Session 2: BioPolitics and BioDigital Poetics (1)

Ji Yun PARK. Eco-culture of Multispecies: Symbiotic Bio-social Relationship of Epiphytic plants

All living organisms in this planet are currently encountering a rapid escalation of ecological crisis. One can argue that human-centric beliefs have led to a culture that encourages the elimination of other species and artificial governance over nature. If nature is the host plant, then humans have acted like parasitic plants that conquer and destroy the host.

Mancuso emphasises that ‘symbiotic relationships are fundamental for all forms of life on the planet’ (Mancuso 2015, 141). It reminds me of epiphyte plants, which is a non-parasitic plant that takes its roots on the body of another plant. Epiphytes pursue symbiotic relationships with both their host and their surroundings. The lifestyle of epiphytes organises profound interaction networks between species, which create a unique bio-social community based on multispecies relationships. This bio-social community builds a new eco-culture of multispecies, which enables individual species to be involved with the symbiotic ecosystem of cohabitation.

This paper elaborates my artistic research about the epiphytes’ community. By visualising and representing epiphytes’ symbiotic relationships with immersive eco-cinema, I try to fertilise human engagement in the ecological culture of multispecies cohabitation, which aims to contribute in shaping ‘Renewable future’ or ‘sustainable ecosystem’ that is promising for all species.

PARK Ji Yun is an artist and researcher. She obtained her bachelor degree at the Korea National University of Arts, and master degree at the City University of Hong Kong. She lives and works in Hong Kong and currently is finishing her first year of doctoral study.

Her research interests include urban ecology, more-than-humans and plant sociality. For her doctoral research, she is investigating epiphyte plants’ multispecies interactions and cohabitation in an urban environment through experimental films with the multimedia installation. Her works have been exhibited in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Zurich.


Michal MITRO. Planetary Thermodynamics: Energy Justice

This work attempts to imagine and create a world where Energy, fundamental and universal force determines overall planetary infrastructure of actions and relationships. It narrates docufictionary story of the future built on premise that planetary ecosystem forms single energetic entity that obeys laws of thermodynamics – the indestructibility of power and its transformation from material force to heat. It also establishes that every actor, human or nonhuman, has an energetic impact on this system. In societal context individuals are granted basic energetic income of 2400kJ per day and all their activities are evaluated against energetic contribution rather than monetary prestige.

Effectively, the work seeks to present and establish Energy as a universal value holder and draws a comprehensive and detailed description of why such an etablishment would grately benefit everyone and everything inhabiting this planet.

Michal Mitro’s working method is best described as artistic research and its outputs often take a hybrid artScience shape. Topics that resonate often in his works explore present and future states of our planet, political and economic societal constellations and relationship between human and non-human. Post-medial tendencies, sculpturality and visuality are defining pillars of his current practice .He strives to utilise artistic practice as a specific platform for sharing information and to that sake utilise various immersive and narrational strategies.

In recent years he has been exhibiting and performing mainly in Czechia (Vasluka Kitchen, Letna Studio, Korespondance, Prototyp), Slovakia (Kasarne, DIG gallery, VUNU) and generally across Europe (Gamma Festival, Petersburg; Mediamatic, Amsterdam; JRM, Paris; Trafo, Budapest; Genius Loci, Weimar; Grey Space, den Haag, AV depot, London). Besides being active art practitioner he is also part of STELLA research unit (Somatic Tech Lab) that maps the convergences of technologies and movement-based arts in Central Europe and he, too, curates in Brno, Czechia.


