Cabinet of Curiosities

The concept has its inspiration in a European entity started in the 14th century. The German word for it would be either “Wunderkammer” (chamber of wonders) or “Raritäten- und Kuriositätenkabinet” (rarity- and curio-gallery). It arose in a time, that can be considered as “era of astonishment”. The renaissance – an age, where art and science developed together, made mile-stones and still were not yet divided in the extent of today. The collections contented both natural produces and artefacts. Additionally, they were not separated into science, art and crafts. Selected objects had been presented in fancy show cases, similar to cupboards and furniture.

The aim is, to start such a “Cabinet of Curiosities” in the Center of Quantum Technologies Singapore – and especially there! The gap between an abstract, rather non-sensory production of knowledge and the playful search for unexpected images, objects and stories in “real scientific life” can discover new, witty relations.

The Cabinet could be installed either in a space, that could be available – it has to be seen on the spot. It could be a “public” space (i.e. in an entrance area), or in a section that is often used (i.e. library) or even an empty room, that could be opened at a certain time. In any case, it would be also be possible to start the collection as a blog online. Or both; blog online AND a “real” gallery, cabinet, show case or what ever: an installation.

Board of directors

An important question is: Who decides about the exhibits of the cabinet? In ancient times, this has been the collecting monarch or emperor. In this case, a board of interested students, scientists and Grit Ruhland, the artist in charge of the project. This board shall mainly discuss conceptual questions on how, what and where will the collection get started and run. Especially the discussions and meetings as main part of the project. To engage people in this project is important – that it gets vivid being a collaboration, rather than just a single-autor artwork.

Definitions and regulations

… are set-up in discussion by the board of directors. Although, there is very likely a creative and innovative handle, that it does not become bureaucratic, and if so, just for irony.

Mainly, collection contains curiosities, related to the daily work in Center of Quantum Technologies. It can be surprising images of the day, which can or can not be used for serious science – funny errors, unexpected correlations, symmetric numbers, discoveries that are interesting, but can not be published in other canals. Grit Ruhland will give an introduction, a public speech, lecture, workshop or flyer what she could imagine. The act of presentation should be discussed intensively. How can one “draw a line” through various objects?

Topics to interested students in a workshop. We would discuss and develop ideas, what could be a contemporary curiosities within the field of Quantum physics. We speak and learn about the interpretation, sense and non-sense of technical images, aesthetic qualities formulas,the relation of creation and representation and other artistic and philosophic issues. Interested students could strongly interfere and make their own impact in this conceptual artwork!

About the artist in charge

Grit Ruhlands work looks rather diverse than straight. Which arise one one hand from the fact, that she always work site-specific and context-related, but on the other, that the criteria, that she applies on her work, are not primarily aesthetic. For instance, she mainly deals with the exploration of reality in terms of imagining, sounding, singing and acting. It often involves other people, which create the actual “content” within the conceptual frame she sets up.

Topics that accompanies her work since the beginning are “machine” and “technology”. In various works these issues plays important roles. Which does not necessarily mean, that also her artworks contents always a lot of electronics, screens and computers. The amount is rather modest in relation to other tech-artists. That is intended. She has a certain scepticism to explain technology with technology. She uses technology as it makes sense, not only because it is possible, but also because she thinks art has on one side the role of the creative experimenter but also to question common assumptions, such as the superiority of electronic devices, the abstraction of science and the opposition of man and technology. Technology and applications of sciences are part of  daily life. It is just human, trying to get a another view, another insight into these entities. She regards herself as a decomposer, that is trying to create new soil for new visions.

Since 2007 Grit Ruhland has been teaching in different work fields at different universities in Germany. Together with various students, she developed their own exhibitions in sound art, sculptural and spatial concepts. At the same time she took part in various conferences in Europe as lecturer, mainly in the field of Reality-Constructions, Nano-Art and Nano-Science. In 2006 she spend a one-year-residency in the Max-Planck-Institute for Cellbiology and Genetics Dresden, were she created a micro-sculpture in collaboration with the Tolic-Lab, her host-research group.

Grit Ruhland studied (1999-2005) Sculpture and Sculptural and Spacial Concepts at the Art-School Dresden (Hochschule für Bildende Künste) – since 2007 she became “Meisterschülerin” of Prof. Martin Honert. Her artistic works bases on a conceptual approach and involves projects within Community Arts, Public Art, Sound Art and interaction with scientific institutes and topics.