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Planet of people, the most recent project by Julijonas Urbonas, was launched, at Collective’s City Dome exhibition space in Edinburgh on the 29th of February.
Julijonas Urbonas
Julijonas Urbonas
© Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

The exhibition, open for visitors until the 8th of May, is shown as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival 2020, which will take place 4-19th of April. After showing at Collective, the project will be presented at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 where Urbonas has been selected to represent Lithuania.

Planet of People is an artistic and scientific feasibility study of an artificial planet made entirely from human bodies. The exhibition consists of six 3D scanners which are used to scan visitors, who can then view their bodies forming a new celestial object in a simulation based on astrophysics. The exhibition space, Collective’s City Dome, which used to serve as an observatory, was purposefully selected for this project, as it already fosters a dialogue between culture and space science.

On the 11th of April audience will be able to attend a dance workshop devised specially for the Julijonas Urbonas’ exhibition. Responding to Julijonas Urbonas' exhibition, Planet of People, an interactive dance workshop, led by Ashanti Harris. The artist will lead the audience in imagining how the body might move and dance in outer space, before working through a wide constellation of movement themes. The session will end with a short performance for parents and carers.

Julijonas Urbonas’ work focuses on critical design, amusement park engineering, performative architecture, choreography, kinetic art and science fiction. His projects have been shown in a variety of venues including art, design, architecture biennials, academic and non-academic publications, TV and Radio shows. Most recently his works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), RIBOCA (The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art), Science Gallery Dublin, the Singapore ArtScience Museum, and Design Museum Holon. Julijonas is the Lithuanian representative at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, as well as founder of the Lithuanian Space Agency. Through his art work he has been developing critical tools to negotiate gravity – he has coined the term of ‘gravitational aesthetics’, to describe his artistic approach to exploiting the means of manipulating gravity to create experiences that push the body and imagination to its extremes.

Art critic and writer Jyni Ong writes about the work of Julijonas Urbonas for It Is Nice That media platform for creativity: “In this way, Julijonas’ practice combines science and art in a way that also creates a “unique kind of confusion”, investigating what is real and what is not, and what can be real or not. He cites Donna Haraway in her seminal text Cyborg Manifesto: “The boundary between science-fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.” So with all of this in mind, whatever you make of Julijonas’ work, it’s up to you.”

Supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, project partner – Lithuanian Culture Institute. The collaboration with “Collective” gallery in Edinburgh was initiated by the Lithuanian Cultural Attache in the UK Justė Kostikovaitė.

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