Tuce EREL. Hactivate Yourself: Curatorial research about bio-politics and posthuman body

The paper is a curatorial research about biopolitics, posthuman theories, hacking bodies and their manifestation through artistic practices including artists I invited for the exhibition titled “Hactivate Yourself!”, which will be hosted by 1a Space Hong Kong in March 2019.
The title of the project was inspired by the gym and personal training mobile app’s ads on social media. I started to see those ads, most probably because I was looking for an affordable gym club in my neighbourhood or some exercise to stretch my body. Suddenly my sponsored feed flooded with ‘good looking’ female trainers’ videos, showing me how to activate my body, get a fitter body, and a better life?. This showed me again that I am trapped in the consumerism in this society. I was seduced and stalked by the ‘cookies’. It is important to understand that hacking in the smaller scale could change a lot in our daily life. How can we hack our ideas? How can we look outside the box? How can we hack the system for the sake of better life? Curatorial research explores artistic positions about hacking culture, hacking body, biohacking, biopolitics, critique of internet consumption through artistic practices.

Tuçe Erel (1981, Ankara) is a curator, art writer and art professional, based in Berlin. She studied Sociology at METU (2005, Ankara), and Arts Theory and Critic at Anatolian University (MA, 2009, Eskişehir), Art Arts Policy and Management (MA with curating pathway) at Birkbeck College (2015, London). She has been writing about art and curating exhibitions internationally. Her curatorial interests are archiving practices, urban studies, ecology, Anthropocene, post-humanism and post-digital theories. Erel is a member of > top e.V, where she hosts Posthumanism Reading Group at Top once a month and hosts various exhibitions, performances and events at the space. http://tuceerel.wordpress.com


Sugar: A Cosmology of Whiteness
Nadine BOTHA

The industrialised farming of sugar since the 18th-century has not only changed what we eat and how we enjoy it, but completely restructured our society, economy, ecology, culture, and even, bodies and minds. Sugar: A Cosmology of Whiteness presents a speculative alternative history of the rise of modernity/coloniality, from the perspective of the sugar crystal. Looking at human history from a non-anthropocentric perspective challenges our biases of us-and-them politics and the personal health issues of sugar, to rather become aware of reality as a designed paradigm in which we operate. By drawing on enough widely known and accepted historical and scientific facts to make the narrative believable, and throwing in a good measure of creative conjecture and decolonial critique of the coloniser-mindset (partially explicable by the affect of sugar on the brain), a speculative history allows us to see the present and future not as inevitable fate, but as malleable reality that can be redesigned. My intention is also to decolonise the solitary researcher as an authority on the non-anthropocentric sugar crystal’s point-of-view through a participatory co-creation process fuelled by performance-lectures and workshops. I’m hoping to launch this at Biotopia in Munich at the end of May, before travelling to a number of related events, including Neuhaus at Het Nieuwe Institute in Rotterdam and Ungreen in Riga. Ultimately the co-created narrative would be presented in an animation that is process modelled from the neuroscientific equation of sugar addiction in the brain.

Nadine Botha is an artistic researcher preoccupied with how unseen social, political, legal, economic and cultural systems design our objects, bodies, homes, cities, technologies, experiences and knowledges. She brings together storytelling, curating, film, writing, performance, activism, and participatory practices in digital media, publications, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, journalism, and academia. In 2017 she graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven with The Politics of Shit, which won the Gijs Bakker Award for best Master’s project. The project explored the politics of the portable flush toilet in Cape Town’s ongoing toilet wars, drawing on a wide range of research that was presented in an interactive Facebook chatbot, and through a portable museum that subverted colonial hierarchies of knowledge-making. Since then she was associate curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in 2018, and curatorial assistant of the Rasheed Araeen Retrospective at the Vanabbemuseum in 2017. Her writing has appeared in the Design & Culture Journal, Dirty Furniture, DAMN, Mold, MONU, Extra Extra, and Z33 research, among others.
Previously she was editor-at-large of DAMN magazine, co-founded the Dutch Institute of Food and Design, was editor of Design Indaba, and curated Protofarm 2050 at the World Congress of Design in Singapore in 2009. Originally from South Africa, she is now based in Rotterdam.


Saša SPAČAL. Symbiome – Economy of Symbiosis

Biotechnological sound installation Symbiome – Economy of Symbiosis explores the entanglement of symbiotic interspecies relationship that is constantly adjusting according to trophic requirements and environmental conditions. Hydroponic chamber is inhabited by red clover Trifolium pratense and root nodule bacteria Rhizobiaceae which exchange carbon and nitrogen compounds. The indirect measurements of the exchange influence the frequency of dripping water causing ripples that transcend symbiotic biofeedback loop of red clover and rhizobia into extended environment. The ripples on the water surface are translated into real time generated sound and filtered through phase modulation. Sound maps the process of metabolic exchange thus reflecting that symbiosis is not an idealized relationship, but a process in which the species are continuously negotiating the use of natural resources. Symbiotic negotiation affects relationships beyond primary symbionts by provoking ripples in the extended environment. The environment is not something external, but is generated in relationships through intra-actions. Thus, visitors also affect the symbiotic relationship by exhaling carbon dioxide near the red clover. Video: https://vimeo.com/317542797 Project website: https://projectsymbiome.wordpress.com/

Saša Spačal [www.agapea.si] is a postmedia artist working at the intersection of living systems research and contemporary art. Her artistic research focuses on entanglements of environment-culture continuum and planetary metabolism. By developing technological interfaces and relations with organic and mineral soil agents she tries to address the posthuman condition that involves mechanical, digital and organic logic within biopolitics and necropolitics. Her work was exhibited and performed at venues such as Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China, Transmediale, Onassis Cultural Center Athens, Kapelica Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Athens Digital Arts, Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, Chronos Art Center, Device_art, Art Laboratory Berlin. She was awarded Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention and nominated for Prix Cube.


Alexander Kiryutin. EDEN Project: Listening to Tree

Bio-artists are greatly concerned about the alteration of nature and the burden of responsibility resulting from it. In their work, the natural is not only thought of as being socially constructible, but is also close to the notion of the living. The biotechnological product can, as a consequence, also be perceived as natural. The particularity of biotechnology can be resumed in the marriage of an organic body with parameters established by technological manipulation. As we know, all vegetal species can communicate with its environment. Instead of words they use different kinds of molecular emission. The communication can be established between trees of the same species, but it can also be addressed to a different organism: insect, or animal, including human. This aptitude helps trees to optimize their vital mechanisms and to protect themselves from potentials aggressors. E D E N, realized in collaboration with the Orange Telecom company from France transforms this encrypted communication into a comprehensive and open network. The trees included into the project can talk together across continents. Humans can follow their communication through the interactive light installations created by Art&Science Lab of Paris 1 University.

Alexander Kiryutin is researcher, curator and a PhD student of Paris 1 University in Art&Science. He curated the Art.Science.Museum program in the State Hermitage Museum (Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 2017-2018) and participated in numerous projects in Russia and France. His PhD research is aimed to study the practices of exposing Art&Science pieces in museums and other artistic spaces.