Press Reviews on Art Laboratory Berlin



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Archive of Press releases and reviews: (click here)


Bio & Beers | every Thursday with Biotinkering e.V.
The Bio & Beers format is for everyone: we start with a 20 minutes presentation, followed by discussions while having beers.

Next meeting: Thursday 6 October, 2016 at 7PM.
Talk: DIY Biology/Spectrometry – Rock ur Rainbow.
Presenter: Alessandro Volpato Bioinnovator - Biologist

The main interest of DIY (Do It Yourself) biologists is to give everyone the possibility to answer biological questions affecting more or less their lives. The first step towards that, is to enable citizens to execute experiments in self-organized laboratory. The need for more advanced tools led to the development of cheap, but functional lab tools.
In this talk Alessandro will present the project that was taken on at the Science Hack Day Berlin by the wonderful DIY Spectrometer team!

More information at:

Thursday 13 October, 2016 at 7PM
DropBot - Digital microfluidics for everyone
Presenter: Ryan and Christian Fobel
Currently researcher in Wheeler's lab, Toronto, Canada, Ryan and Christian have built DropBot, a digital microfluidic biochip.
Here is more about their vision:
After their short presentation, we will join them for an intense hacking session.

Thursday 20 October, 2016, 7PM
Presenter: Dr Utpala Sharma
Phylogenetic studies in some selected groups of Squamates (reptiles) through 16S rRNA
All squamates had a common ancestor but now they have separate distinct Phylogenetic lineages...
Please register here:

Every other SATURDAY we host a hands-on workshops that focuses on various micro-organisms.

Saturday 15 October, 2016: Growing Cellulose - Workshop
Presenter: Margherita Pevere, artist and researcher ( )

Microbial cellulose is a material with unique aesthetic properties: delicate and sensuous, it resembles skin and bodily matter. Not only: once dried, it has paper-like attitude. The best thing is that you can cultivate it yourself!
Margherita Pevere will teach us how to get directly involved in the adventurous life of microbial colonies.
We start on time, so make sure you do not miss any of the experiments.

To help us with organization, please register. The event fee is 15 Euro. Members have free access.

More info on
A project of Dr. Mirela Alister, Rüdiger Trojok and Biotinkering e.V.


Last Exhibitions:

Nonhuman Subjectivities
Aural Aquatic Presence

Robertina Šebjanič

Robertina Šebjanic: Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator, Installation with living system, 2014 Photo: Hana Jošič

Opening: 2 September 2016, 8PM
Exhibition runs: 3 September - 9 October, 2016
Fri-Sun, 2-6PM and by appointment

Seminar: Living Systems | Aquatic Systems
with Robertina Šebjanič, Kat Austen, Regine Rapp and Christian de Lutz: 18 September, 2016
More information

The exhibition investigates agency and sentience in one of the 'simplest' of multicellular creatures: the jellyfish, placing it into relation with a human made machine. Also noteworthy here is the importance of sound in marine systems, as well as the effects of human intervention on aural aquatic systems.

In her series of works Aurelia 1+Hz the Ljubljana based artist Robertina Šebjanič is interested in both biopolitical and technological attempts at the prolongation of life as well as a new critical reflexion of interspecies cohabitation. Šebjanič, whose work involves intensive cooperation with marine biologists from around the globe, has chosen to work with jellyfish, which have existed on earth for over 500 million years.

Her interactive installation Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator from 2014 proposes the mutual coexistence of animal and machine. In contrast to robots, which are driven by digital artificial intelligence, this project uses a living organism to bring life to a simple machine, and in a way, to express itself through the machine. Living jellyfish actually run the installation: the mechatronic part, video and sound. The movements and contractions of the jellyfish are recorded by HD camera. The captured data is then transformed in real time into code, which in turn navigates the mechanisms of the installation.

Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva sonification was realized in 2015 as an audio – visual performance with living system, where the artist extended the Aurelia 1+Hz project to challenge the phenomena of interspecies communication, sonification of the environment and the acoustic of the specific space surrounding the creatures. Šebjanič explains: "Sound loops containing recordings of jellyfish in closed environment and pre-recorded sonic experiments from the sea are mixed in generative score, which is assembled into immersive sonic and visual experience."

current project Subaquatic / Aquatocene sound scape from 2016 investigates the phenomenon of underwater noise pollution created by humankind in the seas and oceans. Over the last few years Šebjanic has produced a number of recordings using hydrophones. From this archive she presents a sound work in the exhibition, which explores the phenomenon of human sound pollution. Underwater noise effects a great number of marine life forms, who depend on the subaquatic sonic environment to survive.

Cooperation partners:


Brandon Ballengée | Katya Gardea Browne | Pinar Yoldas

Curated by Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

At the Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung, Auguststr. 75, 10117 Berlin
Exhibition runs 2 July-4 September, 2016

Closing reception and curators' tour: 4 September, 2016 at 2PM
(More Information), NatureCultures in der Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung
Greenpeace magazin, Fragile Gespenster
Der Tagespiegel, Ein Frosch mit drei Beinen. Biokunstausstellung in derAlfred Ehrhard Stiftung, NatureCultues. Interview with Brandon Ballengee



Nonhuman Subjectivities
On Animals. Cognition, Senses, Play

Rachel Mayeri   Maja Smrekar

Opening: 27 May, 2016, 8PM
Artists talk: 29 May, 2016, 3PM

Exhibition runs: 28 May– 17 July, 2016, Fri-Sun 2-6PM and by appointment. (24 June open until 9PM)

Left: Maja Smrekar, I Hunt Nature and Culture Hunts Me, 2014, performance and video; right Rachel Mayeri, Apes as Family, 2012, Film

Art Laboratory Berlin is pleased to present the new series Nonhuman Subjectivities. Based on current philosophical theories of the object and a critique of anthropocentrism, our attention is focused on non-human actors. This show presents recent works on the two groups of animals that are closest to us: primates, our nearest 'relatives', and dogs, with whom we have made a symbiotic contract. The works share Donna Haraway's con-cept of "cooperative actions": overcoming conventional dichotomies of nature/culture, human/animal or subject/object is all about joint action.

The exhibition On Animals. Cognition, Senses, Play presents two strong artistic positions on primates and on the wolf-dog-human continuum, making use of certain narrative strategies and the phenomenon of immersion, to approach the perspective of a nonhuman counterpart. The works of both artists place the instinct and the senses of the nonhuman at the centre of artistic research, while aiming to translate the nonhuman cognitive ability by means of the performance, film and art/science collaboration.

Maja Smrekar's performance I Hunt Nature and Culture Hunts Me was developed during a research residency at the Jacana Wild Life Studios in St. Montaigne, France. It forms the second part of the artist's project K-9_Topology in which the artist investigates the phylogenetics of the wolf, the wolf-dog-human relationship and animal ethics. During the performance, the implied risk and intimacy of Smrekar's contact with two wolfdogs and one wolf is contrasted by a voice reading texts from Joseph Beuys, Oleg Kulik, Susan Silas and Smrekar herself. In addition, a documentary film, part of Smrekar's research, also explores the complex evolutionary story of the canine.

In her work Ecce Canis, the first work of her series K-9_Topology, she explores the metabolic pathway processes that trigger emotional motifs, and bind humans and dogs enabling them to successfully coexist together. The installation, some parts of which are exhibited here, contains serotonin from both the artist and her Scottish border collie Byron. This has been transformed by chemical protocols into an odour - the chemical essence of their human-canine relationship.

The two tubes on the wall are normally used in biochemstry as protein columns, but in Smrekar's installation Ecce Canis they function as serotonin filters: the two tubes, labeled "K9" and "M7," were used to filter the individual serotonin out of the blood platelets of Byron and Smrekar respectively. On the plinth we encounter different samples of a scent derivative of human and dog metabolism. Indole, an aromatic organic compound used in the perfume industry, is also (as tryptophan) the final derivative of the serotonin pathway (and exists not only in the brain, but also in flowers). In this case it is the mixture of Maja's and her dog's serotonin, combined and synthesized with indole.

"The interaction of biology and culture is the central concept in the understanding of human evolution, geographical dispersion, diversity and health", says Smrekar: "Within this frame, I am interested in metabolic pathway processes that trigger the emotional motifs which connect two species, humans and dogs, [and allows them] to successfully coexist together." (Maja Smrekar).

