KOSMICA x Astroculture

Each KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

KOSMICA x Astroculture - A night of performance and conversations with Kapwani Kiwanga and Dr Nick Campion

Alexander CT Geppert describes Astroculture as a cultural history of outer space and extra-terrestrial life in the twentieth-century imagination. KOSMICA x Astroculture takes this as a point of departure, focusing on artistic practice centred on the cultural understanding of outer space. This research area brings together space enthusiasts who have wide-ranging interests that include performance, cosmology, Afrofuturism, science fiction literature, mythology and philosophy.

Afrofuturism is a phrase coined in 1995 by cultural critic Mark Dery in his essay Black to the Future, where he links the African American use of science and technology to an examination of space, time, race and culture. He defines Afrofuturism as: "Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture - and, more generally, African American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future…".  As a movement, Afrofuturism began in earnest in the mid-1950s with musician Sun-Ra, whose music blended science fiction, mysticism, African culture (with a particular focus on Egypt) and jazz fusion, all of which coalesced in his 1972 film, Space is the Place.

On Wednesday 15 May, KOSMICA x Astroculture's performance based lecture, short film screening followed by a conversation with artist Kapwani Kiwangs and Dr Nick Campion will further contextualise practice and cultural cosmology theories around Astroculture.

Kapwani Kiwanga’s films and performance lectures speaks of “transcendent powers, beings and realms,” which she conceive in a scientific way. Her performance will be accompanied by a talk placing her artistic practice within wider debates around Astroculture, Afrofuturism, Magic and Space cultural theory.  Kapwani Kiwanga, a Canadian-born artist based in Paris, works primarily with video, sound and performance. Kiwanga studied Anthropology and Comparative Religions at McGill University, Canada. Her work has won a number of awards, and has been shown widely at film festivals, art institutions, and on international television. She has been an artist in residence at L’école nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts, Le Fresnoy: Studio national des arts contemporains and most recently at MU Foundation in the Netherlands.

Dr Nick Campion is the director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  His research interests include the nature of belief, the history and contemporary culture of astrology and astronomy, magic, pagan and New Age beliefs and practices, millenarian and apocalyptic ideas, and the sociology of new religious movements. Before joining Lampeter University in 2007, he was Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions and Senior Lecturer in History at Bath Spa University. He is on the editorial boards of Correlation, the Journal of Research in Astrology and Archaeoastronomy, and the Journal of Astronomy in Culture. He speaks widely on the nature of belief, magic and cosmology and describes a recent space flight as an externalisation of the internal, imaginal journey to the stars undertaken in esoteric traditions.


6.30 Doors

7pm Kapwani Kiwanga’s performance commences without introduction

8pm Screening of Sun Ra Repatriation film (excerpt 15 mins)

8.15pm A conversation between Kapwani Kiwanga and Nick Campion


This KOSMICA event is guest curated by Jareh Das.

The KOSMICA series was conceived by Nahum Mantra and Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

Speakers' websites

Kapwani Kiwanga
Dr Nick Campion and Trinity St David





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KOSMICA Paris 2013

Une réunion galactique pour les esprits à la curiosité cosmique

For the second time, we take our galactic gathering to Paris, bringing together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space.

KOSMICA is an international series of galactic gatherings for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in exploring and sharing space in original ways.

On this occasion the programme focused on the work by different members of ITACCUS, a technical committee for the cultural utilisations of space within the IAF.

Richard Clar

New media interdisciplinary artist, founded Art Technologies in 1987 as a liaison between the worlds of art and technology. His philosophically-oriented artwork turned towards art-in-space in 1982 with a NASA-approved art payload for the U.S. Space Shuttle. Richard Clar's current work encompasses site-specific environmental issues ranging from orbital debris to water-management on Earth; war and peace; and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).  www.arttechnologies.com

Daniela de Paulis

Daniela de Paulis is a visual artist and lecturer living and working between Italy and The Netherlands. Since October 2009 she has been artist in residence at Dwingeloo radio telescope (NL) where she developed, together with the CAMRAS and ASTRON team, a technology called Visual Moonbounce, which allows sending images to the Moon and back as radio signals. Since 2010 she has been collaborating with the international collective Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), as the Project Chair for the AstroArt programme. www.danieladepaulis.com

Roger Malina

ITACCUS co-chair, astronomer, editor and Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology at the University of Texas, where he is developing Art-Science R and D and Experimental publishing research. Malina is the former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence and his speciality is in space instrumentation; he was the Principal Investigator for the NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite at the University of California, Berkeley. He also has been involved for 25 years with the Leonardo organisation whose mission is to promote and make visible work that explores the interaction of the arts and sciences and the arts and new technologies. http://malina.diatrope.com

Rob La Frenais

Curator of The Arts Catalyst since 1997 who has curated and produced interdisciplinary and visual art projects since 1987. Before joining The Arts Catalyst, he was a freelance curator and organiser working in a European context in various countries. In 2012 he curated the exhibition Republic of the Moon, which challenged utilitarian plans of lunar mines and military bases with artists’ imaginings and interventions.


