiska utvecklingen över tid verkat ur ett genusperspektiv. Hon har bl.a. skrivit och/eller redigerat: Eve and the new Jerusalem: Socialism and feminism in the 19th century (1983, 1993); Mary Wollstonecraft and the feminist imagination (2003); Women, gender and enlightenment (2005). Robert Bernasconi forskar om rasbegreppet och dess historia. Han har skrivit och/eller redigerat i urval: The idea of race (2000); Concepts of race in the eighteenth century (2001); Race and racism in continental philosophy (2003). Marie-Christine Skunckes forskningsintresse är Svenskt 1700-tal i europeiskt perspektiv, fursteuppfostran, politisk retorik och mediehistoria. Hon har under det nya millenniet redigerat i urval: Riksdag, kaffehus och predikstol: Frihetstidens politiska kultur 1766-1772 (2003); Media and Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (2005). -- Föranmälan till alt. 08-534 818 18

Sunday, 26 April 2009

CfP: ARCHIBOTS : Intelligent and Adaptable Built Environments

CfP: ARCHIBOTS : Intelligent and Adaptable Built Environments
An International Workshop on Architectural Robotics at Ubicomp 2009

date and venue: September 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida at Ubicomp 2009.
workshop URL: www.archibots.org
papers due: 5pm EST on June 25, 2009 (see below)
organizers: Keith Evan Green (Clemson U.) and Mark Gross (Carnegie Mellon

call: Robotics embedded in our built environment will increasingly support
and augment everyday work, school, entertainment, and leisure activities in
an increasingly digital society. A full-day workshop offering at Ubicomp,
the International Conference on Ubiquitous
Computing, Archibots aims
to identify opportunities and challenges in research and education in the
emerging area of Architectural Robotics - intelligent and adaptable
physical environments at all scales. For Archibots 2009, we seek position
papers representing diverse perspectives from the extended ubicomp community
exploring possibilities and defining an agenda for Architectural Robotics
for the year 2019 and beyond. Workshop participants will discuss these
perspectives and then, in teams, sketch short videos to envision possible
futures. The collected videos of the workshop are intended to stream to the
Video Program of the conference. The organizers plan to publish selected
position papers as an edited book or a special issue of a journal, and also
further relations with industry and allied disciplines.

scope: We solicit position papers envisioning opportunities and challenges
for Architectural Robotics to support and enhance human needs and desires,
including, but not limited to:
 specific applications (e.g., work, health, play, elderly, disabled,
 re-configurable and modular robotics in buildings, public places,
 sociological and psychological implications of architectural robotics.
 programming buildings that sense, infer, and respond to human needs.
 intelligent building structures and systems with embedded robotics.
 the software and hardware infrastructure needed to realize archibots.
 teaching and learning architectural robotics.
We encourage papers that go beyond a mere presentation of accomplished
works; instead, we seek contributions to this emerging field that openly
communicat e techniques, methods and assemblies of architectural robotics
and, more broadly, the challenges and prospects of architectural robotics
which we recognize as technical, social and aesthetic.

submissions: Paper submissions must be formatted according to the Ubicomp
supplementary proceedings template and submitted in PDF to both
kegreen@clemson.edu and
mdgross@cmu.edu no later than 5pm EST on June 25,
2009. Papers must not exceed 6 pages and 10MB, including abstract, all
figures, and references. Each submission should have one designated author
who will participate in the conference, should the submission be accepted.
[The organizers acknowledge support for this workshop from the U.S. National
Science Foundation.]

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Artist gets an extra ear implanted into his arm

Helen Pidd
The Guardian, Tuesday 14 April 2009

A man with 3 ears at the Edinburgh Science Festival. Performance artist Stelios Arcadiou, known as Stelarc, says his extra ear, made of human cartilage, is an augmentation of the body's form. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

A man with three ears will appear at Edinburgh Napier University today to talk about his "extra" ear, which has been surgically implanted on to his forearm.

