Session 7: BioSensing and Ecosystematic Perspective

Margarida Mendes. The Aquatic Sensorium

In recent oceanography there is a desire to merge biotic and robotic forms of sensing. The practice of biomimicry has influenced science throughout the centuries and is recently connected to the invention of a series of tools and man-made materials to enhance ocean prospection, in an age of decaying marine life. Inspired in nature morphology and animal behaviour, researchers across the world are developing different technologies for scientific use that better aid in the collection of samples and operations under pressurized conditions without harming the environment, while at the same time, the ocean is framed as a sensorium where its fluid cartographies are being militarized. Questioning different scientific and conservation plans for the world’s oceans on this decade of sustainable ocean science, I will deconstruct the technoscientific rationale and cosmotechnics beneath different sensing regimes. I will draw my examples from recent scientific experiments with biosensing, seismic waves, and information networks, looking at the crossover bertween governmental strategies and data politics from the perspective of societies, coastal communities and other-than-humans.

Margarida Mendes’s research explores the overlap between cybernetics, ecology and experimental film, investigating the dynamic transformations of the environment and its impact on societal structures and cultural production. She is interested in exploring alternative modes of education and political resilience through her curatorial practice and activism, and is consultant for environmental NGOs working on deep sea mining and has directed several educational platforms, such as escuelita, an informal school at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo – CA2M; The Barber Shop project space in Lisbon dedicated to transdisciplinar research; and the ecological inquiry curatorial research platform The World In Which We Occur. She is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London and a frequent collaborator of the online channel for exploratory video and documentary reporting Inhabitants.


Maija Demitere. Freeze Fast, Cook Slow

The presentation will explore how mindfulness can be reached through food. “Mindfulness” here is used as an idea of being present in the moment in this environment that has been created around us by other people (other generations, cultures).

When I started doing my research, I focused on growing food as a way to explore my own self-sustainability. Food felt like the only thing I could fully control. As part of my research I created various micro and unconventional gardening works and prototypes to share with the local community and exhibition visitors. When presenting my research and artworks, I realised that people were the most interested in simple, practical DIY tips and also my recipes.

I adapted my research to include cooking, something that comes naturally to me, to continue the conversation with my audience about sustainability and ecology using the metaphor of fast freezing and slow cooking.

As a result of the presentation, I will show my online platform/experience that the viewer can use to practice micro-gardening, cooking, food preservation, etc. as a method of downshifting and adjusting to the uncertainty of our near future.

My research is based on the theoretical writings of Haraway, Morton, Coccia and Guattari.

Maija Demitere is an artist, doctoral student at Liepaja University and working as a project coordinator at Art Research Laboratory (MPLab). Her main fields of research are deep sustainability, slow media art, developing art research and presentation methods that could offer different lifestyles – promoting individual self-sustainability, using local culture and traditions (Latvian and Soviet cultural heritage) together with technologies to create a deeper understanding of true balance between urban and country environment and individual and communal lifestyle.


André Sier. Wolfspace: Interactive century deep cartography visualization and sculpture making tool by wolves in Portugal

Wolves and their small nomadic packs, besides contributing to profound changes to the environment they inhabit, usually delineate a non-human space, and their presence may be used as indicators to pinpoint a healthy wild life ecosystem. The work Wolfspace (Sier, 2018-present), displayed on tablet devices, is an interactive cartography, visualization and sculpture making artistic tool by wolves in Portugal. Wolfspace utilizes recent GPS data from CIBIO (Universidade do Porto) obtained by non-invasive methods in selected wolf individuals over the years 2012, 2013, 2014, as well as historical data gathered by Grupo Lobo (Universidade de Lisboa) of wolf sightings and encounters since 1910 until 1990. The work accumulates historic data and instant movements by elements from the population of iberian wolves on portuguese territory over time, providing both an instant three dimensional cartographic sculpture and an historical interactive background view century deep.

