The HYBRID MATTERs Symposium (24-25 November in Helsinki) will address core ideas and findings of the HYBRID MATTERs programme.


Hosts: Bioartsociety & Theatre Academy

Participants: Jussi Parikka, Jennifer Gabrys, Steen Rasmussen, Cecilia Åsberg, Kristina Lindström, Åsa Ståhl, Thora Petursdottir, Björn Wallsten, Kira O'Reilly, Tuija Kokkonen, Laura Beloff, Jens Hauser, Monika Bakke, Jonas Jørgensen, Paavo Järvensivu, Maarja Kruusmaa, Erich Berger, Merja Penttilä, Oron Catts


Monika Bakke

Monika Bakke (PL) is associate professor of philosophy at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. She writes on contemporary art and aesthetics, with a particular focus on posthumanist, gender and cross-cultural perspectives. The author of two books: Bio-transfigurations: Art and Aesthetics of Posthumanism (2010, in Polish) and Open Body (2000, in Polish), co-author of Pleroma: Art in Search of Fullness (1998), and editor of Australian Aboriginal Aesthetics (2004, in Polish), Going Aerial: Air, Art, Architecture (2006) and The Life od Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating (2011). Since 2001 she has been an editor of the Polish cultural journal Czas Kultury (Time of Culture).

Laura Beloff

Laura Beloff (Finland / DK) is an internationally acclaimed artist and researcher who functions in-between academic leadership & research with a core in the arts and in artistic methods. She has been actively producing art works and exhibiting worldwide in museums, galleries and art events since the 1990’s. The exhibitions in the recent years include Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Russia, Italy… Her research interests, which are located in the cross section of art – technology – science, include practice-based investigations into a combination of technology, biology, IT, biotechnology, and philosophical questions concerning technological manipulation of living matter. The research engages with the fields of: art & science, biotechnologies, biosemiotics, and information technology in connection to art, humans, non-humans, and society. 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 and networked wearable objects. The research typically involves collaboration with various experts in their specific fields, institutions, artists and universities. She has been a recipient of various grants, art residencies and awards throughout the years. Since 2012 she is Associate Professor and Head of Section at IT University of Copenhagen -where she is part of the REAL-research group.

Erich Berger

Erich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki where he directs the Bioartsociety. His interests lie in information processes and feedback structures, which he investigates through installations, situations, performances and interfaces. Throughout his artistic practice he has explored the materiality of information and information and technology as artistic material. His current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. In Berger's work with the Bioartsociety he develops opportunities for interdisciplinary encounters and work situations between professionals from art, natural science, technology and the humanities, recognizing science and technology as fundamental transformative powers of our life world. As an artist, Berger has exhibited widely in various museums, galleries and major media-art events in Europe and worldwide, like Ars Electronica Linz (AT), File Festival Sao Paulo (BR), Sonar Barcelona (ES), or the Venice Biennial (IT). His works received several awards and prices from Prix Ars Electronica (AT), the Bawarian Broadcasting Station and ZKM (DE), Vida Telefonica (ES), LABoral (ES), Files Prix (BR).

Oron Catts

Oron Catts is the Director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia. He is a Professor of Contestable Design at The Royal College of Arts, London, and a Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki. He is an artist, researcher and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 is considered a leading biological art project. In 2000 he co-founded SymbioticA. Under his leadership SymbioticA has gone on to win the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art and the WA Premier Science Award and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008.
In 2009 Catts was recognised by Thames & Hudson’s “60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future” book in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work”.
Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University. Catts’ ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; his work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food.

Jennifer Gabrys

Jennifer Gabrys is currently Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also Principal Investigator on the European Research Council (ERC) project, “Citizen Sense,” which investigates the use of environmental sensors for new modes of citizen involvement in environmental issues.

Prior to joining the Department of Sociology, Jennifer Gabrys was Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the MA in Design and Environment in the Department of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. She completed a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University in Montreal, during which time she was engaged as a research fellow on the Culture of Cities and Digital Cities / Mobile Digital Commons projects. This work drew on her interest in the intersections of environments and communication technologies, which she had developed through working in the field of landscape architecture and urban design (the area of her Masters training) in Minneapolis (at Coen + Partners) and Los Angeles (at Rios Clementi Hale Studios).

The research of Jennifer Gabrys investigates environments, material processes and communication technologies through theoretical and practice-based work. Projects within this area include a recently published study on citizen sensing and environmental practice, Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2016); and Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011), which examines the materialities of electronic waste.

