THE BONNEVILLE LABORATORY – From 3rd of July | to 25th July of 2013


A production and research residency by Herwig Turk (AT).

“Landscape is another name for the strategies that have governed what we’ve done.”(Paul Shepheard)

The Bonneville Laboratory is a research project about the region of Lake Bonneville in Utah. Lake Bonneville was a prehistoric pluvial lake that covered much of North America‘s Great Basin region. The Bonneville Speedway is a part of the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, it is particularly noted as the venue for numerous land speed records.
The Area of Lake Bonneville is also Home to the Spiral Jetty, the probably most influential earthwork sculpture ever build by Robert Smithon in 1970.
The vast nearly uninhabited land is nowadays used as a laboratory for the military (biological and cemical weapon) and extreme industrial usage like a waste dump for hazardous and radioactive waste.
Herwig Turk visited the region three times between 2005 and 2011. His research has the goal to find traces of exploitation and instrumentalization of this unique and remote wilderness through industry and military. Utah’s toxic legacy is inextricably intertwined with global events of the past 50 years that transformed a state renowned for natural beauty into a dumping ground and Playground for the Military.
A uranium frenzy in the 1950s and ’60s resulted in tens of thousands of tons of radioactive mill tailings left behind after the boom went bust, not to mention the thousands of abandoned and potentially deadly open mines throughout southern Utah.
Somehow there are several incidents and places that suggest to look at the Lake Bonneville Area as a Laboratory or a Field for Experiments. Partly this experiments are hidden, invisible, extremely dangerous and highly profitable.

During the stay at the Cultivamus Cultura Residency, Herwig Turk want’s to work specifically on Materials about the Dugway Proving Ground, a restricted military facility in the southern part of the great basin in Utah. One can find there all kinds of military research and training equipment, from life science laboratories to huge earthworks that are used for chemical warfare experiments and even a complex of buildings called the German and Japanese village constructed in 1943 to perfect tactics in the fire bombing of German residential areas during World War II.

Herwig Turk (AT)

Herwig Turk is an artist in the field of new technology from Austria, he is currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. In the last years, beside his own successful body of work, which has been presented at venues like Georg Kargl Fine Arts Vienna, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, TESLA Laboratory for Media Art Berlin, Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art Vienna or the Transmediale Berlin, he has been foremost involved in interdisciplinary art projects like HILUS, or the vergessen© project.
Between 2003 and 2010 Herwig Turk was working on another major project on the verge of art and science, blindspot, together with the Portuguese Scientist Paulo Pereira (IBILI Coimbra). more information you can find on Since 2010 he is artist in residence at the IMM (Institute of Molecular Medicin) in Lisbon PT.

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