Byron Rich. Alter, 2019

With Alter, I raise awareness of the proliferation of endocrine disruptors—compounds that interfere with sex hormones—in the environment. Alter displays a frog that has been exposed to Atrazine, a herbicide commonly used by American agricultural corporations. Atrazine is a dangerous endocrine disruptor common in the food supply, and it altered the hormone levels in this frog to make it classifiable as “intersex.” Alter highlights the hypocrisy of a corporate system that uses chemicals known to disrupt hormones associated with gender expression, when individuals in those same organizations often espouse right-wing ideologies upholding rigid gender norms by displaying both the nonhuman and the anthropocentric product within the confines of an inverted cross. Frogs are indicator species, meaning they manifest effects of toxic contamination. Thus Alter speculates on a possible future, alerting the audience to potentially profound effects brought on the body by corporate interests. By using an indicator species to highlight the effects of human activity on the nonhuman, in this case through mutation, I am looking into a speculative future where the profit-centric ideology of the American right operates in opposition to the “traditional” values they espouse. Mutation towards an “intersex” future.

Byron Rich is an artist, professor and lecturer born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work exploring speculative design, biology futures and tactical media has been widely shown and spoken about internationally. He pursued a degree in New-Media at The University of Calgary before moving to Buffalo, New York where he obtained an MFA in Emerging Practices at The University at Buffalo.He was the runner up for the 2016 BioArt & Design Award, and the recipient of an Honorary Mention at the 2017 Prix Ars Electronica. He now serves as Director of Art/Science+ Innovation and Assistant Professor of Art at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.


Sally McIntyre. A Small Radius of Listening Within the Dead Silence of the Static Archive: Re:collecting Andreas Reischek

This paper focuses on a series of sound and radio art works I have been performing and exhibiting since 2012, which strategically utilise early recording and transmitting media such as wax cylinders, music boxes, and small-radius radio, to reveal a haunted poetics of the post-colonial landscape of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Investigations are conducted on the border between empirical fieldwork and performative site-specific art practice, in which radio and sound function as a set of tools through which to enact a sonic repatriation of particular locatable extinction histories and silences. The materiality of modernist sound and transmission technologies is also approached as a haunted landscape, one whose afterlives can function critically to overlay the visible in order to elucidate memory, hauntings and presences otherwise empirically intangible within sites. Drawing on the collections of Andreas Reischek, an Austrian taxidermist who spent 12 years traveling in Aotearoa/New Zealand between 1877 to 1889, amassing a “near complete” collection of New Zealand bird specimens, including many now-extinct species, now housed in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, these works trace the haunted spaces of the colonial-era encounter and economic relation between Aotearoa/New Zealand and Europe, as well as that between the contemporary museum collection and the field, unpacking the uncanny traces of colonial-era extinctions that occur as buried narratives within both the museum, and invisibly as absences within contemporary ecological sites. These extinction narratives are re-connected to their sites in both Aotearoa and Europe, in order to listen-in to particular acts of ecocide.


Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza, Adesola Akinleye. Dancing the digital beyond-body and the ecological connected-body

This presentation shares some of our choreographic methods for exploring the moving body in and across the digital and physical environment. As artists, we notice many human beings feel cut off from their natural environment as their body is physically in attendance while their mind feels more presence in the digital. For us, this has underlined the dichotomy and opportunity that the new ‘stage’ of Web 2.0 poses. The interconnectedness of dance exemplifies the relationship between sensing body and environment which is challenged by the pixel. By dancing through the digital and physical we use choreography to explore layers of connectedness as a metaphor for exploring how we own our presence in the ecosystem. We have started to focus on the notion of fractal geometry, a natural phenomenon, as an infinite concatenation that connects us. Previously, we suggested in our article, Dance and the Digital Age: a choreographic survey of the new technologies in the choreographic process (2020), that new technology challenges where the human body begins, ends and is visible. We explore the digital age’s unification of art and science through our choreographic practices working with the dancing digital beyond-body and the ecological connected-body.

Dr. Adesola Akinleye: Choreographer, artist-scholar. She began her career dancing with Dance Theatre of Harlem later working in UK Companies. She is a Theatrum Mundi Fellow & a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University. She creates works, from live performance to film, to text. She has won awards internationally for her dance works, as well as published in the areas of dance and cultural studies.

Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza: International dancer, choreographer, researcher & author. Gonzalo is a member of The Latvian National Ballet in Riga since 2015. He graduated in Dance at Middlesex University in 2018 and currently, he is pursuing an MA in Cultural Management at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.