Under the Viral Shadow: Conference

ArchaeaBot at Art Laboratory Berlin

Under the Viral Shadow: Networks in the Age of Technoscience and Infection

International Conference

9 October 2021, 11:00 – 19:00 CET

Online, with livestream: JOIN US HERE!

In the international interdisciplinary one-day conference Under the Viral Shadow Art Laboratory Berlin (ALB) will explore various networks – biological, cybernetic, and social – also in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will include presentations by seven international artists (currently on show at ALB) whose research and media are either in the life or computer sciences; as well as guest scholars from art and media theory, biophysics, and computer science, design and culture studies who will explore biological, digital and social networks under the pressure of new technologies. A special keynote by Roberta Buiani will discuss the multiple implications of viruses, natural and human-made in an age of technoscience and infection.

The core of the Under the Viral Shadow project is our group exhibition featuring works by internationally renowned artists: ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form by Alex May and Anna Dumitriu features an underwater robotic installation investigating ‘life’ in a post-climate change future, based on recent re­search on archaea, believed to be the oldest forms of life on earth. Anna Dumitriu’s object Engineered Antibody is a custom beaded necklace based on an antibody engi­neered to contain a combination of 21 amino acids – which could not occur in nature – but was originally derived from the blood of an HIV patient. PROBE II: Subaudition by Benjamin 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, colour, patterns and reflection. Gene Kogan’s project Abraham is an ‘autonomous artificial artist’ based on decen­tralized AI. In interaction with the public, the work critically reflects on promising techniques from machine learning, crypto-economics, and computer art. Physarum Topologies by Sarah Grant makes use of living slime mould to demonstrate bio-computed information routing through different topologies of computer networks. And fi­nally, wearables such as Electric Skin and Sonic Skin by Vivian 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

Under the Viral Shadow Conference Program

11:00 – 12:45 CET
Introduction | Under the Viral Shadow. Networks in the Age of Technoscience and Infection
Regine Rapp (Art History, Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)
Christian de Lutz (Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)

Panel A | Bodies, Organisms and Machines
Vivian Xu (Artist, designer, Shanghai/Kunshan): The Skin Series
Anna Dumitriu (Artist, Brighton): Engineered Antibody
Alex May, Anna Dumitriu (Artists, Brighton): ArchaeaBot: A Post Singularity and Post Climate Change Life-form
Moderated by Regine Rapp

13:00 – 14:30 CET
Panel B | Digital and Biological Networks
Sarah Grant (Artist, Berlin): Physarum Topologies
Christina Oettmeier (Biophysics, University of Bremen): On Physarum polycephalum
Danja Vasiliev (Artist, Berlin): How Computers Talk
Moderated by Christian de Lutz

15:30 – 16:30 CET
Keynote | “Going Viral”
Roberta Buiani (Media Theory, Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, York University/ University of Toronto): Going Viral
Moderated by Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

16:50 – 18:30 CET
Panel C | On Artificial Intelligence
Benjamin Bacon (Artist, Duke University Kunshan/ Shanghai): PROBE – Subaudition
Gene Kogan (Artist and programmer, New York/ California): Abraham
Alexander König (artist, media theory, Berlin): TBA (critical notes on AI)
Katta Spiel (Computer Science, Design, Cultural Studies, TU Vienna): Adversarial Example
Moderated by Tuçe Erel

18:30 – 18:50 CET
Final Discussion
With all speakers and moderators.