Bio-Robotics workshop – Call for participants
posted by Mari Keski-Korsu on 24 January 2019

What does it mean to design and control a living machine? What are the practical, artistic and ethical implications of doing so? 
Bio-Robotics workshop happens 18. and 19. of March 2019 consisting of two afternoon sessions and one result review session after some days. The location of the workshop is in Aalto Biofilia on the Aalto University Campus in Otaniemi, Espoo, Finland.

In this workshop participants are invited to think about issues concerning the engineering and production of living machines and then attempt to design and grow crude prototypes made of twitching human heart muscle cells grown over scaffolds made of silk. 

The workshop is lead by artists Nathan Thompson and Guy Ben-Ary. Biofilia laboratory manager James Evans is supporting the workshop activities. Bio-Robotics workshop is produced by the Bioart Society in collaboration with Biofilia - Base for Biological Arts at Aalto University.

If you would like to participate in the workshop, please send a brief statement of motivation with a short CV until 15thof February to
The participation is free of charge. If coming from outside of Helsinki, the participants need to fund their own travel and accommodation. Bioart Society is happy to provide an invitation letter for funding application purpose.

Workshop content (more detailed schedule will be sent to the participants)

Day 1:
- Overview of techniques, possibilities and various artistic and scientific projects in the field – - Participants plan ideas for possible Bio-robotic projects
- Silk Scaffold Fabrication

Day 2
- Inspection of growing cells and discussion regarding the differentiation process of stem cells to Cardiomyocytes
- Tissue Culture training
- Seeding the cells onto the fabricated Structures
- Wrap up.

The participants could come in the following days to the lab to monitor the progress of their prototype autonomous entities.

About the instructors

Guy Ben-Ary, is a Perth based artist and researcher. He currently works at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia.  Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Guy specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive.

Artist Nathan John Thompson explores the possibilities of man/machine interaction, mechanical sentience and the hidden creative corners that arise from these relationships. His work often questions the role of humans in the natural landscape in order to build greater understanding of our inhabited space. Nathan has shown work and performed throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and Latin America, he is currently researching at SymbioticA – Interfacing bio-engineered human heart cells to artistic robotic bodies made of silk.

The participants of the workshop are encouraged to experience also two CellF -performances in Heureka 29. and 30. of March and Bricolage -exhibition in Solu-space opening 22. of March.
More information about the performances and the exhibition will follow.