Ivan Henriques collaborated with scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to develop the prototype of an autonomous bio-machine which harvests energy from photosynthetic organisms commonly found in ponds, canals, rivers and the sea
The Symbiotic Machine uses the energy collected from micro organisms to move around in search for more photosynthetic organisms which it then collects and processes again
These fables show potential of putative simple organisms in the past, present and future. What if invasive species become a weapon? What if the next danger is an engineered physical insect, not a digital one?
The Bio Art & Design Award used to be called the Designers and Artists for Genomics award but its objective remains unchanged: the award invites designers and artists interested in life sciences to propose projects that push the boundaries of research application and creative expression. Each year the three most exciting ideas are awarded a 25,000 euro grant to bring the project to life and exhibit it
The book contains 17 articles (in both English and Finnish) that report and meditate on the research, reflections and activities that took place during the scientists and artists’ stay in Kilpisjärvi, Lapland. The event was organised by Finnish Society of Bioart and offered one of the very few residences that allows people who engage with art&science to work and experiment directly in a natural environment and not exclusively in laboratories or galleries
Michiko and Michael’s work is never without surprise. Whether they entrust opera singers to produce food in a future world where algae have become the world’s dominant food source or explore the possibility of a city that would be isolated from the wider environment and where food, energy, and even medicine, are derived from human origin and man-made biological systems.
The Living Mirror is a ‘bio-installation’ that combines magnetic bacteria with electronics and photo manipulation to create liquid, 3D portraits
For her project Ergo Sum Charlotte Jarvis donated blood, skin and urine to the stem cell research laboratory at the University of Leiden. These donations have been transformed into stem cells, which in turn have been programmed to grow into cells with different functions such as heart, brain and vascular cells.
The result is a biological self-portrait; a second self; biologically and genetically ‘Charlotte’ although also ‘alien’ to her – as these cells have never actually been inside her body
“A common idiosyncratic habit in all birds is their inevitable punk nature to shit over our most precious belongings.”
A group of male zebra finches underwent this experiment with rigorous commitment
In the face of impending climate crises, environmentalists are standing with the Bio-Conservatives or with the Techno-Progressives.
However, a number of emerging factors suggest possible alternatives for the relationship between environmentalism and science. Among these are the DIYBIO or Biopunk movements and the campaign for open access to science, as well as headless and cell-based networks of activists such as Anonymous
The event brought together two men who share a passion for whales. One is environmental scientist and marine biologist Mark Peter Simmonds who investigates and raises awareness about an issue that is far away from our sights: the threats to the life of marine mammals caused by the increasing emissions of loud noise under water. The other is artist and inventor Ariel Guzik who has spent the last ten years looking for a way of communicating with cetaceans
Marco Donnarumma is a young performer and sound artist who gained fame across the world for a series of performances and instruments that use open biophysical systems to explore the sonic dimensions of the human body. His interactive instrument Xth Sense won the first prize in the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition and was named the 2012 “world’s most innovative new musical instrument”
Behind its menacing aspect, SPPS considers selectively permeable structures under lenses that range from the molecular level to the macro scale.It explores the (xenophobic) history of immigration in Australia and more generally current infrastructures that define socio-political boundaries. It also looks at the history of biowarfare, from Antique Chinese gunpowder rockets carrying poisonous material to virus injected into chicken eggs
Post Cyberwar proposes 3 methods to prepare for the time after a cyberwar: one is an open navigation system that uses seismic activity, the second one uses analogue television broadcasting to provide a wireless communication infrastructure and the last one would use London’s sewerage system to store data
With the introduction of bioprinting the possibility of new organs is becoming a reality. The ability to replicate and print cells in complex structures could mean different cells with various functions could be put together in new ways to create new organs that would take millions of years to evolve naturally. Frankenstein-esque hybrid organs could then be put together using cells from different body parts or even different species
A discussion with Rasa Smite about “Biotricity No.5”, a project that experiments with “green energy” technologies and sonifies the process of generating electricity from bacteria living in water
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby use elements of industrial design, architecture, politics, science and sociology to provoke debate around the power and potential of design. UmK challenges assumptions about how products and services are made and used, through reinterpretations of the car and other transport systems
During the show we will be talking about how she managed to get her hands on a fresh human brain but Helen will also discuss some of her broader projects such as The Body Is A Big Place, a large-scale installation that explores organ transplantation and the thresholds between life and death
In-Potentia exposes, in the most limpid and absurd way, how science is blurring what we are used to regard as clear-cut categories, such as where life begins and ends or what constitutes a person. Or in Guy Ben-Ary’s words:
What is the potential for artists employing bio-technologies to address, and modify, boundaries surrounding understandings of life, death and person-hood? And what exactly does it mean culturally, artistically, ontologically, philosophically, politically and ethically to make a living biological brain from human foreskin cells?
