“Enter the Hyper-Scientific” announces its new cohort for 2024/25

© 2024 EPFL

© 2024 EPFL

For the 2024/25 edition of the EPFL College of Humanities (CDH) Artist-in-Residence program “Enter the Hyper-Scientific,” five outstanding artists – Alice Bucknell, Josua Putzke, Sahej Rahel, and the duo of Matthew C. Wilson and Emilia Tapprest – have been selected from among over 200 applications to come to campus and create innovative works of art through collaborations with different researchers and laboratories.

In autumn 2021, the CDH AiR program “Enter the Hyper-Scientific” was launched in its first international edition. The program offers three-month residencies where artists work in collaboration with different laboratories on the EPFL campus with the aim of fostering transdisciplinary encounters between creative practitioners and EPFL’s scientific community to realize innovative works, which are then presented in public exhibitions at EPFL Pavilions. By bringing together artists and scientists, the program creates a dynamic, critical, and inspiring platform for propelling aesthetic investigations at the intersection of art, technology, science, and the humanities.

This year’s artists’ projects, which will culminate in solo presentations at EPFL Pavilions, were chosen from over 200 applicants from around the world: Staring at the Sun by Alice Bucknell (USA), The Breathing Sphere by Josua Putzke (Germany), The Entity by Sahej Rahel (India), and Interspecies Interfaces by Emilia Tapprest (Finland, France) and Matthew C. Wilson (USA). These artists come from a wide range of backgrounds and media, from film to design, to digital media, gaming and worldbuilding. Their projects will be developed in close collaboration with various labs and scientists across campus.

For the 2024-25 edition of “Enter the Hyper-Scientific”, artists could apply to one of four tracks:

  • Open Transdisciplinary welcomes international artists and practitioners from all disciplines and media to propose projects which reflect the main intention of the program, namely to investigate the fluid intersection between art, humanities, science, and technology.
  • Scientific Imaging, in collaboration with the EPFL Center for Imaging, prioritizes artists familiar with imaging technologies, CGI, digital practices, and visual arts more broadly.
  • Environmental Transformation in collaboration with CLIMACT, the Center for Climate Impact and Action, invites visual artists and designers to engage in a creative manner with topical themes related to climate transformation.
  • Special Track: Explorations in Geometry, Computation, and Matter, in conjunction with EPFL Geometric Computing Laboratory (GCM), invites artists, designers, and makers to engage in an intense collaboration with researchers and fabrication experts at GCM.

Three of the four winning projects were selected by a jury composed of Mónica Bello (Curator and Head of Arts at CERN), Giulia Bini (Curator and Head of Program, EPFL CDH AiR), Natalie Esteve (Head of Visual Arts, City of Lausanne) and Isaline Vuille (Ville de Lausanne), Fréderic Kaplan (Dean, College of Humanities), Sarah Kenderdine (Director, EPFL Pavilions), Charmilie Nault (Project Manager, CLIMACT) and Nicolas Tétreault (Executive Director, CLIMACT).

The fourth project from Josua Putzke was selected by Professor Mark Pauly of the EPFL Geometric Computing Laboratory (GCM), as part of a fully-supported special track.

“We are delighted to see the program growing, as reflected by the exponential quality of applications, and deeply grateful for the interest shown in the program by many incredible international artists. We look forward to developing projects and welcoming this year's winning artists to work in dialogue with our community on compelling new artistic productions stemming from adventurous dialogues and exchanges” says Bini. “Enter the Hyper-Scientific is establishing itself as a platform for experimentation and innovation, with tangible impacts for artistic as well as scientific research for the artists and the scientists involved in the realization of the projects.”

Since 2022, the City of Lausanne has been an important partner of the program, providing the selected artists accommodation and working space in the housing cooperative La Meute, located in the new Plaines-du-Loup eco-district. This innovative and collective housing project, which brings together cultural figures, students, families, and asylum-seekers, fosters exchanges between the artists and Lausanne’s rich art scene.

The EPFL CDH AiR program/Enter the Hyper-Scientific thanks all applicants for their interest, and looks forward to seeing the amazing works that will be produced in this third edition.

Selected artists and their projects

Alice Bucknell: Staring at the Sun
Alice Bucknell © Alice Bucknell

Alice Bucknell is a North American artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Using game engines and speculative fiction, their work explores interconnections between architecture, ecology, magic, and non-human and machine intelligence. Their work has appeared at Ars Electronica with transmediale, the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles, Singapore Art Museum, and the Serpentine Gallery in London, among many others. Their writing appears in publications such as ArtReview, e-flux architecture, Frieze, and the Harvard Design Magazine.

Staring at the Sun is a research project and multimedia “sci-fi documentary” that’s rooted within an unfolding dialogue around planetary-scale climate modification projects, critically examining contemporary solar geoengineering proposals including stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) that are currently undergoing research development in the United States and the European Union. Embedded inside the fiction-theory narrative of Staring at the Sun is a video game called Earth Engine. Earth Engine onboards concepts of posthuman playability in gaming, leveraging climate projection data to spawn an open-ended environment where the planet is the player. Taken together, Staring at the Sun and Earth Engine broadly examine the paradox of predictive technologies in foreclosing other possible futures. While in residence at EPFL, Bucknell will research alternative solar futures developed by Global Majority researchers, scientists, and policymakers, as well as collaborate with CLIMACT to better understand how such data is visualized. The final iteration of this project will take the form of a “sci-fi documentary” video work set between Wyoming and Lausanne.

