Sunday, September 23, 2018

Workshop with Špela Petrič: Phytocracy in situ: Prototyping tools for the investigation of plant governance

In connection with the exhibition Strange Encounters with Vegetal Others

How did wheat manage to domesticate the human? From Pollan's perspective-bending "Botany of Desire" to the environmental humanities' "vegetal politics", the entanglements between plants and people are ubiquitous, mundane and often hiding in plain sight. As part of the inquiries into Vegetal Otherness, Špela Petrič set out to produce her own phytocracy-revealing onto-epistemological tools that are inspired by actual institutions/domains/cultural practices framing plant-people relations, but also playfully oblivious to their axioms and boundaries.






Photo by Miha Tursič

Photo by Miha Tursič


Photo by Miha Tursič


The open session invites participants to reflect on plant governance as governance of plants by joining in a fast and funny tool prototyping session to investigate the river Panke in the vicinity of Art Laboratory Berlin. The exercise connects to a wider questioning of artistic methodologies, mediations, narratives, with which we try to convey experiences with the vegetal that often escape words.


Photo by Miha Tursič










Photos by Art Laboratory Berlin unless otherwise noted

The workshop is based on Deep Phytocracy: Feral Songs, the work-in-progress Petri
č has been developing at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania and Osmoza, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

More information at: http://www.artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-events-archive.htm

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Opening: Strange Encounters with Vegetal Others Špela Petrič

Slovenian artist Špela Petrič approaches art production with a background in Hybrid Arts as well as a PhD in Biochemistry. These dual epistemological approaches inform her work with the Plant Kingdom as part of a multi-species collaboration exploring the ontologies, methodologies, ethics and practices of care involved in our relationship to the vegetal. Her first solo show in Berlin will give an insight into her multi-species endeavour.

Plants Sex Consultancy - Špela Petrič, Pei Ying Lin, Dimitris Stamatis and Jasmina Weiss



Plant Sex Consultancy - Photo by Miha Tursič


Strange Encounters: Metaühysics. Algae and Carcinoma. Photo by Miha Tursič

Photo by Miha Tursič

Photo by Miha Tursič


Photo by Miha Tursič




Background: Skotopoeisis - Špela Petrič, Photo by Miha Tursič

Photos by Art Laboratory Berlin unless otherwise noted.

More information on the exhibition: http://www.artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-exh-archive.htm

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Preparing for 'Strange Encounters with Vegetal Others'

Slovenian artist Špela Petrič approaches art production with a background in Hybrid Arts as well as a PhD in Biochemistry. These dual epistemological approaches inform her work with the Plant Kingdom as part of a multi-species collaboration exploring the ontologies, methodologies, ethics and practices of care involved in our relationship to the vegetal. Her first solo show in Berlin will give an insight into her multi-species endeavour.




The green kingdom, upon which we depend for our very survival, functions on a radically different biological basis from us: seemingly inert, literally vegetative and endowed with unexplored forms of intelligence. Yet science reveals an intricate world of mysterious chemical conversations, interspecies networks and non-centralised operations alien from our own existence. Through her work Petrič proposes novel modes of human-plant communication, intercognition and exchange. 









Strange Encounters with Vegetal Others
Špela Petrič

Opening: 21 September 2018
Workshop (registration necessary: register@artlaboratory-berlin.org ): 22 September 2018, 1-6PM
Exhibition runs 22 September - 18 November 2018
Fri- Sun, 2-6 pm and by appointment

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


Crustacean (ca 5mm) found in the Panke (mag. 50X)


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
Microplastics (under flourescent light, using NILE red dye- Mag.250x)

Microplastics (under flourescent light, using NILE red dye- Mag.250x)


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


http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-event-41.htm