Sensory Culture Club reading group #10: 24 October, 2017 at 5PM
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Current
exhibition:


Nonhuman Networks
Heather Barnett | Saša Spa
čal, Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik

Opening: 29 September, 2017 8PM
Artist Talk with Heather Barnett and
Saša Spačal: 30 September 2017 3PM
Interdisciplinary Conference. Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory: 24-26 November, 2017
Exhibition runs: 30 September - 26 November, 2017

Fri -Sun 2-6PM and by appointment


Left: Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik, Myconnect, Installation, 2014, Damjan Švarc / Kapelica gallery photo archive;
right Heather Barnett, The Physarum Experiments Study No. 022, Film still, 2016


Nonhuman Networks presents an aesthetics of new forms of communication between human and nonhuman actors. How does the world's largest single celled creature function as a computer? Can we tap into the so-called 'Internet of trees'? Performative works act as enablers for the audience to engage in non-linguistic forms of awareness and contact with several deceptively simple life forms.

Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj and Anil Podgornik combine art, biology and cybernetics to create a platform for inter species communication. In Myconnect the nervous system of a person and fungal mycelium are plugged into a biofeedback loop. By entering the capsule a person is equipped with a heartbeat sensor, headphones and vibrational motors that are placed on various parts of the body. The heartbeat of a person sets the system in motion. The signal travels through the mycelium where it is modulated in real-time. The modulated signal is transferred back to the human body via sound, light and tactile sensory impulses. The overwhelming stimuli that affect the nervous system cause an alteration of the heartbeat. A new loop begins and the circle is closed. A symbiosis of signals begins.

Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working with natural phenomena and biological design, often in collaboration with scientists, artists, participants and organisms. Utilising living materials and imaging technologies, her practice explores how we observe, represent and understand the world around us. Projects include microbial portraiture, systems modelling, and an ongoing 'collaboration' with an intelligent slime mould, Physarum polycephalum. As one of the world's largest single-celled organisms, the slime mould possesses the ability to solve spatial problems and learn from interactions with its environment. The exhibition builds upon Barnett's unique combination of interdisciplinary research and participatory practice.
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Sarah Hermanutz | ill-at-ease seep
28 October 2017, 7PM


Photos: Sarah Hermanutz


In her lecture the artist Sarah Hermanutz will discuss the relationship between humans and wetlands, which is the focus in her long-term artistic research. Wetlands are one of the most biologically diverse and important ecosystems for life on earth, but within the past century mankind has destroyed over 50% of them. The artist will explore our historical and contemporary relationship with these environments, including the tropes and prejudices that have marginalised them and justified their continued draining and destruction. Engagement with the uncomfortable sensory and aesthetic experience of wetlands is proposed as essential to reintegrating humans within these ecological communities.

The western world associates wetlands with disease and decay, both physical and moral. Examples from art, literature, and popular culture show fear and horror of these liminal zones, and link them with corporeal "otherness" that is also mapped onto queerness, disability, alien/foreignness, and the 'monstrous-feminine'. These unruly bodies are suppressed and repressed both physically and culturally, for the sake of troubling and purist notions of cleanliness, health, stability, and optimised economically productive systems. Large-scale drainage projects have been considered great feats of human engineering, converting marginal 'wastelands' into clearly defined zones of water and land, useful for anthropocentric agricultural and urban utilization.

The audience will be asked to reconsider the urban ecology of Berlin, as a city built on top of river floodplains and former wetlands. The sights, sounds, textures, tastes and smells of this ecology have been formally exiled to the margins of Berlin, but they continue to seep through. This lecture is an invitation to materially and sensorially engage with wetlands, and their potential to unsettle our defensive boundaries between water/land, self/other, living/nonliving, and human/nonhuman.
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Interdisciplinary Conference
Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory

24-26 November, 2017

24-26 November, 2017

Tickets: 1 day: 20€/12€; 3 day: 40€/25€ (registration required: register@artlaboratory-berlin.org)

Prinzenallee 58, 13359 Berlin-Wedding (Across the street from the Art Laboratory Berlin exhibition space)



As a theoretical addition to our ongoing series Nonhuman Agents (June - December 2017) Art Laboratory Berlin - along with our partners, The Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam - will bring together international artists, scholars, and scientists from different disciplines to discuss artistic, philosophical, ethical and scientific approaches to nonhuman agency. Previous positions from our Nonhuman Subjectivities series (2016-17) will also be included.

