Tune in to the Non-Human

Biotalk 20 - with Patrizia Ruthensteiner, Dewi de Vree, Paul Seidler, Cateringa & Kompanen

16 Jun 2016

How can we interact with the Non-Human?
Humans depend on their senses to perceive their environment. But what happens if an additional factor is added to our perception? Tonight we will explore the different ways in which we can connect to our natural surroundings by using our breath, touch and antenna.

Tickets / Facebook
Special culture combi: 4 Course Menu + Ticket for €34,50 (instead of €44,-) **


Magnetoceptia - Magnetocaptia in Estonia, October 2015

Paul Seidler

How does the involvement of an additional organism change our way of communication and interaction? Paul Seidler studies visual communication at the University of Arts in Berlin. From the start of his study in 2013 he worked at a range of research facilities including the Design Research Lab and the Hybrid Plattform. His work reflects interest in posthuman philosophy and non-human agency. Together, we will explore the interaction between a human and a micro-organism in a unique way: With his project Organum Vivum, that was created in cooperation with Aliisa Talja, the artists created an interspecies interface in which bacterial cellulose items, working as sensors, are translating our direct interaction with them into a soundscape controllable with touch and breath. In order to communicate on a human level through the instrument, we’ll have to be aware of the behaviour of a natural material and its - sometimes unpredictable - responses to our actions.


Algas Bar - Algas Bar - Project by Cateringa & Kompanen


Organum Vivum is an interspecies interface advantaging the characteristics of organic material as well as exploring the possibilities of combining natural and build organisms in sound synthesis. Bacterial cellulose items, working as sensors, are translating our direct interaction with them into a soundscape controllable with touch and breath. In order to communicate in human level through the instrument we’ll have to be aware of the behaviour of a natural material and it’s, sometimes unpredictable, responses to our actions. The result is a sonification of direct interspecies interaction between a human and a micro-organism.

Presented at:
01.02.2015 / Final Presetation of the CTM HACKLAB resaults together with Aliisa Talja @Hau1
11.02.2015 / Organum Vivum / 3DMin @ Leap Berlin
11-14.06.2015 / Presentation of experimental bio-interface as generative instrument Organum Vivum / DesignTransfer @ DMY

For detailed documentation see :

Technical Details:

We started by prototyping a small circuit to measure the resistance of four pieces of bacterial cellulose. The circuit has 5.1 k resistors as reference resistance and the analog input pins of the arduino as the input device. The values of the resistors were determined by purely experimenting, while having the openFrameworks application, PulsumOSC by Leslie Garcia, running. This way we were able to get some permanent values.
The design of the circuit also made it necessary to implement four diodes. Software wise, the final setup consists of an arduino script, that is reading constant values from the analog input pins and then sending them via serial to the openFrameworks application which finally transforms the values in OSC messages and sends them to supercollider. The Supercollider patch consists of three Influx’s which control three Ndef’s and some OSCresponderNodes. The first version of the hardware thus consisted of an arduino, a soldered circuit on a prototyping board and crocodile clamps for embedding the organic material.
For the final prototype we replaced the crocodile clamps with glueing the wires onto the bacterial cellulose with pieces of the material itself. This way we were able to attain both a better usability and the simple aesthetics we wanted. The form of the user interface was to large extent dictated by the functionality of the pieces and easily formable rapid prototyping materials available. In the end we created three different pieces; a mask made out of EVA foam, a touch pad with a base made out of acrylic glass and a foldable piece with poly- propylene holder.

Dewi de Vree & Patrizia Ruthensteiner

Magnetoceptia is a collaborative project by the artists Dewi de Vree and Patrizia Ruthensteiner. The project constitutes an attempt to build a connection to space in a unique way: Self constructed antenna-based costumes pick up electromagnetic fields and make them audible through electronic sound. The antennas consist of a wide range of materials, making the project an investigation on different properties of natural and technological components. The experienced sound is site specific and depends on the electromagnetic fields that are present at the location. It is modulated by the performers by their positions and movements relative to the space and each other, making Magnetoceptia an exceptional occurrence everytime it is performed. Tonight, the artists will give us an insight into this special way of involving the performer and listener into a site specific sound scape.


Magnetoceptia - Magnetoceptia - project by Dewi de Vree and Patrizia Ruthensteiner

Cateringa & Kompanen

How might synergies of humans and living organisms look like in the future? How could they change our habits of comsumption? Cateringa & Kompanen is an openhearted collective of makers with a specific interst in food. For them, food is an artistic material like copper, clay or paint. Yet it offers so much more in terms of the human perception. What is good? What is normal? What is health? What beholds the future? In their project Alga’s Bar, interaction between humans and living organisms is performed in a special way: human breath contains heat and carbon dioxide, valuable resources for young algae. Lying down under a specimen-table whilst listening to an essay on aquatic life, visitors donate their time and breath to the algae above them. In return, the algae nourish the visitors in the shape of a fresh algae shot or smoothie when donations have reached a satisfactory level.


Organum Vivum - Project by Paul Seidler - Mask consisting of bacterial cellulose items

Thursday June 16
Food from 18:00, talks at 20:30
Tickets: Students €5,- */ Pre-sale €7,50 / Door: €10,-
please bring your student card to the ticketservice

** We offer a special culture menu for those who want to attend the Biotalk. A 4 course menu plus ticket will cost €34,50 instead of €44,-. Please make sure that you arrive no later than 18:00 in order to be finished before the start of the talks.

Mediamatic Biotoop , Dijkspark 6 Amsterdam