Australian performance artist Stelios Arcadiou, known as Stelarc, had the third ear created from cells in a lab in 2006. At the Edinburgh Science International Festival today, Stelarc will discuss his plans to install transmitters in his new ear, so people listen to what it is hearing online. He also hopes to grow a soft earlobe using his own stem cells.

The ear is made of human cartilage. Stelarc, who is visiting professor at Brunel University School of Arts, took 10 years to find a surgeon willing to perform the operation. He uses medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality and the internet in his work.

Ear it is.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Art, literature and copyright in the age of digital reproduction

The Valand Seminar for Advanced Art Theory # 10
In collaboration with The Department of Literary Composition, Poetry and Prose

Theme: Art, literature and copyright in the age of digital reproduction

Guest: Rasmus Fleischer, copyriot.se, Piratbyrån, phd student in contemporary history

Date: Dec 2nd, 2008, Tuesday, 2 pm – 5 pm.

Site: Valand School of Fine Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Room: Endre Nemes.

Pre-reading: Lawrence Liang: "The Black and White (and Grey) of Copyright"
(Introduction to the book "A Guide To Open Content Licences")

Felix Stalder: "The Stuff of Culture"

Michel Foucault: "Author Function"

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén's paper is also online:

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén's paper is also online:

Rasmus Fleischer: "The future of copyright" (never mind its context):


Rasmus Fleischer: "Untitled 23"

For the last text, please contact Fredrik Svensk: fredriksvensk@yahoo.se; fredrik.svensk@valand.gu.se


14:00 Introduction: Mats Kolmisoppi & Fredrik Svensk
14:15 Lecture: Rasmus Fleischer
15:30 Discussion, moderators: Mats Kolmisoppi & Fredrik Svensk
16:00 Break
16:20 End discussion
17:00 End

Friday, 14 November 2008

Smile And Robot Smiles With You

From Sky News:

British scientists have come up with the first robot that can mimic a person's expressions simply by watching their face.

Jules, the robot with the human face
Humanoid 'Jules' is a disembodied androgynous robotic head that automatically copies the movement and expressions of a human face. The technology works using 10 stock human emotions - for instance happiness, sadness, concern - that have been programmed into the robot. The software then maps what it sees to Jules' face to combine expressions instantly to mimic those being shown by a human subject. Controlled only by its own software, Jules can grin and grimace, furrow its brow, and 'speak' as the software translates real expressions observed through video camera 'eyes'.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fail better

Thanks to Charlie Stern for this too:

What makes a good writer? Is writing an expression of self, or, as TS Eliot argued, 'an escape from personality'? Do novelists have a duty? Do readers? Why are there so few truly great novels? Zadie Smith on literature's legacy of honourable failure

Zadie Smith
Published Saturday January 13, 2007 in The Guardian


Monday, 10 November 2008

Labours of love

The Guardian, Saturday February 2 2008

It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a skilled carpenter or musician - but what makes a true master? Richard Sennett on the craftsman in us all.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Friday, 31 October 2008

SMS enabled freestyle rap

Thanks to Charlie Stern for this follow-up to Group 2's "Authenticity" project:

eMCee Tee eX Tee

… BRAND NEW !!! SMS enabled freestyle rap! Sneak Preview from my studio!
Working with The 1shanti, we gathered together some of New Yorks finest MC’s to take your input live on the fly and kick it out in their voice. MC’s are fed a text message then they freestyle, then they are fed another message and so on, eventually handing off the mic to another MC keeping the flow fresh. Think about it, how much would McCain love to deliver his speeches with Obama’s charisma and voice. Well come see your message dropped on the crowd in the voice of some of NYC’s bravest MC’s.

