F      O      R      M      L      A      B

FormLAB Taiwan Biosphere


Application for Taipei Artist Village 

Treasure Hill


Les Joynes

FormLAB, New York

(above) Artist Renderings of FormLAB installations in different urban contexts. using wood, plexiglas, LED lighting, local flora. found objects, simple arduino-controlled kinetics.

(above) Artist Renderings of FormLAB installations in Basel neighborhood, wood, plexiglas, LED lighting, local flora. found objects, simple arduino-controlled kinetics

Proposal:  Les Joynes and FormLAB at Taipei Artist Village

A sculpture installation series of temporary micro-museums Taipei. Application is for Treasure Hill as preference. I have visited both TAV sites in 2016. 



For TAV I will construct a series of wood and plexiglas cabinets of curiosity. Each will be part of a local network of sculptural interventions that mirror Taipei’s environmental and cultural histories and semiotic topographies.



At the residency I will first construct a micro-biosphere (see top image) that include indigenous flora and motion activated birdsong recordings taken in and around Taipei 


I will then construct four to seven temporary micro-spaces, small unique installations installed in odd architectural spaces in a neighborhood within a walking radius of ten minutes of the TAV residency. Each wood and perspex structure will range from one cubic meter to five cubic meters. They will be mapped on a website in a series of neighborhood walks as an geographically-dispersed museum - each component of which will contain found objects, solar powered LED lighting and simple motion-activated arduino controlled kinetics including vintage consumer objects suspended by metal wire mobiles, a spinning 1960s portable turntable. 




  • ◦ Pre-research: designing idea for a temporary micro-museum installations 
  • ◦ Vreation of first micro-museum/wunderkammer using wood and perspex with LED lights and solar, small arduino kinetics
  • ◦ selection of sites including odd and challenging spaces (wedge spaces, unusable spaces created by architecture, narrow spaces between buildings and installation of temporary works (four works) 
  • ◦ installation of small autonomous transparent spaces with solar powered lighting, motion-activated vinyl disk player, upside-down bouquets of cathode-ray tubes suspended by latex straps. 
  • ◦ Artist lecture on the creation of FormLAB and how this has inspired my learning about Taipei.


My interest in Taipei and Taiwan


Recommended by Taiwan scholars and Taiwanese artists I visited Taipei in late 2016 as Taiwan Ministry of Education Scholar to study Mandarin Chinese at National Cheng Kung University, Tainan. My goal has been to learn more about Taiwan’s unique culture (both indigenous and contemporary) through the written, spoken and visual languages that represent the nation. 


I visited Taipei every two weeks meeting with contemporary artists Clint Llunch Linh, Liu, Hsi-Chuan and Chung Shiuan Chang (TNUA) and For my proposed project I was given a tour of TAV and Treasure Hill.


Conceptual Development of FormLAB for TAV


I founded FormLAB at Goldsmiths in 1997 as a way to reposition the spectator with artworks and institutional spaces. FormLAB turns the interiority of the studio inside out displaying contents (found objects, kinetics, flora, readymade assemblages) that reflect the identity and histories of the host site. This will be FormLAB’s ninth iteration and first in Switzerland. It will be the first time FormLAB has worked with local flora and the concept of the greenhouse combined with synthetic birdsong. 


In its different iterations FormLAB becomes a temporary shelter, or a hideout for time (Robert Smithson in "Entropy and the New Monuments," (Artforum, June 1966) FormLAB 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. particularly in spaces not yet templated by history or expectation. 


Previous iterations of FormLAB

FormLAB has produced exhibitions in the US, Germany, Singapore, France, Brazil, Korea, Mongolia and China.


FormLAB Beijing  2017, Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing As 2017 Fulbright-Hays awarded exhibition FormLAB exhibited at the Inside Out Art Museum in Beijing creating performances on a wild portion of the Great Wall in Jiankou, China. 



FormLAB Brazil 2012, Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, São Paulo

FormLAB, Sao Paulo explored local ritual and sculpture-making with the leader of a Brazilian shamanic group where we fused art-making to create sculptures that hybridize ritual and performances (see installation views below).




FormLAB-Mongolia (2014) Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

FormLAB Mongolia worked with four teams of Mongolian artists, traditional and contemporary electronic musicians and dancers creating a dialogue between different music forms, dance and sculpture installation in a traditional nomadic ger (below). FormLAB also led an overland expedition to the Mongolian border with Siberia to a nomadic Tsaatan reindeer herding encampment crating a series of performances inspired by local ritual.


