The actors of hybrid ecologies are many. They are genetically engineered plants, cloned trees, animals used as sensors. Or they are robots, software and networks that encroach on the biological and sometimes manage to fuse with it. Some of this hybrid ecology is the direct result of human actions but increasingly, we see signs that biological and technological entities are escaping human control and are transforming the planet
Greiner’s works involve buying 40 litres of maggots and bringing them to the exhibition space until they turn into flies, composing music based on the luminous skin of a squid, convincing the Director of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to consider a fly as a living artwork, photographing portraits of algae, carefully orchestrating explosions around Berlin
The focus of the Nordic art&science network program HYBRID MATTERs are the hybrid ecologies that emerge when our environment interacts with technology, when two spheres so far regarded as independent start to affect each other and form new entities with new qualities
Albedo suits are designed to increase the solar energy reflectivity (albedo value) in the forests; this way cooling the climate and mitigating the climate change. The work plays with the notion of geoengineering and forest management as a geoengineering project
“The Condition” might look like standard (media) art installation but don’t let its playful appearance fool you. The deeper you dig, the more you realize how many thought-provoking ideas and issues the work raises: new forms of ‘natural selection’ where it’s the prettiest -not the fittest- that survives, novel ecology in which salmons and tulips are grown à la carte, and intersection between the design of biological organisms and capitalistic values
How do you taste to the small organisms that consume parts of you everyday, and every last bit of you when you die? How can humans manipulate our bodies, diet & emotions to change our own flavour?
This year, many of the work are exploring data. I got a bit tired of big data a couple of years ago but being at the festival reminded me that, once in the hands of artists, the most austere data can adopt a provocative, critical and sometimes also totally absurd tinge
We need to take better care of bees. Either we leave that task to governments and hope they’ll be fast, efficient and impervious to the influence of lobbies and corporations. Or we try and make an impact at grassroot level. Which is exactly the kind of attitude that the Pixelache Festival in Helsinki has been fostering for years
HeHe’s projects use clouds as a visual metaphor to aestheticise toxin coated atmospheric emissions. Smog, radioactive clouds, clouds produced by exhaust fumes, cigarettes or industrial emissions are visualised, highlighted, outlined, coloured or put under the spotlight, to alert us— not without humour—on our arrival in the Anthropocene age
Should bird populations decline drastically in the near future, could fake birds replace them and contribute to keeping the natural balance of a forest intact? The question might sound a bit fanciful but it is inspired by scientific papers about insect-eating plants, the extinction of birds species and the impact their disappearance would have on our forests
Session 5. The Extended Body: Biomedicine, Micromatter & the Transhuman was the most eclectic and unpredictable one. It investigated issues as diverse as the use of forensic methodologies in art, the presence of human cells outside of the body and the possible role of bacteria in creativity
This session was one of the most fascinating sessions for me. Full of weirdness and wisdom. It started with a 19th century sculptor who made a life-like statue of himself complete with his own hair and teeth, proceeded with a set of artists who work with tattoo and the latest technology and ended up with artworks, socks and other artifacts made of human hair.
Image courtesy of the artist While visiting an ex soldier training area in Maastricht turned into workshops for […]
With the arrival of 3D printing prosthesis using bio-compatible material, we might see more and more extreme body modifications reaching the mainstream. What could once only be imagined is now only a matter of time
The second session of the symposium dedicated to the use of the human body by artists was titled “Blood & Bone: Post-mortem Afterlives, Trauma & Ethics.” And it involved many uncomfortable trips to the autopsy room
In spite of the loss of a large part of its collection, the museum remains a wonderful place to visit. For the historical specimens of course but also for a number of artefacts that are interesting from an artistic point of view
The exhibition Hormonal at LifeSpace Gallery in Dundee brings together work by three women artists who, each in their own witty way, reflect on the hormone oestrogen and how it is understood socially, politically, technologically and environmentally.
Ellie Irons is one of those rare artists whose work opens your eyes to what is just under your nose but remains unnoticed. Some artists bring the spotlight on data collecting, others on corruption, corporate malpractice, or land grabbing. Ellie forces us to consider the wild and often reviled urban ecology that sprouts all around us. She uses galleries to provide asylum to wild and invasive plant species, extracts the pigments from local weeds to paint their map-like portraits, photographs the vigorous life growing inside vacant lots, and is actively collecting the seeds of the most humble but robust plants that mirror population growth and flux in globalized cities
There is a surprising similarity in the way neural networks and analogue modular synthesizers function, in that for both, voltages are passed through components to produce data or sound. The neural interface we developed juxtaposes these two networks and in a sense creates a continuum that creates one unified network. With CellF, the musician and musical instrument become one entity to create a cybernetic musician, a rock star in a petri dish.
