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Ecologies. Artistic Research
Kat Austen | Mary Maggic | Fara Peluso
Video still from The Matter of the Soul, Kat Austen, 2018; middle:
Viva, Fara Peluso, 2016; right: Video still from Open Source
Estrogen, Mary Maggic, 2015
19 January 2019, 7PM
20 January - 17 March 2019
- Sun 2-6PM and by appointment
March 2019, 9 PM: HYDRO_PERFORMANCE Night. Performances, Talks with New
Cassettes and Vinyls!
With Kat Austen, Robertina ebjanič
and Fara Peluso
Watery Ecologies. Artistic Research presents
three artists pursuing research in biology, chemistry and ethnography
with distinct DIY methods. Diverse approaches to the hydrosphere, the
sum of the planet's water, explore the foundations of life and the threat
of human impact on both the environment and our own bodies.
Matter of the Soul examines the impact of climate change in the Canadian
High Arctic through sound composition, sculpture and performance. Here,
Kat Austen, an artist with a PhD in Chemistry, combines scientific
knowledge, hacked equipment and ethnographic research with a strong aesthetic
approach. Crucial to the work is the lived experience of being in a time
of melting in the Arctic. The compositions contain field recordings of
acidity and salinity, affected by arctic ice melt, using altered pH and
conductivity meters; as well as samples from interviews with visitors
to and inhabitants of Baffin Island and Resolute, Canada.
The work of Mary Maggic focuses on the presence and effect of endocrine
disruptors in water. Not just estrogen from birth control pills, but many
pesticides and other chemicals produce estrogen-like chemicals that flow
into wetlands and infiltrate drinking water. Maggic's work also questions
our cultural notions of gender conformity at a time when our industrial
drainage has changed the environment chemically and hormonally for over
a century. Maggic's projects Open Source Estrogen and Estrofem!
Lab generate DIY protocols for the extraction and detection of estrogen
hormones from bodies and environments, reflecting micro-performability
and a potential for sex and gender hacking.
Artist designer Fara Peluso's long-term research focuses on potential
uses for algae as an environmental regulator, source for sustainable materials,
and aesthetic catalyser of biophilia. She proposes a closer relationship
between humans and algae as an answer to our current environmental crisis.
Her research and practice combine working with biotechnologists and DIY
scientists with speculative and critical design to produce a myriad of
innovative design and artistic solutions.
Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)
of the Vorspiel programme in partnership with the CTM and transmediale
Encounters with Vegetal Others
preview: 21September 2018, 11am (Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opening: 21 September 2018, 8PM
runs 22 September - 25
Fri- Sun, 2-6 pm
with the artist: 22 September 2018, 1-6 PM
artist pela Petrič approaches art production with a
background in Hybrid Arts as well as a PhD in Biochemistry. These dual
epistemological approaches inform her work with the Plant Kingdom as part
of a multi-species collaboration exploring the ontologies, methodologies,
ethics and practices of care involved in our relationship to the vegetal.
Her first solo show in Berlin will give an insight into her multi-species
The green kingdom, upon which we depend for our very survival, functions
on a radically different biological basis from us: seemingly inert, literally
vegetative and endowed with unexplored forms of intelligence. Yet science
reveals an intricate world of mysterious chemical conversations, interspecies
networks and non-centralised operations alien from our own existence.
Through her work Petrič proposes novel modes of human-plant communication,
intercognition and exchange.
Her series 'Confronting Vegetal Otherness' is a performative exploration
of such an exchange. Skotopoiesis (meaning shaped by darkness)
proposes a biosemiotic process for intercognition between the artist and
a field of cress. In a durational performance the artist stands before
the field, her shadow obstructing light, contributing to a paling and
lengthening in the cress, while resulting in a minute shrinking of the
artist. The durational aspect forces the artist to take part in a vegetative
sense of time, forcing a post-anthropocentric approach towards the nonhuman.
Strange Encounters: Metaphysics, Algae and Carcinoma uses biotechnology
to overcome our difference(s) from the plant kingdom. Taking a scientific
view of being at the cellular level, as well as the cell as biotechnical
labour force, Petrič arranges the in vitro encounter of two
types of cells: Chlorella, a free living single-celled photosynthetic
algae and a human cancer cell, carcinoma of the bladder. "I am performing
biopolitics, selecting, orchestrating, monitoring, documenting, narrating
remarks Petrič. The cancer and the algae negotiate the space
I allow for them. Biopower penetrates the plant just as it does the human."
