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“Some specimens are selling for hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds each. That’s why the most valuable cycad—the E. woodii—in South Africa’s Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is secured inside a cage.”
– British bio artist and C-LAB co-director Laura Cinti, on the rarest—and loneliest—plant on Earth. In her project The Living Dead: On the Trail of a Female (2022–), Cinti searches the South African Ngoye Forest for a mate for the remaining male Encephalartos woodii, all clones from a single specimen found in 1895.
Pevere, Schubert, Żyniewicz
Membranes Out of Order
Part exhibition catalog and part philosophical inquriy, Berlin-based bio artists Margherita Pevere, Theresa Schubert, and Karolina Żyniewicz expand on their recent self-survey together with philosopher Margrit Shildrick and art historian Olga Majcen Linn.

Saša Spačal’s solo exhibition “[UN]EARTHING” opens at Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken (DE), presenting works that trace the deep links between human biology and the soil. “Every time we breathe, we pull the world into our bodies,” the Slovenian artist and researcher writes about the planetary metabolic flows on view. The Meta_bolus bioreactor (2017, image), for example, invites visitors to sniff the seductive geosmin aroma emitted by Streptomyces bacteria which evokes “the memory of a forest after rain.”

Peter Weibel (ed)
Discussing the works over 60 contributing artists and institutions, Weibel anthologizes the ZKM Karlsruhe’s 2021-22 “BioMedia” research exhibition that surveyed “The Age of Media with Life-like Behavior”

The latest in a series of posts elaborating on their Digital Art & Design collection, V&A curators publish a concise history of 3D printing. From locating the roots of additive manufacturing in the XY plotter and stereolithography, through collected bio art and furniture design provocations by Heather Dewey-Hagborg (image: Radical Love, 2015) and Front Design, they reconcile the gap between the “futuristic dream” promised by the medium and the questions of ethics and utility its use has raised.

“My Body, a Coral Reef?” asks curator Julia Katharina Thiemann in a new evocative group exhibition at the Rudolf Scharpf Galerie of Ludwigshafen’s Wilhelm Hack Museum (DE). Works by Imayna Caceres, Alicia Frankovich, Dominique Koch, Pei-Ying Lin, Theresa Schubert, Saša Spačal, and others radically de-centre the self to remind us that “all living beings are meta-organisms and cannot exist on their own.” Spačal’s biotech installation The Library of Fallen Tears (2022, image), for example, contains vials of dried tear microbiome.

“Though there are mushrooms aplenty here, humans are in short supply.”
– Art history and visual culture scholar Alex Kitnick, observing the lack of works engaging humans, humanity, and race in the MIT List Visual Arts Center show “Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere

A self-survey of Berlin-based bioartists Margherita Pevere, Theresa Schubert, and Karolina Żyniewicz, “Membranes Out of Order” opens at Kunstquartier Bethanien, bringing their research practices into conversation. The show presents key works that explore the ethics of emergent biotechnology and life’s tendency for “uncertainty, failure, surprise, and disobedience.” Also on view: a plethora of production paraphernalia that reveals the “unseen materials” of bioart.

“Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere” opens at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge. Featuring Jes Fan, Jenna Sutela, and Anicka Yi, and 11 other artists that reveal the “interspecies entanglements” that shape our world. Contributed works range from Špela Petrič’s poetic shadow study Confronting Vegetal Otherness: Skotopoiesis (2015)—cast on germinating cress—to Candice Lin’s “communal piss” fungal sculpture Memory (Study #2) (2016, image).