FormLAB-Seoul (2012) Seoul Art Space, Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture, Korea

In Korea FormLAB worked with local artists to create assemblage sculptures from thousands of plastic toys collected in the neighborhood of Geumcheon in Seoul - recombining these into installations and assemblages. (image assemblage-forming at FormLAB, Seoul Foundation for Art & Culture, Korea, 2012).


FormLAB- Bauhaus Stiftung, Dessau Germany (2008-2009) 

As Artist Fellow with the Bauhaus, Dessau (Germany) I researched Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballet (1922) and created a series of site-specific performances in the Hansaviertel Berlin and in Queenstown, Singapore (above). Working with contemporary and traditional dancers from National University of Singapore and La Salle College of Art I worked with a team of 20 Singaporean dancers and choreographed a series of light sculptures (below). An interview on FormLAB is published in the Journal of Visual Studies at University of California, Riverside. (image below: FormLAB time based performance with traditional and contemporary dancers, Queenstown, Singapore) 





Les Joynes (US) is an artist and arts research scholar at Columbia University. He was 2016 Taiwan Ministry of Education Huayu Scholar of Traditional Chinese at National Cheng Kung University, Tainan and will create an arts installation project on the visual histories of Taipei. 


He received his bachelors in fine art from Central Saint Martins College of Art, London, masters in fine art from Goldsmiths, London; doctorate in fine art from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK and postdoctorate in fine art from Escola de Comunicações e Artes, Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. Through his installation series, FormLAB, he explores contemporary visual cultures within cities, notions of border and networks as well as geographically-dispersed micro-museums.


His installations mine the rich archeologies of different cultures and his sculptural installations present experimental video, arduino-controlled kinetics, found object assemblages and performances. Each micro-environment creates a personality of space that engages the viewer with a repositioning of the familiar and the exotic. 


Les is recipient of the Fulbright Hays US Public Diplomacy Award for museum exhibitions in Mongolia (2014) and China (2017), the Japan Monbusho scholarship for research on Japanese contemporary art and culture and the King Sturge Award for Sculpture, London. His work has featured in Art Monthly, London; Sculpture Magazine, and two current books Going Beyond: Art as Adventure (UK, 2018), Anywhere v.1 (Australia/US, 2016), CCTV, China, and NHK Television, Japan. 


He has been resident at Nordic Artist Center, Norway, the Bauhaus Foundation, Germany, The Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing, the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado Residency, São Paulo, The National Design Museum, New York, the Nagasawa Printmaking Studio, Japan and CEC Artslink, St. Petersburg, Russia. He now prepares a museum exhibition exploring monument in post-Soviet Russia. He is represented by Thomas Jaeckel Gallery, New York. 




Post-doctorate in Fine Art (2016) 

Escola de Comunicações e Artes, Universidade de São Paulo Brazil


Research Fellow in Fine Art (2015) 

Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN)

The University of the Arts London


Ph.D. in Fine Art (2012) 

Leeds Metropolitan University, UK


Visiting Scholar in Art, Philosophy and Education  (2008-present)

Columbia University Visiting Scholar and Scientist Program

Columbia University, New York


MA Sculpture (2001) 

Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan


MA Fine Art (1997) 

Goldsmiths, London


BA (Hons) Fine Art (1996) 

Central St. Martins, University of the Arts London


M.Sc. (1988)

Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences

Boston University and Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium.



Fellowships and Awards


CEC Foundation Grant, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2017

Fulbright-Hays US Public Diplomacy Award in the Arts, China, 2017

Taiwan Ministry of Education Huayu Scholar, 2016

US Department of State Field Research Fellowship for research on arts education 

in transition in Asia, 2016

Fellow, Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), 

University of the Arts London (UAL), 2015

Fulbright-Hays US Public Diplomacy Award in the Arts, Mongolia, 2014

Bauhaus Foundation Artist Fellow, Dessau, Germany, 2008-2009

Nordic Artist Center Fellow, Norway 2008

Japan Ministry of Culture and Education Scholar

Musashino Art university, Tokyo, 1997-2001

Erasmus Scholar, Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, france, 1995

King Sturge Prize for Sculpture, London, 1995


Selected Exhibitions 


    Solo Exhibitions 

    Thomas Jaeckel Gallery, New York (upcoming) 

    St. Petersburg, Russia (upcoming, 2020) 

    Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing (2017)

    Zanabazar Museum of Fine Art, Ulaanbaatar (2014)

    Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, Brazil (2013)

    The Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, São Paulo, Brazil (2012)

    Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York (2011)

    Treignac Projet, Correze, France (2010)

    Åmotgård Museum, Bygstad, Norway (2008)

    Michael Steinberg Fine Art, New York (2008)

