Networks in the Age of Technoscience and Infection

International Conference (online with livestream)

Vivian Xu: Sonic Skin, 2018, exhibition view at Art Laboratory Berlin, 2021, photo: Tim Deussen

Vivian Xu: Sonic Skin, 2018, exhibition view at Art Laboratory Berlin, 2021, photo: Tim Deussen

In the international interdisciplinary online conference Under the Viral Shadow Art Laboratory Berlin (ALB) explores various networks – biological, cybernetic, and social – also in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes presentations by seven international artists, on show at ALB, whose research and media are either in the life or computer sciences; as well as guest scholars from art and media theory, biophysics, and computer science, design and culture studies who explore biological, digital and social networks under the pressure of new technologies. A special keynote by Roberta Buiani discusses the multiple implications of viruses, natural and human-made in an age of technoscience and infection.

The core of the Under the Viral Shadow project is our group exhibition featuring works by internationally renowned artists: ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form by Alex May and Anna Dumitriu features an underwater robotic installation investigating ‘life’ in a post-climate change future, based on recent re­search on archaea, believed to be the oldest forms of life on earth. Anna Dumitriu’s object Engineered Antibody is a custom beaded necklace based on an antibody engi­neered to contain a combination of 21 amino acids – which could not occur in nature – but was originally derived from the blood of an HIV patient.  PROBE II: Subaudition by Benjamin Bacon is a binary set of extra-planetary machines that apply machine learning methods to investigate speech to text recognition decoding spoken language, turning it into kinet­ic energy, light, colour, patterns and reflection. Gene Kogan’s project Abraham is an ‘autonomous artificial artist’ based on decen­tralized AI. In interaction with the public, the work critically reflects on promising techniques from machine learning, crypto-economics, and computer art. Physarum Topologies by Sarah Grant makes use of living slime mould to demonstrate bio-computed information routing through different topologies of computer networks. And fi­nally, wearables such as Electric Skin and Sonic Skin by Vivian Xu explore the concept of human-machine co-evolution, offering a possible future human perception that may re-invent our relationship to the environment.

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz


11:00 – 11:20 CET

Introduction | Under the Viral Shadow. Networks in the Age of Technoscience and Infection

Regine Rapp (Art History, Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)
Christian de Lutz (Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)

11:20 – 12:45 CET
Panel A | Bodies, Organisms and Machines

Vivian Xu (Artist, designer, Shanghai/Kunshan): The Skin Series
Anna Dumitriu (Artist, Brighton): Engineered Antibody
Alex May, Anna Dumitriu (Artists, Brighton): ArchaeaBot: A Post Singularity and Post Climate Change Life-form
Moderated by Regine Rapp

13:00 – 14:30 CET
Panel B | Digital and Biological Networks

Sarah Grant (Artist, Berlin): Physarum Topologies
Christina Oettmeier (Biophysics, University of Bremen): On Physarum polycephalum
Danja Vasiliev (Artist, Berlin): How Computers Talk
Moderated by Christian de Lutz

15:30 – 16:30 CET
Keynote | “Going Viral”

Roberta Buiani (Media Theory, Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, York University/ University of Toronto): Going Viral
Moderated by Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

16:50 – 18:30 CET
Panel C | On Artificial Intelligence

Benjamin Bacon (Artist, Duke University Kunshan/ Shanghai): PROBE – Subaudition
Gene Kogan (Artist and programmer, New York/ California): Abraham
Alexander König (artist, media theory, Berlin): The Clouds Edge
Katta Spiel (Computer Science, Design, Cultural Studies, TU Vienna): Adversarial Example
Moderated by Tuçe Erel

18:30 – 18:50 CET
Final Discussion

With all speakers and moderators

Abstracts and Bios (pdf)

Press Feedback

‘Under the Viral Shadow, thoughts from a transdisciplinary conference’, in CLOT Magazine by Leoni Fischer (19 October 2021)


Online, with livestream

Date and time

Saturday, 9 October 2021
11 am – 7 pm CET

Conference Concept

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

Conference Team

Regine Rapp, Christian de Lutz, Tuçe Erel,
Linus Kaufhold, Tim Deussen

Cooperation partnerS

Duke Kunshan University
Fotostudio Deussen

Media partners

Supported by

The Silkworm Project

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