About 200 artists, researchers and art lovers from all over California will descend on UCSB this weekend in hopes of ascertaining the state of the arts.

Less than a year after relocating from UC Irvine to UCSB, the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts will host the first annual State of the Arts Conference at various locations on campus this Friday and Saturday. The two-day conference will be packed with panels, performances and exhibits from students, professors and researchers throughout the UC system.

Tracey Morris, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center public events coordinator, said the conference will give members of the UC system and the public a chance to experience different forms of art produced at UC campuses.

“[The conference] is important because it brings everyone together,” Morris said. “It is important to talk about projects, find out what research is being done on certain campuses,”

The featured project at the conference will be Makrolab, a building that combines art and science to create a “temporary sustainable laboratory/habitation designed to support eight artists and scientists working and living along side each other in isolation for periods of up to 120 days,” a UCIRA press release said. Marko Peljhan, associate professor of art/media arts and technology at UCSB, designed the structure.

“It’s a great project because it ties together both sides of campus … the art side and the science side,” Morris said.

The Makrolab structure will be located atop Campus Point and is scheduled to remain for the duration of the conference. While the interior equipment designed for the structure has been removed for the conference, the structure will still feature information about its development and progress.

One of the many events scheduled for the conference’s first day is “The Monument Project,” a writing and performance collaboration between the Isla Vista teen theater group Nuestra Voz, UCSB students, residents from local retirement home Friendship Manor and playwright Luis Alfaro.

Nuestra Voz founder Judy Bauerlein, a doctoral candidate in the UCSB Dramatic Arts Dept., said the project will feature a slide show of photographs taken by the participants around I.V. It will also include artists’ renderings of a monument designed collaboratively by the students and senior citizens to represent their community. Additionally, the group will hold a performance incorporating interviews of Friendship Manor residents conducted by the teens.

“The most interesting thing is going to be watching the seniors and the teens interact,” Bauerlein said.

“The Monument Project” takes place at Embarcadero Hall in I.V. at 4 p.m. on Friday. The project is open to everyone, even those not registered for the conference, Bauerlein said. Admission is free.

Friday at 3:30 p.m., visiting artist Aaron Gach will be outside Embarcadero Hall with his project, the Tactical Ice Cream Unit.

Gach said the unit – an ice cream truck outfitted with surveillance equipment, GPS and satellite internet capability, among other things – offers two “menus”: “Treats for the Streets,” which lists the ice creams available, and “Food for Thought” which enumerates “progressive topics” about which further information can be provided. Gach said such topics include the Black Panther movement and organic gardening.

“It’s a way of letting people pick their poison – or swallow their own flavor – of politics,” Gach said.

Saturday’s events include “The Container Project” which will be featured during the open studio portion of the event, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Arts Building Atrium. For this project, students enrolled in Art Studio 105 – the class referred to as “Open Container” – taught by UCIRA Co-Director Kim Yasuda, made plans to turn shipping containers into student housing units, third-year art studio major and Art Studio 105 student Candis Wallin, said.

For the conference, the class has turned one container into an exhibition space that will house the plans and models for the remaining two containers, Wallin said. Students will propose UCSB administrators use these structures to help alleviate housing problems in the community.

While the last date to register for the conference was May 10, Morris said that anyone who is still interested in attending will be able to register on the UCIRA website, www.ucira.ucsb.edu, until Thursday, May 18.