    Space Gallery, London (2005) 

    Casa Gallery, Tokyo (1998) 

    Norimatsu Museum, Matsuyama, Japan (1997)


    Group Exhibitions 

    Museu de Arte Brasileiro, São Paulo (2015)

    976 Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (2014)

    Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Korea (2012)

    Fenberger Museum, Nagano, Japan (2012)

    Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota (2010)

    Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, São Paulo (2010)

    Museum of Modern Art Wales, UK (2010)

    Exit 11, Grand-Leez, Belgium (2010)

    San Diego State University (2010)

    National Academy Museum, New York (2009)

    New General Catalog, New York (2007)

    Mazzeo Gallery, New York (2007)

    Sandra Bürgel Gallery, Berlin (2007)

    South La Brea Gallery, Los Angeles (2007)

    Nagasawa Mokuhanga Woodblock Printmaking Exhibition, Awaji, Japan (2006)

    Romo Gallery, Atlanta (2006)

    CBGB, New York (2006)

    Art Fair Tokyo (2005)

    Romo Gallery, Atlanta (2005)

    Mizuma Gallery, Tokyo (2005)

    Bergstübl Mitte, Berlin (2004)

    Mars Gallery, Tokyo (2003)

    Tactical Museum/ AIT, Tokyo (2002)

    Maejima Art Center, Okinawa, Japan (2002)

    Mizuma Gallery, Tokyo (2001)

    The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2001)

    Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture (2001)

    Nylon Gallery, London (2000)

    Asahi Contemporary Art 2000, Tokyo (2000)

    Bangkok Experimental Film Festival. Bangkok (1999)

    Tatsumi Orimoto, Kawasaki, Japan (1999)

    Milch Gallery, London (1996)

    Barbican, London (1995)

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1980) 



Selected Publications by the Artist


Joynes, L (2018) “Artists as Explorers: FormLAB and interdisciplinary practices”. in Going Beyond: Art as Adventure (O’Neill et al eds). Newcastle (UK): Cambridge Scholars Press (Peer reviewed)


Joynes, L (2017) Intercultural Collaboration in the Arts: Shamanism, Ritual in Brazil, Sao Paulo: School of Communications and Arts (ECA), University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Joynes, L: “FormLaboratory” in Anywhere v.1. (Lowry, S and Douglas, S, Eds.), New York: Parsons School of Art


Joynes, L and Vu-Daniel, T (2015) Draw: Artists from China and the US at Beijing’s Inside Out Art Museum (catalogue), New York: LeRoy Neiman Foundation


Joynes. L (2014) in Art and Research at the Outermost Limits of Site Specificity (Lowry, S and Douglas, S, eds) Newcastle (Australia): University of Newcastle


Joynes, L and Basu, S (2011) “The Invisible and the Transvisible in contemporary art, Singapore”, Irvine: Journal for Visual Culture, University of California, Irvine 


Joynes, L (2000) “Japanese art and Yuichi Higashionna at NADIF Tokyo”, Milan, Italy: Flash Art


Joynes, L (1999) “Some Say They Did: Some Say They Didn’t: Japanese contemporary art of Yoshitomo Nara at Ginza Art Space”, New York: Art in America


Joynes. L (1998) “David Thorpe and Brian Griffiths: The New Pathetic. British art in the 1990s,” Vienna: Springer 


Joynes, L (upcoming 2018) “Discourses on Art Education: teaching, evaluation, curriculum development, New York: Critical Practices. 


Joynes, L et al (2018 upcoming) Arts in Higher Education in Mongolia, Philadelphia: American Center for Mongolian Studies 


Curatorial Research and Presentations 


Bard Abroad Smolny College Program, Saint Petersburg, Russia 

Visiting Lecturer 

Contemporary curating and international cooperation (2017) 


Pro Arte Foundation School, Saint Petersburg, Russia 

Visiting Lecturer 

Contemporary art, practice-led research and collaboration (2017) 


British Council and P-House Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Head Curator for Networking (1998)

100 artists forming global networks in Japan, UK, Scandinavia and Korea. 


Nanjo & Associates, Tokyo, Japan. 

Curatorial Assistant

Taipei Biennial (1998)  


Central St. Martins and Slade School of At, London, UK

Co-Curator (1994) 




 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


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.


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







1996-2018 © FormLAB. FormLaboratory,  Les Joynes, ARS, New York. All Rights Reserved. This item is protected by original copyright and licensed under Creative Commons License and Artist Rights Society, New York and DACS, London. All images and text 1996-2016 © Les Joynes, FormLaboratory, FormLAB and ARS, New York.