Check it out.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Manchester Metropolitan University, MIRIAD
2 - 4 April 2009

Segues: Corporeal Theory, Site-Writing, e-Materiality
Penny Florence, Slade, UCL
Marsha Meskimmon, Loughborough University M.G.Meskimmon@lboro.ac.uk
Jane Rendell, Bartlett, UCL

This session seeks to explore a specific intersection within the interdisciplinary territory that constitutes art historical enquiry, namely, the encounter between art history and ‘practice-led’ research. Arguably, the segue between these adjacent fields opens up a range of significant questions, from the politics of form to the limits of interdisciplinarity itself.

It is also a timely encounter; as art historians increasingly turn to contemporary practice, engaging with multi-medial works and multi-modal forms of knowledge, practitioners (defined in the broadest sense) are materialising theory in and though the processes of making. This mutual constitution of the territory of arts research by historians/theorists and practitioners is changing the mechanisms by which domains of knowledge are constructed, interrogated and validated.

The session invites papers/presentations that engage productively with these questions and that seek themselves to develop this particular interdisciplinary intersection through specific practices – whether these are modes of writing, forms of critical enquiry, sites of intervention, practices of intermediation or other, as yet unimagined, configurations of critical aesthetics.

For more info please go to http://www.aah.org.uk/conference/2009session19.php

The deadline for abstracts is 10 November 2009.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Art & technology... (Alberto's links)

Here, writes Alberto, is some old fashion a&t:

reccomended documentary on Erkki: http://icarusfilms.com/new2004/fut.html



Friday, 24 October 2008


9.00: Meet at Vita Havet.

9.15-10.00: Group 1
10.15-11.00: Group 2 Group 3
13.15-14.00 Group 4

14.00: End.

Pablo will need to leave at 13.00 or 13.30 – so, if everybody has sufficient stamina, we could reduce the time on transitions between projects and run all four projects through before lunch instead, with a 20 minute break between Group 2 and Group 3.

MAKE magazine

The first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.


40,000 Not-Very-Easy Pieces

By Boris Kachka
Published Mar 24, 2008 In New York Magazine

British artist-writer Graham Rawle resisted the idea of printing Woman’s World, a new novel about a possibly homicidal cross-dresser that consists entirely of phrases clipped from sixties women’s magazines, in collage form; he was concerned it might be taken for “a novelty rather than a novel.” He needn’t have been: Jean Doumanian decided to produce the movie without even knowing how the book had been constructed. Below, Rawle dissects page 209.

Read on.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


In Our Time: Melvyn Bragg and guests investigate the history of ideas.

On a dreary night in November 1818, a young doctor called Frankenstein completed an experiment and described it in his diary:

“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet…By the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open…”

Frankenstein may seem an outlandish tale, but Mary Shelley wrote it when science was alive with ideas about what differentiated the living from the dead. This was Vitalism, a belief that living things possessed some spark of life, some vital principle that lifted them above dull matter. Electricity was a very real candidate.

Vitalists aimed at unlocking the secret of life itself and they raised questions about what life is that are unresolved to this day.

Listen to In Our Time (BBC podcast) on Vitalism here.

RTP Studio 1, 2 and 3 Crits

Dates and times for final crits are now confirmed:

RTP Studio 1 begins 9.00 Wednesday 29 October. (SK+MA)
RTP Studio 2 begins 9.00 Thursday 30 October. (RH+AF)
RTP Studio 3 begins 10.00 Friday 31 October. (RJ+JB)

Where? Vita Havet.

S1, S2, and S3 (your usual seminar rooms) are also available if required.

There will be a public symposium on course themes 13.00-16.00 Friday 31st, followed by drinks. All welcome.

Where? Svarta Havet. Please spread this information to interested parties.

Sweden to help universities commercialize innovations

Several colleges and universities in Sweden are to receive money to set up offices of innovation which will help researchers turn their discoveries into commercial enterprises.

The initiative will help researchers apply for patents and licences, promises higher education and research minister Lars Leijonborg, along with enterprise minister Maud Olofsson, in an article in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“[Research] institutes play an important role as a link between research at academic institutions and companies. By increasing resources and strengthening organizations, we’re creating the conditions for internationally competitive institutes in Sweden,” write the two ministers.

