2019 – UNLABELLED (Color BioLab)

In common language, the term labelling refers to the abstract categorization of objects and individuals. From the literal labelling of laboratory samples, to the label texts attached to artworks, partitions are created. By metonymy, on a social level, the labelling consists in the formation of social constructs that produce exclusion. By putting a label on an object or on an individual, one embeds it in a particular realm, disconnecting them from any other realm.
If labels have an organizing and structuring function, they also participate in the limitation of scopes. This exhibition is an attempt to delabel in order to re-think the mental constructs one has about art and science.

The idea breaking with labels takes root in the LABORATORIUM/Color biolab, situated within KASK. This laboratory is a research project conducted by María Boto Ordóñez and Kristel Peters which focuses on new ways of approaching the color field. Starting from traditional coloring, to living organisms or waste, this project aims to reflect about the possibilities of new coloring sources, and the implications involved. As a biolab in art and design it focuses on exploring different interactions between art, science and technology. The Color biolab’s initiative is to breach the usual dichotomy and to create an occasion for art and science to interact, to conflate.
Often asepticised, secluded and reserved for scientific purposes, a laboratory is a place for scrutiny. Seemingly opposed to the immaculate space of scientific research, is the artist’s studio. Expected to reflect on creativity, the studio tends to be subject to preconceptions. For two types of creativity, two separate shelters. Nonetheless, scientists as well as artists seek « a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study ».

This exhibition celebrates four years of researching the color field, offering a transdisciplinary approach to both art and science. The presence of a biology lab in an art school, produces bilateral opportunities to thrive and to learn. The symbiotic relationship deriving from this bipolar project, forces one to reconsider and rethink the labels attributed, therefore making the partition between art and science more permeable.

UNLABELLED, curated by Alice Lefebvre and Bert Puype.
In collaboration with María Boto Ordóñez and Kristel Peters from the LABORATORIUM/Color biolab.

Opening: 18 September, 2019, from 7pm
Exhibition: 18 September – 6 October 019
Mo – Fri: 14:00 – 18:00
Sa – Su: 11:00 – 18:00
Zwarte Zaal – KASK
Louis Pasteurlaan
9000 Gent

With the participation of Peter Beyls, Tim Theo Deceuninck, Sina Hensel, Elias Heuninck, Jerry Galle, Annemarie Maes, Vanessa Müller, Pepa Ivanova and others to be announced.


Bio: AnneMarie Maes is an artist who has been studying the close interactions and co-evolutions within urban ecosystems. Her research practice combines art and science, with a keen interest in DIY technologies and biotechnology. She works with a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including live organisms. Her artistic research is materialised in techno-organic objects that are inspired by factual/fictional stories; in artefacts that are a combination of digital fabrication and craftsmanship; in installations that reflect both the problem and the (possible) solution, in multispecies collaborations, in polymorphic forms and models created by eco-data. 
On the rooftop of her studio in Brussels she has created an open- air lab and experimental garden where she studies the processes that nature employs to create form. Her research provides an ongoing source of inspiration for her artworks.
Bee Agency as well as the Laboratory for Form and Matter -in which she experiments with bacteria and living textiles – provide a framework that has inspired a wide range of installations, sculptures, photography works, objects and books – all at the intersection of art, science and technology. The choice of materials is a primary aspect of her artworks. The physical and aesthetic features of the materials she works with determine the forms of the individual sculptures, objects or textiles. Her artworks are appealing to touch and smell, but as well they attract the spectator in an aesthetic and visual way.
AnneMarie Maes has exhibited in art centres and at festivals around the world. In 2017, she received an Honorary Mention in the Hybrid Art category at Ars Electronica for the Intelligent Guerrilla Beehive project.

‘Bee’ (head)
Scanning Electron Micrography of a Honeybee’s Head (2018)
B/W print on Hahnemühle paper 300gr 165cm x 215cm

‘Intelligent Guerrilla Beehive research’
Objects and 3D prints (2017-2019), each 13cm x 13cm x 13cm
Belonging to a series of 12 small sculptures, developed during the research of the IntelligentGuerrilla Beehive project.
The objects are presented in clear plexi boxes, each 13cm x 13cm x 13cm, on white sand. 
Materials: wax, latex, epoxy, bacteria, algae, organic & vegetal dyes, electronics, 3D printed PLA, seeds, aquarium sand.
‘Alchimia Nova’ (10’37”) – video presented in custommade metal box. Raspberry Pi mediaplayer.

Bee (head): Since Darwin, it is clear that flowers and bees engage in an evolutionary race. The honeybee is a complex insect with numerous sensorial features which are matching perfectly with the demands of sensual plants. The black-and-white photographs reveal the elaborate design of some dissected parts of flowers and honeybees. All samples are collected in the Urban Bee Lab, Maes’ apiary and rooftop garden laboratory in the centre of Brussels. The artist made the images with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) in the laboratory of chemical engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), with the help of Dr. Alexander Lutz.

Intelligent Guerrilla Beehive research (Laboratory for Form & Matter): The Intelligent Guerilla Beehive is an artwork and a prototype for a speculative research project. It is a mobile shelter for swarming honeybees that combines in a radical way smart materials, biomimetic forms and biotechnology. The beehive is equipped with sensors to monitor the health status of the environment and that of the bees. Colonies of color-changing bacteria, living on the skin of the hive, act as biosensors. These small sculptures, belonging to a series of 12, were developed during the research of the IntelligentGuerrilla Beehive project.

Alchimia Nova: The video, filmed in the studio and open air laboratory of AnneMarie Maes, gives an overview of the different elements of the Sensorial Skin-research.