News

This page features all the current exhibition and project news. See the talks and workshops pages for information on those forthcoming events. Find new publications, magazine articles, interviews, TV coverage and podcasts here and new books and catalogues here. For past exhibitions see here or visit the specific project page in the main portfolio or biography information.

Fragile Microbiomes

The Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds, UK is hosting “Anna Dumitriu: Fragile Microbiomes” a groundbreaking new solo exhibition of artworks which explores our precarious microbial ecosystem. The exhibition runs from 10th February until 23rd June 2024, with an opening event/meet the artist on Thursday 22nd February at 6pm.

Fragile Microbiome (detail)

Dumitriu has collaborated with Dr Jane Freeman at the University of Leeds on a project around the the bacterial infection Clostridioides difficile, concepts of dysbiosis and the fragile nature of the microbiome in light of antibiotic resistance and three new works in the show specifically explore this, including “Fragile Microbiome” pictured above. The project has been supported via Outreach Funding as part NIHR/HEE ICA Clinical Lectureship awarded to Dr Jane Freeman (Funder: National Institute for Health Research/Health Education England) and Arts Council England.

ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form

“ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” installation view at Ars Electronica Festival 2018 (photo by Vanessa Graf)

ArchaeaBot: A Post Singularity A Post Climate Change, Life-form in AI: Artificial Intelligence at CCCB Barcelona

ArchaeaBot: A Post Singularity A Post Climate Change, Life-form” is part of “AI: Artificial Intelligence” at CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain, 18th October 2023 to 17th March 2024.

About ArchaeaBot

ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” is an underwater robotic installation by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May that explores what ‘life’ might mean in a post-singularity and post-climate change future. Based on new research on archaea (a group of unicellular micro-organisms believed to be the oldest form of life on earth adapted to life in extreme conditions) combined with the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the artists have tried to create the ultimate’ species for the end of the world.

“ArchaeaBot: A Post Climate Change, Post Singularity Life-form” is the result of collaboration with researcher/cryomicroscopist Amanda Wilson within the framework of the EU MARA project, which is based at Imperial College. Additionally the artists collaborated with Daniel Polani, Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

Anna Dumitriu and Alex May developed this artwork through an artistic residency at LABoral in Gijon, Spain. The residence is part of the first edition of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP), aimed at European artists working with new technologies. The EMAP programme aims to encourage collaboration between artists and institutions using these media. LABoral is part of the network of members of the platform along with ten other prestigious European institutions. “ArchaeaBot” is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, and The Arts Council England.

“ArchaeaBot” premiered as part of “Error in Progress” at the Ars Electronica Festival in 2018 and has subsequently toured to; LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón, Spain; Rencontres Bandits-Mages “Unstable Reality and Shifting Knowledge: Mending the Fabric of the World” in Bourges, France; IMPAKT in Utrecht, Netherlands as part of “A World Without Us”; Kunstmuseum Moritzburg for the Silbersalz Festival in Halle, Germany; the 18th WRO Media Art Biennale in Wroclaw, Poland; HeK in Basel, Switzerland in “Entangled Realities – Living with Artificial Intelligence”; Furtherfield in London, UK  as part of “Time Portals”; “On/Off” at the Museum of Ethnography in Lviv, Ukraine; “Oceans 4.0” at FACT in Liverpool, UK; “Submerge” at the Science Gallery Bengaluru, India; Survival of the Fittest at Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany; “Quarantine” as part of the Ars Electronica 2020: Adriatic Garden, curated by Kontejner as part of their EMAP Programme and at Art Workshop Lazareti Dubrovnik, Croatia; and in EFECT DE LA MICRO LA MACRO in the QUANTUM QUESTIONS 2020 Festival by Centrul Cultural Clujean in Cluj-Napoca, Romania; ALIFE 2021 Conference (online); EMAP Ars Electronica Garden (online); Under the Viral Shadow, Art Laboratory Berlin, Germany, Supernatural at Oulu Museum of Art, Finland, and Such Stuff as Worlds are Made on at Spazju Kreattiv in Valetta, Malta, BIOMEDIA at the Le Centre Des Arts Enghien-les-Bains, 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition, Milan, Italy, Synthetic Ecology – The Beijing Art and Technology Biennale at CUBE Art Center in the 798 Art Zone in Beijing, China, Supernatural: Sculptural Visions of the Body at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, Topologies of the Real: Techne Shenzhen” at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning (MOCAUP), Shenzhen, China, the Le Musée de la Main, Lausanne, Switzerland, Bastion 2 as part of BioArt Revolution for Timisoara 2023 European Capital of Culture, Romania, and “AI: Artificial Intelligence” at CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain.

