All things inspiring, notable and newsworthy

Ariane Koek - Emma-Haseeb-graphic-DEF

Water meets Sky

Venice exists on the edge of the earth, water and sky. Hence the title of the environmental arts and science residency programme I created and I curate for Science Gallery Venice in 2018. It is funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat. Listen to the first two artists in residence, Emma Critchley (Water) and Haseeb Ahmed (Sky) talk about their practices.


Wind at Ars Electronica Festival 2020

Haseeb Ahmed, the second Earth Water Sky artist in residence at Science Gallery Venice appeared as part of Ars Electronica Festival 2020. He presented his 2018 artist's film The Wind Egg, talked about his multi-dimensional artistic practice across architecture, sculpture, performance, technology and contemporary art focusses. And then he talked to me about the work he will do in Venice during his residency. 
Click on the link, watch and listen to this expansive 90 minute film on Haseeb's practice, which includes an interview with me at the end.

Credit: Haseeb Ahmed Wind Egg 2018

Ariane Koek - facs-paul-ekman-Coralie-Vogelaar-1

Real Feelings: Emotion and Technology

Exhibition opens @HeKBasel, Switzerland August 27th 2020 featuring 20 international artists exploring the accelerating interconnections between emotion and technology.

My fellow curators in Real Feelings: Emotion and Technology are the Director of HeK Sabine Himmelsbach and the Diretor of MU, Eindhoven, Angelique Spaninks with whom we collaborated with the wonderful artists in the show: AntoineCatala, @stine_deja & @mariemunkdk @hdeweyh , @justineemard , @cecilebevans , @eddfornieles, @maria_gucci (Maria Guta) & @adrnggg (Adrian Ganea), @esther.hunziker , Seokyung Kim, @clement_lambelet , @lorem_____ @laurenleemack & Kyle McDonald, @technoflesh (Simone C. Niquille), @daniploeger , @lucymcrae , Shinseungback Kimyonghun, Maija Tammi, @troika_london , @coralievogelaar and @liam_y (Liam Young)

Credit: Coralie Vogelaar, A research on emotion recognition software, 2018, Courtesy the artist

Ariane Koek - Screen-Shot-2020-06-30-at-16.31.54

Winner of Earth Water Sky Science Gallery Venice Open Call 2020

The research-based artist Haseeb Ahmed who lives in Brussels is the second winner of the three year Science Gallery Venice Earth Water Sky residency programme funded by Didier et Martine Primat Foundation.

The jury were unanimous in awarding it to Haseeb Ahmed due to the originality of his proposal in the connection of this year’s topic of the Wind. His proposal combines sculpture, architecture, performance and film in order to engage and work with both the audience of Science Gallery Venice as well as the people of Venice in a potentially unique, ground-breaking and dynamic artistic process which will also have a digital life.

There were nearly 160 entrants for the second Science Gallery Venice Earth Water Sky open call from 43 countries around the world.

Haseeb's residency begins this Autumn 2020 with a new and exciting digital life.

Ariane Koek - -MLI5460

Mind the Gap - In Praise of the Imagination

I was asked to write an essay in praise of the Gap for Clot Magazine. Here is an extract. The link to the full essay is below this selected paragraph.

"The gap enables the human spirit to go beyond its limitations, soar, create, make, discover and play. It's where our imaginations flourish and grow. We lose the gap at humanity and culture’s peril if we cede responsibility for our all actions, emotions and lives solely to the certainty of the digital realm and technocratic future-present. "

Goshka Macuga -The Institute of Intellectual Cooperation: Mikael Lundgren/Bildmuseet

Ariane Koek - BACKLIGHT(2)

Backlight 2020 Photo Festival Goes ahead

The Nordic Photography Triennale, Backlight2020, is happening now in September 4 – November 8, 2020 in Tampere, Finland. In addition to exhibitions, screenings and installations, the festival features lectures and seminars on photography, science and new technologies, as well as portfolio reviews.

I am one of the curators, together with the Finnish artist Maija Tammi, photography curator Lars Willumeit, and Director of Backlight Hannu Vanhane.

We have sifted through thousands of photographs in the past 8 months and selected 23 international artists on the theme of Related Realities.

