FOOD FOR THOUGHT
FABRICE HYBER & ROBERT LANGER
October 19, 2007 - January 6, 2008
Food For Thought a major contemporary art installation resulting from a collaborative experiment between the artist Fabrice Hyber and the Mit scientist Robert Langer;
What is intelligence? Is it genetic – or a product of the environment? Might it be simple cultural artifact?
The scientific response is as uncertain as the artistic response diverse. Le Laboratoire explores such questions through its 2007/8 artscience experiments. These experiments are seen in le Laboratoire by way of films of the creative process, le Laboratoire’s first “novel catalogue,” Niche (édition le Laboratoire et ensBa, 2007), a new genre created by David Edwards, novelist jay cantor, and photographer Daniel Faust, and the following art and design exhibitions.
Stem cell transformations: a frontier of biomedical science. Accompanied by Le Laboratoire artistic director Caroline Naphegyi, the artist and scientist met at Mit in Boston in January 2007. From their weeklong encounter the idea emerged to study the experience of a stem cell transforming into a neuron. stem cell transformation is both at the cutting edge of medical science, whereby Robert Langer and his colleagues aim to heal brain injuries, and is metaphorical of intelligence itself.
Since his meeting with Robert Langer, Fabrice Hyber has developed his own vocabulary, gathered data, and developed many ideas. From this process has come notes, paintings, and curious objects: a giant hourglass that reproduces the experience of cellular division, at the core of stem cell transformation; a bath of champagne that resembles the fluid state of the stem cell, and associates stem cell transformation with the fermentation process; a human sculpture comprised of food, suggesting a stem cell’s nutritional environment; a game of intelligence, where players assume the roles of others, capturing the idea of the neuron.
Through many conversations and exchanges with Robert Langer, Fabrice Hyber elaborates his “food for thought.”
The exhibition at le Laboratoire captures an instant of this creative artscience process, an accumulation of scenes and sensual experiences. The proliferation of objects, of models, of videos and paintings recreate the studio/laboratory of the artist as if it were a photograph of his thought.
Fabrice Hyber constructs a meta-space organized by a fusion of forms and senses where the complexity is a kind of image of thought itself.
Design your cells by what you eat! Fabrice Hyber proposes a “sensitive meal” once a month for the duration of the exhibition.
About Fabrice Hyber
Lives and works in Paris. His work has since the mid-80s involved a kind of latticework of autonomous but related pieces whose goal is to represent the proliferation of thought itself. Hyber studied at the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Nantes at the beginning of the 80s, where he became interested in questions of scale, biology and mechanics. An early piece, Transformation of the World into a Thread (1980), posits the concept of the Earth’s density expressed as a single line, and consists of a hand-written calculation resulting in an inconceivably large number. The Islands (1989) is a series of drawings and models which propose an insane architectural project: to lower the level of the sea in such a way as to reunite the continents into one land mass. Such musings represent the way the mind tries to interpret and resolve the complexity of reality by constantly searching for possible – and not so possible - hypotheses. Hyber addresses his themes with an anarchic sense of purpose. His sculpture Translation (1991) consisted of the biggest bar of soap in the world (as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), an imponderable object of such stupefying size as to contradict both experience and logic. In 1997, at the Venice Biennale, he set up a working television studio, broadcasting alongside the national channels, with which the public could freely interact.
About Rober Langer
Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a distinguished and highly regarded researcher in biotechnology, especially in the fields of drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. Dr. Langer’s research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining about $6 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers. Langer’s contributions to medicine and the emerging fields of biotechnology are highly recognized and respected around the world. He is considered a pioneer of many new technologies, including transdermal delivery systems, which allow the administration of drugs or extraction of analytes from the body through the skin without needles or other invasive methods. He and the researchers in his lab have also made significant advances in tissue engineering, such as the creation of vascularized engineered muscle tissue and engineered blood vessels. Langer holds more than 550 granted or pending patents and has authored more than 900 scientific papers. He has proven adroit at bringing together academia and industry and has participated in the founding of more than two dozen companies. He has received numerous awards, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the Lemelson-MIT Prize and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. He is the youngest person in history (at 43) to be elected to all three American science academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, and is the recipient, in 2007, of the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific recognition in the USA.