Article in The Local.

Monday, 20 October 2008


“Conversation piece” by Front at Droog design.

A design speed dating dinner. All the guests moved one step at the table every 7th minutes and got a new conversation
partner. Questions were printed on the Table cloth and Plates to help to start the conversation.

(Sound familiar?!)



Keeping it Real: The Authenticity of Experience in Practice-Led Research

The field of practice-based research in art, craft and design places a strong emphasis on "experiential" knowledge – the practitioner's capacity to "reflect" on her experience in/as/through/of practice (see, for example, Michael Biggs "Learning from Experience" and Rolf Hughes "Experience and Communication".

This presupposes a reflective, creative individual – in short, a modern concept of an autonomous, originating 'self'. Could a system or a machine be capable of reflective practice? Can a machine – or a semi-autonomous system – be truly 'creative'? What if a national research council were to offer funding to a project proposal in "artistic research" that had been generated by an inhuman 'author'? With this third assignment, we want you to play the roles of human, machine, and evaluator in the Turing Test (see related references in the posts/links below) to investigate whether this emphasis on the authenticity of human experience and its expression in creative forms precludes the possibility of a 'post-human' researcher in practice-led art, craft and design research. In our scenario, you have two chances to attract up to 5 million RD (= Research Dollars, an imaginary currency roughly compatible with the Swedish kronor in value) from the funding agency which will be represented by Alberto, myself and invited guest crits; one attempt through posing a significant research question using the existing art, craft and design skills of your group, and the second attempt through devising a system capable of generating an "original" or "creative" design/art/craft artefact or process. You may (as we discussed on Thursday) present the outcome of the system or the system in action, but in either case be sure to document thoroughly every step of your research planning, design and execution. In order to ensure that participation is evenly spread across members of the different groups, every student is also asked to make available, on request, there own 'research journal' which documents this process, their contributions and the significance of the wider research questions posed and/or implied by their project.

The assignment therefore comprises three components and requirements:

1. By combining the existing art, craft and design skills within each interdisciplinary group, formulate a practice-led research proposal which investigates a theme of research significance beyond art, craft and design practice. (= Wetware component).

2. Design a system capable of generating questions/propositions/provocations of research significance and present this system (or a record of its outcomes) as 'authentic' research undertaken by a human practice-led research team. (= Hardware component).

3. Document your processes, research and methodologies via a blog or web site (one for each group) and be prepared to present orally a reflective and theoretically informed account of the significance of your project(s) – their achievements, limitations and/or failures (these too can be significant) – to your audience at the crit on Wednesday/Thursday (29th/30th October) of Week 44. (= Software component).

Based on a combination of your responses to the three requirements above, the 'research committee' (at present comprising Alberto and myself) will make a symbolic award of up to RD 5m to the group which we feel sets the most compelling research agenda, inspires the greatest faith in their ability to execute their investigation through their chosen methodologies, shows the greatest command of the tools and materials of art, craft and design in developing practice-led research, and is able most persuasively to communicate their research vision to an audience consisting not only of experts but also of the general public.

As always, Alberto and myself are available for discussion, consultation, advice etc. as required. Good luck!

The Alan Turing Home Page

Maintained by Andrew Hodges
Author of Alan Turing: the Enigma.

A large website dedicated to Alan Turing (1912-1954)

The Turing Test (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy)

First published Wed Apr 9, 2003; substantive revision Tue May 13, 2008
The phrase “The Turing Test” is most properly used to refer to a proposal made by Turing (1950) as a way of dealing with the question whether machines can think. According to Turing, the question whether machines can think is itself “too meaningless” to deserve discussion (442). However, if we consider the more precise—and somehow related—question whether a digital computer can do well in a certain kind of game that Turing describes (“The Imitation Game”), then—at least in Turing's eyes—we do have a question that admits of precise discussion. Moreover, as we shall see, Turing himself thought that it would not be too long before we did have digital computers that could “do well” in the Imitation Game.

