Swiss Institute presents the second Reading Room exhibition, Science of Rehearsal, conceived by artist and curator Julia Tcharfas and academic Tim Ivison.
Science of Rehearsal
For Science of Rehearsal, Tcharfas and Ivison have assembled materials from the archives of the Theater of All Possibilities and the Institute of Ecotechnics, drawing connections between their practices through careful juxtaposition of photographs, documents, and objects.
The Theater of All Possibilities and the Institute of Ecotechnics are perhaps best known for their role in the first two missions carried out in Biosphere 2 (1991-94), the largest and most complex closed-system ecological facility ever built. Originally designed to model the adaptive performance of living systems, the structure contained seven interconnected ecological biomes supported by a vast technical apparatus. In the first mission, eight crewmembers lived for two years within the enclosure, growing, harvesting and cooking their own food, and thereby testing the scientific and sociological possibilities for human life inside biospheres on other planets or in alternative atmospheric conditions.
Although the Theater and the Institute have addressed distinct artistic and academic communities through their institutional guises, Science of Rehearsal underlines the common framework of performance, rehearsal, training, experiment and improvisation inherent to both. Bringing together zines, photographs, biospherian suits and data reports, fantastical theater costumes and handwritten notes, Ivison and Tcharfas animate the links between art, literature, performance and community in the development of a technoculture able to confront contemporary ecological conditions.
About Julia Tcharfas, Tim Ivison, the Theater of All Possibilities and the Institute for Ecotechnics
Julia Tcharfas is an artist and curator based in Los Angeles. Her research draws on materials from modern scientific and technological folklore and often engages with design and performance of artificial natures. A profile about her practice is featured in the Swiss Institute’s ‘SI: Visions’ video series. Tcharfas is the founder of Before Present in Los Angeles and has recently exhibited work in Project 1049, Gstaad; Transformation Marathon, Serpentine Gallery, London; and Fluent Gallery, Santander.
Tim Ivison is an interdisciplinary scholar working on the political ecology of modern cities and urban planning. He teaches in both Liberal Arts and History + Theory at SCI-Arc and in the department of Humanities and Sciences at Art Center College of Design. Recent collaborations with the artist Julia Tcharfas include 710; Operations Theater; and T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I. at Before Present, Los Angeles.
Based at Synergia Ranch in New Mexico since 1969, the Theater of All Possibilities has pursued experimental performance and embodied ecological research in locations around the world. The Institute of Ecotechnics, also based at Synergia Ranch since 1973 and involving members of the Theater, has been dedicated to studying the intersections of ecology and technics, or ecotechnics. Together, the Theater and the Institute share a mission: ‘to end the separation of science and art,’ inspired as much by Konstantin Stanislavski and Bertolt Brecht as by Buckminster Fuller and Vladimir Vernadsky.
Image: Space Biospheres Ventures, 1991.