Synthetic Ecologies Lab

Online Oct 2020 – Ongoing


A research programme for artists working at the intersection of art, life sciences and ecology, from microorganisms to synthetic biology. Designer and researcher Yasaman Sheri leads the project.

Research questions

We’re currently investigating:

  • instruments, tools and platforms supporting artistic practice in life sciences
  • emerging areas of inquiry in contemporary biotechnology
  • ecological art and microbial aesthetics
  • poetics of sensing and perception beyond human scales
  • aesthetics of new nature
  • translation models for critical and cultural narratives in scientific spaces
  • reframing science and biological technologies in cultural and popular discourse

Research activities

The Lab brings artistic and scientific communities together to encourage experimental exchange. Through projects like Compendium, we support art-science collaborations and explore tools and models for the artistic community to engage with sciences and lifeforms.


We run an archive of resources, conversations and content called Compendium. The archive supports artistic inquiry into ecology and life sciences. In the first season, we looked at fermentation in the kitchen and beyond. Learn more in our archive of journals, papers, diagrams, artwork, articles, aural songs, memes, and paintings.

Advisory panel

Advisory panel

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.

View archive