Events:Bioart NexTrends

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BioArt at UniverCité, Nov. 5th 2014 18:00 - 20:00

BioArt at UniverCité brought together three artists and DIY biologists from various places in Europe. This event was organised in partnership with ECAL

Špela Petrič

Ljubljana, Slovenia (website)

Seeking Art's Niche in the TerRatope

Špela Petrič will briefly present some of her recent projects (Naval Gazing, The Plants Sex Consultancy, Solar Displacement) in order to critically review the context of the artwork dealing with living systems and the culture vs. nature discourse. She will address the issue of legibility of artworks, which heavily draw from scientific knowledge, the traps of contemporary techno-mannerism and discuss why bioart so frequently turns to biotechnological and cultural discourses in its conception, communication and reflection.

Short Bio:

Dr. Špela Petrič (1980), BSc, MA, lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her artistic practice combines natural sciences, new media and performance. She is interested in all aspects of anthropocentrism; the reconstruction and reappropriation of scientific methodology in the context of cultural phenomena; living systems in connection to inanimate systems manifesting life-like properties; and terRabiology, an ontological view of the evolution and terraformative process on Earth. While working towards an egalitarian and critical discourse between the professional and public spheres, she tries to envision artistic experiments that produce questions relevant to anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. She extends her artistic research with art/sci workshops devoted to informing and sensitizing the interested public, particularly younger generations. She is a member of Hackteria.

Maurizio Montalti

Officina Corpuscoli, Amsterdam, Netherland (website)

Fungal Futures - The Growing Lab

The goal of the lecture is to share and to communicate about the experience and the knowledge generated through the design practice ‘Officina Corpuscoli’, initiated and lead by Maurizio Montalti. The short lecture will allow the audience to travel through different projects developed by Montalti, involving specific micro-organisms and their skills in contexts related to design. This will be achieved by highlighting the very specific role being played within the design field, characterised by a highly experimental approach (both theoretical and hands-on) and by the fundamental aspect that trans-disciplinarity plays, resulting in collaborations and in the cross-pollination of different fields of application (i.e. design & science). A particular emphasis will be placed on one of Officina Corpuscoli’s latest research projects, specifically the project named ‘The Growing Lab’, whose applications and implications will be analysed and discussed. The goal is therefore to stimulate and inspire the audience, allowing them to dive into alternative methodologies in the development of design-related projects, showing the many different faces of the discipline and some of the alternative roles that designers can play in society.

Short Bio:

Strongly characterised by a creative trans-disciplinary approach and rooted in a collaborative, research-based and experimental practice, Maurizio Montalti’s work tends toward the exploration of the design discipline, aiming to investigate and reflect upon contemporary culture, thereby creating new opportunities and visions both for the creative industry and for the broader social spectrum. He often actively collaborates with professionals from other disciplines in a co-creative process, to arrive at thought- provoking solutions and design outcomes. His work spans across various mediums, previously exploring themes in relation to biotechnology, anthropology, bio-diversity, the ecosystem and the human impact on it, recent production technologies, and the importance of a symbiotic entanglement between natural life-forms, for an alternative advancement of the society we are part of. The fascination for the micro-scale, together with a holistic vision of the world as a macro- organism and a strong belief in symbiotic relationships are some of Maurizio’s main drives. Maurizio’s practice, known under the name of “Officina Corpuscoli”, seeks to reveal unorthodox relationships among existing paradigms, aiming to promote the growth of critical thinking, through the development and materialisation of tangible alternatives. To this end, the design process and the subsequent materialisation of concepts are often used as tools and strategies for questioning culture, while at the same time they are often offered as a critical statement to the design field itself. Officina Corpuscoli, founded in 2010 and based in Amsterdam, operates as a multidisciplinary studio, providing creative consultancy and developing both commissioned and self-initiated projects, often inspired by living systems and organisms. The studio’s work has been widely shown in multiple museums, exhibitions and festivals, both nationally and internationally.

Pieter van Boheemen

Waag Society, Amsterdam, Netherland (website)

The mutualistic manifestations in our art science crossbreeding lab

The Waag Society's Open Wetlab is a laboratory that provides a platform for creative biotechnology. We involve creatives, industry and academics hands-on in the shaping of biotechnology and what biotechnology shapes. This leads to a different interpretation for the debate on usefulness and desirability of Life Sciences in society. We promote the production of bio-art because we believe that bio-art is visionary and can be guiding for new prototypes and applications. For example in the project "Trust me I'm an Artist", we investigate to what extent and how art and science can work together and in what way art can influence a scientific agenda. As of 2012 we also bring bio-art and science into the public and DIY domain through our "Do It Together Bio" workshops and "Open Wetlab = Open" evenings. Since amateurs also do research. Since geekiness is sexy. Since the public wants to be involved in the application of biotechnology. Since science is the art of observation and therefore an aesthetic discipline. Since ethics and aesthetics are inseparable. Since a critical attitude towards biotechnology is urgent and imperative. So in our lab we crossbreed these mutualistic art and science manifestations out of interest, curiosity and engagement.

Short Bio:

Pieter van Boheemen has a master degree in biotechnology of the Delft University of Technology. He is a former ICT entrepreneur and co-founder of online retail shops. Currently he is cofounder of the molecular diagnostics company Amplino. Before joining Waag Society, he worked as a consultant in science based regional innovation, and was IT security consultant at Accenture. Currently at Waag Society's Open Wetlab, Pieter van Boheemen develops projects, conducts research and workshops intertwining biotechnology, open innovation and arts. As founder of the Dutch DIY Bio community in 2012, he started a group of grassroots biotechnologists. Since 2013, he works in Waag Society’s Open Wetlab and instructs, supervises and supports the users of the lab. His main interest is investigating social and cultural innovation through the intertwining of open source hardware/software/wetware applied to synthetic biology, systems biology and bio informatics.


The discussion was moderated by Boris Magrini (Zurich, Switzerland)

Short Bio:

Boris Magrini is a Swiss art historian and curator. He earned a Master’s degree in art history and philosophy at the University of Geneva and is currently performing research for his PhD in the field of media arts at the University of Zurich, with a thesis on computer and generative art. He was curator at Duplex (Geneva), I Sotterranei dell’Arte (Monte Carasso) and assistant curator at Kunsthalle Fribourg and Kunsthalle Zürich. Among other projects, he has curated Mutamenti (Bellinzona, 2007), Anathema (Fri-Art, Fribourg, 2007-2008), Modifier (Dienstgebäude, Zurich, 2010) and co-curated Leise Rehe – Wilde Beeren (Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 2011-2012). In 2013, he has organized at Kunsthalle Zürich the series of talks and encounters Reality Check. He is editor of the Italian pages of the Swiss art journal Kunst-Bulletin and he regularly publishes on contemporary art and media art in magazines, books and exhibition catalogues.