Monday, August 06, 2018

NOW. A Kinetic Life

Bidisha Das and Thomas Heidtmann

Friday, 3 August 2018, 8PM
Performance, 9pm

Sat, 4 August 2018
Open: 2 – 6pm

Sun, 5 August, 2018

Open: 2 – 6pm
Artists Talk with Bidisha Das & Thomas Heidtmann, 3pm

NOW – A Kinetic Life is an interactive installation that spans a visual and acoustic connection between outer space and physical spaces that surround us. It is an orchestra of movement using elements from outer space, nature and human bodies as instrumentations. It is an expression of the ever-changing moment we are living in: NOW.The installation brings in sounds from all these spaces in real-time to a modular synthesizer, the heart of the proposed installation, that Das has created exclusively for the project. The synthesizer is accompanied by CubeSat-like objects that are part of Heidtmann’s "Place in Orbit" project, wearable gloves and plants with sensors.
The experience is like having multiple ears aimed at different directions and in various locations at the same time. The real-time data from the spaces and the output result are unique each time it is performed: Natural sounds and sounds from the universe, all merging together – life, that is thriving everywhere and binding us together to live in the moment, NOW.

Thomas Heidtmann a Berlin-based media artist, studied at the Berlin University of the Arts. He is co-founder of Lacuna Lab e.V. as well as the founder of the Space Art Hackathon SPARTH and the Space Art Community SPARTHabitat. In his internationally presented works Heidtmann examines forms and expressions of exploration, collaboration, and communication. He is fascinated by space technologies, mirrors, and questions of visibility and observation.
Bidisha Das is an artist and explorer with an interest in Art and Science. Fascinated both in nature and technology, her medium of communication varies from sound to film, forest to the sky above, human beings to animal world and the like. Das graduated from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore. Her work has explored sound-art practices at the Indian Sonic Research Organization, Bangalore and she has performed at the HKW in Berlin. She has also been a team participant at Caltech-NASA to initiate a manned asteroid mission and has spent months in Indian forests and Peruvian Amazon doing conservation works.

NOW. A Kinetic Life is made possible through the bangaloREsidency-Expanded programme by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore in collaboration with Lacuna Lab e.V.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Workshop: (Un)Real Ecologies - Microplastics (with Kat Austen & Nana MacLean) 7/8 July, 2018

Plastic has pervaded water, soil and our bodies. It is the new icon of our time. During the (Un)Real Ecologies: Microplastics workshop explored the presence of microplastics in the Panke River, near Art Laboratory Berlin. How do organisms and microorganisms exist with and construct with these human-made materials? We interrogated the 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?"

Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. She creates artworks that explore multiple knowledges, from music to embodied knowledge to DIY science, focusing on emotional connections between what we consider internal and external. Kat is Cultural Fellow in Art and Science at the University of Leeds, lectures on UCL's Arts and Sciences BASc, and is Artist in Residence in UCL's Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences. Previous residencies include NYU Shanghai Gallery and ArtOxygen. Kat was an inaugural member of the London Creative Network programme. She is based in Berlin.

Nana MacLean studied Biology at the UvA Amsterdam and has recently finished her Master studies in Molecular Biology at the University Potsdam. Besides her studies, she has been involved in projects that crossed borders between disciplinary styles and methods - embracing both speculative design and performative collaborations. As a PhD student, Nana is currently working on microbial communities in anthropogenic landscapes and plastic polluted grounds at the GFZ Helmholtz Center Potsdam. Her research focuses on Plastic as biological habitat, and furthermore explores future ecologies and areas of research that involve storytelling and other imaginative methodologies. Nana is based in Potsdam and Berlin

