Vienna Art Week 2013
The exhibition project aims to re-enact scientific experiments that are considered as crucial. What is a crucial experiment?
Some explain it as an experiment that takes place at a fork and helps us to decide which way to go. Think, for instance, of
Einstein’s theory of relativity: His famous “Gedankenexperimente” were elegant, but how to prove that they relate to reality?
Or think of Newton’s prism experiments to show the composition of light. In our time, a crucial experiment may test the “De-Broglie-Bohm
trajectories for indistinguishable particles” to reconsider the wave-particle duality. There are crucial experiments considered
as being successful, and others that failed miserably: see, for example, the article in the journal American Society for Psychical
Research from 1907, in which a physician comes to the conclusion that the soul substance weighs on average 21 grams. Finally,
there were highly controversial crucial experiments, which were wiped from the scientific agenda as if their authors had claimed
to have created gold from sand. However, the question of whether a chemical transfer of knowledge is possible or whether cold
fusion can solve our energy problems might still be a worthwhile pursuit.
The exhibition presents case studies of crucial experiments, which students of the Art & Science master degree programme elaborate
by examining the topic of crucial experiments in the sciences. The methodological framework of “re-enactment” enables the
exploration of historical or contemporary, realistic or fictional, sceptical and obsessive approaches to creating experimental
set-ups by means of different artistic media and research strategies. The outcome of this artistic research should give an
impression of the messy interface and intricate relationships between theory and practice, models and observations, predictions
The compilation of the case studies was conducted in collaboration with cooperation partners at various scientific institutes
in Vienna. The Art & Science students visit and learn at these institutes on a regular basis in order to develop their own
artistic projects in the field and in relation with current issues in research. Drawing from these existing networks, the
group works by the students on “crucial experiments” have been developed in a process of interdisciplinary exchange with the
partner institutes. These re-enacted experiments will be presented at Vienna Art Week 2013, passing on the resulting questions
to a public audience for discussion.
Joan Carles Ballesté, Solmaz Farhang, Maria Christina Hilber, Sebastian Kienzl, Stefanie Koemeda, Max Kropitz, Isidora Krstić,
Anita Peretti, Zahra Shahabi, Al Teleki, Sergio Valenzuela
Based on a cooperation of Art & Science (University of Applied Arts Vienna) with the Department of Limnology (University of
Vienna), the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna), the Department of Diagnostic
Radiology (Medical University of Vienna) and the Edelsbrunner Group (Institute of Science and Technology Austria)
With the support of
Tom Battin, Herbert Edelsbrunner, Franz Kainberger, Andrea Maier, Chris Walzer and other collaborating researchers
Artistic and scientific direction
Bernd Kräftner, Virgil Widrich