Onsite: Koolmijnenkaai Quai des Charbonnages 30-34, B-1080 Brussels

FoAM is a laboratory for the propagation of lived and living experience. We are looking for processes, moments and situations in which experience can be freed from cultural, economic or historical biases, allowing participants to absorb fresh stimuli. We work on a plethora of transdisciplinary experiments with emerging cultures and technologies.

FoAM’s collaborators spend most of their time in the murky spaces between the physical and digital, scientific and artistic, natural and technological worlds. We inhabit these spaces to research and develop responsive environments, active materials, generative media, culinary performances and other entangled forms of contemporary creative expression. Guided by our motto “grow your own worlds”, artists and scientists work in colourful teams, scavenging far and wide for relevant scientific, technological and social innovations, fusing them into seeds for imaginary, yet tangible worlds and planting them in the cracks of everyday life.

Where we came from and where we’re headed

FoAM originated in the minds of its founders in the late 1990s. As practicing artists and technologists scattered around Europe and Australasia, we found the need for an entity that could mediate between the artistic and the scientific worlds, between (rogue) individuals and (more or less) established institutions. In early 2000, a private research institute in Brussels offered us the opportunity to investigate the feasibility of such an operation. We set up FoAM as a cultural department within Starlab NV, the institute where a peculiar brew of sciences, humanities and design disciplines were deployed in the research of Bits, Atoms, Neurons and Genes (BANG). In 2001, FoAM became an independent association in Brussels. In 2002 a new cell was opened in Amsterdam. With the core team of five artists and technologists, together with a network of approximately thirty partners, we operate on the cusp of research, development, presentation and reflection of contemporary creative practices. Since 2004 FoAM has positioned itself as the only Flemish ‘Hybrid Reality Lab’, with a primary focus on the field of hybrid reality (technologies, media and materials entangling the physical and the digital).

The organisational structure of FoAM is networked: we operate as cells with several partner organisations, associated artists and scientists, distributed around the globe. We are a small and flexible initiative with many international contacts, able to fill the gap between larger (scientific and cultural) research institutions and individual artists (or artist collectives). This structure allows us to realise larger projects, while keeping the flexibility of a small artist-lead initiative. We consciously decided not to grow into a sedentary institution, but to focus on establishing sustainable (and adaptive) relationships with a growing network of partners. This type of structure has conditioned our extensive experience with setting up and implementing interdisciplinary collaborative methods, as well as coordinating remote teamwork through CSCW/CSCD tools. Our aim is to foster transdisciplinary research in the field of hybrid reality, through long term initiatives, international co-productions, thematic study-groups, as well as through documentation of our work in publications. In order to open our research to a variety of audiences, we continually explore new public contexts for our various fields of inquiry, which generally abide in between disciplinary boundaries.

Our activities are grouped in 5 main thematic fields: macroReal (Reality), metaReal (Consciousness), multiReal (Community), microReal (Substance) and zeroReal (Life). The results of our projects usually encompass more than one category, and if truly successful, all of them. Most of the work and play at FoAM is process oriented, engaged in a continuous dialogue about the consequences of our present actions. Throughout all our activities we work towards harmonising the relationship between ecological, cultural and technological developments. Rather than creating yet another series of over-designed, unnecessary ‘cultural’ artifacts, we have committed ourselves to consciously develop and deploy the arts, sciences and technologies for the wellbeing of a prospective world.

“… active exhalations work together, not to bring about some hypothetical fusion of individual beings, but to collectively inflate the same bubble, thousands of rainbow-tingled bubbles, provisional universes, shared worlds of significations.”
Pierre Lvy

What is FoAM?

foundation of active morphing
formulaic osmotic application misplacement
foundation of aesthetic machinery
formal osmotic adaptive music
foundation of augmented media
fluctuation of adaptive morphology
foundation of aperiodic mesmerism
fluid organic advancement magnetics
focus of adaptive magnetism
foundation of aesthetic mutation
foundation of affordable melting
further osmotic aperiodic mobiles
fertiliser of aperiodic mesmerism
fluid of applied melting
further organic aperiodic misplacement
fungus on applicable marmalade
further osmotic application merging
foundation of affordable mysticism
other: f___ o____ a___ m____