Since 2018 the Department of Media Theory is serving as co-host of Leonardo’s LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous)
Talks – an international programme of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations
and conversations. On October 15 the LASER “The Art and Science Experiment in the Age of CRISPR” with Suzanne Anker (New York),
Frank Rösl (Heidelberg) and Margarete Jahrmann (Vienna / Zurich) chaired by Ingeborg Reichle and Klaus Spiess will take place:
In recent decades science-based art emerged, enhancing progressive encounters of the art world with cutting-edge technologies
and the technosciences. With the rise of bioart, a variety of new materials, such as DNA, bacteria, cells, tissue cultures,
and transgenic organisms, entered art studios as a means of artistic expression. Obviously, this made it necessary for artists
to get acquainted with new epistemologies and a new logic of producing reality within the techno-scientific regime. By bringing
their artistic endeavour to the public’s attention, science-based art has provoked greater reflection on the limits of manipulating
and creating life with biotech tools, highlighting Genome Editing tools like CRISPR. Therefore, it is high time to shed some
light on the relationship of ontology and aesthetics in the age of technoscience by focusing on the production of art that
is related to technoscience; not only because of the technologies and tools it uses—but most importantly because from this
relationship a new model emerges which is fruitful for understanding and interpreting our reality. Contributions will come
from bioart, cancer research, cutting-edge artistic research, and media theory.
Suzanne Anker (US) The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (10 min)
is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She is chairing Fine Arts
Department at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC since 2005 and continues to interweave traditional and experimental media
in her department’s new digital initiative and the SVA Bio Art Lab.
Frank Rösl (DE) The Art and Science Experiment: A Critical View (10 min)
is a professor and head of the Division of Viral Transformation Mechanisms Research Programme “Infection, Inflammation and
Cancer”, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany. This field of research received considerable publicity when Harald
zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008, his mentor and colleague with whom Frank worked
together for more than 15 years.
Margarete Jahrmann (AT) The Ludic Method: A playful form of artistic research or how to design more naturalistic experiments
in cognitive sciences (10 min)
is an Austrian media epistemologist and artist working on activism, urbanism and play. She holds a professorship for Game
Art and Game Design since 2006 at the University of the Arts in Zurich and since 2019 she is also active as Professor for
Artistic Research at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
Klaus Spiess (AT)
is an internist, psychoanalyst, medical anthropologist, and a specialist in metabolic psychosomatics, who runs the cross-disciplinary
Arts and Science programme at the Medical University of Vienna, where he is Associate Professor of Arts in Medicine at the
Center for Public Health.
Ingeborg Reichle (DE)
is the Chair of the Department of Media Theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her primary area of research and
teaching is the encounter of the arts with science and cutting-edge technologies such as biotechnology and synthetic biology.
LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are taking place in over 30 cities around the
world. The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region
and to foster interdisciplinary networking. The host of Leonardo’s LASER Talks in Vienna is Klaus Spiess, an internist, psychoanalyst,
medical anthropologist and a specialist in metabolic psychosomatics, who runs the cross-disciplinary Arts and Science programme
at the Medical University of Vienna, where he is active as Associate Professor of Arts in Medicine at the Center for Public
Health. His performances and installations have been shown in Europe and the USA. He has published on the subject of his work
in Leonardo, The Journal of Performance Research and The Lancet, among other publications. The co-host Ingeborg Reichle is
the head of the Department of Media Theory and serves as full professor of Media Theory at the University of Applied Arts
Vienna. Her primary area of research and teaching is the encounter of the arts with science and with cutting edge technologies
like biotechnology and synthetic biology.