The films of Rachel Mayeri are the result of years of collaboration with primatologists. In her series Primate Cinema, Mayeri has made films for (and about) chimpanzees and other primates. The fact, that captive chimps commonly watch video as a form of enrichment has not previously been explored by artists. In Apes as Family we watch a drama based on a tale of both chimpanzee social customs and domestication. While, as humans, we find the plot emotionally compelling, we also become caught up with watching the reactions of a chimpanzee audience watching the same film on a large TV (the first time the film was shown to chimps in the Edinburgh Zoo). Indeed the film is both an example of 'Primate Cinema' - a film made for nonhuman primates, and the complexities of cross-species understanding.

Mayeri intensely researched chimpanzees' reactions to different television genres and consulted primatologists, and came to the conclusion that: "Chimps seem to like to watch the same things as human primates - dramas around food, territory, social status, and sex. By watching a movie through chimps' eyes, we can imagine what they
think and feel. Chimps are, after all, our closest relatives. Known for their complex social, cognitive and emotional lives, they also share with us a fascination with cinema."

Mayeri's film Baboons as Friends juxtaposes footage of baboons with a re-enactment by human actors, who translate a tale of lust, jealousy and deceit from the animal to the human. On the left we watch field footage of baboons in Kenya, that was shot by primatologist Deborah Forster, who explains this tale of desire and betrayal. On the right monitor, Mayeri has filmed a sort of Human re-enactment with professional actors in a film noir setting.

For her video Movies for Monkeys Mayeri intended to produce a film that would appeal to a more distant audience: the squirrel monkey. This primate is thought to have a very short (two second) attention span. After a number of experiments, Mayeri found the right subject matter, exploring the magic connection between time, visual based media and primates along the way.

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)

Press text as .pdf
More on the Nonhuman Subjectivities series
Original press text (29 April, 2016) as .pdf published on 1.06.2016 by Dr. Barbara Borek, Nonhuman Subjectivities. Rachel Mayeri und
Maja Smrekar bei ArtLaboratoryBerlin

Cooperation partners:

Media partner:

Made possible in part by a generous gift from Michael Schröder.

Previous Exhibition:

Nonhuman Subjectivities
The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome

François-Joseph Lapointe, Saša Spačal with Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik , Tarsh Bates , Joana Ricou

Performance - 1000 Handshakes: 3 February, 7-10PM during the opening of transmediale, House of World Cultures
Opening of the exhibition: 26 February, 2016, 8PM
Scientist and artist talk with PD Dr. Annette Moter and Tarsh Bates: 23 April, 2016, 6PM
Finissage with talk by Felix Navarrete: 30 April, 2016, 3-6PM

Exhibition runs: 27 February – 30 April, 2016, Fri-Sun 2-6PM and by appointment.
(29 April open until 9PM)

left: François-Joseph Lapointe, Microbiome selfie, 2014, center & right: Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj, Anil Podgornik Mycophone Unison, Responsive installation: electronics, sound, and biological material, 2013; Petri dish, detail of installation 2013

Art Laboratory Berlin is pleased to present the new series Nonhuman Subjectivities. Based on current philosophical theories of the object and a critique of anthropocentrism, our attention is focused on non-human actors.

The exhibition, the first of our new exhibition series Nonhuman Subjectivities, presents various artistic reflections on the complex microbial environment found on and within the human body. Scientists say that bacterial cells are as numerous as human cells in our body. The phenomenon of the microbiome also brings forth many complex questions about human identity and our relation to our multiple selves.

François-Joseph Lapointe connects his biological research with performance art. His latest works of art deal with the microbiome in our daily lives and physical connections to others. Lapointe sequences his microbiome to produce metagenomic self-portraits, Microbiome Selfies, which illustrate the metamorphosis of his bacterial self.

The exhibition features new works from his performance in 1000 Handshakes which was realised on 3 February, 2016, the opening night of transmediale. During the evening Lapointe shook 1001 hands at the Berlin House of World Cultures. Every 50 or so handshakes, samples were collected from his palms for DNA analysis of the microbiome. The results demonstrate how the contact with others shapes our microbiome and changes us.

