Control | Experiment

Stockholm University, June 14-17, 2016

The concept of experiment is governed by competing ideals of control and playful freedom. While the controlled experiment is widely regarded as the gold standard of the natural sciences, the aspiration to control, direct, test and constrain novel operations is also prominent in artistic, social and political practices of experimentation. The experimentalism of the arts, where to experiment connotes defiance of rigid norms and expectations and an openness to indeterminacy and even failure, likewise finds its counterpart in the exploratory dimension of scientific research. The dark legacies of authoritarian political experiments likewise stand in tension with the emancipatory promises of liberal ‘experiments in living.’

Control-Experiment is an experiment with the aesthetic forms and media through which to think through Control—the theme of this year’s meeting of the European Society for Science, Literature and the Arts. In order that we might deal playfully with Control—test and display its logics—the exhibition mobilizes the dialectic of control at the core of the concept of experiment by embedding installations, films and performances within the physical and temporal bounds of the conference. In doing so, it also functions as a demonstration experiment and an argument for the importance of engaging a multiplicity of material practices in thinking through Control in the domains of Aesthetics, Animal, Bacteria, Borders, Climate, Desire, Life, Security and War. The exhibition includes works by Nils Agdler and Timo Menke, Naja Ankarfeldt, Yusef Audeh, Max Colson, Fiona Davies, Enrique Enriquez, Hanna Husberg, Ryan Jeffery and Boaz Levin, Anna Kedziora, Fröydi Laszlo, Fay Stevens and Robert Good, Steve Rowell and Josh Wodak.

Curated by Dehlia Hannah

Image: Enrique Enriquez, Kontrol Eksperiment, 2016.

The experiment is the circle, the control is the square. The point is to outline four corners that are both dry and wet.