The KOSMICA series is curated by Nahum Mantra and The Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space. This event occurs before the annual ITACCUS meeting at the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), a worldwide federation of organisations active in space.


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Our monthly series of social galactic gatherings bringing together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space comes to Z33 in Hassult as part of the programme for Space Odyssey 2.0

Each KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

12 April is Yuri's Night, or the day in 1961 that Yuri Gagarin was the first human to journey into outer space. Therefore, Z33 and Arts Catalyst are organizing a KOSMICA night at Z33 as part of the programme for Space Odyssey 2.0.   There will be presentations by and discussions with artists Frederik De Wilde, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, the Seeker community, stargazing, drinks and spacey music.

Agnes Meyer-Brandis

Agnes Meyer-Brandis will give a talk on how she started the Moon Goose project. The inspiration of this work is a proto science fiction story from 1638, The Man in the Moone, in which a man travels to the moon with a flight of Moon Geese. In a curious mix of science and fiction, experiment and narrative, past and present, Agnes Meyer-Brandis tries to turn this story into reality by raising eleven geese and training them as fully fledged astronauts. The geese are currently living in a simulation habitat in a crater field in Pollinaria, Italy. In Space Odyssey 2.0, live images of the habitat are shown in a control room where you can communicate with them.

Frederik De Wilde

Frederik De Wilde acts on the border area between science, technology and art. The conceptual crux of his artistic praxis are the notions of the intangible, inaudible, invisible. In Space Odyssey 2.0 he is presenting new work which focuses on the movements of small ghost-like particles that appear and disappear in the quantum vacuum of interstellar space. The work in the exhibition consists of different visualisations of these almost immaterial and intangible phenomena, based on a live stream of data captured by the Department of Quantum Science of the Australian National University. His work on the ‘nano-black’ also exemplifies how artistic research can influence science, leading to a collaboration with NASA who are interested in developing his research into more practical outcomes.

Seeker [HS²]

Seeker is a travelling and collaborative spaceship project which artist Angelo Vermeulen initiated. In Space Odyssey 2.0, he continued his work - together with an interdisciplinary team of artists, designers, engineers, students and enthusiasts. The work explores in an experimental way the integration of the technological, ecological and social systems that enable long-term survival in a spaceship. From April 2013, Angelo Vermeulen will act as crew commander for HI-SEAS, a new Mars mission simulation initiated by Cornell and Hawaii University in collaboration with NASA. Inspired by his preparatory research for this simulation mission he set up a similar two-day mission in the Seeker before the opening of the show. Members of the Seeker team will talk about their experience during this mission but also on the general development of the project. 

The local planetarium also set up a stargazing event in the garden, with movies, sounds from outer space and space music all in honour of Yuri's Night, a global event celebrating Yuri Gagarin’s first succesfull flight around the earth.


The KOSMICA series is organised by The Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.  This event is produced in collaboration with Arts Catalyst and Cosmodrome.

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Cybersalon series (guest events)

Cybersalon a series of guest events to discuss the impact of new media in London

Digital London Then & Now January 2013. These events launched the New Media Memory project which is dedicated to archiving and analysing the development of Net culture in the city over the past two decades. Due to the constant improvements in hardware and software, many of the digital artefacts which have shaped today's new media scene have not just been forgotten, but are no longer even accessible. Cybersalon's 2013 events revisit the recent past to inspire contemporary designers, entrepreneurs, techies, academics and activists to build a better and smarter future.

Cybersalon's goal is to create an active network of people interested in the project and to develop a process for crowd-sourcing of the assets for a New Media Memory archive.

The Digital London Then & Now events aimed to raise awareness of the New Media Memory project, develop a taxonomy for collating material and form alliances with academic institutions for the long-term maintenance of the completed archive.