The mobile ecosystem has a robotic core wrapped in twelve garden modules. Whenever the lowermost plants require more sunlight, they ‘vote’ to have the sphere gently roll over. If it becomes too hot for the majority of them, they will steer the structure towards the shade
Ploeger is an artist who looks at the broad picture, who realizes that e-waste, sexuality, ecology or violence are all valid points of entries into the study of the many paradoxes, complexities and entanglements of our consumer culture and its impacts on the planet
Machine Wilderness explores what our technologies could look like if they are native to our landscapes, part of material flows, foodchains and layers of communication. In particular it looks at environmental robotics, designing ‘pseudo-organisms’ that relate to specific habitats
A couple of weeks ago, MU in Eindhoven invited the public to a 2 day long immersion into all things bio art and bio design. The Body of Matter / BAD Award Special weekend lined up a series talk, panels, workshops and performances and explored how the techniques and challenges of life sciences are embraced by contemporary artists and designers
With Body of Matter, MU zooms in on the body and the possibilities biotechnology has to offer to change, enhance, investigate and replace it, now and in the near future
The artist gave a brilliant talk about how the fish, the beaches and even ourselves are chocking on plastic, about King Leopold II of Belgium and his brutal exploitation of Congo, and about the Homo Sapiens, a species so presumptuous it gives itself the title of ‘doubly wise.’
Maja devises equipment enabling biological survival in apocalyptic situations, built an installation ‘infused’ with the serotonin of the both herself and her dog Byron and explored the problem of invasive species with the help of native and tropical crayfish.
Famous Deaths, IDFA International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam. Photo Nichon Glerum Would you like to know or even experience […]
The Microbiome Security Agency investigates the future of microbiome privacy issues and prepares citizens for a future where our personal information is at risk through our biological datasets
For this work the visual anatomy of the artist’s brain is used to influence the behavior and learning of a drone. Computer code links this visual information, including the number, placement, and thickness of neurological connections in Ms. Haines’s brain, to the movement and decision-making of the drone
Designer Isaac Monté has used a pig heart as if it were a material that can be tattooed, coloured, and otherwise transformed. The work aims to explore how far a ghost organ can be manipulated for its creative potential, but it also questions whether biological interventions and aesthetic manipulation can be used as tools for the transformation of inner beauty
My notes from the Future Food Seminar which took place at Baltan Laboratories on Monday evening and gathered people with radically different backgrounds and insights to reflect on the re-invention of global strategies for the design of our future food system
Media artist and beekeeper Annemarie Maes has been monitoring and working with urban bee colonies since 2009, not only to develop novel art works but also to better understand the connections between city honeybees and urban ecosystems, to raise awareness among citizens about the plight of the pollinating bees and to call for ecological activism
In an era of fast-paced technological progress and with the impact of humans on the environment increasing, the concept of “nature” itself seems called into question. Bio Art explores the work of “bio artists,” those who work with living organisms and life processes to address the possibilities and dangers posed by biotechnological advancement
Scientists tell us that the Earth has entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene. We are not facing simply an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. In two centuries, our planet has tipped into a state unknown for millions of years. How did we get to this point?
The quality of groundwater is heavily affected by human industrial activities. Looking for innovative ways to get clean waters to irrigate agricultural fields, artist Rihards Vitols is currently experimenting with a new type of agronomy that relies on “cloud-farming”. In his scenario, people will raise thousands of helium balloons over their land to collect water from the cloud
The OpenSurgery initiative investigates whether building DIY surgical tools, outside the scope of healthcare regulations, could plausibly provide an accessible alternative to the costly professional healthcare services worldwide.
By presenting a semi-functional DIY surgery robot, theoretically capable of assisting in domestic keyhole surgery, the project provokes alternative thinking about medical innovation and aims to challenge the socioeconomic frameworks healthcare currently operates within
This symbiotic system re-imagines the management of sewage in order to salvage its potential as a source of energy. it is made up of a set of modular microbial fuel cells for the development or colonies of bacteria whose metabolism produces electricity and improves water quality
The artist harvested 24kg of an invasive weed from a highighly polluted area in Spain, extracted the iron ore from the plants and used it to make an iron ring. The innovative experiment brought together the biological, the industrial, the technological and even craft to create a piece of jewellery that weights 2 grams. The project also suggests a way to reverse the contamination process while at the same time mining iron ore from the damaged environment
The goal of this small and smart web series is to discuss the way biotechnology is changing our society: What are its political, social, and even philosophical implications? What happens when manipulating life becomes as simple as writing a line of code? And more importantly, what does this mean for average citizens and their future?
Pigeons, fungi, human cells, finches and flowers are just some of the mediums of bioart and design. These emerging fields are the source of daring experiments and thoughtful reflections about how aspects of culture, such as our concepts of identity, nature and environment are changing.
Matter of Life presents nine such research projects at the intersection of art, design and the life sciences