Transnatural festival 2011

The second Transnatural event presents an exhibition and symposium in which the work of articulate media-artists, speculative designers, avant-garde businesses and bleeding edge researchers working between life and technology will feed and contextualize each other. Together they develop images, experiences and intuitions for the Transnatural culture in the Verdieping of the TrouwAmsterdam building at the Wibautstraat.

A Transnatural technology plays by the dynamic rules of nature without ramshackling the planet. We have become Transnatural when the organic ecology, the media and information networks, and the economy have become one balancing whole, that can grow and develop. But what can we think and how should we act to become Transnatural?

At the symposium speakers will offer a varied introduction to workshops thatexplore the theme in roughly three different area’s: economy, aesthetics and everyday life. With workshop and lectures by:

James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau (UK), Sascha Pohflepp (UK), Arne Hendriks (NL), Cristine Stadlbauer (AT) / Herbologies Foraging Network en TU Delft/ iGEM.

Exhibition 4 March – 1 April

Open: Wed. – Sa. 14.00h – 20.00h, Sun. 13.00h – 17.00h

Symposium 12 March , 09.30h – 18.00h

Location: De Verdieping/ TrouwAmsterdam



Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots / James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau (UK)

The Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots own the esthetics of sophisticated electronics and act like a carnivorous pet. Auger & Loizeau explore alternative design concepts of robots being a part of the domestic environment.



E.chromi / Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & James King (UK)

The E-Chromi is a genetically modified bacterium that can form a colony in the human bowels. In a healthy metabolism, it will give feces a blue color. In reaction to chemical imbalances it can provide a range of other colors that can be chosen by the host.



Policing Genes / Thomas Thwaites (UK)


Policing Genes speculates that amateurs and criminals also can use genetically modified plants. For example innocent looking plants can produce drugs and medicine. In Policing Genes the bees could act in this problem as animal cops.



Latro / Mike Thompson (UK/ NL)


The Latro is based on a recently proven technology where tiny amounts of electricity were tapped from living algae. As a speculative design product the Latro could function as hanging lamp. The Latro is a living product that uses sunlight, CO2 (through breath) and water.



Growth Assembly / Sascha Pohflepp (UK/ GER) & Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

Growth Assembly constructs a future with genetically modified plants in which parts and products can be grown for mass production. Transportation becomes redundant as seeds can be send and grown where they will be sold.



The Incredible Shrinking Man / Arne Hendriks (NL)


The Incredible Shrinking Man explores the possibilities and consequences of human beings shrinking to only 50 cm. The average length of human beings is growing more and more, along comes the increasing use of energy, food and space. What happens when we wouldn’t grow but shrink?



(In)visible membrane / Sonja Bäumel (AUT)


Sonja Baumel transforms invisible bacteria on the surface of the skin into visible and functional fashion. In this mix of fashion and science a new organic skin is created.



Windowfarms (USA)

A windowfarm is a small vertical garden that consists of mostly recycled materials and advanced gardening techniques. This do-it-yourself installation makes it possible to grow vegetables in your own house.



Botanic Code / Jorinde Voigt (GER)


The Botanic Code is a visualization of subjective data. It remediates a classic image of natural beauty. Voigt walked through botanical gardens in various cities over the world. She translated the color, density and pattern of flowers through an algorithm into painted aluminum rods.



Intrastructures / Thomas Lommee (BE)


The OpenStructures project explores the possibilities for a modular construction model where everyone designs for everyone on the basis of one shared geometrical grid. It initiates a kind of collaborative Meccano to which everybody can contribute parts, components and structures.



RepRap / Ultimaker 3D printer, Erik de Bruijn (NL)

The Ultimaker is a 3D printer and a spawn of the RepRap project. This project aims to build a machine that can replicate all its own parts. During TransNatural the Ultimaker is used to print components with biodegradable materials.



