Björns estonishing items and the student-workshop

Thunder this night and morning. Reminded me, that Ruslana spoke about changes in weather, since she lives here. Rain-season and dry season are not clearly devided anymore. It rains nearly every day, since I am here. Didn’t sleep well.

Being at Quantum Cafe at 10 am. Expect to meet Christian Kurtsiefer here. Indeed he is speaking with Kuldip – but has no time “I come back later, to you” he says. I get myself a coffee. Some guy run by asking if this is the coffee corner. I say this is the Quantum Cafe. ‘Hopefully not’ he says and leaves. I sit down and wait for Christian. Reading a magazine for physicists about Nuclear Power. The guy comes back, asks for Christians office. Daniel next to me – point him number and floor. I say, that I wait for Christian, too. ‘You should have told him’, says Daniel while leaving. Actually no. Because I don’t know if Christian will really come, second – this conversation was way too fast and confusing, I better stay away. A third time the visitor enters and ask if is the Coffee corner, mentions a meeting. Now, I tell him, that I hope Christian will show up. He sits down, we have a short confusing conversation, when Björn enters our talk. With him, I speak briefly about the location of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ – whether it will take place at 3rd or 6th floor. The visitor leaves without meeting – the only thing I found out, that he is some German physicist, that had a failed meeting at CQT today.

I ask Björn, if I can see his lab? If he maybe has something to contribute to the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ – something ‘ESTONISHING’? He tells me about micro-lithography, currents that are very high concerning the size of conducts – he compares it with the amount of electritiy of a small city that would go through a simple plug. He offers sealing elements made of copper – since they are ‘one-way’ products. He explains, that they are working with extremely low temperatures – nearly absolut zero. Compared to room temperature – it would be like a snowball in the middle of a sun! They cool the atoms down, by applying a certain frequency on the atoms. Only at special frequencies, matching to special sort of atoms (elements) – sort of portraying them – the cooling process works.

Also he has magnets that make spinning tops floating – even graphite. And ceramics, that produces cold on one, and heat on the other side. It seems that if Björn would think more about it, he would have even more estonishing things going on in his research-group. We make a loose appointment for this afternoon.

I enter the office. Jenny is already there. We leave and meet the workshop-people, that I have not met, yet. At my first day, I remember meeting Bob – he gave me spoiled works of aluminium and copper for my collection. Today I meet Sian, he companies us to the physicist-workshop – to search for wood for the installation. But because there was a fire at the building close to CQT, they had to throw most of the wood away. What a shame. Empty handed we leave the workshop. Also, I need a space to work at – I tell Jenny.

Back at CQT workshop I meet Eng Swee – who gives me a box of tools – ordered only for me. I took a photo of key tools in my studio, asking it they can provide them, or if I have to send them. I get glasses, ear-plugs, gloves and some more things. Eng Swee shows me the electronic-workshop – he is mailny responsible for. They can create circuits and have all sorts of electronic components. I have some ideas about that!

Eng Swee, Lian and Irene ask me if I want to join them going to lunch, which I gladly accept. Irene is Human Resource Executive, she can tell, that I am German. She met all the people hired at CQT, so she learned a lot of various cultural behaviour and accents. We are having the self chosen soup. Speaking about urban farming, Lian says, that he knows a garden of a lady, that sells organic vegetables. For 10 $ a bag, but it is nearly one hour by taxi – quite far and expensive to go there. But it sounds interesting.

After lunch meeting Christian – we check the spaces, speaking German. Things seem much easier know – not only because of language. I feel very optimistic in the end, that this is going to be well. We see Jessie, to speak with her about the seven huge cupboards. She will take care, that will leave – only she have to check with Björn, who wouldn’t answer his emails any more.

Preparing the student-workshop for today. Since I couldn’t sleep this night, already had selected images. My workshop is devided in two parts: one an introduction from modern to contemporary art – or rather a small journey. And second a discussion about what students would like to see within the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Run to the seminar room at 5:50 pm – can’t find the remote control for the projector. Looking for help – maybe Evon? Jenny isn’t there. Evon found it – course can start now.

During the whole workshop about 20 people show up. Some came later, some leave earlier. Ken Hoong makes some photos – Jenny, too. She had to leave early. First I welcome the students and ask them to shortly introduce themselves and what they are studying. It turns out, that at the beginning we had people dealing with: Physics, Statistics, Computer-Science, Engineering, Industrial Design, Chemistry, Chemical engineering and Electronics. I introduced three topics to the students: topic ‘inivisible’ – Artworks by Jochen Gerz, Rachel Whiteread, Michael Wesely and Ligna. Second ‘Re-presentation’; a short journey through various ways of representing a heart, than about signs, icons and abstraction – to Malevich, Brancusi, Duchamp, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Fischli & Weiss, Thomas Schütte, Thomas Demand, Joseph Kosuth, Tony Cragg and Rene Magritte. Followed by the Art Science Sight including Gerhard Richter “Strontium”, Jorinde Voigt, Olafur Elisson, Carsten Nicolai, Alice Miceli and Mel Chin.

Since many students didn’t know much about it, I introduce my project a bit. Kick-off for discussion. It turns out, that most of the people haven’t thought of anything related to the CoC before, so it is maybe too early to come-up with ideas. But some improvise: A girl suggests to include parallel mirrors since they show infinity and produce a picture, an image, that is not the person itself, but related to it. Another student suggests to include quantum optics, as interfering patterns, laser, that show the evidence of the wave-nature? One came up with the topic, that quantum physics easily relates to religious topics – like the magic of numbers and other things like that. Someone would like to show the missing link between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, to recombine them.

When I asked, if they wanted me to prepare a special topic, they are interested in – a girl said: “Maybe this doesn’t fit for every-one, but can you tell us, how to appreciate abstract art?” It sounded in a way honest and ironic art the same time. So, I said, “You don’t have to like it. There are some artworks that I don’t like, but it is not necessary to say, that it is not art: I can just decide, that I don’t like it. Also art can also be frustrating or boring – that doesn’t say anything about its quality. But can you tell me which artworks, that I already show, would you like to speak about?” – “The black box” – “Okay, I can tell you more about Donald Judd, but actually, this is not Abstract, but Minimal”. They were also asking me, what do I want to say with my ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’? And what it shall teach. I said, that teaching might be not the right term, since it would mean, that I know anything better, than some-one else.

Workshop ended at 7:55 pm. Some students had ideas – I asked them to participate, with their own mind-maps or they can bring suggestions for the cabinet by monday 16th of April. Hope it works out!

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