Research > Terra Xenobiotica or How to Belong

Terra Xenobiotica or How to Belong

Artistic Research

Saša Spačal

Art Laboratory Berlin is glad to announce a currently evolving new artistic research project: During the months of October and November 2022 bio media artist Saša Spačal undertakes artistic research for her new project Terra Xenobiotica or How to Belong at the lab of the Rillig Group | Ecology of Plants, Institute of Biology, Freie Universtität Berlin and at Art Laboratory Berlin.

Terra Xenobiotica is an exploration into a dark alterity of soil ecology, an umwelt of its own, where mineral and organic agents entangle as strangers, but decompose into oneness of the ground that carries biological life in the Zone.

During the residency temporal aspects of xenobiotic substances and metabolisms will be sampled, researched and observed in the vicinity of airports. On the nodes of planetary aviation networks, traces of human grounding and ungrounding will be materially examined to reveal how foreign substances perform gradual belonging.” (Saša Spačal)

Art Laboratory Berlin has collaborated many times with Saša Spačal: The artist was present with several works at the exhibitions The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome (2016), Nonhuman Networks (2017), presented her artistic research at the international conference Nohuman Agents (2017) and had an artist residency in 2019 (also connected with the Rillig Group | Ecology of Plants).

In her essay “Saša Spačal. Symbioses and Planetary Interconnections” Regine Rapp reflects on the artist’s approaches: Spačal’s projects employ “fascinating biotechnological strategies that enable the physical experience of immersion and the philosophical experience of interconnectedness and networking. Without ever losing the artistic value of aesthetic experience, Spačal uses current scientific knowledge and laboratory practices of biology – especially microbiology and mycology, the science of fungi. In doing so, she creates particular encounters mediated through non-linguistic forms of perception and exchange – acoustic, electronic and metabolic. The artistic results offer a new repertoire for accessing the world anew in its symbiotic complexity.” (Rapp, R. (2022) ‘Saša Spačal. Symbiosen und planetarische Verflechtungen’, Kunstforum International, 281, p. 116)

During her current residency Spačal shares the findings from her new artistic research project also with the public. Art Laboratory Berlin hosts several public events. Together with scientists from the Rillig Group the artist reflected on the phenomenon of symbiosis in her art work (Walk & Talk, 3 Octobre 2022). In the Colloquium she will talk about her ongoing work process as a work-in-progress (Colloquium, 8 November 2022), and at the end of her residence in a solo artist talk Spačal will share her results with the public (Artist Talk, 25 November 2022).

For two weeks in November Saša Spačal will be joined by artist Pim Boreel to further develop a new work coming from her ongoing research.


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.

Saša Spačal, photo: Tadej Čauševič


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
Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34, 13359 Berlin

Date and time

October – November 2022

Curators

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

Team

Saša Spačal
Art Laboratory Berlin
Rillig Group | Ecology of Plants, Freie Universität Berlin

Cooperation partners

Freie Universität Berlin
Art Laboratory Berlin

Supported by

Symbiosis in intra-flux of the Anthropocene

Activities

Event Talk

TERRA XENOBIOTICA OR HOW TO BELONG

  1. Artist Talk | Saša Spačal
25 November 2022
Art Laboratory Berlin welcomes you to an Artist Talk with bio media artist Saša Spačal where she will speak about her currently evolving new artistic research project. During the months of October and November 2022 the artist undertakes artistic research for her new project Terra Xenobiotica or How to Belong at the lab of the Rillig Group | Ecology of Plants, Institute of Biology, Freie Universtität Berlin and at Art Laboratory Berlin. “Terra Xenobiotica is an exploration into a dark alterity of soil ecology, an umwelt of its own, where mineral and organic agents entangle as strangers, but decompose into oneness of the ground that carries biological life in the Zone. During the residency temporal aspects of xenobiotic substances and metabolisms will be sampled, researched and observed in the vicinity of airports. On the nodes of planetary aviation networks, traces of human grounding and ungrounding will be materially examined to reveal how foreign substances perform gradual belonging.” (Saša Spačal) Read more
Event Colloquium

IN-PROGRESS… | COLLOQUIUM

  1. Research in Art, Science and Humanities
  2. With Saša Spačal and Joana MacLean
8 November 2022
The Colloquium addresses an international interdisciplinary research audience to present and discuss past, present or future projects by artists and scholars, curators or editors from the fields of art, science and the humanities. The topics could refer to an art project, a book, text or chapter, a research or exhibition project, a lab experiment, a lecture series, a conference concept or other. The presentations and exchange will focus on the work-in-progress. Methodological approaches – theoretical or practical – are also of great interest here. While researching, we often tend to shift between practical inquiry and theoretical research, browsing various disciplines. Following the original meaning of colloquium as “speaking together”, we want to provide a platform for exchange and embrace various kinds of work processes which are often not seen or talked about. Read more
Event Walk & Talk

HACK THE PANKE Festival

  1. Reflecting Symbiosis
  2. Walk & Talk | Saša Spačal and Matthias Rillig
3 October 2022
In our last event of the festival, a conversational walk along the river Panke, we will focus on artistic and scientific research on symbiosis. Artist Saša Spačal will introduce us into her artistic research about symbiosis and interspecies entanglements. She has developed technological interfaces and relations with organic and mineral soil agents, addressing the posthuman condition that involves mechanical, digital and organic logic within biopolitics and necropolitics of our times. Ecologist Matthias Rillig will give us an insight into his research on soil and plant ecologies especially on the symbiosis of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with plants and its effects on soil aggregation. In October and November 2022 Spačal will realize an art residency at the Rillig Lab at Freie Universität Berlin, curatorially accompanied by Art Laboratory Berlin. Read more

Related

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). Read more
Exhibition

Nonhuman Agents

  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. Read more
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. Read more

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