STUDIOTOPIA is a European initiative that seeks to inspire transdisciplinary innovation in addressing the ecological implications of the Anthropocene. It consists of eight European cultural institutions: Center for Fine Arts (BOZAR) and GLUON in Brussels, Ars Electronica in Linz, Cluj Cultural Centre in Cluj, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdansk, Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Laboral in Gijon. In the STUDIOTOPIA Art & Science Residency, artists and scientists are paired and supported by a STUDIOTOPIA partner to collaboratively create a residency programme tailored to how their individual research and practice can converge.
Sanneke Stigter (Conservation and Restoration) and Sven Dupré (professor of History of Art, Science and Technology) have been selected for the STUDIOTOPIA Art & Science Residency programme, in which they will collaborate with artist Ciprian Muresan to work towards improving the sustainability of conservation.
Their project, titled Quietly Subversive - Towards Sustainable Conservation, seeks to improve the sustainability of conservation itself, not by advancements in the natural sciences, but especially by attempting to realise a change in behaviour with those in power and responsibility of preserving our cultural heritage, using research methods from the humanities and the social sciences. Acknowledging that the physical characteristics of artworks change over time, as do their socio-political contexts, how does this relate to the role of conservation?
Stigter, Dupré and Muresan will explore the steering mechanisms of museum practices and conservation strategies with the aim to enhance the conservation of our cultural heritage, eliciting better awareness about possible change in artworks from within the art (making) context. In line with Ciprian Muresan’s artistic practices, characterised as being ‘quietly subversive’, this project builds on current developments in conservation and uses ethnographic research methods to advance the discipline. In response to the challenge of sustainable conservation, and taking Muresan’s artwork as a point of departure – and return – the scholars will develop two research directions in a collaborative effort. One strand addresses the institutional mechanisms behind conservation sustainability by developing ‘inverted interviews’. A second research strand explores alternative modes of presentation beyond the artwork’s initial physical features in an experiment with alternative forms of display.