art & animals


How do artists, designers and activists use robotics, synthetic biology, performance, tissue culture, photography or gaming to probe and communicate techno-scientific developments?

• 31. August - 28. September 2020
• Online!
• Five-weeks, Mondays, 7-9PM CET
• Small class of participants

Pricing (For tickets click here)
Artist / Student (Full Time)*



Generous Supporter Ticket*

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 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.

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.

Time has come to reassess anthropocentrism!

Each week, the class will give a broad overview of the debates, state of knowledge and possible controversies surrounding 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 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. These brief 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

Artists and designers offer platforms to debate about the rights of non-human animals and their position in the hierarchy of life. The works presented in this session investigate issues such as the ethics of de-extinction, cloning, conservation conflicts, the re-wilding of cities and the various strategies adopted to control “invasive” species.

#bestiary #bioacoustics #mammoth #DeExtinction #biodiversity #GenomeEditing #microbiology #ethology #bioart #wildlife #conservationism

Week 3: The invisibilized animals

Artists, designers and activists investigate the quality of life of the animals that we use as food, companions or as spare parts in future organ banks (in the case of xenotransplantation. i.e., cross-species transplantation between pig and humans).

The works analysed raise questions such as “Are there limits to the use of selective breeding and genetics in the design of farm and companion animals?” “Can we achieve a more compassionate meat consumption?” “Is lab-grown-meat the ultimate solution to the ethical and environmental impacts of farming or is it a new form of eco-opportunism?”

#labgrownmeat #tissueculture #guiltfree #factoryfarm #artificialInsemination #cannibalism #cellularagriculture #cleanmeat #xenotransplantation

Week 4: In defence of the “parasites”

This week, we’ll be taking a close look at the small and the invisible life: the insects of course but also the bacteria, viruses, fungi and other tiny organisms that colonise and interact with our houses, ecosystems and even the inside and outside of our bodies.

Artists will be 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.

#entomology #microbiome #exobiology #extraterrestrial #invasive #xenobiology #syntheticbiology #taxonomy #underground #collectiveintelligence #germs #microbialfuelcells

Week 5: “The survival of the fittest” and the holobiont

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. In response to this paradigm, designers and artists create new narratives to not only question traditional Western concepts of nature and “otherness” but also to pay homage to indigenous worldviews.

The second part of the evening will be an invitation to reflect on the technical and ethical implications of working with animals -whether alive or taxidermied- in art and of exhibiting life inside museums, galleries and in other cultural contexts.

#holobiont #massextinction #computationalplanet #Sapmi #LynnMargulis #decolonisingecology #Darwinism #symbiosis #colonialism #taxidermy #VienneseActionism

who is this
class for?

Artists, designers, makers and pretty much anyone interested in non-human life and its future.

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. That said, we kindly ask that you please only purchase a ticket if you plan to attend regularly. 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. We kindly ask that all “pay-what-you-can” students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.

meet the