To create his artistic works Lapointe has used a next generation sequencing platform and network visualisation software developed for bioinformatics. In contrast to the analog microscopic analysis of previous generations, Lapointe is working here with a digital DNA record. Both the video work and the six prints constitute the final step of the analysis: the network analysis, It is noteworthy that Lapointe, in his artistic aesthetic production, deletes the systemic context (numbers, data). The pictures show a microbial profile during the interaction with the microbiomes of others. It is fascinating to think back to the essential gesture of his performance: the handshake, a basic and ancient act of networking.

Spačal together with Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik are interested in the contrast between the oneness of the human body as biological entity and the multiplicity of the human microbiome. In their installation Mycophone_unison the artist-scientist-designer collective has developed a sound map of intra-action between their microbiomes and the recipient. By leaving a fingerprint the viewer sends a signal to the map that processes it through the central 'celestial plate' to the microbiomes. The polymodal sonification stresses the multiplicities of the makers.

The three petri dishes on the 'celestial plate' are cultured with samples from the work's three creators. These cultures, in their multiplicity and complexity, defy any monolithic or unitary definition of being. But in their ever-changing resistance to an electrical current, these cultures microbiomes create, together, a unison of tone with the participatory aid of visitors.

Left: Tarsh Bates working in the science lab for artistic production, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia, 2015
Right: Joana Ricou, Other landscape no. 1, microbiome of the artist and environment, C-print, 89 × 140 cm, 2014

Joana Ricou's works blur the fundamental boundary between organism and environment, taking the shape of photographs of microbial paintings or performance. Ricou collected samples of her own microbiome and that of her environment and cultured these in the lab to visualise them. Out of this two portraits emerged: Other-self Portrait, a composite of cultures derived from her body, and Non-self Portrait, a composite of environmental cultures. Ricou, an émigré, began this work questioning whether her new environment was changing her microbiome, and if so, asking what is the border between self and 'non-self'.

Her series Other Selves is a series of microbiome portraits that Ricou has carried out over the last few years, in which she has cultured samples from the belly buttons of over 400 people, resulting in an amazingly diverse range of bacteria, fungi and archaea. These portraits, in turn, challenge our traditional view of the self as solitary, or solely human.

Tarsh Bates artistically explores what it means to be human when we recognise our bodies as composed of over one trillion cells, of which only around half are human. This new work Surface dynamics of adhesion, created here in Berlin, resembles a model of flocked wallpaper. Sealed in a series of acrylic boxes in agar based on the blood of the artist, living Candida parapsilosis grows in a pattern based on the first drawing of its relative, Candida albicans, by Charles Philippe Robin in 1853. It was also the Victorian era when awareness of hygiene was rapidly increasing. This complex installation includes furniture from that time and invites visitors to sit down and read more about Tarsh Bates and her artistic research on Candida.

Her video work Ereignis, Gelassenheit und Lichtung: A love story shows, in time-lapse video, Candida albicans developing in the laboratory, whilst mixing with serum collected from the artist.

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)

More on the Nonhuman Subjectivities series

Original press release (10-2-2016) as .pdf

Press/exhibition text as .pdf, publishes on 16 April 2016 von Alice Bardos BODY // Nonhuman Subjectivities: Humans Can Learn from the Political Make-Up of Our Bacteria, published on 5 March, 2016 by Claire Braun, BioArt : What is our True Relationship with the Human Microbiome?

art-in-berlin-de, published 3 March, 2016 by Inge Pett, Die Kunst des Händeschüttelns. Eine neue Ausstellung bei Art Laboratory Berlin

The Daily Mail, published 2 March, 2016 by Abigail Beall, The beauty in your BELLY BUTTON: Artist uses fluff and bacteria from navels to create works of art that are 'unique as fingerprints'

Delo, published 27 February, 2016 by Mojca Kumerdej, Poleti bi lahko brstela v triindvajsetih identitetah published 26 February, 2016 by Jennifer Ouellette, Your Belly Button Lint Makes a Beautiful Portrait as Unique as Your Fingerprint

iflscience! published 25. February, 2016 by Tom Hale, Petri Dish Portraits Of The Belly Button's Bacteria

The Guardian, published 24 February, 2016, Navel gazing: portraits of the bacteria in our belly buttons – in pictures

RTE (Radio Television Ireland), published on 12 February, 2016 by Luke Clancy, Cultural File: Hacking a Microbiome
as .mp3 (from 2'22")

BZ- Berlin, Published on 3 February, 2016 by Philipp Pohl, Haus der Kulturen der Welt: Künstler will 1000 hände schütteln

With the generous support of:

Cooperation partners:

Media partner:

Made possible in part by a generous gift from Michael Schröder.

