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22 Sep 2017

Nonhuman Networks: 30 Sep – 26 Nov 2017 | Art Laboratory Berlin

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: Heather Barnett | Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik
Art Laboratory Berlin


Opening: 29 September 2017, 8 pm

30 September – 26 November 2017
'Artist Talk with Heather Barnett and Saša Spacal: 30 Sep 2017, 3pm
'Interdisciplinary Conference: 'Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory', 24 - 26 Nov 2017
'Opening hours: Fri – Sun, 2 – 6 pm, and upon appointment 1 – 5 pm

Anne Schreiber

Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34
13359 Berlin

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The exhibition 'Nonhuman Networks' is one part of the current project series 'Nonhuman Agents in Arts and Culture' at Art Laboratory Berlin. The series 'Nonhuman Agents' takes into account recent philosophical approaches which question anthropocentrism. These discourses emphasise 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 de-scribed in purely anthropocentric parameters.

'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

Events in the context of 'Nonhuman Networks'

Artist Talk with Heather Barnett and Saša Spacal: 30 Sep 2017, 3 pm

Interdisciplinary Conference 'Nonhuman Agents in Arts, Culture and Theory': 24 – 26 Nov, 2017

: Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

With the generous support of:

Senate Department for Culture and Europe Department of Culture
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia / Slovenian Cultural Centre in Berlin
Galerija Kapelica, Ljubljana / Slovenia

Media partner:

Cooperation partner:
Studio Deussen

Art Laboratory Berlin is supported by: