MUDAM Artist Residency – The Collective Laboratory

From 27 November 2023 until 24 January 2024, MUDAM (The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg) transforms its galleries into a lively space dedicated to artistic production.

The Collective Laboratory – this is the name of this new “exhibition” – is an experimental project that unfolds in Mudam’s first floor galleries, turning them into a residency space. This space becomes the home of six independent publishing and performance collectives based in different European cities.

The Collective Laboratory takes place at a time when artists are increasingly turning to collaborative approaches as necessary ways to rethink, reshuffle and at times circumvent institutional models and methodologies.

In the framework of this approach, the East Gallery of the museum becomes a dynamic space for open rehearsals and other happenings.

Here, The Collective Laboratory began with gobyfish, an all womxn artist-cooking collective based in London and founded by artists Fenella Brereton and Maria Magoga who were joined by Hamaoui in 2022.

Using food as a metaphor, these artists address environmental issues, using and transforming the gallery into a food laboratory.

Crème soleil, a collective formed in Paris by choreographers, dancers and visual artists Tilhenn Klapper, Félix Touzalin and Anaïs Barras, adapt an existing performance “Horse Pill” (2022) to a museum context.

OMSK Social Club, a Berlin-based collective founded in 2016, expand on the work “T(())mb” (2023) initially commissioned by Kunstraum Niederösterreich in Vienna, developing a fictional world in which Mudam’s visitors are invited to immerse themselves.

The West Gallery hosts the behind-the-scenes and often invisible activities of independent and editorial work, allowing publishing to enter in dialogue with other disciplines.

moilesautresart, an interdisciplinary collective based in Brussels, dedicate their residency to their next publication centered around geological, virtual and metaphorical holes.

The last two collectives-in-residence explore the transition between their digital and analogue existence from different perspectives.

Éditions Burn~Août, named after a wordplay combining the month of August (“août” in French) and the notion of “burn-out”, is a non-profit publishing house founded in 2018 in response to the attempted suicide of a student and fellow activist from the union ‘Syndicat Solidaire” who set himself on fire in Lyon. During their residence at MUDAM, they focus on the link between their print production and its online existence and the way their editorial work can be transposed digitally in a more permanent way.

As part of The Collective Laboratory, music cannot be forgotten.

I had the opportunity to attend Tape Heads, a workshop by Mnemozine, an interdisciplinary research and art collective based in Luxembourg, which brings together musicians, artists, curators and cultural workers and defines itself as a platform for experiments in philosophy, sociology and contemporary art practice.

The workshop guides the audience through a conversation on the concept of “technological obsolescence”, exploring the use of an old medium and rediscovering the world of magnetic music.

The workshop also becomes an interesting conversation around television, VHS, camcorders, CCTV cameras, audio effects interfaces and samplers.

The whole idea is to give a new life to these instruments. For example, CCTV cameras previously used for monitoring purposes become tools to create special visual effects.

These young artists perfectly manage the new digital technology tools, therefore when I asked them about their preferences or their thoughts on “digital” music compared to “analogue” or “magnetic” music they share my thoughts. They question the use (and abuse) of “AI applied to music”, but they also recognize some merits to it.

My example is more specific. I mentioned “The Dark Side of the Moon (50th Anniversary) [2023 Remaster]”, pointing out that I was not scared of listening to it. On the contrary, the use of technology has helped to find some hidden textures in the music.

A clean sound, created with the help of technology, is not a worse sound if compared to the original. At least, not always.

Most of these artists have never used a Boombox or a Walkman. Some of them remember “MiniDiscs” and, of course, CDs, but they have grown up with the idea that art is transformative by definition and tools can be used for a different scope compared to the original.

Art has no time and no boundaries. Art is a matter of feelings, being them “analogue” or “digital”.

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