Last event:

François-Joseph Lapointe, 1000 Handshakes, Performance, 2014

3 February, 2016, 7PM - 1000 Handshakes by François-Joseph Lapointe
Performance during the opening night of transmediale/conversation piece

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures, John-Foster-Dulles Allee 10, 10557 Berlin)

5 February, 2016 5-6.30 PM Talk: 1000 Handshakes – Towards an Aesthetics of the Microbiome
at transmediale/conversation piece,
(House of World Cultures, John-Foster-Dulles Allee 10, 10557 Berlin)
François-Joseph Lapoint withRegine Rapp and Christian de Lutz (Art Laboratory Berlin)

As part of the opening of the 2016 transmediale festival of art & digital culture at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Art Laboratory Berlin will present the performance 1000 Handshakes by François-Joseph Lapointe, curated by Regine Rapp and Christian de Lutz.

During this performative experiment Lapointe will shake hands with people, gradually changing the invisible microbial community in the palm of his hand. The DNA of this microbiome, whose samples will be taken from his skin during the performance, will then be analysed to reveal how our contact with others shapes the microbes between us, how it changes who we are. The performance raises awareness through physical and social engagement, through acts of participation and exchange on social, individual and microbial levels. The handshake is a basic and ancient act of networking, forms the beginning of a social, scientific and artistic collaboration between the performer and the public. The results will form part of the exhibition The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome opening later that month at Art Laboratory Berlin.

During the transmediale there will also be a talk with François-Joseph Lapointe and curators Regine Rapp and Christian de Lutz (Fri. 05.02.2016, 17-18.30, More information).

Podcast of the talk

Press release for 1000 Handshakes (English on p.2)

BZ- Berlin, Published on 3 February, 2016 by Philipp Pohl, Haus der Kulturen der Welt: Künstler will 1000 hände schütteln

In cooperation with transmediale art&digitalculture

With the generous support of:

Last exhibitions and events: (click here)


[macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. Art and the Biological Sublime in the 21st Century. Ed. by Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz, Berlin 2015.
More information
Press release as .pdf

Online Publication:
We 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:
Synaesthesia. Discussing a Phenomenon in the Arts, Humanities and (Neuro-)Science

Art Laboratory Berlin Awarded Prize for Project Spaces

We are pleased to announce that Art Laboratory Berlin was one of the winners of the first Prize for Art Project Spaces and Initiatives in the Field of Visual Arts awarded by the Berlin Senate Office of Cultural Affairs in 2012-3.

The award honours the commitment and work of those operating project spaces and initiatives. "The award serves" according to the Senate Office of Cultural Affairs, "to support them, to secure the existing diversity and to make the activities of art project spaces and initiatives in Berlin more visible."

A complete statement from Art Laboratory Berlin on the award can be found at:

art-in-berlin Berliner Projekträume und –initiativen

Kunst Magazin - Berliner Kulturverwaltung zeichnet Projekträume aus von Julia Schmitz

Berliner Morgenpost - Eine Klassenfahrt mit Baby und Urkunden Von Gabriela Walde

Zitty - Das erste Mal: Der Berliner Preis für Projekträume wird vergeben

Taz - Attraktiv und den Preis wert Von Marcus Woeller

Neues deutschland - Echte Berliner Spezialität. Selbstorganisierte Kunstinitiativen kämpfen ums Überleben
Von Tom Mustroph

Tagesspiegel - Küsschen, Kaffee, Kohle von Claudia Wahjudi

Information about Art Laboratory Berlin:
Art Laboratory Berlin (as.PDF)


If you have any questions or wish material about the exhibition, please contact

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