Humalga: Towards the Human Spore

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.

Robertina Humalga photo by Damijan Svarc
Humalga lab photo by Damijan Švarc

 

STEP 1 // HUMALGA: TOWARDS THE HUMAN SPORE: REMINISCING ALGAE

celje_nConcept 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 

Humalga injection

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.

Wet symposium:

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.

 

Humalga symposium, January 2013

 

biobanka 3

biobamnka2

 

Exhibition:

Kapelica Gallery / Metropolis Gallery, Ljubljana, December 17th 2012 – January 14th 2013

Humalga Injesction

 

 

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 HackteriaLabBangalore, Indija 2013

Humalga proof of the concept

Humalga chloroplast to zebrafish microinjection at NCBS Bangalore at HackteriaLab 2013

humalga indija

_DSC4143

 

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HUMALGA symposium and exhibition at Ascces festival:

Symposium  with:  Annick BureaudBenoit De Guillebon, Špela Petrič and Robertina Šebjanič.

and exhibition at gallery Artifist, Pou, France, 2013

Humalga Pou 02

humalga Pou 03

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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.