International Festival
of Computer Arts

Project

Makrolab

  • Installation
Artist Marko Peljhan
Makrolab

A fusion of art, science and communication technology, the integral project of Makrolab (1997 - 2007) was a mobile and ecologically sustainable living, research and communication unit. It saw its first presentation in the art context on the Luttenberg hill near Kassel, at the exhibition Documenta X. The group of artists and scientists who lived and worked at the Makrolab station fashioned a conceptual landscape there: an immaterial environment of telephone and aerial communications, television signals, and radio airwaves. Makrolab was designed as an autonomous environment, powered by sustainable sources of energy(solar and wind power), and for prolonged existence in an isolated environment, where it could withstand extreme natural conditions. It had three basic structural dimensions- analytical, processual, and performative- and was interested in the integral research of three dynamic global systems: telecommunications, the weather and climate, and migration(of people, capital, goods, flora, and fauna). One of the primary communication media that the project used was its website; others included direct satellite radio and data transmission, microwave, and high-frequency links.

Telecommunication, the main aspect of the project, was concentrated on the discovery and recording of the events which took place in the densely populated abstract areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. It was created as a process of transcribing invisible and vague micro-environmental activities into traditional, threedimensional textures-documents. Since its first prototype mark I at the Dokumenta, Makrolab has made many nomadic moves: to Australia in 2000 and Scotland in 2002 to its last presentation as a working station in the form of mark II prototype at the Campalto island in the Venetian Lagoon during the 2003 Biennale. The processing of the collated data always depended on the specific natural, geopolitical, and cultural environment that the station inhibited at the time and targeted specific research and exhibition goals.

The next stage of the project was permanent art and scientific research station in the Arctic; the Makrolab modules were there operated by Inuit tactical-media workers and hunters. Autonomous micropolitical processing of global data was to become established in the transnational polar region as a structure that is directly integrated into the global geopolitical currents through its isolation. This scenario corresponds to the proposition that individuals in limited but intense isolation produce a more revolutionary code than massive social movements.