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Symposium: Co-creation with plants. Making new kinships from art and science

Plants make up 80 percent of the earth’s biomass: there are about 320,000 plant species on our planet and each is essential for our survival, as their vital photosynthetic processes prevent the collapse of entire ecosystems. However, our understanding of the world as we now know has been built on a human-driven model of predatory consumption, neglecting the fact that our home is a place shared by many, though we are neither the only inhabitants nor the most important.

To deeply understand nonhuman concerns, it has become necessary to think about alternative relations with what we classify as nature and technology.

“Co-creation with plants. Making new kinships from art and science” is a transdiciplinary symposium that will  gather visual artists, philosophers, historians, musicians and scientists  researching  narratives of cooperative coexistence between plants and humans.

The symposium is organized by postdoc and artist Maria Castellanos on behalf of FeLT- Futures of Living Technologies, an artistic research project led by Kristin Bergaust, professor at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design at Oslo Metropolitan University.

From a perspective of ecological crisis, FeLT, engages in the relations and intersections that occur between human beings, living environments and machines, relations on the edge of how we experience aliveness today.

March 14th 2023
09:00 – 17:30

Oslo Metropolitan University
Pilestredet 35
0130 Oslo

Ellen Gleditschs hus, Room PI546

Free admission, prior registration.
Simple lunch included.

Sign up here.



Kristin Bergaust
Title of talk: Introduction to FeLT- Futures of Living Technologies
Kristin Bergaust is educated at the University of Oslo and at National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. She works as an artist, researcher and educator. She is a professor at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design in OsloMet, Oslo since 2008. She was formerly professor and head of Intermedia at Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts, NTNU (2001-2008) and artistic director of Atelier Nord media lab for artists (1997 to 2001). Kristin is one of the pioneers of the self-organized early media art scene in Norway from the early 1990-ies. Her feminist, trans-cultural and relational perspectives on contemporary conditions are investigated through performative and technological strategies, sometimes also fed by cultural history or other narratives.  Experiments with the communicative and the sensory are inherent both in research and art.
Kristin is a FeLT member.
María Castellanos
Title of talk: Plants, data and algorithms. Trying to figure out plants’ language through artistic practice.
María Castellanos is an artist and researcher working at the intersection of art, science, technology and society. She is currently  working as a postdoc researcher at Oslo Metropolitan University, in the framework of FeLT Project –Futures of Living Technologies–
About the talk:
During the last year my work have been focus on the creation of complex systems that promote the communication and the understanding between humans and non human beings like plants. I will focus my presentation on the two main projects that I am developing here at OsloMet during my postdoc: “Other Intelligences” and “Unexpected Ecosystems”.
María is a FeLT member.
Zane Cerpina
Title of talk: The Desire to Collaborate with Plants: Ecoporn or Mutually Beneficial?
This presentation focuses on Cerpina’s curatorial interest in how artists are seeking a deeper understanding and connection with nature. Using her recent research on ecopornography in contemporary culture as an optics, she will explore, comment and dissect artistic desires to collaborate with plants. The accelerating hyperaesthetization of nature impacts how we deal with it. Artworks addressing natural processes in nature contribute to this trend. Can artistic work with plants truly deepen the audience’s connection with and understanding of nature or does it simply satisfy the artist’s personal need to be aroused by nature?
Zane Cerpina is a curator and writer working within experimental and digital arts. Her extensive body of work includes curating and producing events that call for critical reflection on the current age of the catastrophes such as The Dangerous Futures Festival, Digital Wild Conference, and Ecophilia Conference (Meta.Morf). Her most recent large-scale research project maps the most innovative and creative takes on future food crises from technological, social, and cultural perspectives. The project has resulted in a publication The Anthropocene Cookbook: Recipes and Opportunities for Future Catastrophes, co-written with Stahl Stenslie (MIT Press, 2022).

Boel Christensen-Scheel

Title of talk: ECO-Art and Awareness: Sustainability Through Artistic Research

Boel Christensen-Scheel (1978) is professor in aesthetics and art theory and is now dean at the Art and Craft Department at The Oslo Academy of the Arts. She holds a PhD in contemporary art and performance theory, and her main field of research concerns art’s relational and communicational capacities in an experiential and educational context. She developed the MA study specialization Art in Society at OsloMet, lead the research group Art in Society Research and has worked as an educational advisor for The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo from 2016-2018. She has translated Nicolas Bourriaud’s “Relational Aesthetics” to Norwegian (Pax Forlag, Artes, 2007), edited several books and worked as an art critic – in 2021 she co-edits a book on New educational practices in Nordic Art Museums.

Boel is FeLT member.

Title of talk and performance: Electronic Flora
Lerin/Hystad will present their ongoing project Electronic Flora where they are using sensors to record bio-electrical signals from plants. Their work is presented though audio-visual installations where the electric currents of the plants control notes, melodies and rhythms in their music. Bettina Hystad also studies each plant through detailed pencil drawings.
Lerin/Hystad will also perform a short concert using plants, sensors and modular synthesizers.
Lerin/Hystad is a Swedish/Norwegian art and music duo formed in 2010. They both studied at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design and Bergen Academy of Art and Design. They have participated in several solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. They are also active musicians and have performed concerts in Europe, China and Japan.
Eva-Maria Lopez
Title of talk: nature and culture – discourse between admiration and control
The relationship between humans and plants in the 18th century and the anthropocene is examined. The history of plants is marked by colonialism, garden designs up to industrial agriculture. I’m investigating these questions by artistic research projects and how the plants are able to develop forms of resistance due to their natural intelligence.
Eva-Maria Lopez is a multidisciplinary artist living in Karlsruhe and Paris; her work spans the relationships between nature and society in the Anthropocene and in history.
Michael Marder
Title of talk: Plants, Creations, Beginnings
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and monographs, including Plant-Thinking (2013); Phenomena—Critique—Logos (2014); The Philosopher’s Plant (2014); Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger (2018), Political Categories (2019), Pyropolitics (2015, 2020); Dump Philosophy (2020); Hegel’s Energy (2021); Green Mass (2021), Philosophy for Passengers (2022), and The Phoenix Complex (2023), among others.

Špela Petric

Title of the talk: From the Vegetariat to Agropleasure

Špela Petrič is a new media artist with a background in the natural sciences. Her artistic practice combines biomedia practices and performativity to enact strange relations between bodies that reveal the underpinnings of our (bio)technological societies and propose alternatives.