Alchemists of Art and Science


Credit: Ghost Cell / Antoine Delacharlery

The huge current interest in forms of interdisciplinary collaboration shines what or many people is a long-overdue spotlight on the multifarious possibilities that can emerge from exchange and cooperation among, on one hand, art and creativity, and, on the other hand, science and technology. Moreover, an increasing number of observers are applauding the fact that, above all, there is finally widespread realization of a paradigm shift having occurred in a world that is  now globalized not only geographically and economically but intellectually as well. Driven by correspondingly wide-ranging motivations, more and more artists are lighting out to explore these territories. They are in search of new sources of inspiration, and they also want their artistic work to make an impact beyond the confines of the art world. In going about this, they often pursue trails that were blazed long ago, and sometimes without knowing too much about that back story.

What is striking is the greatly increased readiness on the part of both individual scientists and a growing number of institutions to make a commitment to these liaisons. Such prestigious research institutions as CERN–European Organization for Nuclear Research, the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency now host artist-in-residence programs under the aegis of the European Digital Art and Science Network subsidized by the EU.

As a member of an extensive network of cultural institutions in Europe and other parts of the world, Ars Electronica will be displaying works created in conjunction with these artist-in-residence programs and also staging a series of exhibitions showcasing exciting, innovative projects at the nexus of art and science. New methods of fabrication and of 3-D printing, concepts for rapid prototyping, work in the field of 3-D animation, and artistic strategies for the visualization of scientific data—the exhibitions cover a broad range of approaches, many of which are still in the prototype stage. “The Alchemists of Art and Science,” the second installment in this series, spotlights speculative, futuristic visions that have emerged from the amalgamation of artistic and scientific approaches—for instance, wearables that measure cosmic radiation in their immediate surroundings; clothing grown out of fungi; a 3-D-printed lamp you can create at home with an app and a laser scanner, wearable devices designed to reduce your CO2 output; and concepts for interactive windshields.






Storage Technology for Observed Nearby Extraterrestrial Shelters: STONES liberates objectively assured facts – the existence of all currently known exoplanets on which liquid water could exist and therefore life could develop – from any cultural interpretation.

Read More Stones


Two stones lie on top of a balanced steel plate. The aim of the machine is to create a perfect equilibrium state by moving the stones to the appropriate positions.

Read More Masses
RoBoHoN_tom mesic_590x350


It stands only 19.5 centimeters tall and weighs in at a mere 390 grams: RoBoHoN, the world’s first mobile robotic cell phone. Tomotaka Takahashi, internationally renowned robot developer, CEO of Robot Garage, and University of Tokyo professor, created it in cooperation with SHARP.

Read More RoBoHoN
Ready to crawl_Sugihara Hiroshi_590x350

Ready to crawl

Production in one fell swoop—in this project, robots are output in a completed state just like living creatures delivered as viable beings by their mother. Machines are usually completed by assembling various prefab components, but additive manufacturing (AM) makes it possible to produce them as a finished whole.

Read More Ready to crawl
Interface I_tom mesic

Interface I documentation

Interface I manifests the essence of a phenomenon that various experts such as biologists and political strategists seek to come to terms with—how complex systems go about reciprocally influencing and adjusting to each other. Ralf Baecker puts this into a physical form in terms of the interaction of two systems consisting of motors, wire and elastic band.

Read More Interface I documentation
Single Stroke Structures_Yasuaki Kakehi und Takahiro Hasegawa_590x350

Single Stroke Structures

Among the facts of life in the Age of Mobility are urban traffic jams and overpopulation. This project’s aim is to improve the quality of life in crowded metropolises by means of a portable tool that city dwellers can use to partition off a space of their own.

Read More Single Stroke Structures
Florence_Helene Steiner_350x590


We’re accustomed to considering nature and technology as polar opposites. Helene Steiner and her associates in the Studio99 research program aim to do away with this diametrical opposition by developing a language humans and plants can use to talk to one another.

Read More Florence


Floraform is a generative design system inspired by the biomechanics of growing leaves and blooming flowers which explores the development of surfaces through differential growth. The artists created a simulation of a differentially growing elastic surface that functions as a digital garden.

