PostNatural - Hybridization, Intention, and the Alteration of Living Things
Hosts: Richard Pell and Lauren Allen of the Center for PostNatural History
Participants: Laura Beloff, Åsa Ståhl, Andrea Roe, Cathrine Kramer, Zack Denfeld, Erik Sandelin
The PostNatural group will focus on the notion of intention when we consider hybrid and other human-manipulated species and habitats. We have defined PostNatural as the intentional alteration of an organism’s inherited traits--but cannot deny that there are also many unintentional and semi-intentional consequences of human relationships with other life-forms and their habitats.
Using photography, specimen collection and other natural history methods, we will document and collect evidence of organisms that have been altered by the intentional practices of domestication, breeding, and genetic engineering, and by the unintentional (or less intentional) consequences of habitat destruction, globalization, and climate change. We will explore habitats that have been constructed, managed, or affected by human guidance, as well as habitats that have been influenced unintentionally by human behaviors. We will explore and imagine what makes these different organisms and their habitats visible and invisible to humans eg. why some “feel wrong” or are unnaturally attractive.
Lauren Allen is a biologist pursuing a PhD in learning science at the University of Pittsburgh. Lauren’s research focuses on how people come to understand complex social and scientific challenges such as climate change and bioengineering. She has spent the bulk of her career working in science museums, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and the Center for PostNatural History. Her work is focused in spaces where people have hands-on learning experiences and social interactions, important features of the process of understanding and subsequently responding to complex issues.
Richard Pell is an artist working at the intersections of science, engineering and culture. He is the founder of the Center for PostNatural History, a museum dedicated to the collection and exposition of life-forms that have been intentionally altered by human intervention. The Center has been awarded a Rockefeller New Media fellowship, a Creative Capital fellowship, Kindle Project awards, a Smithsonian research fellowship and is currently in residence at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon and has opened a permanent exhibition space in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is an Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University and a founding member of the Institute for Applied Autonomy.
Laura Beloff (PhD) is an internationally acclaimed artist and a researcher. Research interests include practice-based investigations into a combination of information, technology and organic matter, which is located in the cross section of art, technology and science. Additionally to research papers, articles and book-chapters, the outcome of the research is in a form of process-based and participatory installations, programmed conceptual structures that deal with increasingly technological world from human perspective. The research engages with the field of art–science–technology including areas such as human enhancement, biosemiotics, biomedia, robotics, and information technology in connection to art, humans and society. Currently, she is Associate Professor and Head of Section at IT University in Copenhagen.
Zack Denfeld is an artist, designer and educator who co-founded the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and CoClimate He has worked for design studios, think tanks and universities in the U.S., India and Ireland, helping to launch Masters' programs in Portland, Oregon and Bangalore, India. Zack is currently a researcher at the Science Gallery, Dublin at Trinity College. Zack holds degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Michigan.
Cathrine Kramer works internationally as a curator, researcher, designer and artist. She is the co-founder of two artist-led think tanks: Center for Genomic Gastronomy, and CoClimate. She has also been a visiting lecturer at numerous academic institutions including Harvard GSD, NYU and Goldsmiths College, London. She holds degrees from the Royal College of Art, London and the University of Technology, Sydney. She remains forever curious about how we inhabit planet Earth and works at the intersection of art, science, the built environment and ecology.
Andrea Roe is an artist and lecturer in sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art whose work examines the nature of human and animal biology, behaviour, communication and interaction within specific ecological contexts. She has undertaken residencies in a number of institutions - ranging from the Wellcome Trust to the Crichton Royal Hospital, to the National Museums of Scotland - where she has learned about and responded to research projects and collections. Her current research explores how visual art might add its voice to debates around complex cultural traditions which impact on the lives of other species. This research brings her into conversation with scientists at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute who share her interests in representing animal sentience and telling animal life stories from a non-human perspective.
Erik Sandelin is an interaction designer based in Malmö, Sweden. In his educational, industrial and artistic practice he explores the intimate role of digital and biological technologies in people’s lives and dreams. Erik is a co-founder of interaction design and innovation studio Unsworn Industries – a media-agnostic practice trying to perfect the unfinished through crafting beautiful actions spaces, from pixels to politics. Recent Unsworn endeavours include a Telemegaphone on a fjellin Western Norway, a monster research centre in northern Sweden, and a gluten-E.T. barbecue feast. Erik holds an MA in Interaction Design from Malmö University. He is a frequent traveller and has exhibited and performed at galleries, festivals, and streets around the world. Packing grumpy optimism and a prototype-oriented mindset Erik is currently paying extra attention to human-animal relations and scenarios of posthumanist everyday life.
Åsa Ståhl is a researcher and an artist. She is currently a postdoc at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University and senior lecturer in media and communication studies at Malmö University, Sweden.Together with Kristina Lindström she defended their joint, practice-led thesis across two disciplines in 2014 where they explore living with mundane technologies through design, media and public engagement. As partners in the artistic research project HYBRID MATTERs they will host public engagement events around the Nordic countries.