Medical Museion posts

Alter-realism — dispense with the sci- and bioart gallery and make scientific reality our experimentation lab

In the early morning — just before Johanna began to make the usual noices to indicate she wanted to be transferred to our bed for a last cosy hour of sleep — my eyes fell on this sentence in a piece by Douglas Haddow in Adbusters (‘The coming barbarism’):

Rather than Bourriaud’s altermodernism, we should pursue an alter-realism: dispense with the art gallery altogether and make reality our experimentation lab.

I admit it’s taken out of context. Nevertheless, try to translate the sentence into the domain of science/medical museums and sci- and bioart, as represented by, for example, the Wellcome Collection:

Dispense with the sci- and bioart gallery and make scientific reality our experimentation lab.

In other words, don’t move the aesthetic out of the laboratory into galleries and museum exhibitions (this is what all sci- and bioartists so far have been doing). Go to the lab instead, do some real experiments and re-frame this practice into an aesthetic experiment within the walls of the lab itself. The lab is your art gallery.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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