Related Realities exhibition will be open at the Gallery Himmelblau, Tampere, Finland on 5.9. – 31.10.2020

Link to more information here

Sjoerd Knibbeler: Chandrayaan, Ultrachrome print in lightbox, 2017

Ariane Koek - iris

Disentangling Realities - Arts, Science and the Imagination

"The arts touches our hearts, minds, souls and senses is a way of understanding ourselves and our reality. Science is another way which humans have developed to do this. Together with sciences, the arts are our fundamental ways of knowing ourselves and our universe and our place in it. Put the two together, and you vastly expanded the field of knowing ourselves and our reality."

Clot Magazine interviewed me about my ideas on creativity, why I initiated Arts at CERN, and my work in arts/science for science laboratories and science museums.

Here is the interview in full.

Iris van Herpen - dress from the Aeriform Spring Summer 2017 collection: Mikael Lundgren/Bildmuseet

Ariane Koek - earth-water-sky

Earth Water Sky Science Gallery Venice Open Call 2020

Here is the second Open Call for artists in any art form to come to Venice for #EarthWaterSky artists residency programme Science Gallery Venice Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.

This is a unique chance to work with a leading historian of the science as well as environmental scientists from the Veneto on the subject of WIND.

Applications by January 6th 2020.

Jacopo di Barberi - Map of Venice with the winds (1500)

Ariane Koek - Screen-Shot-2019-10-08-at-19.08.38(2)

The Matter of Painting

Claude Monet is one of the greatest painters of light and the passing of time. The largest collection of his paintings in the world is housed at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

On Monday October 22nd, the second in their new series called Unexpected Dialogues opens. Each year, the museum commissions a leading international artist to respond to works in the collection. This year it is the Turner prize winning artist Keith Tyson - known for his interrogations of the nature of reality using different materials.

One of the many things I love doing, is being invited to write about artists and their work and witness the creative process in action. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Keith whilst he was making the works in response to Monet and to talk to him about the process. 

My interview with Keith is published in the catalogue of the exhibition and it reveals many things, including his thoughts about arts and science, and the process behind the paintings he has made in response to Monet's. There are some surprises - you have been warned.

Image: Musée Marmottan Monet

Ariane Koek - BACKLIGHT

Open Call - International Photography Triennale

I am delighted to be one of 4 judges and curators for the oldest and largest photography Triennale in Northern Europe. 

Backlight Festival has an open call for photographers to engage with its theme - Related Realities - to be chosen for the exhibition in Tampere, Finland, near the Arctic circle September 2020.

Related Realities is about crossing boundaries - between the arts, sciences, and other ways in which we look at our realities and beyond. It also welcomes artists who work across technologies and is not just confined to pure photography.

Deadline October 31st. Apply here

Image: Ilkka Halso: CUBE-outside, 2003


My First Book - Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination

It's really happened!

My first book :

The book is connected with the exhibition Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination which was at Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden early this year.

The book contains essays on Entanglement by Carlo Rovelli, Surrealism and Physics by art historian Gavin Parkinson, Physics and Imagination by science writer Philip Ball, Physics and Culture by the Director of FACT Liverpool, Nicola Triscott, and one by me about the Entanglement of contemporary art and physics.

The book features the work shown in the Bilidmuseet exhibition of 14 international artists -including Iris van Herpen, Julian Charriere, Goshka Macuga, Ryoji Ikeda, Sarah Sze, Julius von Bismarck, Davide Quayola, Jorinde Voigt, Carey Young, Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Keith Tyson, Solveig Settemsdal, William Kentridge, and the architect Sou Fujimoto.

The book includes a series of dyptychs - with six different artists and physicists separately reflecting on different phenomena - Matter, Light, Time, Space, Entropy, Gravity. It's in the gap between different ways of looking at the world as well as the connections that the imagination grows.


First Earth Water Sky Residency begins in Venice

This June one of the world's underwater artists, Emma Critchley, began her 2 month Earth Water Sky residency  which I created for Science Gallery Venice, generously funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat. She is working with one of Italy's leading environmental scientists, Professor Carlo Barbante who is based at Ca Foscari University and is one of the leaders of the Ice Memory Project - an extraordinary project to create a library of non polar ice cores which record the changes in climate  and which will be stored in Antarctica.

The bubbles of gas stored in the cores give clues as to how the climate has changed. Tiny particles organic materials stored in the ice core can give clues also to people's movements across time and space - across continents and the centuries - prooving also that migration and movement are facts of life.

