The Laboratory Turn

Malcolm Whittaker Mish Grigor


Over the past eighteen months we have found ourselves in a number of art laboratories together. We have typically been critical voices in these environments, not all that dissimilar at times to the grumpy old men Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets.

Most recently we participated in Time_Place_Space: Nomad. A nostalgia for this time has been kept alive through online chat interfaces between the now separated group.

We used a similar chat platform to return to conversations we had during these laboratories. We turned our attention towards the labs themselves and the increasing trend in Australian interdisciplinary practice for such spaces as hotbeds to creatively develop projects and further the professional development of artists.

What resulted was an improvised performance of writing. A transparent thinking through of the laboratories. A critical conversation. It could be more critical and more conversational, but this is what happened. A grappling with of subject matter and communication. A terse hit and run of theory and philosophy, perpetuating the seemingly inescapable trend of turning towards continental thinkers to inform our own art thoughts in Australia.

It is a search for a language of understanding. It is not a beginning or an ending.

The chat room became yet another laboratory in itself.


The Laboratory Turn (1)


The Laboratory Turn (2)



Further reading:

Whittaker, Malcolm, ‘Shared creation in safe places’, Real Time, Issue #125 Feb – March 2015.

Whittaker, Malcolm, ‘Artists on the road, into the unknown’, Real Time, Issue #124 Dec – Jan 2014.

MALCOLM WHITTAKER is a young-ish man from Sydney who works as an interdisciplinary artist, writer, researcher and performer. He does this in solo pursuits, as...

Mish Grigor is an artist based in Sydney whose work spans live, curatorial and text based contexts. She is engaged in an ongoing examination into...


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