“Fermenting Futures” in Renaissance 3.0 at ZKM, Karlsruhe (Germany)

“Fermenting Futures” and “The BioArchaeology of Yeast” installation view at ZKM

Fermenting Futures” and “The BioArchaeology of Yeast” are on show as part of “Renaissance 3.0“, at ZKM | Center for Art and Media, in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibition presents contemporary approaches of artists who, on the one hand, continue the lines of research of the preceding renaissances and, on the other, open up new fields of research. It also features convincing parallel research or elective affinities between science and art. The focus is on a new culture of tools. It provides insights into artistic laboratory situations and artistic-scientific collaborations that open up a shared multidisciplinary field of knowledge for the 21st century — from biochemistry to genetic engineering and information design to neuroscience and unconventional computing. The exhibition opened on the 24th March 2023 and the end date has recently been extended so the show runs until 25th February 2024.

Biotechnology from the Blue Flower in Gene Cultures at MIT Museum, Cambridge (USA)

Biotechnology from the Blue Flower installation view at MIT Museum

Biotechnology from the Blue Flower is now on show in a major exhibition “Gene Cultures” at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA which opened to the public on 2nd October 2022 and continues until later in 2024.

“Biotechnology from the Blue Flower” explores the cultural history and morphology of the chicory plant and investigates how new plant breeding methods such as CRISPR gene editing can be used to create future healthcare and food benefits. Chicory inspired the idea of the Blue Flower in German Romanticism, and became a central symbol of the movement. It inspired Goethe’s concept of the ‘urpflanze’ or original plant in his “Metamorphosis of Plants”. The romantic movement was a reaction to the industrial revolution and held nature and emotion in the highest esteem. Now we are part of a biotechnological revolution, and again the blue flower becomes an important symbol. This time in a more complex position at the interface of nature and technology, central to societal explorations of what may be acceptable in synthetic biology, and how ‘nature’ and ‘natural’ may be defined in the future. The 3D printed sculpture is based on high resolution photogrammetry scans of a chicory plant known as ‘clone 37’, and it contains actual traces of CRISPR modified protoplasts and leaves, which the artists created in the lab. The whole genome sequence of the plant is projected behind, with all the repeating DNA sequences have been removed, returning it to Goethe’s concept of the ‘original plant’. Created by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May through an artists’ residency with the EU CHIC Project.

“Food Fight!” at Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, USA

The Unnatural that too is Natural

A newly commissioned installation entitled “The Unnatural that too is Natural”, which extends the project “Biotechnology from the Blue Flower” in the form of digital video and series of small sculptures which comprise 3D printed, hand-painted elements, and CRISPR modified plant cells, plus the Blue Flower AR app is on show as part of “Food Fight!” at Michigan State University Museum in East Lansing, USA from 9th January – 29th June 2024.

Precious Cells Exhibition as Part of Cambridge Festival 2024

Precious Cells

The Precious Cells exhibition at the Cambridge Festival delves into biological research’s artistic, sociological and linguistic aspects with human tissues, including early human embryos. Precious Cells is a digital artwork by artist Anna Dumitriu. It delves into the fascinating story of donated human embryos that are used in scientific research to understand how humans develop. The exhibition also includes “The Borked Brain”, a video created by artist David Blandy and “Common Language”, a book created by artist Mariana Wilde. 10:00am-6:00pm daily from Wednesday 13th March until Wednesday 20th March 2024, There will be a reception on 15th March at 5-6:30pm. Location: Grand Arcade Centre, Cambridge, UK.

