Rob La Frenais
Since 2002
Works in London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Rob La Frenais

Born 1951, lives London

After working in various art, video and community projects during the mid to late 70s Rob La Frenais became the founding editor of Performance Magazine in 1979., a significant cultural voice of the 80's and early 90s. In 1987 he became an independent curator, working on touring exhibitions in the UK including Confrontations, Last Sweat of Youth and At the Edge.. He was the director of the EDGE Biennale in London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Madrid in 1988, 1990 and 1992 and continued working as an independent curator throughout the early 90's, directing seasons and festivals, in Switzerland (where he first worked with Marko Peljhan, instigator of the Makrolab), he South Bank and the ICA, London , the CCA in Glasgow, and working with James Turrell on the first stage of his Skyspace for Northern England.. In 1997 he joined forces with Nicola Triscott in The Arts Catalyst to become Curator of the science-art agency. (see Nicola Triscott's biography). In 1999 he became the first curator to go on a zero-gravity flight, paving the way for a number of artists flights and space activities organised by the Arts Catalyst.
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New zer G program in Russia's Star City

The Arts Catalyst's MIR campaign 2003 launches with EU support.

The Arts Catalyst, the UK's science-art agency, has received European Union funding for their 3rd zero-gravity campaign taking place at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow, April 7-12 2003.

Part of the Culture 2000 programme, this is the first space-art initiative to receive this type of funding and it recognises the contribution that their previous flights have made in furthering artistic, scientific and public knowledge about space.

Collectively known as MIR (Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research), The Arts Catalyst and partners V-2 in the Netherlands, Leonardo/Olats in France, Projekt Atol in Slovenia and the Multimedia Complex of Actual Arts in Moscow, have selected 7 European artists and scientists to carry out research on the flights. They are:

Marcel. Li Antunez Roca. (Spain)
A leading European performance artist and former member of La Fura Dels Baus who will carry out a series of zero gravity performances with a mechanical 'exoskeleton', robots and a series of computers.

Stephan Gec (UK)
A ground-based project, Gec will be building an aluminium globe and installing it in the centrifuge, so it is slowly exposed to a significant G-load.

Vadim Fishkin (Slovenia)
Fishkin is developing a 'Kapelgraf', which will translate flight data into drops of water.

Kodwo Eshun, Richard Cousins, Anjalika Sagar (UK)
A Sci-Fi film project exploring Indian Modernism and Afro-futurism

Yuri Liederman (Russia)
Liederman will be filming the behaviour of colonies of bacteria, 'kefir grains', in zero gravity with the aim of producing an animation film.

Rebecca Forth (UK)
Forth is a scientist at University College Hospital, performing research into the respiratory system. During the flights she will be working with a clarinet player.

Ewen Chardronnet (France)
Chardonnet will document and co-ordinate online aspects of the residencies including a special celebration of Yuri's Night from the Cosmonaut Club in Star City on April 12, anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight.

The ICA, London will host presentation of the projects in September 2003, followed by a national tour.

Set up in March 2001, MIR's earlier zero-gravity flights have pointed to the potential for a new genre of art, using the state of zero gravity to explore the body and movement, kinetic sculpture, myths and ideas about flying and cultural stereotypes of space exploration and the astronaut.

The MIR initiative sets out to give a new impulse to space art and space research by opening up space facilities and matching artistic processes with scientific research. The Zero-Gravity flights are an exciting and integral part of this process.

For further information contact Miranda Pope at

The Arts Catalyst
The science-art agency


New zero G programme

Press Release March 10 2003

The Arts Catalyst's MIR campaign 2003 launches with EU support.

The Arts Catalyst, the UK


CleanRooms - Artists confront Biotechnology in the UK

Sat Oct 05, 2002 00:00 - Wed Sep 18, 2002

GALLERY OLDHAM, Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK

5th October - 30th November 2002

Performance of GenTerra by Critical Art Ensemble - Saturday 5th October 2002 12-4PM

The Arts Catalyst's first foray into the world of biotechnology, CleanRooms challenges responses to a science often perceived as secretive and sinister. Exploring ideas of contamination and containment, ethics and accountability, it asks the audience to decide how far they themselves would go with the emerging powers of genetic manipulation.

US group Critical Art Ensemble presents their participatory performance GenTerra. Lab-coated representatives from the GenTerra biotechnology corporation introduce their bioproducts and answer your questions about transgenics. After you have had the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons, you are offered a spin of a transgenic 'wheel of fortune': a bacteria release mechanism.

In Czarnecki's evocative, unnerving installation Silvers Alter, life-size human forms "live" within a large video projection in the gallery. They are the subjects for you to manipulate and mate. The 'beings' you create have never existed before. Silvers Alter raises a simple question; to what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves?

Neal White's Uncontrolled Hermetic recreates one of the controlled areas or clean rooms used in industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. You, the visitor, fulfil the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being.

Gallery Oldham is 20 minutes by train from Manchester Victoria Station. Manchester is about 3-5 hours by train from London, depending on day of travel.

more info:
44 (0)20 7375 3690 44 (0)7808 727337 (cellphone on day of performance)