26 June - 20 Years of 'On The Mobile' (1993–2013).  From Yuppies, Chalk Marks, Emotional Maps and Geo-Location media to Smartphones and Urban Protests, Wednesday 26 June from 7pm

The introduction of mobile phones in London in the late 80′s as the ultimate Yuppie icon has initiated our long journey to today’s ubiquitous mobile computing. The ‘mobile’ was initially a tool of currency traders, stockbrokers and merchant bankers, who were all exponents of Thatcher’s politics. Over the last two decades the mobile phone has made an incredible journey to a leading tool in our everyday lives. It has also successfully been used to facilitate street protests against authoritarian governments.

Looking at some elements of that journey and explore how this unexpected and unpredicted transformation happened and which critical components on the journey powered such a radical political shift.

William Gibson in his novel has discussed the birth of locative media in London (“Zero History”, 2010). We also acknowledge the head-start that London had in the mobile phone movement and the pioneering role of the early art collectives in the UK such as Blast Theory and Node London.
Christian Nold, Pete Gomes (Chalk Marks project) and Sophia Drakopoulou will look at the difference between Checking-in to a nightclub and Checking-in at a #blockupy protest event. They will examine what happens when this kind of collective data means the participants realise they are in a majority or at least a significant political power (Paolo Gerbaudo ‘The Tweets and the Streets‘, 2012).  Some murky aspects of the mobile phone will be examined, including the ‘hacking’ of mobile phones of celebrities and crime victims and the impact of the public outrage on the new Press legislation curbing the power of the old media empires.

The Cybersalon Series – Then and Now – is supported by Middlesex University and Cyberia Foundation.


Christian Nold is an artist, designer and researcher working to develop new participatory technologies for communcal representation. He has written the books “Mobile Vulgus” (2001) and “Internet of People for a Post-Oil World” (2011) with Rob van Kranenburg and edited “Emotional Cartographies – Technologies of the Self” (2009). He has led large scale participatory mapping projects, in particular “Bio-Mapping" which has been staged across the globe with thousands of participants. He has developed experimental currencies, the Biijlmer Euro (2010) and Suomenlinna Kuula (2012). Christian is releasing the book “The Participation Problem – Autopsy of an Island Currency” later this year. His is currently working on a PhD in the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL. christiannold.com, biomapping.net

Sophia Drakopoulou is a Senior Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication at Middlesex University and runs the BA in Media and Cultural Studies. Her PhD title:  ’How Long Is Now? A study into the spatiotemporal qualities of mobile media in location-specific interaction 2001 to 2008′. Sophia publishes on locative media technologies, location-based games and mobile media in several international peer-reviewed journals. Sophia is a co-founder of Cybersalon.  Sophia's Writing: A Moment of Experimentation.
Pete Gomes mutantfilm.com

Read up before the event on




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Dynamic, Affordable, Apollo-free Residency

Hagen Betzwieser (Germany) and Sue Corke (UK) artists in residence in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser met by chance in 2008 conducting artistic field work at a bus stop in Norway. Working for the last four years as WE COLONISED THE MOON their graphic art and installation projects have embodied a child-like wonder of the universe. Employing a range of DIY production techniques their partnership is rooted in absurdism and theatrical performance, characterised by slogans and catchphrases.  Together they seek to demonstrate that the future may indeed be frightening, but also highly entertaining.

Previous projects have included creating solutions for space waste elimination by disguising satellites as asteroids; building a solar powered solarium because ‘the sun dies anyway’ and synthesising the smell of the moon.  They presented a new commission, Enter At Own Risk and Crash - moonlanding workshops for young poeple for Republic of the Moon, Liverpool and have been involved in several Kosmica events at Arts Catalyst.

As artists in residence throughout Republic of the Moon, the residency will evolve in the space and includes a series of participatory events about religious, political and economic approaches to colonising the moon.

Lunar Exploitation Remonstration

Drop-in protest slogan and placard open studio.  Saturday 25 January 11am-3pm.  Free, not suitable for under-12s

Drop-in open studio day for visitors to meet artists-in-residence WE COLONISED THE MOON, continue to debate about the future of the Moon and to pitch their protest slogan for or against the exploitation of the Moon.  Seven solgans will be selected for the the Lunar Exploitation Remonstration and made into placards.

