Research > DIY Hack the Panke

DIY Hack the Panke

Art + Science Research Project

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microplastics, Workshop, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2018

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microplastics, Workshop, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2018

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microbiodiversity, Workshop, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2019

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microbiodiversity, Workshop, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2019

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microplastics, Workshop, particles found using Nile Red method, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2019

DIY Hack the Panke/ Microplastics, Workshop, Art Laboratory Berlin, 2018, photo: Vik Alexander

The research group DIY Hack the Panke was founded in January 2018 and consists of a group of artists and scientists applying artistic and scientific research at, in and around the river Panke, and promoting Citizen Science projects along the Panke River in north and central Berlin.

In the next few years the upper part of the Panke, in Berlin-Buch, will be re-wilded according to new EU standards, while the river’s two points of entry into the Spree, currently underground, will be uncovered. DIY Hack the Panke is interested in these fluctuating areas and the effects of re-wilding, but our main area of focus is the Panke in Wedding and southern Pankow. This part of the river, known only a century ago as the ‘Stinkpanke’ because of pollution from nearby factories and tanneries, is now a popular urban green space sought after by local residents.

Through interdisciplinary art science practice, the group aims to explore the Panke River for living organisms and critically examine its complex history of human use. Members of DIY Hack the Panke offer public workshops on topics such as river flora, fauna and microbiology; bio matter as part of artistic research; plastic waste and other pollutants; and the impact of history, culture and technology on the present-day Panke. The public is also invited to take part in walk & talks, art performances as well as public labs to rediscover their urban environment, as well as learn and take part in Citizen Science.

In addition to public participation in the research and related events, the actions and results will continue to be made publicly available on this project website. A publication in book form is also planned.



Topics of interest and approaches

  • Microplastics in the Panke
  • Bio Matter and Artistic Research
  • Microflora and fauna and larger creatures in the Panke
  • Hydrofeminism
  • Watery ecologies, community coalescence and experiments with algae
  • Panke mud ecologies and Winogradsky columns
  • Traces of the industrial Panke in soil and water
  • A cultural and natural history of the Panke

VenueS

Art Laboratory Berlin,
Prinzenallee 34, 13359 Berlin
River Panke

PROJECT RUNNING TIME

2018 – ongoing

Team

Ink Agop (artist)
Kat Austen PhD (artist and chemist)
Sarah Hermanutz (artist)
Daniel Lammel PhD (microbiologist, FU Berlin)
Christian de Lutz (curator and artist, ALB)
Joana MacLean (microbiologist, GFZ, Potsdam)
India Mansour PhD (biologist, FU Berlin)
Eliot Morrison PhD (biochemist, FU Berlin and illustrator)
Fara Peluso (designer and artist)
Nenad Popov (media and sound artist)
Regine Rapp (art theoretician and curator, ALB)
James Whitehead (biologist, FU Berlin)

Project Platform

Art Laboratory Berlin

Cooperation partners

FU Berlin
TU Berlin

Supported by

Activities

Event Course, Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Microplastics and Coexistence | Online Workshop Discussion
  2. Kat Austen and Joana MacLean
22 April 2020

What we consider to be our environment unequivocally and ubiquitously contains plastic. It has been found at the outskirts of human reach: at the top of Mount Everest, in Arctic ice, and at the bottom of the Mariana trench. Plastic is becoming part of our geology and the lively surrounding of many organisms on this planet – a new material and habitat providing new stories and life forms.

This Earth Day, join Kat Austen and Joana MacLean to discuss the coexistence of microplastics in the environment and what it means for nature and ourselves. During this online talk, we will invite your minds with us to go visiting the plastisphere as artists, chemists and biologists, trees and bacteria, humans and particles – negotiating together a plan of coexistence with microplastics on this planet.

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Event Course, Performance, Talk, Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Science by Doing
  2. With students from the Gustav-Freytag Schule
February – December 2019

The project Science by Doing offered the pupils of the Gustav-Freytag-Schule a wide range of events about the River Panke, spread throughout 2019. Through workshops and visits the Art Science collective DIY Hack the Panke made it possible for students to artistically explore biology, chemistry, design and ecology, and to implement their own ideas.

In addition to workshops on the topics of urban ecology, microplastics, microbiodiversity and wetland ecology, there were performances such as the Wasserklang Orchestra, where the pupils examined the Panke using self-made instruments, which was later presented as an installation at the Berlin State Opera.

