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Co-Corporeality – Degrees of Life - EXHIBITION OPENING


Exhibition opening and project conclusion @Zentrum Fokus Forschung, University of Applied Arts Vienna - Opening on 22.2.2022 - 19:00 via livestream https://dieangewandte-at.zoom.us/s/69650027142

The FWF research project Co-Corporeality locates itself at an interface between architecture, art and science. The research focuses on communication with our microbial environment. The title, Co-Corporeality, refers to the union of two bodies, their symbiosis and simultaneous existence, which applies equally to our microbiome and our environment. Co-Corporeality asks how a person perceives their environment and inner world, which is strongly made and controlled by microbes, by engaging individuals in unfamiliar communication with bacteria.

In the exhibition Degrees of Life, Co-Corporeality is materialised as a large, spatial installation. Non-verbal communication scenarios are presented between humans and bacteria, in order to navigate towards a shared space of sensing and coexistence. The experiment is driven by the question "how can we speak with a living entity of a completely different nature?” As this someone, “the other,” does not speak within our framework of vocabulary, the exhibition investigates different modes of non-verbal communication to bridge the gap. Different sensory modes and reactions are initiated in the space to explore how else communication can take place between humans and bacteria. The look at the "other", whether it is curious, scared, or investigative, builds the foundation for an emotional connection. We use an eye-tracking device to register the human gaze. This sensor device can track the user's gaze, attention span, and emotional level and is linked within the exhibition to a machinic environment in which different species of bacteria live. The human gaze activates the machinic environment to direct and stimulate the growth of the bacteria. For this, we are using bacteria-specific triggers such as chemical reactions, and changes in their environmental conditions through light, and the addition of nutrients.

The condition of the space creates a context placing human bodies in a technological entanglement with non-human life. The intricacy between the human and the bacterial body bridges two different scales and temporalities, creating a condition of co-corporeality. Physical presence in this context is understood not only as a biological domain but also as a performative, relational entity that emerges through interaction with other media. Interaction in these circumstances is linked with the creation of observable environmental, biological, and chemical events. These events range from real-time reactions to a delayed reaction time, to reflect and question the perception of time and scale for different biological subjects.

Opening on 22.2.2022 - 19:00 via livestream


University of Applied Arts & IoA & Zentrum Fokus Forschung
Tiziano Derme (Co-PI)
Daniela Mitterberger (Co-PI)
Damjan Minovski
Barbara Imhof  (Co-PI)
Nathaniel Loretz
Xavier Madden
Jennifer Cunningham
Patricia Tibu
Kyle Koops
Martin Eichler

Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Martin Gasser
Robert Trappl

University of Vienna
Institute of Materials Chemistry, Polymer & Composites Engineering

Alexander Bismarck
Neptun Yousefi
Kathrin Weiland
Anne Zhao

University of Vienna
Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Centre for Microbiology and Environmental System Science

David Berry
Andi Heberlein

University of Innsbruck
Institute of Microbiology

Heribert Insam
Judith Ascher-Jenull
Carolin Gamirsi


Co-Corporeality addresses responsive spaces in the era of biomediality with the aim to establish an interaction between a human and a living material. We are specifically interested in developing a responsive environment within an architectural space that interacts, learns, grows and decays in relation to human presence and behaviour.

Vordere Zollamstrasse, 7
1030 - Wien