Synthetic Ecologies Lab

Making with a multitude of species and living systems
Online Oct 2020 – Ongoing

Led by designer and researcher Yasaman Sheri, Synthetic Ecologies Lab aims to support artists in the context of emerging biological technologies and ecology by strengthening the foundations for art’s critical inquiry and intervention into these spaces. This is done by integrating insights derived from existing art-science collaborations as well as exploring the tools and models for collaboration in new artistic engagements with the sciences and lifeforms.

From ecological awareness around climate change to ethics of geo-engineering, to providing glimpses into techno-biological futures, to making with a multitude of species and living systems, there is a long history of artists and designers attempting to give shape to the invisible biological medium that is so hard to perceive and contextualise conceptually in everyday living.

2020 marks an entry into a new decade and signifies a powerful moment to support aesthetic and political engagements in life sciences and ecology. With rapid advances being made in biotechnologies and other tools of life sciences, artists and designers are an increasingly important voice in shaping how such technologies get rendered at societal level.

Our research currently investigates:

→ Instruments, tools & platforms that support artistic practice in life sciences

→ Emerging zones of inquiry in contemporary biotechnology

→ Ecological art & microbial aesthetics

→ Poetics of sensing & perception beyond human scale

→ Aesthetics of new nature

→ Translation models for critical & cultural narratives to enter scientific spaces

→ Reframing of science & biological technologies in cultural and popular discourse

Synthetic Ecologies Lab is supported by a growing advisory panel:

Christina Agapakis — Creative Director at Ginkgo Bioworks

Tega Brain — Artist, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Charles Broskoski—Co-founder of

Holly Jean Buck—Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability, University at Buffalo

Chiara Di Leone—Researcher and Editor at The Syllabus

Dr. Elizabeth Henaff — Computational Biologist/Artist, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Laboratory for Living Interfaces

Erin Kim—Director of Communications at Geltor

Aslak Aamot Kjærulff—Co-founder of Primer

David Zilber—Chef, Scientist, Fermentation Expert, Author of The NOMA guide to Fermentation


Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

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