A further work, The Plant Sex Consultancy, produced along with
Pei Ying Lin, Dimitris Stamatis and Jasmina Weiss, proposes design-based
solutions to the sexual (or pollination) problems of six plants. Somewhere
between medical devices and floral sex toys, the design solutions engage
our imaginations, challenging our preconceptions of vegetal agency and
sentience. They also refer to a possible future where a dearth of pollinating
insects necessitates drastic technological interventions. A recent study
showed that over the last 30 years insect populations in German nature
reserves have plummeted by more than 75%.
-Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)
Allgemeine Zeitung, publishes on 26/09/2018, updated on 05/10/2018 by
Joachim Müller-Jung, BioArt boomt : Wahrheiten, die
uns nur durch Kunst bewußt werden
published on 30/09/2018 by Clara Rodríguez Fernández, Trouble
in the Soil Bed: Sex Toys for Plants
in situ: Prototyping tools for the investigation of plant governance
September 2018, 1-6 PM
connection with the exhibition Strange
Encounters with Vegetal Others
wheat manage to domesticate the human? From Pollan's perspective-bending
"Botany of Desire" to the environmental humanities' "vegetal
politics", the entanglements between plants and people are ubiquitous,
mundane and often hiding in plain sight. As part of the inquiries into
Vegetal Otherness, pela Petrič
set out to produce her own phytocracy-revealing onto-epistemological
tools that are inspired by actual institutions/domains/cultural practices
framing plant-people relations, but also playfully oblivious to their
axioms and boundaries.
The open session invites participants to reflect on plant governance
as governance of plants by joining in a fast and funny tool prototyping
session to investigate the river Panke in the vicinity of Art Laboratory
Berlin. The exercise connects to a wider questioning of artistic methodologies,
mediations, narratives, with which we try to convey experiences with
the vegetal that often escape words.
The workshop is based on Deep Phytocracy: Feral Songs, the work-in-progress
has been developing at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania and Osmoza, Ljubljana,
the generous support of
WALK & TALK #2
Forst | 17 November 2018
excursion + Lab visit to the Dept. of Applied and Molecular Microbiology
| TU Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin invites you to a public event of Mind the Fungi,
a two-year collaborative project between the Technische Universität
Berlin and Art Laboratory Berlin. Artist Theresa Schubert will
offer diverse perspectives on the forest and its cultural meaning including
a performance. Furthermore, together with biotechnologists from the Institute
of Biotechnology | TU Berlin she will guide us through forests of Berlin
and Brandenburg in search of tree mushrooms and lichens. Samples taken
will form part of a two-year research project combining cutting edge biological
research, citizen science and artistic research.
Biotechnologists from TU Berlin will show participants how to collect
samples of fungi and lichens and preserve them for further study and cultivation.
At a follow-up lab at Applied and Molecular Microbiology | TU Berlin,
participants will be shown how to inoculate Petri dishes with samples
Berlin-based artist Theresa Schubert explores unconventional visions of
nature, technology and the self. She studied media art at the Bauhaus-University,
Weimar. She combines audiovisual and hybrid media with conceptual and
immersive installations or site-specific interventions that may include
living organisms. Thematically her works question the relation of humans
to their environment and evolvement of matter and meaning beyond the anthropos.
In 2019 further workshops and labs will explore new modes of fungal biotechnology,
which is currently undergoing a disruptive innovation process. Mushrooms,
which are produced on the basis of renewable raw materials in the biotechnological
process, will be converted, with far-reaching consequences, into packaging
materials, building materials, and even leather. Together with biotechnologists
from TU Berlin, citizen scientists, artists and designers, we invite you
to take part in Mind the Fungi.
Mind the Fungi is a research project of Prof. Vera Meyer and Prof.
Peter Neubauer of the Institute for Biotechnology, Technische Universität
Berlin and Art Laboratory Berlin.
MIND THE FUNGI
WALK & TALK #1
Briesetal | 27 October, 2018 (Day
2) Lab excursion, TU Berlin | 29 October, 2018 (Evening)
Art Laboratory Berlin invites you to the first
public event of Mind the Fungi, a two-year collaborative project
between the Technische Universität Berlin and Art Laboratory Berlin.
Artist Theresa Schubert will offer diverse perspectives on the
forest and its cultural meaning including a performance. Furthermore,
together with biotechnologists from the Institute of Biotechnology | TU
Berlin she will guide us through forests of Berlin and Brandenburg in
search of tree mushrooms and lichens. Samples taken will form part of
a two-year research project combining cutting edge biological research,
citizen science and artistic research.
