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1996-2019 All Rights Reserved © FormLAB,  Les Joynes Joynes LLC, ARS, New York and DACS London.


FormLAB (FormLaboratory) is a geographically-dispersed art series conceived by American artist Les Joynes PhD at Goldsmiths in 1997. A graduate of Boston University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (MSc) and Goldsmiths, University of London (MA Fine Art) Joynes produces models of creative destruction within museums and public spaces. FormLAB unpacks and explores the root-processes of multi-media collaboration inspired by the experimental practices in Cabaret Voltaire (1916), the Cadavre Exquis experiments of Andre Breton (1918), Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballet (1922); Maurits Cornelis Escher; and William Burroughs and Dadaist Cut-Ups (1970). This results in installations that combine performances, videos and contemporary cabinets of curiosity. and what Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) called “creative destruction.” 


He is US Department of State Zero1 Art and Technology Artist; recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Mission China Award; Fulbright-Hays US Public Diplomacy Award for Mongolia and Artist Fellowships at University of the Arts London; Japan Ministry of Culture Scholarship and is a visiting professor of art at Renmin University, Beijing. 


Images above, FormLAB installations, at the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, Sao Paolo, 2012


FormLAB performances observe the transience of site and subject (Singapore, 2009); explore performative mutations and destruction (2) in make-shift art-making assembly-lines (France, 2010, Korea, 2012); innovate indigenous ritual based on ancient technologies (Brazil, 2012); collide contemporary music with traditional performance (Mongolia, 2014); improvise site-specific performances on the Great Wall (China, 2017) and upcoming work on code-controlled micro-robotics that engage spectators in a networked exhibition within city neighborhoods. 


FormLAB has exhibited as part of the Bauhaus Foundation Cities of Tomorrow, Singapore; Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture, Korea; Brazilian Museum of Sculpture; Zanabazar National Museum of Art, Mongolia, Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing and prepares exhibitions for St Petersburg, Russia.


Above, Video still from multi-technology performances, Treignac Projet, France (2010) 


Each LAB positions itself within spaces that capture and preserve time and become temporary “living dioramas” that present instants of artistic creation, uncertainty, discovery and the unexpected. (1) particularly in spaces (in what Robert Smithson referred to as hideouts of time in "Entropy and the New Monuments," Artforum, June 1966). In this way, FormLAB relocates our gaze towards real-time experiences within sites and exhibition spaces. 



Above,  FormLAB Performances in China (2017), Shifting 0.00000000103279% of the Great Wall (2 min 50s); One-on-Two-on-One (2 min) and Globe /Balance 0.30 sec 2017. 


Above,  FormLAB Performances, Zanabazar Museum of Art, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 2014. 






(1) In the early 2000s curators began to express an interest in the notion of the laboratory as ‘still untouched by science’ from “Laboratories is the answer, what is the question?” TRANS 8 (2000) from Bishop, Clare, (2004) Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics: October (Fall 2004): pp. 51-79.


(2) As Maurice Blanchot wrote “Interruptions having somehow the same meaning as that which does not cease. Both are affects of passivity. Where power does not reign – nor initiative, nor the cutting edge of a decision – there, dying is living. There dying is the passivity of life – of life escapes freed from itself and confounded with the disaster of a time without present which we endure without waiting, by awaiting a misfortune which is not still to come, but which has always already come upon us and which cannot be present.” Blanchot, Maurice, The Writing of the Disaster, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1986, p 21


The informe (or formless) is defined by Georges Bataille in Documents (1929) as “…not only an adjective having a given meaning, but a term that serves to bring things down in the world, generally requiring that each thing have its form. What it designates has no rights in any sense and gets itself squashed everywhere.” In Bataille, G (1929), Documents 1, Paris, p. 382 (translated by Allan Stoekl et al, Georges Bataille. Vision of Excess. Selected Writings, 1927-1939, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press “Formless”, p. 31).