Jens Hauser

Jens Hauser is a Paris and Copenhagen based art curator and media studies scholar focusing on the interactions between art and technology. He is holding a double research position at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies and at the Medical Museion/Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, and is a distinguished affiliated faculty member of the Department of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University. He has curated exhibitions such as L’Art Biotech (Nantes, 2003), Still, Living (Perth, 2007), sk-interfaces (Liverpool, 2008/Luxembourg, 2009), the Article Biennale (Stavanger, 2008), Transbiotics (Riga 2010), Fingerprints... (Berlin, 2011/Munich/2012) and Synth-ethic (Vienna, 2011).

Paavo Järvensivu

Paavo Järvensivu is an independent researcher of economic culture, based in Helsinki, Finland, and working at Mustarinda and BIOS Research Unit. Since finishing his PhD on organizational cultures at the Aalto University School of Economics in 2010, he has engaged in transdisciplinary projects with artists, philosophers and natural and social scientists in order to construct cultural, economic and political solutions to the ever-deepening global environmental crisis.

One of the driving questions for him has been: how is it that the material world, with all its diverse beings and relations, seems so disconnected from our everyday lives, even though our culture is said to be "materialistic"? This disconnection is most obvious in the political and economic spheres, which are driven almost solely by economic abstractions.
Järvensivu is the editor-in-chief of the Mustarinda magazine and has co-curated exhibitions, planned and taught university courses and organized various events and workshops. His book ‘Abundant Money in a World of Scarce Resources’ will be published (in Finnish) in early 2016.

Mustarinda is an artist/researcher collective that organizes exhibitions and workshops, publishes an annual magazine and hosts an artist/researcher residency in the midst of an old-growth forest in mid-Finland. BIOS is a new research unit that investigates global socio-material flows and dependencies in the Finnish context and develops effective means to engage the public audience in collaboration with the national broadcasting company Yle.

Jonas Jørgensen

Jonas Jørgensen is a PhD fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen. He is trained as a physicist (BSc) and an art historian (BA, MA). His current research focuses on the intersection of robotic technology with art and aesthetics. Jonas is part of the REAL (Robotics Evolution and Art Lab) research group at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Tuija Kokkonen
tuija kokkonen

is a director, writer and artistic researcher based in Helsinki. Since 1996 she has worked on a series of site-specific memo performances, as the director and the artistic director of Maus&Orlovski, an ever-changing performance collective of artists from various fields. The memos are explorations on relationships between performance, “nature”, non-human and time, and on the role of art in the age of ecological crises. They chart terrains between genres of art, between species; terrains where aesthetics, ethics and politics are inseparable. Since 1999 the memos have been performed mainly in the program of Kiasma Theatre/ Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, and internationally.

Her current (since 2006) artistic research project at the Theatre Academy Helsinki is titled "The Potential Nature of Performance. The Relationship to the Non-Human in the Performance Event from the Perspective of Duration and Potentiality”. The work incorporates a series of interspecies performances called Memos of Timeperformances with and for non-humans.

Maarja Kruusmaa

Maarja Kruusmaa received her Dipl Eng. degree in Computer Engineering from Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinn, Estonia) and PhD degree in 2002 in Computer Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology (Gotenburgh, Sweden)and Halmstad University (Sweden). Her PhD thesis focused on robot learning and mobile robot path planning and navigation.In 2002 she co-founded an Intelligent Materials and Systems Laboratory in Tartu University Institute of Technology (Estonia), a research group that focused on developing and using smart materials for applications, including robotics. In 2008 she was invited to establish Centre for Biorobotics in Tallinn University of Technology. The research centre currently focuses on bio-inspired robotics, soft robotics, underwater robotics, experimental fluid dynamics and flow sensing. She is involved in several international collaborative projects for using soft materials in robotic surgery and developing and using bioinspired underwater robots. She was a coordinator of European Union 7th Framework project FILOSE (FIsh Locomotion and SEnsing) that developed the first flow sensing underwater robot capable of controlling itself with respect to flow signals and coordinates H2020 project LAkHsMI (sensors for Large Scale Hydrodynamic Imaging) and BONUS FISHVIEW (Assessing fish possibility using a robotic fish sensor and hydrodynamic imaging). She is an author of over 60 research publications and has supervised 9 Ph.D thesis and 4 postdoc researchers. Prof. Kruusmaa is a co-founder of a start-up company, offering virtual fitting rooms for online retailers with the help of robotics technology.

Kristina Lindström

Kristina Lindström is an artist and researcher. In 2014 she gained a joint doctorate together with Åsa Ståhl in interactive design and public engagement in processes within the areas of Interaction Design and Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University. She is now affiliated to Malmö University and Umeå University. Kristina Lindström and Åsa Ståhl have exhibited and held workshops in Europe, Asia and in North and South America.