Open Think Tank Late Breakfast

Round table discussion about the concept of moon colonisation, asking: “Should We Colonise the Moon?”.  What's the future for the Moon – theme park or quarry? Saturday 11 January, 11am-1pm, free event

The discussion may act as the stimulus for further dialogue between participants later on in Republic of the Moon. It may be the seed of revolution, or the binding of consensus – the initiation of a movement towards rebellion or treatise.  On the panel are representatives of science, politics, theology, philosophy, and art.

Benedict Singleton describes himself as a strategist with a background in design and philosophy. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Long Con, an alternative history of design, and regularly writes on the politics and philosophy of technology for publications including Architectural Design and E-Flux. He has lectured at the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, the Bartlett School of Architecture, and internationally. His 2013 essay for E-Flux on space travel, Maximum Jailbreak, considers the earth as a trap, and asserts that the common project of philosophy, economics and design should be the formulation of the means to escape from it."

Ian Crawford is Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. His research is mainly concerned with lunar science and exploration, and  he has a significant interest in the future of space exploration. He is currently Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the Space Sciences Committee of the European Science Foundation. In 2003 he was a member of the European Space Agency's Human Spaceflight Vision Group, which recommended that ESA participates in  establishing an international moon base. He believes that space exploration should be an international, global, activity that can act as a unifying endeavour for humanity.“

Rev Dr Jeremy Law is the Dean of Chapel for Canterbury Christ Church University. He conducts theological research at the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. In 2013, he gave a lecture at Canterbury on The Redemption of Evolution at the conference on Wildlife and Society: Challenges for a Shared Future. The conference promoted the discussion of issues related to the relationships between people and wildlife in the context of sustainable living, education and professional development for a shared future.

Read more about the Open Think Tank Late Breakfast debate about colonising the Moon, in the 'We Make Money Not Art' Blog here.

Live moon smelling

part of Kosmica: Full Moon Party, Thursday 16 January 2014

WE COLONISED THE MOON have engineered a macro microencapsulation process to create a LIVE Moon Smelling experience.  Their concept is a massively scaled up version of the chemical process of microencapsulation - a technique that traps aromas in nanosized shell like capsules - first used for their MOON Scratch & Sniff prints in 2010. In this macro version the scent is encapsulated in helium filled balloons. The moment the balloons pop the smell of the moon explodes into the atmosphere creating an immersive transitory experience which rapidly dissipates, leaving only the memory of a place which is neither here nor there.

The smell itself is based on the reports of Apollo astronauts who on returning from the surface of the moon to the landing module experienced a unique odour for the very first time. Created for WCTM in 2010 by Steve Pearce of Omega Ingredients. The synthesised scent also formed a key element of the artists work, Enter At Own Risk, which was first exhibited for Republic of the Moon, FACT Liverpool, 2012, commissioned jointly by Arts Catalyst and FACT.


Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org

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Republic of the Moon, London

A major exhibition in which artists consider their visions for a Republic of the Moon.

It's four decades since humans walked on the Moon, but it now seems likely that we will return there this century – whether to mine for its minerals, as a ‘stepping stone’ to Mars, or simply to do scientific research. In a provocative pre-emptive action, a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon here on Earth, to re-examine our relationship with our planet’s only natural satellite.

After two decades working with space dreamers from the European Space Agency to anarchist autonomous astronauts, The Arts Catalyst transformed Bargehouse into an Earth-based embassy for a Republic of the Moon, filled with artists’ fantastical imaginings. Presenting international artists including Liliane Lijn, Leonid Tishkov, Katie Paterson, Agnes Meyer Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, the exhibition combined personal encounters, DIY space plans, imaginary expeditions and new myths for the next space age.

Marking the start of its twentieth anniversary year, The Arts Catalyst animated the exhibition with performances, workshops, music, talks, a pop-up moon shop by super/collider and playful protests against lunar exploitation.  A manifesto declaring the Moon a temporary autonomous zone, with responses from artists and scientists to novelist Tony White’s call to “Occupy the Moon!” was published in print and e-Book formats to coincide with the exhibition.

The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the Moon not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. The exhibition asks: Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.


Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave together fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, from past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by English bishop Francis Godwin in the 1630s, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist has built a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).  Moon Goose Analogue: Luna Bird Migration Facility the documentary film of this project was Ars Electronica award of distinction winner 2012.