Biotechnology from the Blue Flower Augmented Reality App

Blue Flower App (used at the Charleston – the former home of the Bloomsbury Group)

“Blue Flower” a standalone Augmented Reality (AR) app is now available for iPhone/iPad/Android devices http://onelink.to/blueflower. The gene edited plants represented here are not normally allowed to leave the laboratory in many countries but through augmented reality users can transgress the rules, fill the world with them, and take and share photos. The app also accompanies the sculptural installation in exhibitions enabling audiences to playfully interact with the work.

Mysteries and Mycotoxins with University of Cranfield funded by a Massee Arts Award from the British Mycological Society

Ergot infected wheat (Photo by Anna Dumitriu)

Anna Dumitriu has been awarded a 2023 Massee Arts Grant from the British Mycological Society to work with Dr Carol Verheecke-Vaessen and the Applied Mycology Group at Cranfield University to develop and create an innovative new body of sculptural artworks that will explore issues around mycotoxins and raise awareness of their significant impact on human and animal health, as well as on the food industry. The project entitled “‘Mysteries and Mycotoxins” an artistic exploration of mycotoxins” is inspired by the relationship of mycotoxins to the Ancient Greek Eleusian Mysteries and the Salem Witch trials as well as modern health inequality and cutting edge science. Outcomes will be showcased as part of UK Fungus Day 2023. The project is currently on show at the as part of “BioArt Knowledge” a solo exhibition by Anna Dumitriu in Oundle, UK.

Exploring how Biomaterials and Augmented Realitycan Impact Sustainability with Better Factory from the EU S+T+ARTS Programme

Mycelium and SCOBY experiments making materials from wine waste

Through 2023-24 Anna Dumitriu is working with Marco Felluga Wines and Bubamara technology company explore how biomaterials and augmented reality can impact sustainability and the circular economy in wine production as part of Better Factory with the EU S+T+ARTS programme. See more here.

Physic-AI Garden in Collaboration with the EU CAPABLE Project

“Physic AI Garden” projected on the historic facade of the Yarrow Gallery

Anna Dumitriu and Alex May have collaborated on a major new artwork with the EU funded CAPABLE project. The fully interactive version of their innovative interactive artwork Physic-AI Garden premiered at the Technical Museum at Politehnica University Timisoara at the Experimentarium. A wonderful location which holds Romania’s most historic computer collection, including the oldest computer ever built in Romania.

The fully interactive version of Physic-AI Garden at the Technical Museum at Politehnica University Timisoara

The launch was part of the European Capital of Culture, European Researchers Night and Open Campus Night in collaboration with the Romanian Science Festival and the Polytechnic University of Timisoara on 29th September 2023 and the exhibition continued until 15th October 2023. It was also shown as part of the Capital of Culture closing weekend on 9th and 10th December 2023.

The video version of the piece was shown as part of “BioArt Knowledge” at the Yarrow Gallery in Oundle, UK and was shown as a full scale building projection on the gallery. The interactive work was also exhibited as part of StartUpItalia’s Open Summit Winter at the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan.

PhysicAI Garden (for the CAPABLE Project) – Pre-visualisation

Physic-AI Garden” explores the complex artificially intelligent system within the CAPABLE App that ensures that patients are not prescribed pharmaceutical treatments that might interact badly with each other. It will take the form of digital garden, where virtual plants grow and interact with each other and with audiences. The plants each represent different drugs in the system based on a fictional test patient’s data and experiences and the algorithm and databases used within CAPABLE.

The fully interactive version of Physic-AI Garden at the Technical Museum at Politehnica University Timisoara

The garden grows according to what drugs work well together and what drugs interact negatively. The project is inspired by notions of permaculture which puts plants that grow well together next to each other and considers the whole ecosystem. It’s also influenced by ideas of ideas around medicinal plants and in particular the concept of the Physic Garden as well as the mental health ‘capsules’ in CAPABLE, which can enhance wellbeing by suggesting beneficial activities. These include growing plants from seed, photographing the sky, and walking in nature.

