Blair Atholl, Scotland

July 2002 diary

To understand Markrolab is both easy and intangible.

In 10 words:
"Makrolab combines science and art in a temporary, collaborative installation."

In pictures (on the media page):
You can view a 360-degree fly-around of the physical structure and the wind turbine.
There are internal 360-degree views of the space.
There are normal photos of the interior and exterior.

In more than 10 words:
Makro lab is a melting pot for cross-discipline research and thinking. It is a fascinating installation in its own right. It is a self-sustaining lab that combines a research area, kitchen and sleeps 6. The lab is 'wired' - we can monitor any satellite broacast, monitor radio broadcasts and connect to the internet via satellite. It is a weather station that monitors its surroundings. It's an "earth observatory".

From my perspective:
Markolab, the entire concept surrounding it, its deliberate lack of a single focus, serve to bring together almost every interest I have.

It's hard to explain exactly what my interest in the lab is, and the range of experiences that i wish to address in visiting it. To fully understand why, it's probably best to read my cv. The official Makrolab site provides more information.

Below is a brief diary/microblog of my Markolab experience.



I spend time observing, watching, listening. I learn a basis for the project that can only be gleaned through physical presence. Honor Hagar (Tate Modern) takes me through some of the ideas and projects.

We discuss proposals for ZeroG projects that will happen in February [artscatalyst].



I begin to document what I feel I need in order to communicate some concept of the lab to those who will have no idea why or what it is. I take a perspective of internal/external and inversion: a multi-point stop-motion fly-round of the exterior to place a context, combined with spherical 'single point' photographs of the interior.

I take binaural (3D) audio recordings of the interior and exterior- the sound of non-speech activity in the lab (ie. a populated silence without speech or interaction), the sound of the external machinery, the sound of conversation and music (ie. a populated communicative environment).

In the evening we are treated to an excellent indian meal cooked by Sue &co at the 'bothy' followed by another very late night at the lab.

I spend some time documenting Tim's insect theatre, whose moths despite being active at the house, seem completely uninterested in performing when the camera is on them. See the image library of the insect theatre.

This documentation, along with this transcript, are presented in both linear, non-linear, and archive database formats online.



After a late night we spend more time documenting the insects in close up, then walk for a few hours across the hills, watching salmon trying to leap through impossible rapids to spawn.

The evening comes too quickly, and we spend it relaxing. Sue provides both food and entertainment in the form of a guitar and some beautiful singing.



Just not enough time!

Marko (the founder) has achieved a remarkable thing.

In this time, culture, politics and space. Financially, socially, Makrolab presents an ideal that is countered in every way by our current structures of working.

It was fascinating arriving at a time where the sense closure had already begun.

I would love to spend time there actually carrying out detailed research, rather than contributing a small amount at the end of the project.

It was however, an essential visit. I now have a basis from which to rationalise a plan for what to do for the next one.