art & animals


How do artists, designers and activists use artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, synthetic biology, the blockchain or gaming to probe and communicate techno-scientific developments?

• 6. April - 4. May 2020
• Online!
• Five-weeks, Mondays, 7-9PM CET
• Small class of participants

Pricing (For tickets see below)
Artist / Student (Full Time)*



Solidarity ticket*
Donation (Limited)


To investigate the shifting paradigms of the living, thinking world? To make us accept that time has come to co-evolve in a more sympathetic and mutually beneficial way with other living entities, whether “natural”, lab-grown or hybrid?

Every month, a new scientific paper reveals that animals -the non-human small and big creatures that share the planet with us- display more intelligence, more sentience, more emotions, feelings and wisdom that we give them credit for. Increasingly, even plants are celebrated for their intelligence and some even talk about their consciousness.

As for humans themselves, they turn out to be less human than they had assumed. Over half of what constitutes the human body is made of bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea and other microscopic organisms that colonise both the inside and outside of our bodies.

Long before 21st century ethologists and neurobiologists, indigenous population have been calling for a greater appreciation of a more-than-human world. In short, it seems that everywhere we turn, our anthropocentrism is mocked and pilloried.

Each week, is broken down into two parts. Part 1 will give a broad overview of the state of the knowledge and possible controversies around a specific theme. Part 2 will be dedicated to works of art and design that illustrate, contest or investigate that same topic.

There will be space for questions, debates and conversations.

course outline

Week 1: A moment to get to know each other.

There will be introductions of who we all are but also discussions regarding expectations and what you hope to gain from the class. The topic of art and animals is VAST and any suggestions as to what interests you the most are welcome! Most importantly, these exchanges will help make the online classroom experience a bit more convivial and a bit less virtual. In these Coronavirus times, physical distancing is recommended but intellectual distancing is not!

#petswelcome #humanconnectedness

Week 2: Humans and other animals

Part 1 The debates around the rights of non-human animals and their position in the hierarchy of life.

Part 2 Artists and designers exploring the ethics of de-extinction, cloning, the re-wilding of cities, invasive species and doing art with or for animals.

#taxidermy #bestiary #bioacoustics #mammoth #deextinction #biodiversity #microbiology #animalsensing #behaviouralmodernity #ethology #speciesism

Week 3: Caring for the “parasites”

Part 1: The small and the invisible life of bacteria, insects, viruses, fungi and other tiny organisms that colonise and interact with our houses, ecosystems and even the inside and outside of our bodies.

Part 2: Artists staging ant ballets, doing photography with bacteria, preparing extremophiles (and potentially human too) for survival in outer space, exploring the microbiome and its effects on our mental health, etc.

#bioart #entomology #microbiome #soil #exobiology #extraterrestrial #invasive #xenobiology #syntheticbiology #taxonomy #underground #collectiveintelligence

Week 4: What about the plants?

Part 1: Peter Wohlleben wrote about trees that “feel”. Stefano Mancuso about the intelligence of plants. Should we still make a sharp distinction between the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom?

Part 2: Creative minds exploring the dilemmas posed by the so-called plant emotions and intelligence, the immaterial labour that plants perform for us, the trends of planting urban forests, the need for trees to “walk away” from the changed climate, etc.

#palmoil #forestry #phytoremediation #pollution #kinship #underground #biohacking #biopiracy #colonisation #rootnetwork

Week 5: A debate between “the survival of the fittest” and the holobiont

Part 1: By stressing the importance of symbiotic and cooperative relationships between species, contemporary scientists challenge the competition-oriented views of evolution and the way they contribute to damaging the planet

Part 2: Designers and artists creating new narratives to not only question traditional concepts of nature but also pay homage to indigenous worldviews.

#holobiont #massextinction #computationalplanet #Sapmi #decolonisingecology #Darwinism #DavidRusselWallace

who is this
class for?

Politically-minded artists, designers and makers who believe that their ideas, concerns and beliefs should be heard outside of the usual white walls of cultural institutions. Activists looking for inventive strategies to get their message across. And pretty much anyone worried about the state of the world.

about live classes

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

about fees

We realise we're living in uncertain times. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. Preference is given to women, POC, LGBTQ+ and persons from underrepresented communities in tech who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are greatly appreciative of your understanding and support.

about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options.

waiting list

This class is full. If you’re interested in being put on a waiting list to be notified in the event we run the class again, please send us an email.

meet the