Humalga: Towards the Human Spore
Art- science research project proposing an alternative evolution of the human species
Authors: Špela Petrič and Robertina Šebjanič
Humalga: Towards the Human Spore is an art-science research project proposing an alternative, constructed evolution of the human species. It explores a biotechnologically engineered post-technological vehicle, which grants humans the resilience of simple, undifferentiated organisms while preserving the human phenotype, behavior and culture.
STEP 1 // HUMALGA: TOWARDS THE HUMAN SPORE: REMINISCING ALGAE
Concept and context: HUMALGA: Towards the Human Spore: Reminiscing Algaeis an art-science research project proposing an alternative, constructed evolution of the human species. It explores a biotechnologically engineered post-technological vehicle, which grants humans the resilience of simple, undifferentiated organisms while preserving the human phenotype, behavior and culture. Biotechnologically the proposal involves creating a transspecies, the humalga, by genetically hybridizing and modifying the human and alga in such a way that both organisms appear as morphologically distinct living entities, which xenogenetically alternate as sexual and asexual generations. Through wet media installations and theoretical essays the project both examines state-of-the-art and pending technologies facilitating the creation of the novel transspecies with proof-of-concept experiments and, moreover, through its radical position exposes numerous biases and controversies of the present time. Amongst others, it explores the human instinct to survive as a species, assesses the project within the current ecological anxiety, considers the implicated bioethical issues and envisions future scenarios involving the humalga.
STEP 2 // HUMALGA: INJECTION // SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION
Concept and context: Humalga: Injection is the second in a series of installations representing the art-research project titled Humalga. The present phase of the project focuses on the mechanisms of biological adaptation and evolution, be it with (breeding, molecular engineering) or without human intervention (natural selection).
Central to the art piece is a “wet symposium”. Mediated by the engagement of experts/researchers in the formation of an artwork, we will nucleate a transient cross-disciplinary field terRabiology (terra – Earth, tera (Greek) – monster), which would examine the psychology, physiology and biology of the trans-species humalga.
The relevant topics had been moderated by dr. Špela Petrič & Robertina Šebjanič and discussed with Dr. Peter Trontelj (evolutionary biology), Dr. Polona Tratnik (philosophy and biotechnology) and Tea Hvala (sociology and science fiction). Each morning we did meet at BioTehna between 11.00 and 13.00. Afternoons had been dedicated to guided discussions between the experts and the public.
2013, January 8th: Macroevolution as a Natural and Cultural Phenomenon at Slovenian Museum of Natural History. Guest speakers: Dr. Peter Trontelj and Tea Hvala.
2013, January 9th: Ontology of the Living at Biobanka. Guest speaker: Dr. Polona Tratnik.
2013, January 10th: Future Landscapes – Transspecies at the Glasshouse Tivoli of the University Botanic Gardens. Guest speaker: Tea Hvala.
Kapelica Gallery / Metropolis Gallery, Ljubljana, December 17th 2012 – January 14th 2013
STEP 3 // HUMALGA: MICROINJECTION // SERIES OF PROOF-OF-CONCEPT EXPERIMENTS
Humalga: chloroplast-to-zebrafish microinjection at National Center for Biological Sciences, neurobiology department of dr. Vatsala Thirumala, as part of a HackteriaLab, Bangalore, Indija 2013
HUMALGA symposium and exhibition at Ascces festival:
and exhibition at gallery Artifist, Pou, France, 2013
Authors_ Špela Petrič and Robertina Šebjanič
Thanks to_Boštjan Bugarič (design of logo), Tea Hvala, Urs Gaudenz (microinjector), Slovenian Museum of Natural History, Biobanka, Glasshouse Tivoli of the University Botanic Gardens, dr. Cene Gostinčar, Boštjan Bugarič, Algica in AlgEn – algae technology center d.o.o., Andrej Petrič, FKKT, Annick Bureaud.
Produced by Kapelica Gallery, 2012 ongoing
Coproduction Ljudmila, 2012
The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana Department for Culture.