Thursday, May 02, 2019

Mind the Fungi: cultivation course at TopLab

27 April - 18 May, 2019
TopLab is hosting a mushroom home-cultivation course in collaboration with Art Laboratory Berlin and the faculty of Applied and Molecular Microbiology (TU Berlin)

In the course, participants learn how to isolate and grow mushrooms for different purposes. They learn to create and shape own mycelium based objects, such as packaging materials, furniture, building materials and even leather. Additionally, they learn how to set up a culture to grow edible mushrooms.

Participants also participate in a mycelium packaging experiment, grow together a mycelium box and ship it per post to test the material's resistance.

Some photos from the first session on 27 April:

All photos by Fara Peluso

While the course is fully booked, we hope a second course will take place later this year

For further details visit TopLab's webpage contact them via email:

The course is part of the Mind the Fungi project of the TU Berlin and Art Laboratory Berlin This course takes part thanks to the hard work of Alessandro Volpato, Tuce Erel and Flavia Barragan from TopLab (Top e.V.) as well as the Mind the Fungi team. More about Mind the Fungi at:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

(Un)Real Ecologies - Microplastic workshop with Kat Austen and Frithjof Glowinski

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 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.

Frithjof Glowinski(l) and Kat Austen (r)

Along the Panke River in Berlin-Wedding

Lifting the nets

Sieving the findings


Building a density column

DIY density column to separate types of plastic

Adding Nile Red to dye the plastic

Types of plastic

Using Hydrogen Peroxide to remove organic matter

looking for microplastics with a digital microscope

Two worms

A microplastic thread

Microplastic thread

Microplastic pieces (bright spots) after dying with Nile Red under UV light

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 a Teaching Fellow on UCL's Arts and Sciences BASc, and is Artist in Residence in UCL's Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences. Previous residencies include Artist in the Arctic, NYU Shanghai Gallery and ArtOxygen. Kat was an inaugural member of the London Creative Network programme. She is based in Berlin.
Frithjof Glowinski studied biochemistry at the University of Greifswald. Subsequently, he received his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin for infections relating to the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The focus was on the balance between bacteria and humans, as well as the long-term consequences of this interaction. He is currently teaching biology and chemistry at a school near the Panke. Together with Art Laboratory Berlin and the DIY Hack the Panke collective, he organizes workshops with children from the school along the Panke.
Organised together with DIY Hack the Panke.

Supported by the Fachbereich Kunst und Kultur Bezirksamt Mitte and the Bezirkskulturfonds:

Monday, March 18, 2019

HYDRO_PERFORMANCE Night. Performances, Talks with New Cassettes and Vinyls!

With Kat Austen, Robertina Šebjanič and Fara Peluso as part of the exhibition Watery Ecologies. Artistic Research.

16 March 2019, 9 PM at Art Laboratory Berlin

Curator Regine Rapp

Artist and designer Fara Peluso

Short introduction into the ongoing exhibition WATERY ECOLOGIES and the three different artistic approaches on water – by curator Regine Rapp.

Then Fara Peluso, one of the artists of the show, will give an insight into her long-term research that focuses on potential uses for algae as an environmental regulator, source for sustainable materials, and aesthetic catalyser of biophilia. She proposes a closer relationship between humans and algae as an answer to our current environmental crisis. Her research and practice combine working with biotechnologists and DIY scientists in speculative and critical design to produce a myriad of innovative design and artistic solutions.

Fara Peluso is an artist/ designer based in Berlin working at the interconnection between design, art and science. Through a speculative design practice she wants to raise critical questions about which possible relationships between human beings and living organisms can be envisioned for near possible futures. After the successful eradication of the concept that the human being is the most important living organism on earth, she wants to contribute to cancelling the hierarchies between us and nature, to become more conscious and participative with ecological systems.

Artist Kat Austen


Kat Austen

The Matter of the Soul | Symphony (Performance – today with Panke Water)

The Matter of the Soul | Symphony is a performance work that engenders empathy with a consequence of climate change: process of dispersal and transformation in the Arctic region. The work draws together stories of human migration and melting ice in the Arctic, and changing identity on and offline. The musical compositions for The Matter of the Soul are based around audio field recordings of Arctic waters made using hacked pH and conductivity meters. During this very special performance at Art Laboratory Berlin, Austen will weave together the global and local, accompanying the song of the Arctic along with live improvisation using her hacked instruments, playing the water from her closest river, the Panke in Wedding, Berlin.

Kat Austen’s work focuses on interrogating the boundary between what we think of as the self and other(s). Her work relates to redefining and enriching our relationship to the environment, with a particular focus on climate change.  Austen is a Berlin-based artist. She is Teaching Fellow at UCL Arts and Sciences BASc. She was Cultural Fellow in Art and Science at the University of Leeds 2018 and 2017-18 Artist in the Arctic for Friends of SPRI / Scott Polar Research Institute, sponsored by Bonhams and OneOcean. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University College London and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.,

Kat Austen

Kat Austen

Robertina Šebjanič and Kat Austen

Robertina Šebjanič and Kat Austen

Robertina Šebjanič

Robertina Šebjani

Aquatocene / The subaquatic quest for serenity investigates the phenomenon of underwater noise pollution created by humankind in the seas and oceans. The sound compositions are a re-mix between the bioacoustics of marine life (shrimps, fish, sea urchins etc.), the aquatic acoustics and the presence of human generated noise in the world’s oceans and seas. The audio compositions of the subaquatic soundscape encourage us to reflect upon the anthropogenic sonic impact on the underwater habitat and marine life.

Robertina Šebjani
č, based in Ljubljana, is internationally exhibited and awarded artist. Her artwork deals with cultural, (bio)political and ecological realities of aquatic environments. With her projects she tackles the philosophical questions at the intersection of art, technology and science. She was awarded with an Honorary Mention @Prix Ars Electronica, nominated for STARTS2016 and for the White Aphroid award. She was SHAPE platform 2017 artist and in 2018 she was artist resident at Ars Electronica (EMAP/EMARE).

Robertina Šebjanič

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Robertina Šebjanič, Aquatocene / The subaquatic quest for serenity vinyls
 All images © Art Laboratory Berlin 2019