We are pleased to collaborate with the Art Laboratory Berlin to exhibit the projects of Shanghai-based media artist and researcher Vivian Xu in Europe for the first time. Beijing-born Vivian Xu is a media artist and researcher based in Shanghai. Her Silkworm Project explores the possibilities of using silkworms to design a series of hybrid biomass machines capable of producing self-organized flat and spatial silk structures. In her work, Xu is interested in how far the behavior of insects can serve as a foundation for technological design. She develops cybernetic machines based on both biological and computer-controlled logic.
The Silkworm Project is the first of an ongoing series titled The Insect Trilogy, in which she examines the behavior of silkworms, ants and bees in order to take this into account in the design of machines. Combining the 5000 year-old tradition of sericulture with new technologies, Vivian Xu's work investigates the role of human and nonhuman, biological and technological, and the permeable borders between them. Her silk machines are based on a closed feedback loop that creates an autonomous production system that is both organic and artificial, biological and computational.
The exhibition will present multiple prototypes and documentation of previous experiments as well as a new machine interacting with live silkworms. The most recent prototype of the Silkworm Project, Machine III—Magnetic Spinning Machine, has been financially supported by Art Laboratory Berlin. Art Laboratory Berlin is proud to exhibit the projects by Shanghai-based media artist and researcher Vivian Xu for the first time in Europe.
The exhibition, talks, a symposium, and a workshop on sericulture by Vivian Xu, during her four-month artistic research stay in Berlin, will provide the public with insights into this fascinating long-term project.