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

A few days ago i popped by the The World Press Photo exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in London. It’s a show i always look forward to visiting. The quality of the prints is often ridiculously low but the photos that win the photojournalism competition give me some time to reflect on the stories that made the news over these past few months but also to discovered under-discussed cultural or political issues

Simon Farid is a visual artist interested in the relationship between administrative identity and the body it purports to codify and represent. In practice, this means that the artist is ‘squatting’ identities that have been constructed by other people for surveillance, marketing or institutional purposes and then discarded.

He notoriously ‘inhabited’ the identity of an undercover police officer and the one of a politician who moonlighted as a web marketing guru

This is the eight edition of the competition and, as usual, the Italians made a killing and take a large portion of the awards, there is a fair deal of suffering, at least one of the awards goes to an image featuring Palestinians living under occupation and facing discrimination (this year however, the photos are joyful), and it is always strange to look at the photos and realize that the main events of the year before have almost already been erased from consciences

Make+ is a Shanghai-based programme that stimulates collaborations between art and science. Its main motivation is to ‘make ideas happen’.
The recipe is quite simple: an individual comes with an idea, a team forms around it, mentors join in and guide the team along the way. At the end of the process, the idea is made reality. Participants come with all types of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. They can be fashion designers, hardware engineers or painters

Over the past 5 years, Nick Hannes has visited twenty countries located around the Mediterranean. He witnessed an unprecedented period of turmoil for the region: southern Europe buckling under the weight of the global economic crisis, Arab countries entangled in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and tourists and migrants encountering each other on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea

By bringing together works by artists, designers, scientists, meteorologists and engineers STRANGE WEATHER asks questions such as: Should human culture be reshaped to fit strange weather or should we reshape weather to fit our strange culture? Who is going to take advantage of climate chaos and how will strange weather benefit me? How will you choose to work, celebrate, live and die when weather gets weird?

The young photographer traveled to Norilsk, one of the biggest cities above the Arctic Circle. In Norilsk, inhabitants live in darkness 45 days a year, temperatures can drop to minus 53 °C in the Winter and the air is one of the most polluted in the world. There is no green space in Norilsk and even leaving the city is a challenge. The easiest way to get away is by air (Moscow is a four hour flight away) and for most residents, plane tickets are barely affordable.

The reason why people would want to live there is that most of them work for the biggest metallurgical and mines complex in the world

Over the course of a several hour long performance, the Volta team built up a giant and foul-smelling pile that alternated copper plates, clothes drenched in acid and zinc.

I didn’t stand and stare until the final moments of the performance but I wish i had. The goal was to use the oversized battery to produce enough energy for one light bulb, suspended from the ceiling

My guest in the studio will be Ghislaine Boddington is an artist researcher, dramaturge, curator and thought leader specialising in body responsive technologies. Ghislaine is also recognised as an international pioneer in full body telepresence. and the reason why i invited her in the studios of ResonanceFM is that Ghislaine is also the Creative Director of body>data>space, a collective of artists and designers that looks at the future of the human body and its real-time relationship to evolving global, social and technological shifts.

In this episode we will talk about experiences in telepresence, digital culture in London and gender (im)balance in tech careers (believe it or not, we’re still there!)

The designers will be talking about the aesthetics of scientific experiments but also about the human capabilities in sensing future events. They’ve explored this slightly debatable topic with a series of experiments inspired by the experimental evidence for the existence of physiological precognition, depicted the Sensing the Future paper written by Daryl J. Bem a social psychologist and professor emeritus at Cornell University.

One of the projects that you can see right now in Brighton is a body of work, by Mariele Neudecker, that makes visitors reflect upon (and reluctantly admire) the use of technologies in contemporary warfare. The artist documented with seducing photo portraits and patient rubbings a series of weapons of mass destruction that were developed at the height of the Cold War

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?

Year after year, i go to Kinetica with enthusiasm. I might find it a challenge to spot the real gems in a sea of (sometimes) artistically questionable works but that’s part of the fun. Kinetica might not be the Mecca for art & science that some bloggers and journalists describe (too many holograms!) but it’s certainly a good place to discover kinetic, electronic, and robotic art. It also has a friendly, open atmosphere that makes it surprisingly easy to have a chat with artists, art dealers and other exhibitors