Kristina Lindström and Åsa Ståhl have been working together since 2003. Their collaboration began with the art and research project [visklek] at the Interactive Institute in Växjö and at Växjö Konsthall in 2004. Since then they have continued to collaborate on the technologies of everyday life, on how we live alongside with and together with these technologies, and – through them – with each other. Their projects often take the form of workshops, where the public play an active part in designing as well as participating in the process.


Kira O'Reilly

Kira O’Reilly is a based in Helsinki where she leads the new pilot MA Ecology and Contemporary Performance (MEACP) at Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki. Her practice, both wilfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined, stems from a visual art background; it employs performance, biotechnical practices and writing with which to consider speculative reconfigurations around The Body. But she is no longer sure if she even does that anymore.

Most recent new works have seen her practice develop across several contexts from art, science and technology to performance, live art and movement work.

She has made movement works that she doesn’t like to call dances and has been increasingly informed by combat sports and martial arts as mode of investigating movement and embodied thinking, leading to running workshops that use grappling practices along side writing.

She writes, teaches, mentors and collaborates with humans of various types and technologies and non-humans of numerous divergences including mosses, spiders, the sun, pigs, cell cultures, horses, micro-organisms, bicycles, rivers, landscapes, tundras, rocks, trees, shoes, food, books, air, moon and ravens

Jussi Parikka

Jussi Parikka is a media theorist, writer and Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton). Parikka has a PhD in Cultural History from the University of Turku, Finland and in addition, he is Docent of Digital Culture Theory at the University of Turku, Finland.

Parikka has published widely on digital culture, media theory and visual culture. His work on media archaeology has gathered a lot of positive international attention and awards. Parikka’s books include (Koneoppi, in Finnish, on “cultural theory in the age of digital machines”) and his Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses was published by Peter Lang (2007, 2nd. edition forthcoming 2016). Parikka’s Insect Media (2010) won the 2012 Anne Friedberg award for Innovative Scholarship (Society for Cinema and Media Studies). The third part of the media ecology trilogy, A Geology of Media, came out in 2015 with University of Minnesota Press as well.

The co-edited collection The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn, and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture was published by Hampton Press (2009), and Media Archaeology came out with University of California Press ( 2011). The work on media archaeology was continued in Parikka’s 2012 monograph What is Media Archaeology? In 2013 he a edited collection of Wolfgang Ernst-writings, Digital Memory and the Archive.

Recently Parikka also wrote the short booklet, The Anthrobscene (2014).

Merja Penttilä

Merja Penttilä graduated 1981 from the University of Helsinki, Department of Genetics, and obtained a doctoral degree 1987. She has worked at the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT from 1981 onwards, first as a Neste Foundation grant holder, and thereafter as a research-scientist (1985-1989), senior research scientist (1989-1995) and chief scientist (1996-1999), with different group leader positions. She was nominated as a research-professor in biotechnology at VTT in 1999. She is an adjunct professor (docent) in molecular genetics at the University of Helsinki (1988->). She is currently also the director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in White Biotechnology – Green Chemistry (2008-2013). Her research has over the years concentrated on issues relevant for industrial biotechnology and utilisation of renewable resources. The main focus has been on eukaryotic microbes, and understanding the cellular molecular functions that affect production of proteins and metabolites in these organisms. Main organisms of interest have been the filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei and its development to an important industrial protein production host used world-wide, and metabolic engineering of yeasts for the production of e.g. bioethanol and the bioplastics precursor lactic acid. Contributions to fundamental aspects of science include gene regulation, secretion mechanisms and unfolded protein response in filamentous fungi, and engineering of redox balancing mechanisms and characterisation of pathways for pentose sugar conversion in yeasts and other fungi. In recent years the work has expanded into microbial production of also other biofuels and new chemicals that could be used as precursors for novel bioplastics.

Thora Petursdottir

Þóra Pétursdóttir is an archaeologist and currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Archaeology and Social Anthropology at The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø. She is part of the research group After Discourse, hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study ( at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo for the Academic year 2016-17. Þóra's research interests lie within archaeology of the contemporary past, critical heritage studies and archaeological theory, and she is the author of articles and book chapters on these issues. Together with Bjørnar Olsen, she is the editor of the book Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past (2014). Her current research is focused on marine debris, wrack zones and drift beaches in the North Atlantic and Arctic, in contemporary and historical contexts, and on the potentials and obstacles of an archaeology in/of the Anthropocene.

