Bio-Art Mixer 9

Bio-Art Mixer #9

We are happy to announce our Bio-Art Mixer Online Symposium on August 20th. This is our second part of the two day symposium in which we host seven talks by artists and scientists, who will share their research and will follow with Q&A. August 20th presentations:

Matej Vakula, Ph. D. candidate in Electronic Arts, Rensselaer, Troy, NY.

Jenifer Wightman, Cornell University, Dept of Crop and Soil Science

Mayra Cadorin Vidal, Ph. D., Post-doctoral researcher at Syracuse University

Matej Vakula, Ph. D. candidate in Electronic Arts, Rensselaer, Troy, NY

As AI-aided research, generative design, and computer-aided manufacturing are poised to become the way to design new organisms and their parts; a pressing question emerges: What ethics could operate under entanglement of organic life and this opaque computational technology? What are the cultural implications of these technologies?

In this presentation, I would like to follow two emerging cultural trends from the field of AI and biotech: life is viewed as increasingly machine-like, and technology is considered increasingly life-like. The computer is thought to be a brain, and the brain is regarded as a computer with multiple evolved parts. If we will be able to 3D print additional biologicalparts to enhance the brain, how would this machinic vision influence our ideas about it? What are the possible the limitations of this vision? Matej Vakula is an artist examining the role of ethics and aesthetics in emergingbiotechnologies and the field of artificial intelligence. In particular, Matej studies ethicali mplications of computation and nanotechnologies on biology, tissue printing, culture and nature.

Jenifer Wightman Cornell University, Dept of Crop and Soil Science

NYS has set ambitious goals of 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and 85% reduction by 2050. My scientific research at Cornell University evaluates working lands (farms/forests) capacity to help us meet those goals. My artistic research employs microbes growing photosynthetic pigments in their landscape. My talk will briefly introduce my interest in using micro and macro models to explore the co-evolution of life and landscape. Jenifer Wightman has a BS in Cell Biology and a MS in Environmental Toxicology and for the last 2 decades has specialized in greenhouse gas inventories and life cycle analysis of agriculture, forestry, waste, and bioenergy systems. From 2014-2019, she was PT faculty at Parsons – The New School for Design, teaching “Sustainable Systems” and “BioDesign”. Her art practice began in 2002 and employs scientific tropes to incite an ecological reflexivity and has been commissioned by NYC parks, featured at the Lincoln Center, BAM, and Imagine Science Festival, and is held in collections such as the Morgan Library, Library of Congress, Gutenberg Museum, Bodmer Museum, and the Danish Royal Library.

Mayra Cadorin Vidal, Ph. D.Post-doctoral researcher at Syracuse University

Mutually beneficial interactions (i.e., mutualisms) are extremely common in nature. Mutualisms are constantly threatened by cheaters that steal the benefits offered by mutualists without providing anything in return. How mutualisms persist despite the threat of cheating has always puzzled biologists. In my research at SU, I use a yeast mutualism to experimentally test how intrinsic characteristics of mutualisms can make these interactions more resistant to cheating. Mayra Vidal has a Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from the University of Denver and an MS in Ecology from the University of Campinas (Brazil).

Since 2018, Mayra has been working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Segraves lab, and she will join the Biology Department at UMass Boston as an Assistant Professor in January 2021. Her research focuses on how the environmental and community contexts shape species interactions, which in turn can drive diversification.​

Recordings of our Bio-Art Mixers can be found here:

Images by Matej Vakula and Jenifer Wightman The Bio-Art Mixer has been initiated by Heidi Hehnly, Ph.D. Biology, SU; Boryana Rossa Ph.D. Transmedia, SU in collaboration with Canary Lab.

Image 1. Jenifer Wightman

Portraits of NYC – Deadhorse Bay (2012, 15x15x3”, steel, glass, silicone, mud, misc landfill materials).
Image 2. Matej VakulaAmunts, K., Eickhoff, S. B., Caspers, S., Bludau, S., & Mohlberg, H. (2019).
Whole-brain parcellation of the Julich-Brain Cytoarchitectonic Atlas (v1.18) [Data set]. Human Brain Project Neuroinformatics Platform. DOI: 10.25493/8EGG-ZAR and Alen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas [Internet].
Seattle (WA): Allen Institute for Brain Science. ©2011.