Lawrence Malstaf

Nemo Observatorium 02002

Electronic Language International Festival

Styrofoam beads are blown around in a big transparent PVC cylinder by five strong fans. Visitors can take place on the armchair in the middle of the whirlpool or observe from the outside one at a time. On the chair, in the eye of the storm it is calm and safe. Spectacular at first sight, this installation turns out to mesmerize like a kind of meditation machine. One can follow the seemingly cyclic patterns, focus on the different layers of 3D pixels or listen to its waterfall sound. One could call it a training device, challenging the visitor to stay centered and find peace in a fast changing environment. After a while the space seems to expand and one’s sense of time deludes. | ‘Nemo Observatorium’ – Lawrence Malstaf/Galerie Fortlaan 17, Gent (B).

The work of Lawrence Malstaf (born 1972) can be situated on the borderline between the visual and the theatrical. After having studied industrial design, Lawrence Malstaf starts of in theatre. He designs scenographies for choreographers and directors as Benoît Lachambre, Meg Stuart and Kirsten Delholm. Soon he develops more into installation and performance-art with a strong focus on movement, coincidence, order and chaos. In 2000 he makes a series of sensorial rooms for individual visitors (Nemo Observatorium, Mirror, Periscope/Horizon Machine). Later he creates larger mobile environments dealing with space and orientation, often using the visitor as a co-actor (Orbit, Nevel, Compass, Boreas, Transporter, Territorium). His projects often involve advanced technology as a point of departure or inspiration, but also to activate the installations. Lawrence Malstaf exhibits internationally, and in 2008 he won the Witteveen + Bos – prize for Art + Technology (NL), in 2009 he received the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica (A) and in 2010 he won the Excellence Prize at the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo (JP). His most recent installation, “PAVILION 02011” had its world première at Festival a/d Werf in Utrecht (NL) in May 2011.