AboutExcerpts from a Diary stages, through film, video and photography, the story of Viktor Stepanovich Grebennikov, a self-taught Russian biologist, entomologist and illustrator. In his autobiography, Grebennikov recalls how in 1988 while studying an insect specimen collected from Siberia, he discovered a phenomenon which he claimed to be biological anti-gravity. His writing describes his construction of a flying machine that utilised the hitherto unknown power held in the wings of this insect, and how he made flights above the local countryside, experimenting with his mysterious new technology. Since his death in 2001 Grebennikov's story has developed into mythical proportions in parts of Russia.
In Laessing's film and video, a complex net of narratives unfold through found footage and interviews with those involved with Grebennikov and his legacy, accompanied by readings from his autobiography.
Through a process of extensive research and careful reconstruction of past experiments and apparatus, Laessing throws light on the lives of researchers and amateur experimenters excluded from the annals of official scientific history. The subjects of his work embrace a method favouring intuition over scientific rationalism, often going so far as to include the possibility of spiritual revelation. The resulting works pay homage to the unorthodox minds of individuals that straddle the narrow and obfuscated margins between naiveté and genius.
Nick Laessing (b. 1973, UK) recent exhibitions include the 2nd Athens Biennale 2009 and We All Turn This Way at the Serpentine Gallery 2008.