Katie Paterson Second Moon and Earth–Moon–Earth.  Second Moon is Paterson's project tracking the cyclical journey of a small fragment of the Moon as it circles the Earth, via airfreight courier, on a man made commercial orbit.  Second Moon makes an anticlockwise journey; orbiting at approximately twice the speed of our Moon, it orbits Earth about 30 times in one year.  The journey could be followed on a free App. Earth–Moon–Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon) involved using a form of radio transmission whereby messages are sent in Morse code, from earth, reflected from the surface of the moon and then received back on earth. The moon reflects only part of the information back – some is absorbed in its shadows, ‘lost’ in its craters. For this work Paterson has translated Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata into Morse code and sent it to the moon via Earth-Moon-Earth (EME). Returning to earth fragmented by the moon's surface, it has been re-translated into a new score, the gaps and absences becoming intervals and rests. In the exhibition the moon–altered score is performed on a self-playing grand piano.

Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme explores the repeating cycle of the Moon’s phases, projecting the word 'SHE', an epithet for the Moon, onto the lunar surface so the letters slowly emerge and then disappear as it wanes. Since lunar projection is so challenging technically, Lijn has worked with an astronomer to present a real-time animation of the projection accompanied by a sound work and by quotations from sources including Pliny and the Talmud to illustrate the profound connections between the Moon and the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of intimate photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) were the Republic of the Moon’s artists in residence throughout the exhibition, creating work and running talks and workshops. Corke and Betzwieser’s graphic art and installation projects embody a child-like wonder at the universe. Employing a range of DIY production techniques, their partnership is rooted in absurdism and theatrical performance characterised by slogans and catchphrases. At the Bargehouse, they coordinated protests against the exploitation of the Moon and working with scientists to help us look afresh at our closest celestial neighbour.

Moon Vehicle (Joanna Griffin and ISRO scientist P Shreekumar) a presentation of a project devised by the students at Srishti School of Arts, Bangalore, India, with artist Joanna Griffin. Its focus was to reclaim a cultural connection with the Indian Chandrayaan space programme challenging the now-dominant scientific narrative of the Moon and reasserting other imaginaries inspired by Indian narratives of self-determination and agency.

Pop Rock Moon Shop designed by super/collider sold all manner of discerning lunar ephemera.

A Manifesto for the Republic of the Moon published to accompany the exhibition, edited by curator, Rob La Frenais and including Tony White's specially commissioned short fiction Occupy the Moon!, it is available in print, or for free download in .epub and .pdf formats.

Artists websites
Agnes Meyer-Brandis
Katie Paterson
Liliane Lijn
Leonid Tishkov

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese.  With thanks to Z33 co-producers of Moon Goose Analogue, shown In Space Odyssey 2.0.

Second Moon has been commissioned by Locus+ in partnership with Newcastle University and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.  Supported by Arts Council England, Adelaide Festival and Newcastle City Council

Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org

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LabEasy - MadLab Workshops & Residency

MadLab, pioneers of DIY bio come to London for a residency and series of workshops

DIY Biology is a rapidly growing global movement whose aim is to democratise, demystify and widen participation in low-cost, hands-on biology - bringing it out of the laboratory and onto the kitchen table.

Manchester’s very own MadLab stay at Arts Catalyst getting their hands dirty with DIY biology. Pioneers of the DIY-bio movement, even the FBI is keeping an eye on them! In the spirit of a speakeasy, participants can swing by and join in or sign up to a workshop from culturing bioluminescent bacteria to Tiki-style DNA extraction, cellular gastronomy to genetic modification. There's also a family day, evening salon and peripatetic market foodlab to get participants experimenting.


Shoestring biotech: Build your own lab!

Tue 5 March, 1pm - 6pm

The LabEasy kicks off with the design and build of a new laboratory. With no expensive bench top equipment in sight, the “lab raising” was an all-hands-on-deck exercise in home technology hacking, ersatz gadgetry and lots and lots of Lego. Workshop lead: Dr Marc Dusseiller.

Genetic Modification for Beginners

Wed 6 March, 7pm - 9.30pm

So you’ve got yourself a spider and you’ve got yourself a goat: how do you go about combining them? Before your ambitions get ahead of you, you might want to go back to basics and try the simplest genetic modification of all with the humble bacteria Escherichia Coli. We will work with the Genomikon kit to assemble simple genetic circuits and in turn modify our bacteria to give them new behaviours.

An Evening of Bioluminescence

Thu 7 March, 7pm - 9.30pm

Bioluminescence, from the Greek bios for living and lumen for light, is the natural phenomena that makes fireflies glow and allows deep sea squid to find each other in the dark. We will explore the phenomenon of bioluminescence both natural, thanks to some judicious bacterial cultivation following a trip to the local fishmonger, and artificial with our old friend Escherichia Coli.

