Last event
:

Interdisciplinary Conference
Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory

24-26 November, 2017


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



Photographs: Tim Deussen

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 - has brought 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) were also be included.

The conference started with a reflection on post-anthropocentrism by redefining intelligence (human, animal and plant intelligence), agency and sentience. An in-depth consideration included the role of fungi: mycelium, the Internet of trees and yeasts. Microbial agency was explored via the phenomenon of quorum sensing and biofilms, proposing a micro-subjectivity. There were contributions on the microbiome and holobiome, taking into consideration the human as nonhuman. We sought 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 discussed nonhuman perspectives under threat and proposed an ethology for the techno-scientific era.
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Last
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.
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Nonhuman Agents in Arts & Culture

Nonhuman Agents takes into account recent philosophical approaches which question anthropocentrism. These discourses emphasise 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

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

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

Interdisciplinary Conference
Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory

24-26 November, 2017


More on Nonhuman Agents

With the generous support of:

           

Media partner:


Cooperation partner:



Previous Events:

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.
(More information)


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.
(More information)


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?
(More information)




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.
(More information)



Information on the Nonhuman Subjectivities series from 2016-17 here


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