About R-Lab

This academic year, 2015-2016, R-Lab will be involved with a number of research related projects. The introductory course Talks scheduled through the Fall are geared to surveying a vareity of methods related to transforming archival, investigative research and field studies through applied analytical techniques using diagramming, mapping and other notational systems.  Included within this initial survey is an overview of historical treatments, including early Dialogues, Epics, Treatises, Codexes, Manifestos, and extending into more contemporary forms of descriptive visual narratives, including comic books, animation, puppeteering, film, video, graphic novels, performances, happenings, installations, blogging, tweeting, etc.. Course Talks will include a number of critical theoretical presentations based on texts indicated on the R-Lab Reading List:  https://researchlabroyalinstituteart.wordpress.com/r-lab-reading-list/

codex leiscester da vincifuturist manifesto-1

Codex Leicester, Leonardo Da Vinci, Left and  Tumultuous Assembly, Filippo Marinetti

Several collectively organised R-Lab Workshops developed over the Fall and Spring semesters will serve as examples of how research engages the public realm. The first project of this kind will be on the Polish architect, urban planner, teacher and theorist Oskar Hansen (1922-2005) organised in conjunction with INDEX Gallery Stockholm under the direction of Axel Wieder, and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, with Aleksandra Kędiorek project coordinator and curator. To initiate our class involvement, course participants will be asked to identify a particular set of ‘challenges’ related  to the following assignmentThe Magic Circle, on the forthcoming Oskar Hansen exhibition. Deadlines and discussions leading up to the R-Lab workshops are indicated on the course calendar.

Finally, individual research projects should be developed concurrently with the   course Talks and Workshops. NOTE: ALL INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH AND FINDINGS RELATED TO R-LAB SHOULD BE UPLOADED ONTO YOUR OWN COURSE RELATED BLOG SITE (WORDPRESS, BLOGSPOT ETC), THAT WILL BE LINKED TO THE PARTICIPANT PAGE ON HERE: https://researchlabroyalinstituteart.wordpress.com/r-lab-home/

SAMPLINGS–a collection of excerpts and examples related to the R-Lab course:

An excerpt from Homi K. Bhabha’s The Location of Culture. `In this paragraph Bhabha charts the shifting terrain of contemporary cultural studies in the current Globalised context.

The enunciated position of contemporary cultural studies is both complex and problematic. It tends to institutionalize a range of transgressive discourses whose strategies are elaborated around non-equivalent sites of representation where a history of discrimination and misrepresentation is common among, say, women, blacks, homosexuals and Third World migrants. However, the signs that construct such histories and identities – gender, race, homophobia, post-war diaspora, refugees, the international division of labor, and so on – not only differ in content but often produce incompatible systems of signification and engage distinct forms of social subjectivity. To provide a social imaginary that is based on the articulation of differential, even disjunctive, moments of history and culture, contemporary critics resort to the peculiar temporality of the language metaphor. It is as if the arbitrariness of the sign, the indeterminacy of writing, the splitting of the subject of enunciation, these theoretical concepts, produce the most useful descriptions of the formation of postmodern culture subjects.

Homi K Bhabha, The Location of CultureLondon Routledge 1994, page 252.


The Magic Sphere, Acropolis Museum, Greece.

magic sphere greece_5863

the magic sphere Helios. Collection, Acropolis Museum Athens.

On the sphere are presented the God Helios, a lion, a dragon and magical symbols. It was found buried near the theatre of Dionysus, which hosted duels and other similar contests when the sphere was created. It has been suggested that this fear was used in magic rituals to achieve victory in these contests. 2nd – 3rd century AD.– cited from the Museum label explaining the artefact. 


An excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five:

As a trafficker  in climaxes and thrills and characterization and wonderful dialogue and suspense and confrontations, I had outlined the Dresden story many times. The best outline I ever made or anyway the prettiest one, was on the back of a roll of wallpaper. I used my daughters crayons, a different color for each main character. One end of the wallpaper was the beginning of the story, the other end was the end, and then there was all that middle part, which was the middle. And the blue line met the red line and then the yellow line, and the yellow line stopped because the character represented by the yellow line was dead. And so on. The destruction of Dresden was represented by a vertical band of orange cross hatching, and all the lines that were still alive passed through it, came out the other side. 

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse FiveNew York Random House  2005   Originally published in 1969.


Bertholt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Epic theater, written in 1944.


brecht caucasian

From Youtube: Published on Sep 23, 2014 The crucial Trial Scene in Bertholt Brecht’s version of the classic tale stars Ron Moody, Alison Steadman, Alun Armstrong and a “cast of thousands”.


A look at how advertising can embrace the illogical, as seen through the pioneering work of Massimo Magrí.

per gioco macchine tradizionali Magri 1970

Per Gioco: Macchine tradizionali, Massimo Magrí, director. 1970 5 min 46 seconds

In per Gioco: Macchine tradizionali, typewriters and calculators become incidental accessories to a surreal love story moving across beaches, farmlands and highway overpasses. Magrí closely collaborated with Ettore Sottsass Jr. while working on a series of promotional “spots,” or adverts for the typewriter and calculator company Olivetti.  `Magrí’s irreverent approach to marketing, his preference for jump-cuts and eclectic musical jam sessions makes him one of the great cinematic innovators among this Italian group of Radical designers and architects.


Archivio Nazionale del Cinema d’Impresa
di Massimo Magrì
Lo spot è caratterizzato da quello stile visionario e psichedelico che contraddistingue il linguaggio espressivo del regista Magrì in Olivetti. Il filmato promozionale presenta alcuni prodotti realizzati dalla Olivetti negli anni sessanta: le macchine per scrivere Dora, Lettera 32, Linea 88, Studio 45, Tekne 3 e Praxis 48. Le calcolatrici Summa Prima 20, Elettrosumma 23, Summa Quanta 20, Multisumma 20, Logos 27-1 e Logos 27-2 e infine la fotocopiatrice Copia 105. Due giovani innamorati si inseguono attraverso i suggestivi paesaggi della Côte d’Azur per incontrarsi solo dopo un lungo girovagare attraverso scenari surreali.


GLOBAL TOOLS (1973-1974)  initiated as a project bringing together some of the most noted Italian Radical architecture, design and urban arts based groups then working in italy. A sort of counter-design cooperative, the group’s goal was to collectivise their ongoing experiments into an operative educational learning platform and network.  Started from inside the back offices of the international Casabella magazine directed by Alessandro Mendini, GLOBAL TOOLS can now be seen as one of the last hybrid multi-disciplinary movements to to engage in conceptual and political tactics to advance ecological, environmental and anti-consumerist practices.  Though short lived, and largely forgotten, this new book available on line is a precious source of original materials, manifestos, texts, and photographic images and illustrations on this important movement GLOBAL TOOLS.


global tools salt downloadglobal tools1glboal tools salt dalisiglobal tools letter superstudioglobal tools salt mendiniglobal tools salt

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivative Works 3.0. This license allows the downloading of works and sharing them with others as long as you credit the creator or the licensor, but you can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Editors: Valerio Borgonuovo, Silvia Franceschini
Authors: Manola Antonioli, Valerio Borgonuovo, Alison J. Clarke,
Beatriz Colomina, Silvia Franceschini, Maurizio Lazzarato, Franco Raggi,
Simon Sadler, Alessandro Vicari
Translation: Steve Piccolo and Ben McGarr [Italian to English: “Dysfunctional Objects for a Heretical ‘Inverse Ergonomics'”], Stephanie Daneels [French to English] “Global Tools As a ‘War Machine’ for an Ecology of Mind”,”The Conditions of a Radical Project: Refusal of Work As a Refusal of Culture”]

Proofreading: Meriç Öner (SALT Research and Programs) Design: Project Projects
Artwork: Özgür Şahin


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