Cellular Gastronomy – An Alternative Sunday Lunch

Sun 10 March, 1pm - 5pm

Move over Heston, there’s a new organism in town and it goes by the name of S. Cerevisiae. Participants will be able to enjoy the fermented fruits from our edible Lab and find out about its inhabitants – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis (Beer), Lactobacillus Sanfrancencis (Sourdough) and Aspergillus Oryzae (Sake, Miso, Amazake, etc.) amongst others.

Cocktails and Canapés – an evening exploring genetics and flavour (Over 18s only)

Mon 11 March, 6.30pm - 9pm

Do we develop a palate as we’re growing up, or do we inherit our sense of taste and smell? What would it be like to taste things differently? There are well-researched associations between the enjoyment of eating vegetables and genetic variations in the TAS2R38 gene (AKA the Brussels sprout gene) but this is just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Why do some people find that coriander tastes like soap and others don’t? Are some people immune to the charms of cheese? Cocktails and Canapés is an evening of culinary experimentation, Tiki-style DNA extraction, taste-changing miracle fruit and the rigorously researched imbibing of cocktails, all in the name of science, of course!

Bioelectronics - Transforming Mud into Light

Wed 13 March, 1pm - 5pm

We crack out the stripboard and solder and explore the boundaries between life and machine, analogue and digital. In particular we will build microbe-powered LED lights using some local mud and a sprinkling of biological ingenuity.

DIYBio Salon

Wed 13 March, 7pm doors, 7.30pm - 9.30pm

A gathering together Europe’s foremost biohackers, artists, inventors, ethicists and novel thinkers for an evening of discourse, from DIY practicalities to speculative biological entertainments; legal and ethical grey areas (and brown areas) to outlaw science and beyond. Speakers: Ellen Jorgensen - Genspace, Kristijan Tkalec - Biotehna, Cathal Garvey, Hackerteria's Dr Marc Dusseiller, Brian Degger of Maker Space, Thomas Landrain of La Paillasse introduced by Asa Callow of MadLab.

Deptford Market DNA FoodLab

Fri 15 March, 9am - 2pm

“Get your extracted vegetable DNA here, three for a pound and I can’t say fairer than that”. As the Lab Easy rolls to a close, we take the show on the road with a visit to Deptford Market. Armed with a battery of ad-hoc biological tests, travel-ready DIY lab equipment and some tasty produce, we bring some wholesome Lab Easy flavours to the streets of South East London.

Family DIY Microscopy and Water Bear Hunting

Sat 16 March, 2pm - 4pm

Children & Families come to Arts Catalyst to hunt for tiny microscopic creatures called Water Bears and then make their own USB microscope allowing them to see their bear-like figure.


KiiCs (Knowledge Incubation in Innovation and Creation for Science) is a 3-year European Commission-funded project.


Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab) is a grassroots innovation organisation, based in Manchester. Their primary areas of focus are science and technology alongside arts and culture.
MadLab support a diverse range of communities and activities – from monthly meetups and courses through to public experimentation with new and emerging technologies, and collaborating with others to deliver new, interesting and exciting projects.
Madlab's Comments:
"We believe that the best way to understand fast-paced technological innovation is by getting involved, through experimentation and play. In particular, MadLab is an advocate of hacking – taking things apart, figuring out how they work and re-purposing or re-imagining them. This is a principle we apply to everything we do, whether it’s designing new digital devices and services or finding improved ways of working with our partners and communities."
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Erik Davis. The Living World: Animism in the 21st Century

How does our relationship to the world change if everything is alive?

Author Erik Davis and historian of shamanism Robert Wallis discuss traditional and contemporary approaches to animism and consider what it means to be an animist in an age when our technologies increasingly take on the semblance of life.

In the second part of the evening, Erik Davis will read with a live modular synthesiser accompaniment from The Asterism and MISTY. With live and found sounds sculpted by the application of multiple random voltages, MISTY will be free to express its soul.

Erik Davis is an American cultural critic, scholar and journalist, in his recent catalogue essay Mark Leckey’s exhibition The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things he describes a world exploding with technologies, products, and material processes that challenge our conceptual categories with their apparent intelligence and animation. Also author of Nomad Codes, Techgnosis, The Visionary State and Led Zeppelin, Erik Davis' work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals and magazines.