Kat Austen finding plastic glitter on the street near the Panke River

Preparing the nets 'upstream' Friday 6 July

Nenad Popov filming underwater on the Panke

Nana MacLean setting the 'upstream' net
 The Panke river is a small river that starts about 20 km north of Art Laboratory Berlin close to the small town of Bernau. During its way down into the city Berlin, the Panke changes into a straightened urban stream that receives rain and mixed waters from the surrounding districts. We explored two sections of the Panke, an 'upper' part around ALB is bordered by parks, green shrubby watersides and a swampy floodplain. The more downstream we go, the more influenced the ecosystem will become by urban factors. The 'lower' part of the Panke around Gerichtstrasse already shows less water plant vegetation than on the 'upper' part. In order to collect (Micro)plastic from the water stream, we placed fine nets inside the river that collected all particles flowing through that part of the Panke overnight.

To understand the status of human influence in the different parts of the Panke, we compared water from these two parts of the Panke. We searched for visible interactions between plastics and biota in and around the Panke. Asking how organisms and inhabitants of the Panke live with plastic in their habitat?

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. In the workshop examined the plastisphere of the Panke and observed the shapes and forms of how organisms interact with plastic. For this step, we chose some interesting particles from our catch and used the available microscopes to get a close look at plastics and living creatures.

Workshop orientation Saturday 7 July

Setting out for the Panke, Saturday 7 July

At the Panke

Various waste found in the Panke

Kat recovering the 'upstream' net

Water sample from the Panke
 Furthermore, we used a two step chemical protocol for the analysis of (Micro) plastics in our water samples. In our case, plastics include hard plastics, soft plastics (e.g., foams), films, line, and sheets. Microplastic is defined by its size smaller than 5mm, so with our nets (200 microns) caught all sizes between 5mm and 0.2mm. During the two days of the workshop we split our samples into different groups, so that we could compare the different procedures with each other.

The solid particles in soil or waters are a mixture of minerals (abiogenic: not produced by living organisms), organic matter that are carbon-based remains from living organisms or their waste product and recently of synthesized anthropogenic compounds (?) that find their way into both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Digital Microscopy, surface of plastic waste from the Panke, Saturday 7 July

Lunch break at Panke e.V., Saturday 7 July

Checking for microplastics with a fluorescent dye

Wet hydrogen peroxide oxidation, Saturday 7 July

Finding microplastics with a fluorescent dye and digital microscopy, Saturday 7 July

Wet hydrogen peroxide oxidation, Saturday 7 July

Wet hydrogen peroxide oxidation, Saturday 7 July

Finding microplastics with a fluorescent dye and digital microscopy, Saturday 7 July

Kat Austen

Nana MacLean finding microplastics with a fluorescent dye and digital microscopy, Saturday 7 July

Each of these compounds have a specific density range and will either float or sink in a given liquid column. In order to divide those three fractions from our water samples, we separated them according to their density. Using a saturated salt solution created a liquid in which plastic and minerals clearly separate from each other. But first, we needed to remove all organic compounds, leaving only minerals and plastics! Adding hydrogen peroxide solution (30%) to your sample is a common method for the elimination of organic matter as it strongly reacts with all organic carbon.

Separating types of microplastics by density in a DIY density column, Sunday 8 July -All photos Art Laboratory Berlin

Workshop overview and protocols here

Documentation file here

Friday, July 06, 2018

Book Release Party - Half life 6 July, 2018

Half Life. Machines/ Organisms, Artistic Positions in the context of Climate Change and Extinction.
Käthe Wenzel/Manfred Blohm (eds.) Fabrico Verlag Hannover, 2018.

Machine-Organisms, organic machines: The dissolution of boundaries between bodies and technology is becoming part of everyday life with feeling prosthesis, neuro implants and neuroenhancement - posthumanism. Even the extinction of the species supposedly be solved by synthetic and mechanical Ersatz-species. What are the artistic perspectives on these developments? What kind of threats and promises are being negotiated here?