Read More Floraform

MycoTex – Neffa

Mycelia are thread-like fungal cells. In nature, they branch out into subterranean networks of filigree fibers that can extend over hundreds of hectares and live for millennia. Textile designer Aniela Hoitink has taken advantage of these extraordinary characteristics in her R&D work on innovative fabrics made of pure mycelium.

Read More MycoTex – Neffa

Beyond Prototyping

A work of light art created with the help of a 3-D printer (Highlight), an encoded ring (Ciphering), and an abstract representation of a network of city streets engraved into a tabletop and depicting a location with a special personal meaning (Locatable)—these three creations can serve as prototypical examples of Industrial Design 4.0.

Read More Beyond Prototyping
Phytowalkers_Florian Voggeneder_590x350


This colony of botanical robots consists of plant pots, plants and electronic components. People “grow” a robot, cultivating airplants (tillandsia) in a pot to produce the legs. As a result, the new organism begins to walk on its own “legs.”

Read More Phytowalkers
Loopers_Yasuaki Kakehi and Michinari Kono_590x350


This sound installation features twelve artificial worms consisting of magnetic balls. Each worm moves back and forth on a stage by alternately side-winding and straightening out its body. In doing so, the worms tap and knock on the stage in various beats, which generates sounds.

Read More Loopers
Kinematics Dress_Steve Marsel_590x350

Kinematics Dress

Kinematics Dress represents a new approach to manufacturing that tightly integrates design, simulation and digital fabrication to create complex, customized products. Composed of thousands of unique interlocking components, each dress is 3-D printed as a single folded piece and requires no assembly.

Read More Kinematics Dress
Implant_Florian Voggeneder_590x350


Implant symbolizes an imaginary, drastically enlarged medical device. Motivated by his concerns about a genetic retinal disease transmitted by his family’s DNA, artist Eric Dyer has closely followed developments in gene therapy, including the controversial practice of introducing healthy genes into the body via viruses.

Read More Implant


From galaxies to electrons—there are countless vortices throughout the universe. CHOZUMAKI was inspired by their fractal structure. The installation’s basic components are a glass vessel filled with water and a small winged magnet that rotates at the bottom of the vessel and generates a vortex.

Can you hear me_590x350

„Can you hear me?“

Edward Snowden’s disclosures shined the spotlight of public attention on, among other locations, Berlin’s federal government district, revealing it to be the site of extremely intense surveillance and espionage by intelligence agencies. So this is precisely where Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud wanted to set up a temporary installation on the subject of power and powerlessness in the Digital Age.

Read More „Can you hear me?“
Anarchive˚6_Florian Voggeneder_590x350


Anarchive is a series of interactive multimedia projects designed to enable users to explore the work of individual artists. Masaki Fujihata is the sixth artist in this series that began with Antoni Muntada in 1999. Anarchive 6 is a book containing almost all works created by Masaki Fujihata between 1972 and 2016.

Read More Anarchive˚6


Selected works of the CIID Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Read More CIID-Showcase


For Obscurity Paolo Cirio cloned mug shots of over 15 million U.S. prison inmates from various websites and then disguised the photos. An algorithm systematically scrambled the appurtenant information—name, age, crime convicted of and length of sentence—to make each individual completely unrecognizable.

Read More Obscurity

Ghost Cell

You’ve never seen Paris like this before. Antoine Delacharlery’s animated film isn’t just a close-up of the French metropolis; it’s as if it puts Paris under a microscope. The urban organism with its inventory of streets, buildings and open spaces as well as the people, trains and cars moving about among them comes across like a concatenation of pale cells and nerve fibers.

Read More Ghost Cell

Cosmic Bitcasting

Whether human beings are exploring subatomic worlds or outer space, wherever our journeys of discovery take us, we’re able to get a picture of the invisible only by means of measured data. Afroditi Psarra implements this idea in the form of an interface worn right on the body, and thereby reinterprets the connection between human and cosmos.

Read More Cosmic Bitcasting

The Culture Series

An article of clothing with sleeve appliqués of leather and copper fabric and neoprene sewn into their structure? And integrated into this electrical circuit is an Arduino microcontroller that interacts with the sleeves’ sensors and transforms the garment into a hybrid organism that reacts to the wearer’s heartbeat?

Read More The Culture Series