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Event Talk

Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene

  1. Project Presentation
  2. Saša Spačal
29 November 2019

For the month of November 2019 bio media artist Saša Spačal undertook artistic research at the Rillig Group, Ecology of Plants, Institute of Biology, FU Berlin, addressing pressing societal and environmental issues such as climate crisis and plastic pollution.

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Event Workshop

Local Area Network (LAN)

  1. Part of the project: Invisible Forces
  2. Martin Howse
13 October 2019

Local Area Network (LAN) open workshop is a collective, speculative investigation of local fields/particles, and energetic exchanges, towards the hacking and re-routing of energy flows and networks at all stacked levels of local geological, environmental and technological…

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Event Performance, Workshop, Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Wasserpank | Workshop & Jam Session
  2. Kat Austen and Nenad Popov
5 October 2019

Artist and chemist Kat Austen together with sound and new media artist Nenad Popov take the Panke river and its water as a starting point for this exciting workshop on sound experimentation from water and the environment. Mixing hydrophone recordings, DIY water and soil sensors, participants make their own recordings and the workshop ends in a group jam session along the river.

The research group DIY Hack the Panke was founded in January 2018 and consists of a group of artists and scientists applying artistic and scientific research at, in and around the river Panke, and promoting Citizen Science projects along the Panke River in north and central Berlin.

Read more
Event Performance

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Pankquelle
  2. Sarah Hermanutz and Nenad Popov
5 October 2019

Artists Sarah Hermanutz und Nenad Popov perform a new work based on their involvement in the art science collective DIY Hack the Panke. The two artists’ previous collaboration have mixed Hermanutz’s artistic research into wetland ecologies with Popov’s sound and programming based work. For the project Pankquelle, the artists draw inspiration from the Panke river’s source in Brandenberg, and it’s journey through the changing urban landscapes of Berlin.

The research group DIY Hack the Panke was founded in January 2018 and consists of a group of artists and scientists applying artistic and scientific research at, in and around the river Panke, and promoting Citizen Science projects along the Panke River in north and central Berlin.

Read more
Event Walk & Talk

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Summer Walk & Talk #1
  2. Eliot Morrison and Daniel Lammel
13 July 2019

During the event we will discuss the interaction of water, soil and atmosphere from the molecular level and how this effects and is affected by organisms up to the larger ecological level and how water, plants and soil take part in cycles of carbon and nitrogen that support life.

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Event Walk & Talk

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Summer Walk & Talk #2
  2. India Mansour | Nenad Popov | James Whitehead
22 September 2019

For the last day of summer, sound and new media artist Nenad Popov and biologists India Mansour and James Whitehead walk along the Panke and give a series of short talks interwoven with participatory inter/actions between visible and invisible ecological layers.

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Event Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. Panke Life. Microbiodiversity
  2. Sarah Hermanutz | India Mansour | Fara Peluso
26 May 2019

This workshop will research the diversity of invisible life in the Panke River. Choosing a site along the river in Berlin-Wedding artists Fara Peluso and Sarah Hermanutz and microbiologist India Mansour will show participants how to investigate the microbial life and ecologies of an urban waterway.

The workshop will explore the river and floodplain as microbial habitats, with special emphasis on water, sediment and soil along the riverbanks. Microbial community characteristics, interactions with the environment, and nutrient cycles will be discussed and examples sought out.

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Event Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. (Un)Real Ecologies. Microplastics
  2. Kat Austen and Frithjof Glowinski
13 – 14 April 2019

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 microplastics and construct with these human-made materials? We will investigate 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?”

In the workshop participants will use DIY chemistry methods to separate microplastics from mineral and organic matter, and discover the origins of the plastics they find by creating density columns. They will also learn about the ecology of the Panke River and the Citizen Science project DIY Hack the Panke.

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Event Workshop, Workshop

DIY Hack the Panke

  1. (Un)Real Ecologies. Microplastics | Workshop
  2. Kat Austen and Joana MacLean
6 – 8 July 2018

Plastics come in different shapes, textures and material properties. Their chemical properties makes them generally very resistant to natural degradation processes by fungi, algae or bacteria. However, the term plastisphere has been used by biologists to describe the living microworld attached to plastic particles in the environment. Surprisingly, plastic seems to be much more than just an human-made waste product: In marine ecosystems it was found that pieces of plastics carry a very specific community of fungi, algae and bacteria. Using a microscope, we can get a close and intimate look into their habitat.

The workshop examins the plastisphere of the Panke and observes the shapes and forms of how organisms interact with plastic. For this step, we choose some interesting particles from our catch and use the available microscopes to get a close look at plastics and living creatures.

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