41 artistic positions from 15 countries provide critical and visionary views onto socio-emotional service machines - prxies and social crutches; Ersatz: Machine environments and artificial organisms; Utopia: Prosthesis, Utopian Instruments and substitute bodies; Connection: Mediator machines and trans-species communication; Autonomous and obsolete machines, past cultures of machines.

gnes Meyer-Brandis, Alex May, Alexander Schellbach, Andras Böröcz, Anna Dumitriu, Christa Sommerer, Claudia Schmitz, Courtney Johnson, Emma Critchley, Giuliana Cunéaz, Guy Ben-Ary, Hannes Waldschütz, Ionat Zurr, Jeongmoon Choi, Ji Hyun Park, Jinyoung Lee, John Roach, Käthe Wenzel, Kerstin Ergenzinger, Laurent Mignonneau, Lisa Glauer, Lorenzo Oggiano, Lukas Truniger, Malte Bartsch, Marie-Eve Levasseur, Michael Schulze, Nicola L. Hein, Oron Catts, Pey-Ying Lin, PSJM, Robbin A. Silverberg, Robertina Šebjanic, Saša Spacal, Špela Petric, Susanna Hertrich, Susanna Schoenberg, Suzanne Anker, Tobias Grewenig, VALIE EXPORT, Verena Friedrich, Via Lewandowsky, 431art

...and essays by KätheWenzel/ Manfred Blohm, Regine Rapp/ Christian De Lutz, Lisa Glauer/ Helge Oder.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Video documentation: Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory - 9th panel

Beyond the Animal as Machine. Ethology in the Age of Technoscience
#animal-machine interfaces #ethology #Uexküll
Moderator: Christian de Lutz

Birgit Schneider (Media Ecology, Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam)
Through the Eye of an Animal. Uexküll’s Perceptual Worlds in 360°?

The zoologist Jakob von Uexküll conceptionalized the German term “Umwelt” to describe the way different types of animals such as birds, marine fish or snakes are perceiving their surroundings. He was guided by the Neo-Kantian idea that the organs of perception shape the ways how the world is perceived. By adapting the concept to all forms of animals he consequently ended up withthe idea of manifold “Umwelten” (in plural), because each animal is equipped with different organs adapted to the environment. In my talk I am guided by the observation that today Uexküll’ian ideas are taken up by means of new media technologies: interactive programming, virtual-reality-helmets, go-pro-cameras and 360 degree videos try to get beyond the human cave of perception and allow animal world experiences. In my talk I will introduce and problematize some current examples in between science, animal protection and art that are telling in respect to how people think that animals perceive the world but also about their own (media) tunnels of perception. This leads to the question if, in fact, the current ways that connect to animal perception tell more about the disconnectedness from other species than about animal perception.

Robertina Šebjanic (Artist, Ljubljana)
Sounds of Troubled Worlds = Songs for Serenity

-“There are still songs to sing beyond mankind” by Paul Celan Improved living conditions in a technologically advanced world enables us to live significantly longer than in the past centuries. But the question is how this coexistence and relationship is going to be shaped in the future. The work 'Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator' (2014) addresses the co-existence of human animals and machines in this “new normal” situation. The most substantial aims of the audiovisual performance 'Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva sonification'(2015) are to explore the phenomena of interspecies communication, sonification of the environment and the underwater acoustic/ bioacoustics. The project 'Aquatocene / subaquatic quest for serenity' (2016) reflects about the immersion into the underwater acoustic environment and the sound and noise pollution produced there by human presence. The project explores the relationship between sound, nature and society and the human impact on the (under)water habitat as well as the establishment and maintenance of safe audio environments for animals that live in the oceans and seas.