The phrase “The Turing Test” is sometimes used more generally to refer to some kinds of behavioural tests for the presence of mind, or thought, or intelligence in putatively minded entities. So, for example, it is sometimes suggested that The Turing Test is prefigured in Descartes' Discourse on the Method.


The Ultimate Turing Test

By David Barberi, 1992

What is the ultimate Turing Test?

In 1950 Alan Turing published his now famous paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." In that paper he describes a method for humans to test AI programs. In its most basic form, a human judge sits at a computer terminal and interacts with the subject by written communication only. The judge must then decide if the subject on the other end of the computer link is a human or an AI program imitating a human.

Can Turings test be improved on? Yes. With current advances in computer graphics, virtual reality, biomechanics and many other fields, it is possible to create an "Enhanced" or "Virtual" Turing test. The underlying idea of the test is still the same, but the amount of interaction between judge and subject is increased greatly.

Read on.

Alan Turing: "Computing machinery and intelligence"

I PROPOSE to consider the question, 'Can machines think?' This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms 'machine 'and 'think'. The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous. If the meaning of the words 'machine' and 'think 'are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, 'Can machines think?' is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.

The new form of the problem can be described' in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game'. It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either 'X is A and Y is B' or 'X is B and Y is A'. The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B thus:

C: Will X please tell me the length of his or her hair?
Now suppose X is actually A, then A must answer. It is A's {p.434}object in the game to try and cause C to make the wrong identification. His answer might therefore be

'My hair is shingled, and the longest strands, are about nine inches long.'

In order that tones of voice may not help the interrogator the answers should be written, or better still, typewritten. The ideal arrangement is to have a teleprinter communicating between the two rooms. Alternatively the question and answers can be repeated by an intermediary. The object of the game for the third player (B) is to help the interrogator. The best strategy for her is probably to give truthful answers. She can add such things as 'I am the woman, don't listen to him!' to her answers, but it will avail nothing as the man can make similar remarks.

We now ask the question, 'What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?'

Read on.

Machine takes on man at mass Turing Test

Our reporter was among the judges struggling to tell the difference between human and computer-programmed conversation

by Will Pavia

Eugene Goostman is a 13-year-old boy from Odessa, Ukraine, the son of a talk-show host and a gynaecologist, who keeps a guinea pig called Bill in his bedroom and likes the science fiction novels of Sergei Lukyanenko and Kurt Vonnegut.

He is also a work of fiction, a software program written by a bio-scientist from St Petersburg and a finalist in a contest to find the world’s first thinking computer, staged yesterday at Reading University.

His task was to convince judges, in five minutes of conversation, that he was a human being who really had read Slaughterhouse Five and could plausibly shoot the breeze about it and any other topic under the sun.

I was one of those judges, and yesterday, I was fooled. I mistook Eugene for a real human being. In fact, and perhaps this is worse, he was so convincing that I assumed that the human being with whom I was simultaneously conversing was a computer.


Bionic suit: the Iron Man cometh

There is a new power in the land – a robotic suit that can multiply its wearer’s body strength tenfold

Tim Hornyak

The idea of possessing superhuman strength is a Hollywood staple. It is also a dream that audiences can’t seem to get enough of – witness the £300m-worth of tickets sold worldwide for Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr, over the summer. But while Iron Man’s rocket boots and built-in “repulsor rays” so far remain on the drawing board, a powered exoskeleton able to multiply its user’s strength tenfold has just become a reality.

Earlier this month, in a little noticed ceremony in Japan, the world’s first fully functioning robotic exoskeleton was launched. It is called the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) system and will endow the wearer with abilities and strength he or she could previously only have dreamt of. As the scientists said at the launch – we are now officially in the age of the cyborg.

Read on.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Conceptual Paradise

Monday 27 october
The film ‘Conceptual Paradise’ will be shown at Park cinema in Stockholm. The film is a documentary film with interviews giving an introduction to conceptual art and how it developed.

