Ancestry DNA testing has been widely embraced as a new way to understand our identity. But how does this removal of identity from its narrative and social dimension impact on understandings of race and relationships? And what is the scientific validity of this testing?
The essays are organized around two key figures: the Ghosts of long-gone creatures and wiped-out plants and the Monsters that both result from and bring about ecological disruption
The filtering capacity of flowers is a neglected area of research. However, the 3D structures of flowers make them valuable allies when it comes to regulating air quality by removing pollutants from the atmosphere. Dust Blooms juxtaposes the beauty and function of urban flora using a synthesis of artistic and scientific methods to create awareness about the every-day importance of ecosystem services in cities
Do artists using biotechnological materials and scientific processes have the same obligations, rights and responsibilities as scientists? Or should they enjoy more liberties and particular prerogatives?
Beat to the Balance introduces participants to a ritualistic sauna practice which consists of whisking bodies with branch bundle of different tree species. The goal is to open energy flow and make more perceptible the interdependence between tree communities and humans
Momentum 9, The Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, opened a few days ago in Moss, Norway. Its focus is Alienation, a pertinent theme for a time characterized by deep social and economic inequalities, new forms of rabid colonialism, atmospheric turmoil, transhumanism, closing borders and relentless questioning of democracy
Can art help us understand the ethical complexities of emerging (bio)technologies? Are artists able to uncover our hidden desires and demystify the promises emerging technologies represent? Are living artworks allowed and is art allowed to alter life?
Drawing on fieldwork, philosophy, literature, history, and a range of other perspectives, each of the chapters in this book tells a unique extinction story that explores what extinction is, what it means, why it matters—and to whom
Socle Du Monde, the biennale that opened a few weeks ago in Herning (Denmark), celebrates artists who have “accepted the challenge of turning the world upside down”
EE #2 moves Beyond Nature, investigating experimental and emerging ways of understanding as well as making art/nature. This issue visits not just hybrid, but also parasitical ways of doing art in times of danger and apocalyptic visions. In the current ecological and socio-political crisis, the function of the artist emerges as more critical than ever
The Socle du Monde biennale in Herning is currently showing Koen Vanmechelen’s Planetary Community Chicken, a cross between his now iconic Cosmopolitan roosters and commercial hens
Last year, the Flatbread Society embarked on a year-long sailing expedition that will take them from Oslo to Istanbul. On board is a rotating crew of artists, sailors, anthropologists, activists, writers, ecologists, etc. As for the cargo, it consists mostly of grain seeds that had been lost or forgotten
An art/science research instrument,offering participants the possibility to listen in on the electro-chemical messages transmitted by their bodies, in exchange for donating their personal biodata to scientific research
Kirsten Stolle examines the global influence of chemical companies on our food supply and explores the connection between corporate interests and public health. Using post-WWII America as her stage, Stolle’s collages, drawings and site-responsive installations investigate corporate propaganda, environmental politics and biotechnology
Hybrid ecologies unfold through complex interactions between actors and elements: human, non-human, biological, mineral, robotic, artificial, etc. There has always been some forms of interaction between humans and their immediate biological environment (through agriculture, bee keeping, fermentation techniques, etc.) but contemporary science is speeding up the synergies and frictions
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.’