LABORATORIUM/Color Biolab

Tekst: Bert Puype & Alice Lefebvre

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Started in 2016 and conducted by biologist María Boto Ordóñez and shoe designer Kristel Peters, the LABORATORIUM/Color Biolab is a transdisciplinary research project focusing on new ways of creating colors. Guided by the two researcher’s expertise, artists and students of KASK have been invited to take part in the Colorlab project and to participate in the development of the research: microorganisms have been cultured, pigment extraction has been performed and applied, and microbial visualization or chemical reactions have been conducted.

Over the last four years, the Colorlab has explored, beyond the scope of biocoloring, the intertwining of art/design and biotechnologies. Color has been used as a common interest, breaching the usual science and art dichotomy, thereby working towards a more unified field of study. From hands-on workshops where people were invited to use dyes on fabrics (Harbinger Subtle collisions), symposiums presenting the latest color research (ICA Belgium Colour Symposium), to collaborative artworks (Faro Elias Heuninck in joint effort with the Colorlab), the LABORATORIUM/ Color Biolab has created a dialogue between artistic practices and biology and has resulted in many activities and collaboration.

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Algen printpapier

The research has introduced a new approach to both art and science, producing bilateral opportunities to thrive and to learn. The symbiotic relationship deriving from this bipolar project, has pushed us to reconsider the scientific field, as well as the artistic, and to rethink the labels long attributed. Set astride two distinct entities, the LABORATORIUM/Color Biolab has opened up its doors and assumed its full meaning of “a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study1”. The partitions have yielded, the labels no longer stand and through the lab itself, the antagonism of art and science has disappeared to make room for a common practice, a common language.

As part of the end program of LABORATORIUM / Color Biolab, two exhibitions were on show at KASK during the month of September: Interaction of Color, in the Kunstenbibliotheek 1M3 vitrine, and Seeing together: a synopsis at Zwarte Zaal. A conference, HACK THE LAB, has been held on the 3rd and 4th of October

This research project was made possible by the support of the Onderzoeksfonds Kunsten of KASK & Conservatorium, HOGENT

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