After the film there will be a panel discussion with the German filmmaker Stefan Römer and invited guests. The discussion will focus on how conceptual art has influenced design.

Includes interviews with:

Vito Acconci + Art & Language + Michael Asher +
John Baldessari + Robert Barry + Hartmut Bitomsky +
Mel Bochner + Gregg Bordowitz + Klaus vom Bruch +
Daniel Buren + Victor Burgin + Luis Camnitzer +
Jan Dibbets + Mark Dion + Sam Durant + Valie Export +
Stano Filko + Andrea Fraser + Liam Gillick + Dan Graham +
Renée Green + Shilpa Gupta + Hans Haacke +
Július Koller + Joseph Kosuth + Sonia Khurana +
David Lamelas + Sol LeWitt + Thomas Locher +
Marcel Odenbach + Yoko Ono + John Miller + Adrian Piper +
Yvonne Rainer + Allen Ruppersberg + Ed Ruscha +
Martha Rosler + Allan Sekula + Peter Weibel +
Lawrence Weiner + Stephen Willats + Heimo Zobernig

Beth Morris recommends...

Thanks to Beth Morris for sending the following links and references:

"the crochet counterfeit project"

Celeste Christie's "small change project"

Also, this on the theme of hacking and DIY and systems that we have been covering:...

And the artist Packard Jennings

And the artist Stephanie Syjuco and her blog.

Thanks for sharing all these, Beth! Anyone else wishing to post influences/inspirations/curiosities etc related to the course themes, send details to me. Remember we have the 'open mike/open projector' slots free – if anyone would like to update me on the sign-up progress in S2 I will post details here.



Tue 21 October 2008, 5.30pm

Koen Vanmechelen

Cross-breeding is the thing. We need to cross breed across the boundaries if we want the world not to perish. We need to think cosmopolitical. Nothing is as beautiful as joining with other cultures and take energy from this. (Koen Vanmechelen)

The first, primitive chicken, the 'Red Jungle Fowl', still lives near the Himalaya. In contrast with domesticated chickens the Red Jungle Fowl is monogamous. As the fowl still lives in the wild, monogamy may be even a stronger characteristic than the polygamous element. The 'super bastard' or Cosmopolitan Chicken is no return to the primitive fowl, but a new start. For his first cross-breeding Koen Vanmechelen chose the 'Mechelse Koekoek', the pride of Flemish chicken breeding and a relative in name to the artist. It was cross-bred in 1998 with the 'poulet de Bresse', a first-rate French chicken. Their cross-breeding, the 'Mechelse Bresse', was later cross-bred with the English 'Redcap'. This 'Mechelse Redcap', uniting Belgian, French and English nationalities was crossbred with the American 'Jersey Giant' …

Speaker: Koen Vanmechelen is one of today's artists who no longer choose just one medium to work in. His works range from highly expressive paintings and drawings, to photography, video, installations, works in glass and a 'recurring' wooden sculpture. What links all these different ways of expressing himself are the chicken and the egg. Over the years they have become an important symbol that has enabled the artist to make a connection to scientific, political, philosophical and ethical issues. The intricate system that he thus developed is the subject of the debates, conversations and lectures that the artist organizes or takes part in to shape his philosophical universe.
Vanmechelen current work can be divided in three main categories: Golem, the principle of the creating man, is the point of departure for the whole of his work. The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP) is the core of the artist's work, a breeding programme with chicken breeds from all over the world; the project draws attention to the crossing of borders and all its implications and calls, above all, for a mutual understanding. Medusa is the scientific part of the project and the collaborative think tank behind the CCP.



University of Greenwich School of Architecture & Construction
Norbert Singer Lecture Theatre (M055)
Mansion Site, Avery Hill Campus
Bexley Road, Eltham
London SE9 2PQ

Lecture Series Programme 2008/09:

Maps and travel directions:

Further information:
Teresa Stoppani