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Tuesday 24.08.2021

UNDER THE VIRAL SHADOW at Art Laboratory Berlin


Vivian Xu: Skin Series – Electric Skin, PCV, PCB, gold conductive probes, vibration motor, 2021.

Under the Viral Shadow: Networks in the Age of Technoscience and Infection
Art Laboratory Berlin
http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/exhibitions/under-the-viral-shadow/

Info

Opening: 27 August 2021, 4 – 9 pm. Registration required for the opening: pretix.eu/artlaboratoryberlin/Under-the-Viral-Shadow/ 28 August – 10 October 2021 Opening hours: Thu - Sun, 2 – 6 pm or upon appointment. Workshops and online conference details: artlaboratory-berlin.org/events/

Contact

info@artlaboratory-berlin.org
Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz


Address

http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/exhibitions/under-the-viral-shadow/
Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34
13359 Berlin
Germany

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The word virus has several meanings. In life and health sciences, it is an entity at the boundary of life that must 'infect' cells in order to reproduce. Viruses are a major cause of disease in humans, but can also cure (through phage therapy). In addition, viruses have played an important role in human evolution. Since the 1980s, computer programs designed to 'infect' and often replicate other programs and computers have also been called viruses, originally a biomorphic metaphor. Computer viruses are part of the history of cybernetics and its use of biological models in the development of software technology. Finally, in a social context – and our society depends more than ever on social media – we use 'going viral' when an idea (meme) or product spreads exponentially.

Our digital technologies were developed after World War II, in part through interdisciplinary collaborations such as the Macy Conferences (1946-53), where cybernetics specifically selected biological models to develop computers and proposals for 'artificial intelligence.' More recently, artists working with 'hacker ethos and skills' have critically examined and produced new developments in computer science, biotechnology, and life sciences. In doing so, they aim to create ethical and aesthetic territory for discussions relevant to our world in the 21st century.

Under the Viral Shadow explores various networks – biological, cybernetic, and social – as part of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have conceived a group exhibition, symposium, performances, and workshops with artists whose research and media are either in the life or computer sciences. We are particularly interested in artworks that explore biological networks, digital networks, and social networks under the pressure of new technologies.

The core of the project is the group exhibition Under the Viral Shadow which will feature internationally renowned artists such as Anna Dumitriu, Alex May, Benjamin Bacon, Gene Kogan, Sarah Grant, and Vivian Xu. The works are understood as artistic research on the interface of the biological and the technological. Archaeabot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form (Alex May and Anna Dumitriu) features an underwater robotic installation investigating 'life' in a post-climate change future, based on recent research on archaea, ancient microorganisms. Engineered Antibody (Dumitriu) is a custom beaded necklace based on an antibody purified from the blood of an HIV-positive patient. It also contains the actual 21 amino acids found in the antibody. PROBE II: Subaudition (Bacon) is a binary set of extra-planetary machines that apply machine learning methods to investigate speech to text recognition decoding spoken language, turning it into kinetic energy, light, color, patterns and reflection.

The Abraham project (Kogan) is an 'autonomous artificial artist' based on decentralized AI. In interaction with the public, the work reflects on promising techniques from machine learning, cryptoeconomics, and computer art. Physarum Topologies (Grant) makes use of living slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) to demonstrate bio-computing for different topologies of computer networks. And finally, wearables such as Electric Skin and Sonic Skin (Xu) explore the concept of human-machine co-evolution, offering a possible future human perception that may re-invent our relationship to the environment.

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)



WORKSHOPS:
Gene Kogan | AI for Artists, 28 August 2021
Sarah Grant | Plant-to-Plant Protocols, 24 – 26 September 2021
Sarah Grant & Danya Vasiliev | NETworkshop, 1 – 3 October 2021

CONFERENCE:
9 October 2021, online with livestream
Keynote: Roberta Buiani (University of Toronto)

Further details about events can be found here: artlaboratory-berlin.org/events/

Registration required for the opening on 27 August. Book your slot for free here: pretix.eu/artlaboratoryberlin/Under-the-Viral-Shadow/

With the generous support of:
The Capital Cultural Fund
Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Media partner:
art-in-berlin

Cooperation partner:
Duke Kushan University

Art Laboratory Berlin is supported by:
Degewo