Fungi is a research project of Prof. Vera Meyer and Prof. Peter Neubauer
of the Institute for Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin
and Art Laboratory Berlin.
text as PDF
25 August 2018
No registration, free entry
Left: Juan Duarte, Photo: Andrew Gryf Paterson; Sarah Hermanutz &
Nenad Popov, Live Decomposition, Photo courtesy of the artists; Laura
Beloff, Photo: Andrew Gryf Paterson
BioSignals is a series of site-specific sound art, narrations and
nature-based data streams by human and nonhuman cultural producers during
Summer-Autumn 2018, culminating with a contribution to the next Pixelache
Festival in Helsinki in Spring 2019. The artistic content of the project
will focus on creative and actual interpretations of biosemiotics, energy
as media and communication. Biosemiotics is an increasingly influential
paradigm of thinking which brings together biology and communication,
signs and signals of life in its myriad forms. In particular it offers
conceptual tools to consider communications and environmental meaning-making
from a non-human perspective, including plant and lichens, animal, bacterial,
elemental interactors, via tactile, aural and signal-based biochemical
artists will include Sarah Hermanutz and Nenad Popov who
will perform their audiovisual work Live Decomposition as well
as Pedro Soler and contributions by Andrew Gryf Paterson,
Krisjanis Rijnieks, Krista Dintere, Laura Beloff,
Lilli Tölp and
14.00 BioSignals curators present BioSignals and results from previous
meetings to the public.
Walk along the Panke river - ALB presents the project 'DIY Hack the Panke'.
BioSignals Seminar: Internet of Entities
their work Forest Law Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares rendered
an image of the Amazon rainforest as an entity connected to the global
flow of information partly via a mesh of sensors built by human activity
(scientists etc.). While it is clear that via this mesh the human species
receives data that is relevant to its perspective, it is important to
ask how does the forest itself sense the world via this new media? If
we are going towards a paradigm in which non-human entities are treated
as legal persons we need to also develop an understanding how to interact
with these persons in a sophisticated dialogue that legal procedures among
subjects necessitate. We need to develop and learn languages, semiotic
structures and strategies that ensure mutual understandings between human
and non-human. What is hybrid art´s role in this endeavour?
17.30 Remote connection with Pedro Soler (in Ecuador) - Reflections
on the Forest Law project.
Performance: Live Decomposition by Sarah Hermanutz and Nenad
More information on BioSignals: https://www.pixelache.ac/projects/biosignals
Produced in cooperation with
The BioSignals process is supported by Nordisk Kultur Kontakt Culture
and Art programme.
NOW. A Kinetic Life
Bidisha Das and Thomas Heidtmann
3 August 2018, 8PM
4 August 2018
Open: 2 6pm
Sun, 5 August, 2018
Open: 2 6pm
Artists Talk with Bidisha Das & Thomas Heidtmann, 3pm
NOW A Kinetic Life is an interactive installation
that spans a visual and acoustic connection between outer space and physical
spaces that surround us. It is an orchestra of movement using elements
from outer space, nature and human bodies as instrumentations. It is an
expression of the ever-changing moment we are living in: NOW.The installation
brings in sounds from all these spaces in real-time to a modular synthesizer,
the heart of the proposed installation, that Das has created exclusively
for the project. The synthesizer is accompanied by CubeSat-like objects
that are part of Heidtmanns "Place in Orbit" project,
wearable gloves and plants with sensors.
The experience is like having multiple ears aimed at different directions
and in various locations at the same time. The real-time data from the
spaces and the output result are unique each time it is performed: Natural
sounds and sounds from the universe, all merging together life,
that is thriving everywhere and binding us together to live in the moment,
NOW. A Kinetic Life is made possible through the bangaloREsidency-Expanded
programme by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore in collaboration
with Lacuna Lab e.V.
Thomas Heidtmann a Berlin-based media artist, studied at the Berlin
University of the Arts. He is co-founder of Lacuna Lab e.V. as well as
the founder of the Space Art Hackathon SPARTH and the Space Art Community
SPARTHabitat. In his internationally presented works Heidtmann examines
forms and expressions of exploration, collaboration, and communication.
He is fascinated by space technologies, mirrors, and questions of visibility
Bidisha Das is an artist and explorer with an interest in Art and
Science. Fascinated both in nature and technology, her medium of communication
varies from sound to film, forest to the sky above, human beings to animal
world and the like. Das graduated from Srishti School of Art Design and
Technology, Bangalore. Her work has explored sound-art practices at the
Indian Sonic Research Organization, Bangalore and she has performed at
the HKW in Berlin. She has also been a team participant at Caltech-NASA
to initiate a manned asteroid mission and has spent months in Indian forests
and Peruvian Amazon doing conservation works.