Robert Wallis is an author, art historian and academic specialising in contemporary and historical shamanic practices. He is the author of 'Shamans / neo-Shamans:Ecstasy, Alternative Archaeologies and Contemporary Pagans' and has contributed to and edited numerous books and journals on the subject.

The Asterism is the solo musical project of author and Strange Attractor Press founder Mark Pilkington.

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The Language of Cetaceans

In this special event, artist Ariel Guzik, who represented Mexico in the 2013 Venice Biennale, presented his long-term project communicating with whales and dolphins (cetaceans).

Environmental scientist and campaigner Mark Simmonds discussed the role of sound in cetacean society and the impact of sonar and noise pollution.

Ariel Guzik is an artist, musician and inventor. He designs and makes resonance instruments, which are used to enable interaction between human beings and nature through sensation and emotion, and creates installations and performances. For the last ten years, Guzik has concentrated his efforts in searching for a way of communicating with cetaceans. With a group of collaborators, he has undertaken several expeditions to contact grey whales and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Baja California. In 2007, Guzik completed the construction of the first prototype of an underwater capsule, Nereida, a musical instrument to interact with cetaceans. Guzik presented his work with cetaceans, immediately following his visit to the North of Scotland to meet bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, the research phase of a project with The Arts Catalyst.

Mark Peter Simmonds is an environmental scientist and marine biologist, specialising in the problems facing marine mammals in the 21st century. He is currently the Senior Marine Associate Scientist with the Humane Society International (HSI) and was previously the International Director of Science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Simmonds spoke about cetacean communication and the threats to these creatures caused by the increasing emissions of loud noise both deliberately and incidentally into our seas and oceans.


Ariel Guzik

Musician, researcher, artist, iridologist, herbalist and inventor, Guzik designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature. He is the director of the Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory in Mexico, which for over 25 years has freely explored the phenomena of resonance, mechanics, electricity, and magnetism as foundations for the invention of mechanisms that give voice to nature through music. His research work is the reflection of an intimate need to generate an atmosphere favorable to the enchantment of the world. He intends to preserve mysteries, rather than decipher them, favoring the perception of natural phenomena through the senses, fascination and fantasy. Installations and individual exhibitions of his work have been presented in national and international institutions. Guzik’s new work Cordiox will be shown in the Mexican Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Mark Peter Simmonds OBE

Mark Peter Simmonds has worked in the marine conservation and animal welfare field since the 1980s. For several years, was on the staff of Greenpeace International, then employed as a university lecturer. However, for the better part of the last two decades, Mark worked full time for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, where he was their International Director of Science. He has been involved in investigations into the impacts of human activities on marine wildlife, including studies into the effects of chemical and noise pollution and marine debris on marine mammals and the development of marine conservation policy, especially as it affects cetaceans. This includes nineteen years as part of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. Mark is also involved in field research on cetaceans in UK waters; mainly on the trail of the illusive Risso’s dolphin. He has also been the Chair of the UK’s Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (which helps to coordinate the work of the UK’s voluntary animal rescue organisations) since 1989. Mark has produced over 200 original papers and other contributions for scientific and popular periodicals and books. He recently jointly edited (with Philippa Brakes) and part authored Whales and Dolphins – Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions which was published in April 2011 by Earthscan.

Supported by The Wellcome Trust.

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Radical DIY: LA's Machine Project

Mark Allen, founding director of Los Angeles' Machine Project, talks about their recent projects, with a focus on the interdisciplinary practice at the core of Machine Project's philosophy.

Vacations for plants, concerts for dentists and car theft workshops for children are a few of the recent performances produced by Machine Project, a non-profit cultural space investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food in an informal storefront in the Echo Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles. Outside of the storefront, Machine operates as a collaborative group of artists producing shows both locally and internationally at museums, beaches, and parking lots. Machine Project's founding director will give an informal presentation of recent projects and programs, with a focus on the interdisciplinary practice at the core of Machine's philosophy.


Mark Allen is an artist, educator and curator based in Los Angeles and the founder and executive director of Machine Project. Under his direction Machine has produced over 1000 events, workshops and installations. Prior to opening Machine, he was involved with several alternative arts groups as a curator, board member and director, including the Los Angeles new media collective c-level. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego, and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Pomona College. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York, and served for three years as a member of the Artist Advisory Board of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Mark received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, following a residency with the Core Fellowship of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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