André Sier works aesthetically with code, electronic, interactive, digital and antique media, where he combines videogames, installations, painting, sculpture, music and computation in objects and experiences of imaginary arts, on which he merges mythology, generative space-time continuums, art&science artifacts, human and non-human interfaces. Over the past 25 years has produced serialized, interactive and fixed media works that ludically unveil spatio-temporal interlinks synthesized mostly on electronic substrates, shown at over 27 individual exhibitions and 100 collective events. Director of studios, since 2002 educator of electronic arts, presently visiting lecturer at Universidade de Évora, PhD candidate at Planetary Collegium in Plymouth University, has a digital portfolio at and games and codex studio at


Matteo Pizzolante. Oscillum project

The project entitled Oscillum faces a problem that broke out in late 2013. It is about a disease that is threatening the heath of olive trees and the surrounding landscape in Puglia (Italy). The phenomenon known as Olive Quick Decline Syndrome has been expanding irreversibly throughout the region and is now moving towards north. The bacterium provoking it is called Xylella; it is causes the drying up of olive trees and eventually their death. The project is inspired by a widespread ancient Messapian custom. The Messapi were a tribe that inhabited southern Apulia from 8th century BC to 3rd century AD. The oscillum was a disk made of terracotta that was usually hung up on a tree in order to foretell and protect the fertility of vines and olive tree fields.

The project was developed in close operation with the Laboratory for Monitoring Stress in Trees using Environmental Remote sensing at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, leades by Pieter Beck. The research group collects very high-resolution hyperspectral and thermal images on the field, permitting to analyse the state of health of individual trees. These high-resolution images reveal early stages of disease that are invisible to the human eye.

Matteo Pizzolante was born in Tricase, Lecce, in 1989. He earned a degree in Construction Engineering from the Milan Polytechnic and enrolled for a Masters in Sculpture at the Accademia di  Belle Arti di Brera, with Vittorio Corsini. He completed his studies in Germany at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Dresden with Wilhelm Mundt and Carsten Nicolai. He has participated in several exhibitions in Italy and is the winner of the Jaguart Italian Road Show project held by Artissima and Jaguar. Among the latest projects are Q-Rated, Ricerche sensibili held by La Quadriennale di Roma and “Resonances Festival” put on jointly by the Joint Research Center (JRC) in Ispra and Museo della Scienza e Tecnologia, Leonardo da Vinci, Milano.


Stelios Giannoulakis. Noise Poetics – Composing with Urban Soundscapes

This talk is based on the paper which attempts to analyze the role of urban soundscape in electroacoustic – acousmatic composition, looking at my own work, as well as with a view on contemporary music in general. Exploring the concept of noise in our culture, I approach the mechanisms that allow the sounds of everyday experience to participate in the development of a poetics rich in emotional dynamic, connected with fundamental elements of our music tradition and directly dependent on the way we experience sound.

A large part of my source recordings come from the city. Urban soundscapes have become the new natural sound environment for the people of the city. Over a century of exposition to sounds by machines, crowds, plastic and metal, pure tones and recorded music embedded in everyday background, tends to redefine the processes and archetypes that govern the way we evaluate sound as art, as well as our emotional responses to it. The meaning and cultural significance of noise radically change.

Having chosen recorded sound as the main material of my sonic art, I sometimes use unprocessed sound and drive the composition forward by cutting, juxtaposing and mixing, playing with connotations, and the locally emerging myth. Alternatively, I might use the recording as a malleable material that I can change and warp around to the extreme. ‘Real-world’ sound has always had a certain power on the mind of the listener and so have the processes of its transformation, subtle or dramatic, gradual or sudden, playing with degrees of recognizability and laying out some kind of idiosyncratic dream-scape for listeners to follow and explore in their own mind.

Stelios Giannoulakis is an electroacoustic and cross-genre composer and performer, sound designer, engineer, improvising multi-instrumentalist, creative music technology researcher and educator. PhD in Electroacoustic Composition (University of Bangor Wales UK), MA Digital Music technology (Keele University UK.), first degree in Electronic and Biomedical Engineering (National Technical University of Athens). Soundscape recording, electroacoustic concert performances. Music and sound design for theater, concert, video, film, dance, video games. Sound diffusion system design, circuit bending, game mechanics, interactivity. Cross-genre music projects: RSLG Quartet, Fallstreak.Hole, EleKtroBalKana, Schema Musicalis, Sinusexplorer. Residencies: EPHMEE – Paysage Sonore (2018), SGT – Tuned City (2018), Kumaria (2009), and others. Awards: 18th European Media Art Festival Germany 2004; “Jeu de Temps” composition contest, CEC – Sonic Arts Network (2003); Bourge International Electroacoustic Competition, France (2002/1999); SPNM Shortlist for Electroacoustic composition, improvisation UK (2002/2001); Lieu Insolite, Studio Cesare, Reims, France (2012). Founding member of HELMCA (Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association).