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NATURE Lab Chimera Workshop with Boryana Rossa and Heidi Hehnly

November 8, 2019 @ 5:00 pm 7:00 pm EST

You are invited to participate in a workshop co-led by artist Boryana Rossa and biologist Heidi Hehnly.  Through the lens of an artist scientist collaboration, this experimental hands on workshop will stimulate conversations from the biological to the ethical — including discussion of genetic predisposition of behavior and policing, as well as scientific and media representations of the state of genetic research.

Rossa will also present her “Mirror of Faith” bio-art project, meant to provoke critical public dialogue about genetic research, exposing some issues this technology and its political and commercial promotion creates.

An image of Boryana Rossa, smiling for the camera with a ladder and various art materials behind her.
A close up of one of the pieces, a clear object with two arm entrances presumably to touch it.
Another image of Boryana Rossa, standing on the ladder holding a paint brush and writing in a text bubble in Russian that roughly translates to "God gene is open!"
A shot of people gathered around the exhibit.
A farther shot of the art piece from before
Another image of Boryana Rossa standing in front of the mural of art.
A wider view of the wall art that Boryana Rossa was working on
The same statue as before, but this time lit up in a blue, neon light.
A photograph of Heidi Hehnly standing in what seems to be a science classroom with a blackboard behind her, wearing a blue button up under a white lab coat and smiling for the camera.

A message from Boryana and Heidi:

During this workshop, create your chimera. In this workshop you will collage and create your own imaginary bestiary creature based on genetics as both dream and science.  Speculate on its aesthetic, metaphorical, fantastical or utilitarian properties, its ethical ramifications, and us.

Bring two or more objects (stuffed and plastic toys, plants, but not living animals) that represent these species from which you will create your chimera. For instance an elephant stuffed toy and a lavender plant. During the workshop you will make a collaged chimerical object and write a paragraph description of the use of this chimera or its aesthetics. Any approach is good – playful, anecdotal or serious. At the end we will make a book with images of the chimeras and their descriptions, which will resemble an ancient bestiary. During your work we will engage you in complex conversations about genetic modification.

This program is FREE and open to all!

Boryana Rossa is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who works in the fields of electronic arts, film, video, performance and photography. In 2004 together with the Russian artist and film maker Oleg Mavromatti, Rossa established UTRAFUTURO–an international group of artists engaged with issues of technology, science and their social implications. Her works have been shown internationally at museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Museum of Modern Art MUMOK, Vienna, Austria etc. Currently, Boryana is an Associate Professor in the Transmedia department at Syracuse University. Boryana earned a doctorate degree from the Department of the Arts, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012. More information can be found on her website.

Professor Heidi Hehnly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, at Syracuse University. She holds doctorate degrees from the the University of Iowa, Iowa City IA (2003-2009) and did her postdoc at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Mass (2010-14). Her research interests include understanding the interface between cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane transport and defining how they co-regulate one another to control essential cellular processes such as cell division, fate, and polarity. For more information, visit the website here.

Co-sponsor: iEAR Presents! (Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer), in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, puts on publicly accessible “performances, exhibitions, screenings and lectures dealing with innovative aesthetic, cultural, and technical exploration of experimental media and electronic arts.”

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
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