Collaboration: CLIMACT


Sahej Rahal: The Entity

Sahej Rahal © Reece Straw

Sahej Rahal is primarily a storyteller. He weaves together fact and fiction to create mythological worlds that unfold within the present. These myth-worlds take the shape of sculptures, performances, films, paintings, installations, and AI simulation programs in which indeterminate beings begin to emerge from the cracks between the real and the imagined. Rahal's participation in group and solo exhibitions include Manifesta 2022, the 2021 Gwangju Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, the Kochi Biennale, the Vancouver Biennale, the MACRO Museum Rome, Kadist SF, ACCA Melbourne, and CCA Glasgow.

During his EPFL residency, Rahal aims to create cybernetic playgrounds of cohabitation that can orchestrate a conversation between human and extra-human forms of intelligence—playgrounds consisting of AI-simulated worlds, but also physical counterparts of those worlds’ creatures rendered as drawings, diagrams, and sculptures. Scientists and researchers working at the EPFL, as well as guest philosophers, will be invited into these playgrounds as investigative agents and join Rahal in conspiring around a speculative ontology of intelligence that will manifest in subversive acts of storytelling, secrecy, recollection, recitation, and rumor.

Collaborations: EPFL broad scientific community


Matthew C. Wilson and Emilia Tapprest: Interspecies Interfaces

Matthew C. Wilson and Emilia Tapprest © Silvia Longhi - Fabrica Research Centre

Matthew C. Wilson is a filmmaker and artist from the United States based in the Netherlands. In his videos, sculptures, and installations, viewers meet human, non-human, and inter-subjective agents that are entangled with natural processes and shape-shifting historical forces. His projects utilize research-oriented, site-specific, and methodologically eclectic approaches to track the inertia of modernity through contemporary ecological crises and into speculative futures. His moving image works have screened on Vdrome.org, at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.

Emilia Tapprest (NVISIBLE.STUDIO) is a Finnish-French filmmaker and visual artist based in Amsterdam. Her collaborative work explores how emerging developments in technology and social imaginaries interact with the post-industrial subject in affective, preconscious, and sensorial ways, often within speculative scenarios. Her work has been presented on international platforms such as Vdrome, Kunstverein Schattendorf, Impakt Festival, VISIO European Programme on Artists' Moving Images, and Bologna Art City

Other species’ senses are tuned into phenomena outside of the human sensorium, from subtle electromagnetic fields and minor fluctuations in turbulence or vibrations in air, water, and earth to the faintest of molecular traces. Interspecies Interfaces engages with emerging developments in sensory augmentation and AI, exploring how the convergence of these technologies could profoundly alter humans’ ability to attune themselves with other animals’ sensory realities. During their residency at EPFL, Wilson and Tapprest will prototype scenarios where these technological convergences have been extended and become widely adopted, considering their potential implications on collective values and behavior. The duo’s research at EPFL will result in a series of cinematic vignettes that invite audiences to inhabit speculative worlds following the arrival of interspecies interfaces.

Collaborations: EPFL broad scientific community


Josua Petzke: The Breathing Sphere (working title)

Josua Putzke © Nehemia Turban

Josua Putzke is a founder, designer, and expert in material and process design, working with materials and machines, geometries and mechanics. In his father’s workshop he learned to reconcile the physical world with his sparkling imagination, exploring models and ideas. After graduating from the Berlin University of the Arts, Putzke taught part-time and started his career as a freelance designer, leading to the foundation of the RLON Studio for Physical Storytelling. He is also cofounder of the companies syntax.lights and Quantix Interdimensional Structures.

During his residency at EPFL, Putzke will work on a kinetic installation in conjunction with Mark Pauly’s Geometric Computing Laboratory. The process will seek out a mesmerizing effect through graceful technology interlinking a multitude of parts that function together as one synergetic system. The outcome will be a poetic apparatus driven by only one motor, or similar manual means of propulsion, making it clearly visible how all the parts are connected and move in synchronicity through forces that originate in one point and proceed from part to part through its synergetic structure. Putzke's work invites viewers to contemplate the delicate interconnectedness of all that there is, and how a change of state in one point will always affect the whole. The installation translates the findings of quantum entanglement into kinetics, and through focused observation it foregrounds awareness that we are already in constant interaction with our environment.

Partner: Geometric Computing Laboratory

Authors: Lucie Ryser, Stephanie Parker

Source: College of humanities | CDH

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Images to download

Samsara © Josua Putzke - Nehemia Turban
Samsara © Josua Putzke - Nehemia Turban
Still from Earth Engine © Alice Bucknell
Still from Earth Engine © Alice Bucknell
Anhad | The unscalable © 2023 The Artist and JUNGE AKADEMIE, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Anhad | The unscalable © 2023 The Artist and JUNGE AKADEMIE, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Factitious Reservoirs © Matthew C. Wilson
Factitious Reservoirs © Matthew C. Wilson

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