Unruly Objects in collaboration with the University of Western Attica in Athens

Three Sketches for Unruly Objects

Anna Dumitriu is currently working on and ongoing project entitled “Unruly Objects and Biological Conservation” with the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art at the University of Western Attica in Athens as well as external collaborators to explore the biology and chemistry of the conservation of antiquities and discuss how these ideas, and new blockchain technologies will impact the preservation of contemporary artworks including BioArt works such as her own artistic experiments resulting from the project, thus kick-starting discussions around the preservation of contemporary BioArt in the context of a major institution.

Dumitriu’s initial residency was initially funded via and A-N Artists Bursary and the work was developed in 2022 with the University of Surrey, through funding from an Institute of Advanced Studies Fellowship and from the National Biofilms Innovation Centre. Outcomes have been showcased in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, as well as interviews and a paper entitled “Unruly objects: NFTs, blockchain technologies and bio-conservation” in the journal Technoetic Arts. The project was subsequently extended through a Developing Your Creative Practice Grant from Arts Council England.

BioArt Revolution: Unruly Objects at Cazarma U, Timisoara, Romania

BioArt Revolution: Unruly Objects was exhibited at Cazarma U, Timisoara as part of the European Capital of Culture Timisoara 2023 from 21st September – 30th October 2023. In collaboration with the Romanian Science Festival and Spotlight Heritage Timisoara (Politehnica University Timisoara).

BioArt Revolution/ Revoluția BioArt – A Solo Exhibition of Works by Anna Dumitriu as Part of Timișoara 2023 European Capital of Culture (Romania)

Two new videos of BioArt Revolution/ Revoluția BioArt have recently been released. This innovative solo exhibition by Anna Dumitriu ,which brought together contemporary artistic approaches and modern scientific experiments to address issues of global relevance such as infection, climate change, and diversity took place as part of Timișoara 2023 European Capital of Culture, from 30th September to 1st October 2023. The exhibition, which was created in collaboration with the Romanian Science Festival, and was part of International Microorganism Day took place in the stunning setting of Bastionul Maria Theresia, Galeria 2,  Str. Hector, nr. 1, Timișoara, Romania. The exhibition was featured on TVR (Romanian National TV) and ORF 2 (Austrian National TV) and video of the exhibition was also shown on TVR as part of the closing ceremony of Timisaoara 2023.

BioArt Revolution Trailer
BioArt Revolution Guided Tour

The Mutability of Memories and Fates, with The Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells in München

“The Mutability of Memories and Fates” installation at the Deutsches Museum (photo by Claudia Schnugg)

Anna Dumitriu became the first artist in residence with the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells at Helmholtz Zentrum in München, Germany in 2020. Her continuing project responds to the concept of cellular memory and cell fates, and explores how the cell packages DNA and what impact that has. It focuses on the mutability of the cell, or what controls its constancy, and how this affects gene expression and the nature of life. The project is curated by Dr Claudia Schnugg. Multiple physical residency periods on site in München from 2021 onwards followed a year long virtual residency and work continues, and culminated in a showcase exhibition for the 60th anniversary of the Helmholtz Zentrum at the Deutsches Museum. The project subsequently received follow on funding to continue the work for another year to develop a complex new work. An exhibition of the project is currently in development. See more here.

Invisible You: The Human Microbiome as part of Invisible Worlds at Eden Project

“Don’t Try This at Home”

The flagship exhibition Invisible You: The Human Microbiome is part of Invisible Worlds initiative at Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. Invisible Worlds is an ongoing major permanent exhibition that reveals the world beyond our senses introducing the interconnectedness between life and the Earth’s environments. The exhibition features Don’t Try This At Home (in collaboration with Dr Jane Freeman and Dr Caroline Chilton) and Super-organism: The Living Microbiome.