Out of the lab and into the field

Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior announce a new chapter in the Field Trip” residency: Writer Simar Preet Kaur joins MPI researchers during their fieldwork in India

April 29, 2024

Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (MPI-AB), Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies have established a residency program to foster an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and perspectives between the arts and sciences. Since 2022, »Field Trip« has been offering an adventure of going to a new place, an experience of being in a different environment, and an opportunity to experiment with ideas. Selected fellows have the chance to engage with researchers at MPI-AB, whose work focuses on a wide range of species from insects to birds, fish and mammals, both in the lab and in the natural settings, using cutting-edge technologies for tracking, data analysis and visualization.

“Field Trip” in Tal Chhapar Sanctuary in Rajasthan/India

The third iteration of the exchange, taking place in 2024, marks a new chapter in the bilateral collaboration. Instead of undertaking a “Field Trip” to the research campus in Konstanz, the selected fellow joined the team of project MELA (Mating ecologies of a lek-breeding antelope) for six weeks during their fieldwork in the Tal Chhapar Sanctuary in Rajasthan/India. In turn, the artist together with a scientist from the team will spend six weeks at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart during fall of the same year.

The collaborating institutions are excited to announce that writer Simar Preet Kaur, based in the Indian Himalaya, joined the team of project MELA during their fieldwork from February to March 2024 in the Tal Chhapar Sanctuary. Kaur will be writing a short fiction inspired by her conversations with the scientists from MPI-AB as they addressed the many challenges in their way to studying animal mating behavior. In the writer’s own words: “It will be a fable from the point of view of a blackbuck spying on a team of scientists, offering a glimpse of the world behind the scenes of field research – equal parts exasperating, arduous, laughable and creative.”

Upcoming: event “Dispatches from the Field“ in June 2024

On June 7, 2024, former and current “Field Trip” fellows together with guests present the first results of their residency during a public event at Kulturladen Konstanz e.V., a non-profit socio-cultural center in the neighborhood of the MPI’s research campus in the city of Konstanz. The event is an invitation to tune into sonic encounters and to join wildlife excursions, from the Sanctuary in Rajasthan/India and the laboratories in Konstanz, to art communities in the buzzing streets of Bangalore. On this occasion, artist and composer Yashas Shetty and MPI-researcher Vivek Hari Sridhar will also share sound and video experiments synthesized from their »Field Trip« residency in 2023. Visit the event page for the full program.

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