The conference will start with a reflection on post-anthropocentrism by redefining intelligence (human, animal and plant intelligence), agency and sentience. An in-depth consideration will include the role of fungi: mycelium, the Internet of trees and yeasts. Microbial agency will be explored via the phenomenon of quorum sensing and biofilms, proposing a micro-subjectivity. There will be contributions on the microbiome and holobiome, taking into consideration the human as nonhuman. We want to open up a discussion to endosymbiosis and sympoiesis, reflecting symbiotic relationships, horizontal gene transfer and the role of Lynn Margulis in 21st century Biology and Science and Technology Studies. Finally, the conference will discuss nonhuman perspectives under threat and propose an ethology for the techno-scientific era.

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Nonhuman Agents in Arts & Culture

Nonhuman Agents takes into account recent philosophical approaches which question anthropocentrism. These discourses emphasize the non-human perspectives through object-oriented ontology (Harman and Meillasoux); discuss nonhuman / human encounters (Haraway); postulate a posthumanism (Braidotti); and examine various posthuman performative strategies such as intra-acting (Barad). A new 'de-centring' lets us draw our attention to a reality that can no longer be described in purely anthropocentric parameters.



Workshops & Lectures
Through workshops and lectures, four international artists, living in Berlin, invite the public to think about the non-human by means of selected artistic, performative and scientific methods. Mushrooms, mosses, lichens and bacterial processes, as well as Berlin wetlands, play a central role.

Alanna Lynch | Gut feelings
18 June, 2017

Margherita Pevere | Anatomy of an inter-connected system
15 July, 2017

Theresa Schubert | The forestal psyche
25 & 26 August, 2017

Sarah Hermanutz | ill-at-ease seep
28 October 2017

Presentation of Nonhuman Agents
14 September, 2017, 7-11 PM
15-17 September, 2017, 1-4PM
Results from the first three workshops as well as our upcoming Autumn programme will be presented at Art Laboratory Berlin during the Berlin Art Week (in cooperation with the Berlin Network of Independent Project Spaces and Initiatives and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe)


2-day-Workshop
Heather Barnett + plan b (Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers) | Swarm | Cell | City
23 & 24 September, 2017 | 1-5PM

This 2-day workshop is a participatory experiment on art, performance and biology that precedes the exhibition Nonhuman Networks. The project invites the participants to view the city of Berlin by the nonhuman perspectives of the intelligent single-cell organism Physarum polycephalum and GPS tracking.

Exhibition
Nonhuman Networks
Heather Barnett
| Saša Spačal with Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik
Opening: 29 September, 2017 8PM | Exhibition runs: 30 September - 26 November, 2017
Artists Talk: 30 September, 2017 3PM

The exhibition presents an aesthetics of new forms of communication between human and non-human actors. How does the world's largest single celled creature function as a computer? Can we tap into the so-called 'Internet of trees'? Performative works act as enablers for the audience to engage in non-linguistic forms of awareness and contact with several deceptively simple life forms.

Interdisciplinary Conference
Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory

24-26 November, 2017

Finally, an interdisciplinary conference will bring together international artists, scholars, and natural scientists from different disciplines to discuss artistic, philosophical, ethical and scientific approaches to nonhuman agents. The previous positions from the Nonhuman Subjectivities series will also be taken into account.

Cooperation partners: European Media Studies, University Potsdam

With the generous support of:



Media partner:


Cooperation partner:



Last Events:

2-day-Workshop
Heather Barnett + plan b (Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers) | Swarm | Cell | City
23 & 24 September, 2017 | 1-5PM



This 2-day workshop is a participatory experiment on art, performance and biology that precedes the exhibition Nonhuman Networks. The project invites the participants to view the city of Berlin by the nonhuman perspectives of the intelligent single-cell organism, the slime mould, Physarum polycephalum and GPS tracking
.

The aim of Swarm | Cell | City is to create the conditions for critical and creative learning to take place, without trying to control the outcomes. The origins of the creative exploration will derive from self-organising principles in natural phenomena, for example using stigmergic processes. Using the historical and contemporary topography of Berlin as inspiration, we propose a series of experiments and activities, which explore collective communication, cooperation and urban navigation at different scales.
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Award for Art Laboratory Berlin

We are very pleased to announce that Art Laboratory Berlin has for the second time been awarded the "Prize for Berlin Project Spaces and Initiatives". We thank this year’s jury and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe for this great honour.

We consider the award as a validation of our hard work over the last years with exhibitions, seminars, workshops and conferences on current topics in art & science. We are especially thankful to the artists we have worked with, as well as our colleagues and supporters, with whom we were and will be able to realise our projects.

