Photos: Nici Jost
The Serendipity exhibition at the Foyer of the Hochhaus at HGK FHNW in Basel attempted a multi-level presentation of our project. The space was designed to serve this purpose.
The outer surface represented a map of ideas, processes and inspirations quoting the IKT/INKA staff on the question of the Ideal Material. We asked them to imagine its properties and its functions. How should it help or change humanity and how might it be researched? What small or fantastic steps might be taken to this end?
The inner passage unfolded art works which were inspired through the duration of this project.
The core of the Structure revealed the essential of the project: material samples, sketches on the profile of the Ideal Material and experiments of our residence at IKT/INKA laboratories, the real space where Serendipity can manifest.
The initial idea of this project was simply to enter the polymer science world with innocence and curiosity, to let ourselves be seduced by polymers. The fascinating thing about polymers is that they can be designed, formulated and manipulated for almost any kind of application. Polymers can be anything and anything can be made out of polymers. We were also curious about their potential, as well as their limitations. Do we understand them? Are we actually using them in the right way? How far are they from the Ideal Material?
H.-J. Rheinberger has characterized Research as an epistemic searching movement on the border between the known and unknown. Scientific experiments are designed and performed to let something come to light, from which one still has no precise idea. The history of science is full of stories about surprising turns from which the discovery principle cannot be reduced to pure chance. They can be described by the term Serendipity.
Serendipity / Discovery, chance or investigating skill?
Photos: Nici Jost
„... This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word, which, as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavor to explain to you: you will understand it better by derivation than by definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called the three Princes of Serendip: as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse on the right- now do you understand Serendipity?.... „
H. Walpole, 1754, Extract from „The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity" R.K. Merton and E. Barber, Princeton University Press (2006)
Collaboration project with the Institutes of Polymer Engineering (IKT) and Polymer Nanotechnology (INKA)
FHNW, Brugg-Windisch, Switzerland
Concept and Project Coordination: Yota Tsotra
Participating artists: Nici Jost, Dawn Nilo, Maeva Rosset, Yota Tsotra