Designers and biohackers Raphael Kim and Funk are in the studio with us today to talk about the London Hackspace, the largest hackerspace in the UK. Being part of this community obviously involves much coding but also laser cutting, soldering, drilling, woodworking, sewing, 3d printing, learning, tinkering, repairing and pizza eating. The space even welcomes a small bio-hacking lab
In this episode of #A.I.L., Adam Zarestky will be talking about what you can do with a preserved turd of William S. Burroughs but also eyeballs in armpits, ethics, biotechnological materials and ”Full Breadth Genetic Alterity
Curator and creative producer Ulla Taipale will be talking about ‘Biofilia – Base for Biological Arts’, a new a biological art unit interweaving artistic and bio-scientific explorations. The learning and research environment opened at Aalto University, Finland in January of this year and i’ve been looking forward to hearing more about Biofilia ever since
My guests at Resonance today are creative technologists Asa Calow and Rachael Turner, Hello Rachael and Asa!
Asa and Rachael are the founders of the MadLab. Madlab is the short name for Manchester Digital Laboratory, a remarkably active community space for science, technology and art located in Manchester Northern Quarters. Luckily for me, Rachael and Asa are currently in London, where they are heading a series of workshops and events as part of their residency at The Arts Catalyst
Michail Vanis’s project suggests that our romantic ideas and ideals regarding nature – a nature that has to be preserved exactly as it is- are holding us back from finding new ways to interact with the world surrounding us. Vanis’ Neo-nature project invites us to reconsider our relationship to nature and adopt a more rational approach to ecological thinking and to conservation
As we develop the tools to manipulate and engineer new forms and systems of life, the exhibition considers our historical and contemporary entanglements with nature, technology and the economy, and how these relationships influence emergent forms in biological and synthetic matter, through new sculpture, installation and moving image works
Charlotte has donated parts of her body to stem cell research. Her tissue and blood samples are now in a lab where they will be transformed into induced pluripotent stem cells and from there into a range of completely different substances. A second self of Charlotte will be created, made from a collage of in vitro body parts.
The project is called Ergo Sum and it recently received the Designers and Artist’s for Genomics Award. It will be exhibited this Summer in The Netherlands. But until then, Charlotte is in the studio to tell us more about this work.
Zoe has spent the past year exploring the scientific and technological developments in Artificial Reproductive Technologies. She particularly looked at questions such as “Will the techniques themselves have the potential to fundamentally change the way we perceive parenthood and reproduction? How will the stories we tell children evolve?” In the show, we will be talking artificial uterus, the orphan child who had 5 parents, artificial gametes, and premature babies exhibited in freak shows
This week i’m talking with Ollie Palmer is a designer, artist, a tutor at Bartlett but he is also the guy who’s so interested in dancing insects that he’s embarked on a 6 year project to choreograph and stage an Ant Ballet.
During the interview, Ollie talks ants and more precisely Argentine ants, a particularly invasive species that the UK wants nowhere near its shores. We also learn about the best way to collect ants, to synthesize pheromones and end the show with a few words about the Godot Machine, a device built for the sole purpose of preventing a single ant to move around
Koen Vanmechelen who has spent the past 20 years crossbreeding national species of chicken in order to create the ultimate ‘Cosmopolitan Chicken Project.’ You might or might not know it but each country has created its own peculiar type of chicken: the French, for example, have the Poulet the Brest. It’s white and red with blue feet, the same colours as their flag. Americans like their chicken to be big and powerful. The Chinese have a chicken covered in silky feathers
This week we are talking about Pigs Bladder Football with artist John O’Shea and Professor John Hunt.