Vivian Xu (Artist, Designer, Shanghai)
The Silkworm Project

The Silkworm Project explores the possibilities of designing a series of hybrid bio machines that are capable of generating self-organized silk structures. The silk machines utilize a closed feedback loop system between the organic and the artificial, where the biological and the computational form an ecosystem that demonstrates automated production that is autonomous in its nature. Researching in the history of computation and its entanglement with the technological development of the loom, the artist is explores a critical and artistic intersection between the organization of silk and the organization of information. This comparison between old and new technologies, between one of the world’s oldest materials – silk – and the its newest medium – data –brings up new questions of production and computation in the present day. The artist tackles this question through a series of machines that addresses 2D and 3D printing.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Video documentation: Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory - 8th panel

Nonhuman Perspectives Under Threat
#6th species extinction #human destruction of environment #anthropocene
Moderator: Pablo Rojas

Mary Maggic (Artist, Vienna)
From Molecular Colonization to Molecular Collaborations 

Our world is an alien landscape filled with toxicities. Thanks to capitalist forces such as petrochemical, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries, endocrine disrupting molecules mutate our bodies and bodies of non-human species, and at the same time “queer” our socio-cultural constructions of what is “normal” and what is “natural.” All-pervasive and inescapable, are we able to reposition our stance on molecular “disruption” and formulate new narratives for being-of-this-world? Therefore it urges us to consider the micro-performativity of hormonal substances as an agential power of not only molecular colonization but of molecular collaboration. 

David Sepkoski (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
Are We Experiencing a ‘Sixth Extinction’ and Does It Matter? 

 The idea that we are currently experiencing a ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ developed during the late 1980s and early 1990s in the context of heightened awareness of global biodiversity loss. The term ‘Sixth Extinction’ is an explicit reference to the five major mass extinctions of the geological past, and reflects the important influence that paleontology –the study of life’s past –has had on estimates and predictions about the present and future of life on earth. However, while it has become an effective rhetorical tool, the term ‘Sixth Extinction’ also raises problems. On an empirical level, it is debatable whether comparisons of data and scale between past and present extinctions are valid –a concern raised by paleontologists themselves. And from an ethical and philosophical perspective, the analogy between the agency of humans and major geological events of the past flirts with an anthropocentrism that has often characterized the discourse around the ‘Anthropocene.’

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Video documentation: Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory - 6th panel

Endosymbiosis and Sympoiesis
#Lynn Margulis #symbiotic relationships #horizontal gene transfer #autopoiesis and sympoiesis
Moderator: Desiree Förster

Daniel Renato Lammel (Institute of Biology, Free University Berlin)
Endosymbiosis and "Love Stories" between Plants and Microorganisms

It has been 50 years since Lynn Margulis proposed the endosymbiont hypothesis. She brought light upon the origin of organelles in eukaryotic cells, proposing that mitochondria and plastids evolved from symbiosis with bacteria. Molecular biology analyses have brought more evidence supporting that, even if no experiments have definitely proved it. However, it is well known in science that several plants form endosymbiosis with bacteria and fungi. Per definition: Endosymbiosis, noun, symbiosis in which one of the symbiotic organisms lives inside the other; and love, noun, 1. a strong feeling of affection; 2. a great interest and pleasure in something. 3. feel deep affection or sexual love for. This talk will play about how some bacteria and fungi interact with plants to form endosymbiosis, and how complex, specific, beautiful and important for life on earth it is.

Laura Benítez Valero (Institute of Philosophy, Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Biosophy and Mutagenesis. Towards an Alien Sym_poiesis

The use of Biosophy andthe return to Spinoza's contributions is to seek an alternative to avoid ideal-materialisms. What we could name as ontological immanence is an essentially anti-hierarchical proposal, in terms of Deleuze, because all being, étant, exercises as much being, être, as there is in it. A becoming of beings in being. This subversive potential, all beings are the same, se valent, all being(s)_thing(s) of being, être, are the same in their difference, is connected not only to some (com)post_human discourses but also to symbiogenesis. Lynn Margulis remarked “physical contact is a non-negotiable requisite for many differing kinds of life” (1998), so as long as we are very much part of Nature we are entangled by a symbiotic toxic interdependence. The potentia of some biohacking and artistic proposals working with_in non-human agents relies in anti-individualistic perspectives. Then, could we think on sym_poiesis as a material discourse phenomena, materialising in intra-action with other material discourses apparatuses? An alien mutagenesis?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Opening Weekend Viscous Bodies

