Workshop + Seminar: Biological Computing, Senones (France)

Biological computing

Georg Trogemann, Lasse Scherffig.

Seminar, workshop and exhibition during the summer term 2008.

The workshop took place from May 19 – 25, 2008 in Senones, France. There we met with the class of Prof. Ursula Damm from the Bauhaus University Weimar.The results of the workshop were shown during the open days of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in July 2008 (see slideshow above).The regular seminar from April to July 2008 served as a basis for the workshop in France and the completion of the works after the return from Senones. Two guest lectures also provided theoretical input: Prof. Dr. Erich Hörl spoke on „The Technological Shift in Meaning“ on June 18. Dr. Klaus Fritze spoke about „Media Plants“, his temporary laboratories and his attempts to categorize artifacts on April 23, 2008.

Announcement text for the seminar
„Nature“ stands until today for ideas of originality, grown, non-manufactured and self-organizing. This is contrasted with the technical, the artificial, the designed and cultivated. Robert Boyle, as early as 1682, lists more than 30 meanings for the word nature and suggests dropping this fuzzy and ambiguous term altogether. As we know, the term has persisted, but is coming under renewed pressure from a variety of technological developments that make strong references to biology. Biological experiments to predict the interaction of protein structures are now computed in silicio. Biocomputers use the hereditary substance DNA as a storage and processing medium. Bionics takes nature as a model for technical developments. Cyborgs are cybernetic hybrid creatures consisting of technical and biological elements. The interdisciplinary field of A-Life focuses on research in which artificial systems mimic the properties of living systems, etc. The workshop approaches the topic with artistic strategies. Relevant technical keywords are: Biochips, Self-Organization, Automata for Modeling Biological Systems, Artificial Neural Networks, Genetic Programming, Bionics, Biocomputers, Parasitic Strategies, Simbionts and their Hosts. After a brief introduction to the theory and available technology, students will develop their own ideas and concepts and test them hands-on.