[NetBehaviour] nonhuman networks

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Wed Nov 8 20:00:38 CET 2017

dear all::
I send this on to our list as the subject might be of interest:

Art Laboratory Berlin: Interdisciplinary Conference, November 24-26, 2017
Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory
In cooperation with :
Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam

The conference “Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory” is one part of the interdisciplinary series “Nonhuman Agents“ (June- December 2017) at Art Laboratory Berlin. As a theoretical addition to the ongoing series, 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 series “Nonhuman Agents” takes into account recent philosophical approaches which question anthropocentrism. These discourses emphasize the nonhuman 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 

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.

Art Laboratory Berlin 
Theatre Hall, Prinzenallee 58, 13359 Berlin 
(Across the street from the Art Laboratory Berlin exhibition space)

Registration required: register at artlaboratory-berlin.org
3-day ticket: 40/25 EUR | 1-day ticket: 20/ 12 EUR

Friday, 24 November, 2017 
9:00: Registration

Regine Rapp, Christian de Lutz (Art Laboratory Berlin)
Welcome and Introduction

Other Subjectivities. Redefining Intelligence, Agency and Sentience

Rahma Khazam (Aesthetics, Art Theory, Paris) 
When the Sardine Can Looks back...
Desiree Förster (Media Ecology, Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam)
Environments of Shared Concern 

Maja Smrekar (Artist, Ljubljana) 
The Wolf-human-dog Continuum in Light of K-9_topology
12:30  Lunch break 

Fungal Perspectives. From the Viewpoint of a Mushroom
Saša Spacal (Artist, Ljubljana)
Mycohuman Relationships. Fungi as Interspecies Connectors, Companion Species and Human Symbionts

Mirjan Švagelj (Microbiologist, Aceis Bio, Ljubljana)
Mushrooms as Teachers. Mushrooms in Human Societies

Vera Meyer (Applied and Molecular Microbiology, Institute of Biotechnology, Technical University Berlin)
Fungal Biotechnology – What We Do with Fungi (and What Fungi Do With Us)

15:30  Break 

Plant Intelligence 

Špela Petric (Scientist & artist, Amsterdam/ Ljubljana)
The Vegetal, Intimately

Joana Bergmann (Institute of Biology, Free University Berlin)
Hand in Hand. Root Morphological Traits and Their Mediation by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi
17:30 Break

Monika Bakke (Institute of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan) 
The Force of Radical Openness: Multispecies Alliances Beyond the Biological

Reception at Art Laboratory Berlin, on view current exhibition Nonhuman Networks ( More information )

Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Microbial Agency. Proposing Micro-Subjectivity 

Anna Dumitriu (Artist, Brighton)
Make Do and Mend

Regine Hengge  (Institute of Biology, Dep. of Microbiology, Humboldt University Berlin)
Biofilms - Invisible Cities of Microbes from the Petri Dish to the Human Body

Ingeborg Reichle (Media Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna) 
Identity/ Privacy in Public Spaces: Genetic Surveillance in Contemporary Art

12:30  Lunch break

Human as Nonhuman. Microbiome and holobiome

François Joseph Lapointe (Artist and microbiologist, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montreal)
Performative Microbiome Experiments

Tarsh Bates (Artist, SymbioticA, University of Western Australia, Perth)
On Being a Microbioartist: Making Art in a Microbiology Lab

Regine Rapp (Art Theory, Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)
Nonhuman Subjectivities. Artistic Strategies for a Multispecies Performativity 

15:30 Break

Endosymbiosis and Sympoiesis

Rachel Mayeri (Artist, Media Studies, Harvey Mudd College, Los Angeles)
Orfeo Nel Canale Alimentare

Heather Barnett (Artist, Researcher, Central St. Martins, London)
Many-Headed: Co-creation across Scales and Species

Daniel Renato Lammel (Institute of Biology, Free University Berlin) 
Endosymbiosis and "Love Stories" between Plants and Microorganisms

Laura Benítez Valero (Institute of Philosophy, Autonomous University of Barcelona) 
Biosophy and Mutagenesis. Towards an Alien Sym_poiesis

18:15 Break 

Nonhuman Agents. A report 
Alanna Lynch, Margherita Pevere, Theresa Schubert, Sarah Hermanutz, Heather Barnett and plan b (Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers)

Sunday, 26 November, 2017

Nonhuman Perspectives Under Threat

Mary Maggic Tsang (Artist, Vienna)
>From Molecular Colonization to Molecular Collaborations

David Sepkoski (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) 
Are We Experiencing a 'Sixth Extinction' and Does it Matter?
12.30 Break

Beyond the Animal as Machine. Ethology in the Age of Technoscience 

Birgit Schneider (Media Ecology, Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam)
Through the Eye of an Animal. Uexküll’s Perceptual Worlds in 360°

Robertina Šebjanic (Artist, Ljubljana)
Sounds of Troubled Worlds = Songs for Serenity

Vivian Xu (Artist, Designer, Shanghai)
The Silkworm Project

15:00 Final Discussion - END  
Current exhibition at Art Laboratory Berlin: 

Nonhuman Networks: Heather Barnett | Saša Spacal, Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik

Left: Saša Spacal, 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  

Exhibition runs: 30 September - 26 November, 2017
Fri - Sun, 2 - 6 PM and by appointment
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.
More information

Extended opening hours on conference days:  
24/25 Novmber: 12 - 8 PM
26 November: 12 - 6PM

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