Steen Rasmussen

Since Dr. Steen Rasmussen's Ph.D at the Technical University of Denmark (1985) his scientific activities have mostly focused on pioneering and implementing new approaches, methods, and applications for self-organizing processes in natural and human made systems. These include: Abstract self-programmable matter, which allows computer assembly code environments to program themselves and generate self-replicators from noise. Molecular dynamics (MD) lattice gases, mesoscale simulation tools developed for addressing molecular self-assembly questions. Rational and evolutionary protocell designs to identify minimal physicochemical implementation routes for self-replicating nanomachines. Web-based disaster mitigation and decision support systems that harness the collective intelligence of large stakeholder groups, in particular to address problem complexes with inherent conflicts of interest. Novel simulations developed to address key question about large-scale socio-technical systems, including instabilities in the economy, urban transportation systems, urban growth, and infrastructure vulnerabilities in particular for the agricultural sector.

Professor Rasmussen is currently the Head of the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT), a Research Director at the Department for Physics and Chemistry at University of Southern Denmark, External Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, USA, as well as Principle Investigator for the upstart of the Initiative for Society, and Policy (ISSP) in Denmark. Dr. Rasmussen was previously the Team Leader for the Self-Organizing Systems team at Los Alamos and a Guest Professor at University of Copenhagen (2004-5). He was heading the Los Alamos Protocell Assembly (LDRD-DR) project and the Astrobiology program (origins of life) at Los Alamos developing experimental and computational protocells and Cell-Like Entities, with USAF as a co-sponsor. Further, he is the co-director on the European Union sponsored Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution (PACE) project, and he was one of the founders of the Artificial Life movement in the late 1980s. He was the Chair of the Science and Engineering Leadership Team (SELT) for 2001-2002 in the Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Division at LANL and is currently on the Science Board for the European Center for Living Technology in Venice, Italy, which he is a co-founder of in 2004. He co-developed the Transportation Simulation System (TRANSIMS), which is now implemented by the USA Department of Transportation. He co-directed the Urban Security Initiative at LANL, developing an integrated simulation framework for urban systems as well as web-based disaster mitigation tools, which were implemented in the May 2000 Cerro Grande Wildfire where 20.000 people were evacuated. He was also part of the original Los Alamos team on Critical Infrastructure Protection, to be implemented by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Åsa Ståhl

Åsa Ståhl is an artist and researcher. In 2014 she gained a joint doctorate together with Kristina Lindström in interactive design and public engagement in processes within the areas of Interaction Design and Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University. She is now affiliated to Linnaeus University and Umeå University. Åsa Ståhl and Kristina Lindström have exhibited and held workshops in Europe, Asia and in North and South America.

Åsa Ståhl and Kristina Lindström have been working together since 2003. Their collaboration began with the art and research project [visklek] at the Interactive Institute in Växjö and at Växjö Konsthall in 2004. Since then they have continued to collaborate on the technologies of everyday life, on how we live alongside with and together with these technologies, and – through them – with each other. Their projects often take the form of workshops, where the public play an active part in designing as well as participating in the process.


Björn Wallsten

Björn Wallsten is a Postdoc Researcher at the Unit of Technology and Social Change at Linköping University, Sweden. He has a M.Sc. in Sociotechnical Systems Engineering and a B.A. in History from Uppsala University.Björn is concerned with questions regarding how natural resources become and are transformed in social processes. Primarily, he has scrutinized minerals and metals, their political framing and how they flow and/or become stocks in the built environment.

Björn is an appointed member of The Swedish National Committee for History of Technology and Science and is involved in SweMineTechNet, a national network of researchers who are interested in Swedish natural resource issues. Björn’s research has been recognized in several international fora such as the British Popular Science magazine “New Scientist” and French television channel “France24”.

Cecilia Åsberg

Presently, Cecilia works as professor, PhD supervisor, teacher and research leader at Gender Studies, Linköping University. Program Director and Pi for the Seed Box: A Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, the national environmental humanities initiative in Sweden with an international consortium of 13 universities. Founding Director of The Posthumanities Hub (2008-), and founding Co-Director of the three-university centre for gender excellence, GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies.

The Posthumanities Hub functions since 2008 as a post-conventional platform for research and doctoral projects, inventive collaborations between art and science, the humanities and society, and a host for visiting scholars invested in feminist theorizing, post-colonial science studies, media and cultural studies, human animal studies, medical-, digital and environmental humanities as these expand the scope and relevance of the (more-than-human) humanities. The Hub was the launching pad, together with the seminar series Green Critical Forum and the GEXcel research strand Feminist Environmental Humanities Across the Arts and Sciences (Feminist Posthumanities), for the Seed Box: An Environmental Humanities Collaboratory jointly funded by Mistra and Formas.

NOV 2016
The HYBRID MATTERs Symposium (24-25 November in Helsinki) will address core ideas and findings of the HYBRID MATTERs programme.