Pigs Bladder Football looks back at the time when football balls were made from inflated pigs bladder. But instead of using an existing organ, John O’Shea collaborated with a group of scientists at Liverpool University to bio-engineer balls using animal cells harvested from abattoir waste, replicating the same techniques used to create artificial human organs
After Agri is a collaborative investigation between Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton. Their collaboration looks at the future evolutions of our food systems, asking What new cultural revolution will replace agriculture? How will our species and civilisation be transformed?
Blighted by Kenning is a bioart work that Charlotte Jarvis developed in close collaboration with The Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), a research center located in Utrecht that studies proteome, the ‘set of proteins expressed by a genome, cell, tissue or organism’.
Together they bio-engineered a bacteria so that its DNA encodes for the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Glasses, lipstick, false teeth, the contraceptive pill and even your mobile phone – we take for granted how commonplace human enhancements are. Current scientific developments point to a future where cognitive enhancers and medical nanorobots will be widespread as we seek to augment our beauty, intelligence and health.
Superhuman takes a broad and playful look at our obsession with being the best we can be. Items on display range from an ancient Egyptian prosthetic toe to a packet of Viagra, alongside contributions from artists such as Matthew Barney and scientists, ethicists and commentators working at the cutting edge of this most exciting, and feared, area of modern science
This week i’m talking to Thomas Thwaites. During the radio program we’ll talk about that toaster of course but we will also look at some of his other projects. In particular, Unlikely Objects: Products of a Counterfactual History of Science, a work that explore what our scientific knowledge would have been like had the Darwinian revolution never happened
One of the most curious, amusing and thought-provoking projects of the Design Interactions graduation show this year asks questions that range from ‘What is more important in making us who we are: our genes or the experiences we go through in life?’ to ‘Can a mouse be Elvis?’ and ‘Does buying a pre-owned item gives one the legal right to another individual’s genetic data?’
The project is called ‘All That I Am’ and with it, Koby Barhad suggests that we could create an Elvis mouse using a specially-designed set of training cages and 3 online services
For this episode, i went to Battersea to interview the new graduates of RCA’s Design Interactions. In order of appearance: Koby Barhad will talk gene sequencing and Elvis Presley, Rapahel Kim is still working with rotifers but this time he designed a farm for them, Ai Hasegawa talks about the next frontier for Japanese love hotels and Angela Bracco (who is from Design Products) is of course answering my questions about If You Can Smell It It Has Mass
Howard Boland is in the studio today. The artist and mathematician co-founded C-LAB, an interdisciplinary art platform that explores the meaning and idiosyncrasies of the organic and the synthetic life.
7 years ago, I interviewed them about cacti that grow human hair and interstellar plant species. The radio programme catches up with their current interests, mostly magnetic nanoparticles and bacteria that might or might not smell like bananas
The Cold Coast Archive project investigates and explores human beings’ efforts to preserve civilization and defy the inevitability of its demise. We look at the vault as a whole: its practical, political, historical and symbolic structure, its arctic location, as well as its infrastructure and cultural nuances, with all the research concentrated at this site, as a backdrop to explore the human relationship to time between now and eternity
The guest of today’s edition of #A.I.L. (Artists in Laboratories) is Richard Pell, the founder and director of The Center for Postnatural History in Pittsburgh, the first museum that seeks to research, document and exhibit man-made biological systems. I interviewed him on the blog last year as he had just opened the museum and the radio show looks at how the center’s doing right now, its challenges, its projects, the spider silk-producing goats and the english bull terrier
The first episode of the radio show about art & science i’m recording for Resonance FM is broadcast today Monday 21 May at 16.30 (London time.) There will be a repeat on Thursday at 22.30. You can catch it online if you don’t live in London.
This week i’m talking with the lovely and lively Anna Dumitriu, visual artist and respected founder and director of The Institute of Unnecessary Research
Ollie Palmer’s Ant Ballet is a three-year research project into control systems, paranoia and dancing insects, and has culminated in the world’s first ballet to exclusively feature ants. The projected insects is part of the FutureEverybody Art Exhibition at the 1830 Warehouse in Manchester