Science and art collide as the Turner Prize nominated artist Roger Hiorns joins forces with Roger C. Hiorns, a Polymer scientist
In the week that saw Roger Hiorns’ work unveiled at London’s Hayward Gallery as a part of British Art Show 7, the artist appeared in a more unlikely setting speaking with his namesake at Kings College London. As a part of the CAVES programme of events, Seizure - a 16mm film taken inside Hiorns’ now infamous ArtAngel commissioned work of the same name - provided the backdrop for a dialogue between the scientist and the artist. As the film slowly explored the walls of the grotto-like blue crystal encrusted space, the nominally twinned duo talked Copper Sulphate solution and revealed their plans to work between their respective disciplines in the creation of a new substance. Dazed caught up with the artist to discuss the Hiorns (2) collaboration…
Dazed Digital: How did you find Roger C. Hiorns?
Roger Hiorns: Googling each other.
DD: What was your interest in collaborating with Roger C?
Roger Hiorns: We’re looking into the possibility of making a new material (possibly to be called Hiorns) and how we might actually go about that. We need to think about the possibilities of designing a material that doesn't have any sense of ‘use’ in the world at the moment, but that the use might perhaps come in the future.
DD: What do you think the art world can learn from science and vice versa?
Roger Hiorns: It's important to provoke and introduce the idea that art has no set forms or disciplines and established rules should be shunned, so our making of a material with a scientist and an artist is neither science nor art but a place in between, of establishing a new territory.
DD: There is a clash of languages here; you operate in one linguistic sphere and other Roger operates in a completely different one, how might they combine?
Roger Hiorns: I think art is well known for it's looseness of language simply because it's always accessing different disciples and different places, and the other Roger's is far more rigorous and learnt - it has to be learnt. So, I think we'll find ourselves in this strange limbo of misunderstanding which may open up new positions or ways of behaving as a collaboration. I think it's a positive thing that I don't understand his language and he doesn't understand mine.
DD: Will the end product of the collaboration exist in one language more than another? Will it resemble art more than science for example?
Roger Hiorns: No, a desire of mine is that it actually has a position within science rather than in art. The art world has a tendency to deal with complicated ideas with a certain sense of novelty, and I think that if we want to try and negate that then this will be through science. This material will have more future possibilities within science than it would in art I think; it might fall into being used by a new set of priorities, a new regime and new behaviours that we cannot predict right now. So in a way it is a new material trying to find a position in an unknown future… I’m very interested to see where it might end up.
DD: What form can we see this collaboration taking, or is that still up for grabs?
Roger Hiorns: Basically, I’m buying a fax machine and he's buying one and we're just going to send the same piece of paper to each other for the next two years just to establish a communication and a way of doing it. I’m interested in his piece of paper ending up in my front room, adding to it and then sending it back again. We’re just going to have this two-way conversation for a while then we’ll act on these established ideas.
DD: Will you come to think of the lab as a studio?
Roger Hiorns: The studio or the lab are simply locations of practice so are just buildings. Our collective minds are the real location of the work.
The CAVES programme was organized by the Performance Foundation and took place at the Anatomy Theatre & Museum in Kings College London from 14th-17th February