Acoutic Botany / David Benqué (UK)

Acoustic Botany is a controlled ecosystem of entertainment, a fantastical acoustical garden that aims to explore our cultural and aesthetic relationship to nature, and to question its future in the age of Synthetic Biology.



quArt.z #1 / Frederik de Wilde (BE)


QuArt.z#1 is an installation about the growth of crystals especially made for TransNatural. Elements from sculpture and painting hereby grow organically into a spatial whole with a special liquid.



Institute for Digital Biology / Walewijn den Boer (NL)


The Institute for Digital Biology researches the next step in the evolution of the internet, when websites and services further develop themselves in the direction of becoming living creatures. Visitors may take care of a colony of microscopically Pop-Up creatures or may save duped Chinese site from a page view shortage.



Andrea / by designer Mathieu Lehanneur (FRA)


The Andrea Air Purifier places the air purification trait of plants in a technological esthetic that changes the perception of a plant into one of a delicate instrumental machine.





The symposium of Becoming TransNatural explores the question how to become TransNatural together with leading artists, designers, and scientists.
The morning is reserved for lectures and presentations of participants to the exhibition next to other scientists and designers. In the afternoon the audience can join workshops and masterclasses, led by the speakers, in which  transnatural scenario’s are developed in different spheres.

Themes are: alternative household robots; DIY design of bacteria; design for urban bee people; design for shrunken humans; and staying human with the aid of disruptive technology.



James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau (UK)

Lecture / Workshop



James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau are artists and critical designers that develop objects and processes by which they question current and upcoming relations between society and technology. Their Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots putexisting notions on the role of robots and their relations with living creatures in a radically different context. ~ In their workshop participants work towards design proposals for alternative ways in which robots may enter the household.



Sascha Pohflepp (DE / UK)

Lecture / Workshop



Sascha is an artist and designer who is interested in past and future technologies, notions of art, business and idealism, and how they inform which worlds come true and which worlds are discarded. He participates in the Synthetic Aesthetics project that brings together synthetic biologists, designers, artists and social scientists to explore collaborations between synthetic biology, art and design. ~ In his workshop participants will do long-term narrative exploration on how the human future continues the past through new technologies.



Sheref Mansy (USA/ skype session)

is leading a laboratory for synthetic and biology at the University of Trento. He researches the making, growth and multiplication of protocells: life-like systems without DNA that may emerge spontaneously under the right chemical circumstances. He works with Sascha Pohflepp in the Synthetic Aesthetics project.



Arne Hendriks (NL)

Lecture / Workshop



The Incredible Shrinking Man project suggests to downsize the human species to better fit the earth. It brings together evolutionary insights, Space colonisation research, fossil findings, speculative design, literature and film. Hendriks presents his research and its bio-historical, scientific and conceptual components. ~ In his hands-on workshop participants map out the spatial and cultural effects of shrinking by redesigning space, food, and objects.



Christina Stadlbauer (AT) / The Human and Apian Foraging Network

Lecture / Workshop



Stadlbauer is a scientist, artist and urban bee keeper, developing new mutually beneficial combinations of culture, technology and nature. She is part of the Herbologies / Foraging Network that combines the cultural traditions and knowledge around edible and medicinal plants with the possibilities of online networks and open-source methods. Her talk is an exploration on behaviour and strategies of bees and men driven by the quest for urban edibles. ~ In the workshop Bee-o-Logical Housing participants investigate hands-on *out of the box* bee-hive-design.



Nadine Bongaerts en Eva Brinkman, TU Delft iGEM Team (NL)

Lecture / Workshop



iGEM is a yearly competition run by the  MIT, for synthetic biology using BioBricks: standardized DNA components that can give living cells new behaviors. The TU-Delft team won the iGEM competition in2010. They present their work with iGEM and BioBricks. ~ In their workshop participants get to learn the basics of working with BioBricks by designing a bacteria that produces keratin – aversatile organic substance that is fully biodegradable and that can replace plastics in a lot of applications.