Viscous Bodies
Sarah Hermanutz
Alanna Lynch

Opening: Friday, 23 March, 2018 / 8pm
24 March - 13 May, 2018
Fri - Sun, 2-6 pm and by appointment (closed Easter Weekend 30 March-1 April)

Artist Talk with both artists: 25 March 2018 / 3pmThe project follows an open framework in showing the ongoing artistic research of two emerging artists in the field of art & science. Taking all things fluid as a starting point, the work of Sarah Hermanutz and Alanna Lynch covers themes such as amphibians, bodily borders, boundaries, marginalisation, materialism, seepage, sensory and wetlands through performance, installations, multimedia and living artworks. In addition to object and action, this project also invites the public to become engaged with the matter in manifold ways.

Exhibition view Viscous Bodies, Sarah Hermanutz & Alanna Lynch

Live Decomposition,2017-18, Sarah Hermanutz, Nenad Popov

Fermenting Feelings, 2018, Alanna Lynch

Potentials, 2015-16, Alanna Lynch

Right: Inside Bodies, 2016, Sarah Hermanutz, Paula Montecinos and Nayeli Vega, center: Gut feeling, 2016-18, Alanna Lynch, Left: Salamander Mourning Veil, 2008/9 Sarah Hermanutz

Salamander Mourning Veil, 2008/09, Sarah Hermanutz

Alanna Lynch & Sarah Hermanutz

Left: Concealed and Contained, 2009-18, Alanna Lynch, right: Inside Bodies, 2016, Sarah Hermanutz, Paula Montecinos and Nayeli Vega

Nervous in Flux, 2018 Sarah Hermanutz & Alanna Lynch, installation

Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018

Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018
Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018
Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018
Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018
Viscous Bodies, Vernissage, 23 March, 2018

Alanna Lynch works with living organisms, biological materials and performance, examining the politics of affect and questions of agency. She explores the aesthetics of disgust and fear, with a focus on embodied knowledge and non-conscious forces. In her project Potentials Lynch cultivated colonies of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, through their whole lifecycle, making use of microscopic photography and performative display, confronting the visitor with containers of flies in a research-like setting. This evoked reactions ranging from curiosity to disgust. Her performances often explore bodies and identity as something complex and indefinable; both made up of ever more dividable parts of matter. For the performance Concealed and Contained she collected her own hair over many years and crocheted it into an ever-growing container which now covers her head and shoulders. In performance she stands naked, except for the self-made form of concealment which she then works upon: crocheting a continual work-in-progress.

Sarah Hermanutz researches the intersections of performance, technology, and ecology. Her sculptures, installations and performances are preoccupied with wetlands, amphibious creatures, gender and social cognition. Live Decomposition, an ongoing collaboration with sound artist Nenad Popov, was performed last year in Lisbon and Berlin. Video documents Hermanutz's hands as they work through an aquarium filled with mud, sand, living and dead wetland organisms, and other collected material. The artist has a keen interest in amphibians - both as organism and as metaphor. In Inside Bodies an axolotl in a jar becomes a point for human/nonhuman contact. Her work Salamander Mourning Veil, which includes drawings, photographs and performance, is an artist statement on both the mass extinction of amphibians and the degradation of wetlands, a melancholy act of caring and empathy in the spirit of Haraway's 'staying with the trouble'.

The exhibition project examines the aesthetics of viscosity. The two artists will also collaborate on an installation, which will form an interconnecting system of liquids, living materials, organisms and technology and encompass the common themes of their work.

Artists' Talk , Viscous Bodies, 25 March, 2018

Artists' Talk , Viscous Bodies, 25 March, 2018
Artists' Talk , Viscous Bodies, 25 March, 2018