(Un)Real Ecologies - Microplastics
Kat Austen & Nana MacLean
7/8 July, 2018
Photos courtesy Kat Austen
Plastic has pervaded water, soil and our bodies. It is the new icon of
our time. During the (Un)Real Ecologies: Microplastics workshop
we will explore the presence of microplastics in the Panke River, near
Art Laboratory Berlin. How do organisms and microorganisms exist with
and construct with these human-made materials? We will interrogate the
water samples, to discover a new understanding of the reality of the Panke's
ecosystem, with plastic present and wholly a part of it - a microcosm
that allows us to ask: "what is nature?"
Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of
aspirations. She creates artworks that explore multiple knowledges, from
music to embodied knowledge to DIY science, focusing on emotional connections
between what we consider internal and external. Kat is Cultural Fellow
in Art and Science at the University of Leeds, lectures on UCL's Arts
and Sciences BASc, and is Artist in Residence in UCL's Faculty of Maths
and Physical Sciences. Previous residencies include NYU Shanghai Gallery
and ArtOxygen. Kat was an inaugural member of the London Creative Network
programme. She is based in Berlin.
MacLean studied Biology at the UvA Amsterdam and has recently finished
her Master studies in Molecular Biology at the University Potsdam. Besides
her studies, she has been involved in projects that crossed borders between
disciplinary styles and methods - embracing both speculative design and
performative collaborations. As a PhD student, Nana is currently working
on microbial communities in anthropogenic landscapes and plastic polluted
grounds at the GFZ Helmholtz Center Potsdam. Her research focuses on Plastic
as biological habitat, and furthermore explores future ecologies and areas
of research that involve storytelling and other imaginative methodologies.
Nana is based in Potsdam and Berlin.
of the Shared Habitats Project, organised by Institutio Media and
funded by Nordic Culture Point:
Release Party 6 July, 2018 7PM:
Half Life. Machines/ Organisms, Artistic Positions in the context of Climate
Change and Extinction.
Käthe Wenzel/Manfred Blohm (eds.) Fabrico Verlag Hannover, 2018.
Machine-Organisms, organic machines: The dissolution of boundaries between
bodies and technology is becoming part of everyday life with feeling prosthesis,
neuro implants and neuroenhancement - posthumanism. Even the extinction
of the species supposedly be solved by synthetic and mechanical Ersatz-species.
What are the artistic perspectives on these developments? What kind of
threats and promises are being negotiated here?
41 artistic positions from 15 countries provide critical and visionary
views onto socio-emotional service machines - prxies and social crutches;
Ersatz: Machine environments and artificial organisms; Utopia: Prosthesis,
Utopian Instruments and substitute bodies; Connection: Mediator machines
and trans-species communication; Autonomous and obsolete machines, past
cultures of machines.
Meyer-Brandis, Alex May, Alexander Schellbach, Andras Böröcz,
Anna Dumitriu, Christa Sommerer, Claudia Schmitz, Courtney Johnson, Emma
Critchley, Giuliana Cunéaz, Guy Ben-Ary, Hannes Waldschütz,
Ionat Zurr, Jeongmoon Choi, Ji Hyun Park, Jinyoung Lee, John Roach, Käthe
Wenzel, Kerstin Ergenzinger, Laurent Mignonneau, Lisa Glauer, Lorenzo
Oggiano, Lukas Truniger, Malte Bartsch, Marie-Eve Levasseur, Michael Schulze,
Nicola L. Hein, Oron Catts, Pey-Ying Lin, PSJM, Robbin A. Silverberg,
Robertina ebjanic, Saa Spacal, pela Petric, Susanna
Hertrich, Susanna Schoenberg, Suzanne Anker, Tobias Grewenig, VALIE EXPORT,
Verena Friedrich, Via Lewandowsky, 431art
essays by KätheWenzel/ Manfred Blohm, Regine Rapp/ Christian De Lutz,
Lisa Glauer/ Helge Oder.
exhibitions and events: (click here)
Information on the Nonhuman
Agents series from 2017 here
Information on the Nonhuman
from 2016-17 here
Information on the [macro]biologies
& [micro]biologies series
from 2014-15 here
[macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. Art
and the Biological Sublime in the 21st Century. Ed. by
Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz, Berlin 2015. More
release as .pdf
are proud to share with you our online-publication of the international
interdisciplinary 2-day SYNAESTHESIA-Conference, held by Art Laboratory
Berlin in the summer 2013:
a Phenomenon in the Arts, Humanities and (Neuro-)Science