Ingeborg Reichle 2008
Herwig Turk : labscapes
herwig turk’s works agents and labscapes (both 2007), which have the effect of conceptual still lifes, create an ethnographic way of seeing scientific instruments. With their concentration on presenting the materiality of the laboratory objects comes an exciting statement on the process of knowledge-creation in the laboratory.
The pictures show us the laboratory in documentary style and with precision of detail as the location of real empirical research. The con- centration on individual instruments means that they are separated from their everyday uses in the laboratory and that their sculptural qualities are thus brought out. This artistic strategy furthers the perception of the laboratory instruments as active agents.
The still lifes present the laboratory as a condensed environment where natural and social orders are reconfigured, their relationship to each other not being always unambiguous. In laboratory practice—as in art practice—objects are taken out of their “natural” surroundings and installed in a new context, where social agents are defined and constantly renegotiated in terms of meaning. Natural objects can be modelled and transformed in the laboratory in such a way that they become epistemic objects whose rebirth is indelibly connected with the necessary technical or instrumental conditions.