Artist Talk: Georg Tremmel (Tokyo)

On December 19, 2017, the Tokyo-based Austrian artist Georg Tremmel (BCL; Laboratory of DNA Information Analysis, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo; metaPhorest biological/biomedia art platform, Waseda University) will give a talk on Common Flowers, Delta Gardens, and Black List Printers and give insights in detail about his Common Flowers Trilogy — Common Flowers/Flower Commons, Common Flowers/WhiteOut, and Common Flowers Bastard.

The focus of this work is the blue “Moondust” carnation, the first commercially available genetically modified organism (GMO) that is not used as human food or animal feed, but was created purely for aesthetic purposes. Common Flower/Flower Commons questions the copyright and ownership of the plant by deliberately releasing the GMO into the environment. WhiteOut removes the previously introduced gene and the flower reverts to its natural, white colour. Bastard established a plant breeding programme between GMO and non-GMO plants.

Refuse/Resist is a reverse re-enactment of certain aspects of the Japanese biological warfare programme during WWII, in which artisan-made ceramic bombs were used as vectors of for diseases. Refuse/Resist attempts to reconstruct these ceramic bombs, reassembles them using the Kintsugi method, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, and grows antibiotics in the pots.

The upcoming Black List Printer is both a biohacking prototype and a critical commentary on synthetic biology. The Black List Printer is a custom-made DNA synthesiser that only prints black-listed, “forbidden”, DNA sequences; –however, because it’s an early custom-made prototype it suffers from a high error rate and is thus unable to synthesise the forbidden sequences properly.
Georg Tremmel started collaborating with the Japanese artist Shiho Fukuhara in 2001. In 2005 they founded BCL as an artistic research framework to explore the relations, congruences, and différances of biological and cultural codecs through artistic interventions and social research. The projects of BCL oscillate between proto-speculative design and conceptual BioArt; the artistic themes range from the mixed metaphors of biological and computer codes to the legal and ethical frameworks governing life, the uneasy relationship of biohacking/biodesign/biowarfare, and the connections between radiation, mutation, and genomics.

Georg Tremmel studied informatics, biology, and visual media design under Peter Weibel and Karel Dudesek at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and holds an MA from the Royal College of Art in London. He is currently a project researcher at the Laboratory of DNA Information Analysis at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, focusing on the information visualisation of cancer genomic data. He is also a visiting researcher at Hideo Iwasaki’s metaPhorest biological/biomedia art platform at Waseda University. Georg Tremmel is the founder of BioClub, a community bio space in Shibuya, Tokyo, and the programme director of the forthcoming (February 2018) MeCa (Media Culture in Asia) BioCamp workshop.

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s BioArt: Kunst für das 21. Jahrhundert course focuses on the rise of biomedia’s impact on and transformation of media theory. It is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from distinguished artists about what’s going on in the emerging fields of bioart and DIY bio and helps our students to build their network of contacts. Our guest lectures are open to all.

Please check the website medientheorie.ac.at
regularly for further lecture announcements and updates

Date and time: Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 1:45–3:15 pm.
Venue: University of Applied Arts Vienna, Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2, 1010
Vienna, Lecture Hall 1 (ground floor).