Contemplating mortality from an art-science perspective, “Life Eternal” opens at Stockholm’s Liljevalchs gallery. Organized by the Nobel Prize Museum, the show features more than 20 artists including ARTECHOUSE, Mark Dion, Anna Dumitriu, and Ulla Wiggen. Contributed works range from a Oscar Nilsson sculpture inspired by 2017 Nobel Prize in literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, to Laura Splan’s machine embroidered lace virus structure sculptures (image: Doilies: Herpes, 2004)

Buozyte & Samper (dirs.)
A fable about the aftermath of ecological collapse, centred on a 13-year-old girl’s resilience and biohacking skills

“Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust,” a solo show that zooms in on Kim Morgan’s eight years working with scanning electron microscopes, opens in Halifax. Featuring work across digital images, installation, and intervention (image: Blood Galaxy, 2017), the show deploys the same imaging technology that revealed the coronavirus for all to see, provoking questions about “understanding threats to human health, and of the social disparities that a virus spread exacerbates.”

“The Fable of Net in Earth,” the 2022 ARKO Art & Tech Festival kicks off in Seoul. Inspired by decentralization (mycology, Web3), it brings together Morehshin Allahyari, SunJeong Hwang, and Young Joo Lee, and others. Featured works include Eobchaecoin (2022), Nahee Kim’s unabashedly ponzi cryptocurrency (it will be very profitable in 2082), and De Anima (2018-21, image), Clara Jo’s film probing humanity’s relationship with nature, that draws on footage from Kenya, Myanmar, and France.

A retrospective collecting 40 works by the Australian artist, “Patricia Piccinini: We Are Connected” opens at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum. Showcasing her unsettling sculptures and installations that morph contemporary biopolitics towards the grotesque, the show features works including The Bond (2016, image centre) and The Field (2018, image), which, respectively, depict a mother cradling a human-ish fleshy creature, and a (wildly) genetically modified crop.

“Entangled: bio/media” opens at Shanghai’s Chronus Art Center (CAC), exploring “the biophilic properties of artificial intelligence, electronics, algorithms, and informatics” in a group exhibition. Unveiled progressively in thematic chapters, eleven works by Ani Liu, Shuyi Cao, Etsuko Yakushimaru, Yunchul Kim, Xu Haomin (Rootless Tree, 2022), and others narrate a parable of “co-naturality” (see Eugene Thacker’s Biomedia) and “all beings comingling and co-existing in symbiosis.”

“Chronicles from a near Future,” a show featuring two installations addressing biodiversity, opens at iMAL, Brussels. Golnaz Behrouznia and Dominique Peysson’s Phylogenèse Inverse (2022, image) draws inspiration from Turritopsis dohrnii (the immortal jellyfish), presenting vitrines of de-evolved “lifeforms with strange anatomies and enigmatic functions,” while Stéfane Perraud’s Sylvia (2022) offers an at times “absurd or conspiratorial” audio narrative about a forest in peril.

An interplay of audience, point cloud projections, and a living system, Theresa Schubert’s audiovisual installation Hylē opens at Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin. Schubert invites visitors to breath into a funnel device to kickstart—and sustain—a circular chain reaction: exhaled CO2 animates three algae bioreactors and, through sensors, immersive imagery. 3D-laser scans of forests and data centres collapse and twitch, as the algae converts CO2 input into Oxygen.

Le Pain Symbiotique is like a synthetic gut: in constant motion, it ferments in the literal and allegorical sense. Maybe that’s why the structure is off-limits: to avoid the release of intestinal gases.”
– Curator and critic Régine Debatty, parsing Anicka Yi’s inflatable PVC dome currently installed at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, as part of Yi’s solo show “Metaspore.” The 2014 piece harbours an eco-system of bread dough, ochre pigment, and resin sculptures, highlighting the critical ”work performed by invisible bacteria and yeasts.”

A retrospective of the feminist performance artist in her native France, “ORLAN Manifesto. Body and Sculpture” opens at Les Abattoirs in Toulouse. Collecting 100+ works from ORLAN’s archives, the show links 1960-70s photography and performance, the iconic cosmetic surgeries (image: 7th Surgery-Performance called Omnipresence, 1993), to works in bioart and robotics, underscoring how her practice “opposes morality, natural and social determinisms, and all forms of domination.”

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