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Jellyfish Set to Take Over Kendall Square Culture Lab at Upcoming Contemporary Art Installation

Jellyfish Set to Take Over Kendall Square Culture Lab at Upcoming Contemporary Art Installation

Understanding Jellyfish and What They Mean for the Future of our Oceans is the Focus of ‘The Trouble with Jellyfish’ at Le Laboratoire Cambridge

Cambridge, MA – Le Laboratoire Cambridge (Le Lab), a one-of-a-kind culture lab exploring the intersection of art and science through exhibitions, public programing, and radical culinary cuisine, announces The Trouble with Jellyfishdesigned by contemporary artist Mark Dion in collaboration with marine biologist Lisa-ann Gershwin. This exhibition, opening to the public on Friday, September 18th, 2015, offers a cultural immersion into the stunning world of the jellyfish, and an exploration of how their activities are dangerously affecting the fate of our oceans worldwide.

Dion has been internationally celebrated over his career for his uncanny ability to create contemporary art exhibitions fusing the disciplines of art and science, inviting one to see art as one sees nature. Gershwin is marine biology’s leading voice on the study of jellyfish and their adverse effect on the global marine environment. Her book, Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, largely initiated the project. Le Lab founder, David Edwards, has brought the two together to explore The Trouble with Jellyfish.

"The Trouble with Jellyfish by Mark Dion is a contemporary art exhibition of rare ambition, to explore the what, why, and where-next of ocean biodiversity,” said Le Lab founder, David Edwards. “Mark Dion not only tackles this subject with the depth, seriousness, and irony for which his work is well known, but with a spirit of collaboration that, while long the attitude in pioneering scientific research, is unusual, refreshing, and critical to the cultural pursuit of tomorrow."

In recent years, jellyfish have gained notoriety for wreaking havoc as they multiply en masse—a phenomenon that scientists are still working to understand more fully. The Trouble with Jellyfish helps the public understand this creature and its associated ecological destruction by bringing awareness and discussion to the emerging issue.

“My role in this project was to turn a series of remarkable ideas coming from everyone involved in the experiment—Lisa, the biologists in the South of France, the Harvard students, everyone—into a communicable piece of contemporary art,” said artist, Mark Dion. “The goal was to create an exhibition that makes the scientific issues and ideas examined, concrete in a visual realm.”

Sponsored by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and in partnership with the New England Aquarium, The Trouble with Jellyfish includes the following signature elements:
  • Jellyfish Salon: A signature Mark Dion salon cloaked in ominous jellyfish wallpaper featuring a visual exploration of jellyfish history.
  • A Tank of Live Jellyfish: 6’ ft diameter Kreisel tank from the New England Aquarium containing moon jellies (Aurelia aurita).
  • Classroom Lab Setting with Talk from Gershwin: Discussion section with video feed featuring collaborator Lisa-ann Gershwin, examining jellyfish-related problems in a mock classroom.
  • Hypoxia: A simulation chamber conceptualized by Harvard University students where exhibition visitors can safely experience low oxygen levels, mimicking the effects of an ocean “dead zone,” similar to the ones created in areas with overpopulation of jellyfish.
  • Proposed Solutions: The ideas of two teams of Harvard students relevant to better understanding and adapting to the jellyfish blooms:
    • Swell - making effective use of jellyfish harvest, students have discovered an unparalleled absorbency potential utilized in paper towel design.
    • ægir Innovations- data-gathering drones to collect information in efforts to learn more about the logic and pattern behind population explosions of jellyfish and other marine species.
  • Bloom Bakery: Harvard University students designed a jellyfish-derived ingredient to organically enhance moisture in baked goods. Renae ConnollyLe Lab’s Café ArtScience award-winning pastry chef, has used this culinary invention to create a jellyfish-infused cupcake available at select events during the run of the exhibition.

Edwards, a Harvard University professor, and students in his “How to Create Things & Have Them Matter” class explored various issues and ideas in the ocean biodiversity field, with a special focus on jellyfish. Dion’s The Trouble with Jellyfish includes the culmination of those ideas.

The exhibition will be open to the public Friday, September 18th, remaining open through January 2, 2016. Exhibition Hours:Wednesday – Friday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm & Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

The Trouble with Jelly Fish is located at Le Laboratoire Cambridge, 650 East Kendall Street in Cambridge, MA. For more information, please visit or follow @lelabcambridge on Twitter and Instagram.

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About David Edwards
David Edwards is an inventor, writer, and founder of Le Laboratoire Paris and Le Laboratoire Cambridge. He is Harvard Professor of Idea Translation in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Wyss Institute Faculty Member. David is also a member of the National Academies of Engineering in USA and France, a member of the National Academy of Inventors (USA), and a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of the French Ministry of Culture. He is the author of many articles, patents, and books of fiction and nonfiction.

About Mark Dion
Mark Dion received a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, School of Art, Connecticut. Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. He has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001). He has had major exhibitions at Miami Art Museum (2006); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2003); and Tate Gallery, London (1999). "Neukom Vivarium" (2006), a permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the Olympic Sculpture Park, commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum.

About Lisa-ann Gershwin
Lisa-ann Gershwin is a biologist based in Launceston, Tasmania, specializing in the study of jellyfish and the species’ adverse effect on marine ecosystems. Gershwin has described over 200 species of jellyfish and developed a system to predict blooms of the hazardous Irukandji jellyfish in North Queensland. In 2013, Gershwin released Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, a book describing the diversity and adaptability of jellyfish, and their increasing numbers at the expense of other organisms worldwide.


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