The Portrait in the Lab is an image-based investigation on the duality of being an outsider and an insider - observing and being observed at the same time. The project originates from my residency as an artist in the Laboratory of Limnology at University of Vienna, as Prof. Hubert Keckeis and his team studied spatial and temporal dispersal patterns of fish larvae in Danube. I – myself a migrant - face the migratory fish in the laboratory, some preserved in the lab bottles and some alive swimming in the tanks. The photo camera becomes my apparatus, enabling me to exist in duality – to observe and being observed. Thereby, I ponder around a few questions: Who is the alien in the laboratory, me - the artist - , the fish larvae or us both? In the act of seeing through the lenses of the camera or microscope, who is watching whom? Whose existence influences whose? The Portrait in the Lab captures my efforts to reflect on these questions.

Solmaz Farhang

During my study at the Angewandte I visited regularly the Laboratory of Limnology at the University of Vienna in course of one semester.

It shaped a collaboration with Prof. Dr. Tom Battin and Prof.Dr. Hubert Keckeis and their PhD students from Department of life science and fish ecology.

In my first visits I looked around and took visual notes with my photo camera like a tourist. The camera helped me to settle in gradually.

It became my tool as well in the lab to observe and experiment.