research > Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene

Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene

Artistic Research

Saša Spačal

Symbiotic plant-fungi interaction. Arbuscular mycorrhizae entering the root of Sanicula plant, image by Leonie Grünfeld, Rillig Laboratory, FU Berlin 2019

Growing mycorrhizae with carrot root in Rillig Laboratory, FU Berlin 2019, Photo: Saša Spačal.

Exploring botanical gardens, imaging greenhouse diaries, photo: Saša Spačal

Soil Profiles. Photos from Natural Resources Conservation Service – NRCS

In 2019 and again in 2022 bio media artist Saša Spačal provides artistic research for her new project Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene at the Rillig Group, Ecology of Plants, Institute of Biology, FU Berlin. She addresses pressing societal and environmental issues such as climate crisis and plastic pollution in the context of symbiosis as a process of planetary metabolism in the case studies such as red clover-bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi.

The collaboration is meant as a research project that will delve into the material aspects of interspecies connections that Saša Spačal and her colleagues Dr. Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik have already researched with previous artistic biotechnological installations such as Myconnect, Symbiome, Plastic_ity, Earthlink. Collaboration with the research team at Free University Berlin will take the form of observations of experiments, interviews, planning artistic experiments and the conception of a new series of works.

Towards the end of her first residency in November 2019 Art Laboratory Berlin hosted a public presentation and discussion about the topics that residency covered, together with scientists from the Rillig Group (29 November 2019, at Art Laboratory Berlin).

Fungal cultures, photo: Moises Sosa, Rillig Laboratory, FU Berlin 2019

Fungal movement as growth and physiology, figure by Miloš Bielčik, Biomove, Rillig Laboratory, FU Berlin 2019

Exploring botanical gardens, imaging greenhouse diaries, photo: Saša Spačal

Exploring botanical gardens, imaging greenhouse diaries, photo: Saša Spačal


Saša Spačal (www.agapea.si) is an artist working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her artistic research focuses on the development of technological interfaces and relations with organic and mineral soil agents while trying to address the posthuman situation, that involves mechanical, digital and organic logic within contemporary biopolitics and necropolitics.
Her work was internationally exhibited and performed: Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), Transmediale Festival (DE), Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (RUS), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Chronos Art Center (CHN), Cynetart Festival (DE), National Art Museum of China (CHN), DaVinci Festival (KR), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (SI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art Festival (CRO), Extravagant Bodies Festival (CRO), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (SRB), Lisboa Soa Festival (PT), Sonica Festival (SI). She was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention, nominated for the Prix Cube and the New Technological Art Award.

Portrait Saša Spačal, photo: Tadej Čauševič

Saša Spačal: Symbiome, biotechnological installation, photo: Miha Godec



Some of the previous works by Saša Spačal and collaborators:
Earthlink: https://www.agapea.si/en/projects/earthlink
Plastic_ity: http://www.steklenik.si/sasa-spacal-plast_ika/
Meta_bolus: https://www.agapea.si/en/projects/meta_bolus-2
Symbiome: https://www.agapea.si/en/projects/symbiome-the-economy-of-symbiosis
Myconnect: https://www.agapea.si/en/projects/myconnect

A cooperation between Art Laboratory Berlin and the Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin
Rillig Group – Ecology of Plants, Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin
https://www.bcp.fu-berlin.de/en/biologie/arbeitsgruppen/botanik/ag_rillig/index.html
https://rilliglab.wordpress.com/

VenueS

Rillig Lab, FU Berlin
Botanical Garden, Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34, 13359 Berlin

Date and time

November 2019 and 2022

Curators

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

Team

Saša Spačal
Rillig Lab, Plant Ecology, FU Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin

Cooperation partners

FU Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin

Supported by

Activities

event Talk

Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene

  1. Project Presentation
  2. Saša Spačal
29 November 2019

Saša Spačal’s research project explores material aspects in interspecies relationships that Saša Spačal and her colleagues Dr. Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik have already explored in previous artistic biotechnological installations such as Myconnect, Symbiome, Plastic_ity and Earthlink. Collaboration with the research team at Freie Universität Berlin will take the form of observing experiments, conducting interviews, and planning artistic experiments, as well as conceptualizing a new series of works.

At the end of Saša Spačal’s Artist-Residence 2019, Art Laboratory Berlin invites to a public presentation and discussion of the themes of the Artist-Residence, together with scientist:s from the Rillig Group (FU Berlin).

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  1. Nonhuman Networks
  2. Heather Barnett | Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik
30 September – 26 November 2017

The exhibition Nonhuman Networks presents aesthetic designs of new forms of communication between human and nonhuman actors. How does the world’s largest single-celled organism function as a computer? What access can we get to the so-called “Internet of the Forest”? The outstanding performative works of the internationally acclaimed artists represent an opportunity for the audience to engage in extra-linguistic forms and contact with different, seemingly simple forms of life.

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event Conference

Nonhuman Agents in art, culture and theory

  1. Interdisciplinary Conference
24 – 26 November 2017

The conference considers recent philosophical approaches that challenge anthropocentrism. It is about human, animal and plant intelligence, sentience and agency.

As a theoretical complement to our Nonhuman Agents series (June – December 2017), Art Laboratory Berlin and our partners, the Institute for Art and Media, University of Potsdam, brought together international artists and scholars from the natural sciences and humanities from various disciplines to discuss artistic, philosophical, ethical, and scientific approaches to nonhuman agents. Previous positions from our Nonhuman Subjectivities series (2016-17) were included.

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