Award ceremony 15 September 2017 from 5.30PM (More information)

Presentation of Nonhuman Agents



14 September, 2017, 7-11 PM
15-17 September, 2017, 1-4PM

Results from the first three workshops of the Nonhuman Agents series, as well as our upcoming Autumn programme will be presented at Art Laboratory Berlin during the Berlin Art Week (in cooperation with the Berlin Network of Independent Project Spaces and Initiatives and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe)

With the generous support of:

Media partner:


Cooperation partner:



Berlin Network of Independent Project Spaces and Initiatives



Theresa Schubert | The forestal psyche



Friday 25 August, 2017, 7-9PM
(Lecture)
Saturday 26 August, 2017, 10AM-6PM
(Workshop in Brandenburg)

The lecture and workshop are based on the artist's long-term artistic research project on living organisms as an artistic material and medium. For this project, Schubert dedicates herself to the potential of slime moulds, mosses and lichens from the forests around Berlin. Slime moulds are the largest known single-celled organisms and live from decaying matter on the forest floor. Certain mosses and lichens are natural remedies as well as indicators of good air quality. Apart from a scientific approach, forests have always been places of myths, legends and fantasies. How can you combine imagination and biotechnology in an artistic project? Can one "demystify" hard science by interpreting it creatively?
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Lecture & Performative Workshop

Margherita Pevere | Anatomy of an inter-connected system

15 July, 2017, 2-6PM


Growing cellulose (bacterial culture in liquid medium), Margherita Pevere, 2016. Photo: Margherita Pevere


Starting point of this seminar is the artist’s research at the junction of visual arts, theoretical inquiry and investigation of biological processes. The seminar will focus on the discourses regarding human-nature relationship in the frame of today’s environmental crisis and how artistic practices involving living organisms and technology can innovatively contribute to the debate. How can artists problematise the complex interconnection between humans and the biosphere in a hyper-technological era? With what kind of aesthetic and ethical implications? The project aims at engaging the audience in a performative discussion with a visual outcome.
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Performative Lecture & Workshop

Alanna Lynch | Gut feelings

18 June, 2017, 2-6PM (in English)


Photograph to the left: Matthias Reichelt/ Photograph to the right: Florian Denzin

As part of her ongoing research Alanna Lynch has been growing the microorganisms that produce kombucha tea. Through the process of fermentation this symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts (SCOBY) produces a cellulose material that is slimy and smells strongly while wet and can be dried and used as a textile. However, Lynch's interest in working with this life form goes beyond the material properties. Throughout this research Lynch has been actively consuming the microorganisms by drinking the tea. Given that about half of the cells in the human body are bacterial cells and acknowledging the microbiome-gut-brain axis whereby bacteria in the gut have been shown to effect the mind, how people think, feel and even behave, bacteria can be seen as radical in the potential it has to challenge categories such as subject/object, mind/body and human/non-human.
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Most recent exhibition:

Nonhuman Subjectivities: Under-Mine.

Alinta Krauth


Alinta Krauth, Under-Mine, interactive video installation, Still from animation, 2017

Opening: Saturday 25 February, 2017 at 8PM
Artist talk on 26 February, 2017 at 3PM
Exhibition runs 26 February- 2 April, 2017, Fri -Sun 2-6PM and by appointment


The exhibition project investigates the problematics and possibilities of communicating nonhuman perception through the interface of artistic practice and new technologies. By means of interactive and non-interactive video that use generative and time-based techniques the Australian artist Alinta Krauth considers potential narratives of animals under threat from climate change.

Alinta Krauth's new project Under-Mine (2017), especially developed for Art Laboratory Berlin, uses video, generative art, data visualisation and an intensive study into the science of animal perception and cognition to propose narrative paths towards a meeting point of the human and nonhuman. Taking into account that each species' way of sensing the world is unique, and often beyond the ken of human experience, Krauth makes use of a diverse technological toolbox to navigate and translate nonhuman perceptions.
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More on the Nonhuman Subjectivities series




Information on the [macro]biologies & [micro]biologies series from 2014-15 here...


Publications!

We are glad to announce our new publication:
[macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. Art and the Biological Sublime in the 21st Century.
Ed. by Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz, Berlin 2015

More information here...


Online publication:

We are proud to share with you our online-publication of the international interdisciplinary 2-day SYNAESTHESIA-Conference, held by Art Laboratory Berlin in the summer 2013:

Synaesthesia. Discussing a Phenomenon in the Arts, Humanities and (Neuro-)Science

Art Laboratory Berlin is grateful for the permanent support of:

 

Previous cooperation partners