Emma's residency continues in September and October. At the end of the residency she will bid for a 26,000 Euro production grant to make an art work inspired by her work with Professor Barbante. It will be exhibited during the Venice Biennale.


Documenting Entangle

The biggest joy of working on projects is collaborating with the artists, scientists, cultural institutions and individuals who work with you to make things happen. Without that, nothing happens.

Julian Calo was my first formal coordinator at Arts at Cern for the last 18 months of my work there. I won funding for him after 3 and half years of establishing the Arts at Cern programme. As a present, I gave him the opportunity for him to see Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination at Bildmuseet,  to say thank you. In return he made me this film, documenting the exhibition for me.

Today Julian runs with his partner Margot a sustainable lifestyle and fashion blog, called Bloomers. Thank you  very much Julian for the joy and hardwork you did with me in the past! And the  wonderful work you are doing in the present and the future! 

Here is the film of the exhibition for you all to see.

Dark Matter 2012 by Sarah Sze/Photography by Mikael Lundgren

Ariane Koek - Bucky Ball

Exploring the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium, San Francisco is one of the most beloved institutions in the world. It is a unique museum dedicated to curiosity, learning and critical thinking founded in 1969 by Frank Oppenheimer, brother of the father of the bomb, Robert Oppenheimer.

The museum has always had at the heart of its mission inspiring the public to question, learn and look below the surface of reality and phenomena. It does with over 640 extraordinary hands-on, interactive exhibits which are all made in the museum workshop. Often prototypes of the exhibits are put out, tried and tested on the museum's visitors.  As one artist put it to me:

'You think the visitors are going to react in a certain way. But the exhibit only truly comes alive with an audience and by truly testing it out  you discover what it really is.'

I have the honour to be invited as consultant by this world famous Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception, to investigate and develop their arts engagement with science. I am resident with the Exploratorium in San Francisco for 2 months as part of the research and development of this 3 month assignment.

Reflection of 'Buckyball' by Leo Villareal outside The Exploratorium. Photograph: Ariane Koek

Ariane Koek - FiguresOfSpeech1

First Winner of Earth Water Sky Residency Programme

The UK artist Emma Critchley who specialises in underwater work has been announced as the first winner of the residency programme funded by Didier et Martine Primat Foundation, initiated for Science Gallery Venice.

Emma won from an open call of nearly 150 entrants from 32 different countries.

She will begin her residency this June 2019, working with the world renowned environmental scientist, Professor Carlo Barbante, based at Ca Foscari University of Venice, the partner university of Science Gallery Venice. He is the Italian lead on the Ice Memory project which is building a library of ice core samples from glaciers  to be stored in Antartica. 

The jury who selected Emma comprised Pedro Gadanho, Founding Director of MAAT, Lisbon, members of the Didier et Martine Primate Foundation, Claudia Schnugg Creative Director of Science Gallery Venice and Professor Carlo Barbante and I.

Figures of Speech: Emma Critchley

Ariane Koek - IrisVan-Herpen-MLI3864

Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination

Bildmuseet for the first time achieved national television coverage due to Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination which I devised and curated.

The exhibition is based on my knowledge, experience and passion for the field of particle physics and contemporary art.

A catalogue based on the exhibition will be published in April 2019 by Hatje Kantz with essays by best selling physicist Carlo Rovelli, the Director of Arts Catalyst, Nicola Triscott, art historian Gavin Parkinson,  and the popular science writer Phillip Ball.

Mikael Lundgren/Bildmuseet

Ariane Koek - ERICA

One of Them is A Human

I was commissioned by the Finnish artist and photographer Maija Tammi to write the text about her ground-breaking work  - One of Them is A Human -  for her first solo show in Berlin, Germany which opened on December 7th 2018.

One of the images in the series, Erica, won two awards at the world's largest photographic portrait prize competition hosted by the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2017, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.


The mere shortlisting of the portrait as one of the finalists became a media event; The New York Times wrote: "Do androids dream about being featured in portrait competitions?" and Xinhua news in China wrote: "Portrait of android shortlisted in human portrait competition".


The rules of the competition state that the image "must have been taken by the entrant from life and with a living sitter." 


Whether or not an android is a living sitter naturally depends how "alive" is defined. Welcome to a posthuman era.

My text for the solo show looks at these issues.


Erica by Maija Tammi from the series One of Them is A Human

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