Metabolic Arts Society

In 2023 Medical Museion invite artists to be a part of the metabolic conversation around arts.

Metabolic Arts Society

About

Metabolic Arts Group
The Metabolic Arts Society explores art-science and metabolism through a series of monthly meetings with readings, discussions, and art sharing over the course of 2023 at the Medical Muserion in Copenhagen, Denmark. Meetings will take place in February, March, April, September, October and November 2023.

Open Call

Open Call for Artist Participation
We invite artists to be a part of the metabolic conversation around arts and seek different levels of experience with biology/science, as well as a variety of mediums. There are no required outputs: we simply ask you to engage in metabolic thought and let your art and ideas take you to new processes. Participating artists will be asked to be available for six day-long group workshops, plus an introductory and a final workshop, as well as 2.5 hours for art-science research interviews and will be compensated for their time at a rate of 60,000 DKK with a small additional pool of funds for international artists to help off-set travel costs.

Metabolic Arts Group

Project Description

As STS theorist Hannah Landecker has observed, at the cusp of the body and the world, metabolisms are ubiquitous but may be most noticeable in states of dysfunction (see note 1). These dysfunctions are the basis of medical sciences, the source of new ways of conceiving of ecological relations in a climate-changed world, and are a longstanding way of diagnosing philosophical indigestions, but they might also provide new modes of intervention by the arts. Ever-changing metabolism can be the constant that brings methodological tendencies to the fore as a shared subject, and yet the variable understandings of metabolism give rise to novel metabolic unfoldings so that our studies need not be bounded by the current state of metabolic science and indeed, as Art, Science, and Technology Studies scholars would argue, this is best understood in its social, political, philosophical, and historical contexts. 

Metabolism serves many possible needs for scholars by providing metaphors, models, puzzles, solutions and balances, but what art might do with metabolism needs further exploration. While we want to encourage studies which keep close to the bodily, medical, scientific, environmental, agricultural, and technical modes of the concept, to avoid, for example, metaphors which take leave of the subject in favor of using the idea of metabolism interchangeable with a concept like change or process, what metabolic science is today is built on a stack of ever-modified metaphors, including the metabolism as an engine or motor (fast/slow and often an emphasis on the notion of fuel/energy sources), furnace (hot/cold), “chain reactions,” “chemical cascades,” the “chemical carnival,” and many others. Art-science has made much of science as implicated in metaphor thinking, as even the classic experiment asks us to make correspondence between the specific findings on the bench and the broader world, a mode we find often in the arts. This extends out to our public understandings of science and of art, often with further analogies which both simplify and make more culturally complex these concepts.

Metabolic Studies are increasingly drawing links between disciplines which have worked on notions of metabolism in the individual towers and now seeing the possibilities of exchange are seeking alliances to compare and contrast the modes of disciplinary thought on these issues and ton collectively encounter the gardner challenges related to metabolism, including metabolic dysfunctions on a bodily, social, and earth-wide scale. As John Bellamy Foster (1999) explains, Marx conceived this metabolic rift as a separation “between humanity and the soil, reflected in the antagonism of town and country.” (see note 2). In the last fifteen years or so, an increasing number of scholars have begun to formulate approaches from political science to poetics, and most recently the Metabolic Arts, which may overlap with bioart, critical design, biodesign, ecoart, climate and environmental arts, and more.

From the vantage point of the Medical Museum, it is clear that there is an aesthetics of metabolism drawn from the visual aids which have been part of the development of metabolic sciences and constitute an important part of the public understanding of metabolism. But there also exists a lively debate underway in contemporary art about the stuff and processes of life which is of critical value to Metabolic Studies relation to publics and critical modes of thought about metabolic science and metabolisms in society. Following an ASTS approach which insists on treating the power dynamics of art and science as crucial to the context of the production of such works,  we solicit a conversation with artists already engaged and ready to engage in conversations about metabolism in and out of bodies, across history, in and between cultures, and individual and social worlds, theorized and embodied. 

Practical infomation

Participant Time Commitment and Compensation
Participating artists will be asked to be available for six group workshops, plus an introductory and a final workshop, as well as 2.5 hours for art-science research interviews. Each workshop will last 5 hours (3 morning, 2 afternoon), with a one hour and a half hour lunch break. Lunch provided. Participants will be asked to share their artistic practice through in-person or virtual studio visits/practice presentations. 

Individuals may be asked to contribute to the Metabolic Arts Blog to be hosted by the Medical Museion or be invited to contribute to texts or material installations, but these requests are beyond the scope of our initial Metabolic Arts Group offering.

Artists will be compensated with an honorarium in the event of their selection and engagement with the Metabolic Arts Group. All artists will receive 60,000 dkk, with a further 10,000 dkk available for international artists to cover their travel to Copenhagen, DK.

Location
The Medical Museion is a museum and research unit in Copenhagen, Denmark, dedicated to the history of health and disease from a cultural perspective. Recent exhibitions have included the work of contemporary artists and Metabolic Arts research, funded by Novo Nordisk through the Center for Basic Metabolic research hosted by the University of Copenhagen, is on-going.  The Medical Museum is housed in a former Surgeons training building from 1787 on Bredgade in Frederiksstaden. Medical Museion (ku.dk)

Application, Deadline, and further information

The application can be accessed at:

Applications are due November 12, 2022 and can be accessed at:

For more information contact: Hannah Star Rogers (hannah.rogers@sund.ku.dk).

//To be set up through KU system:

  • Application Form: Name, Address, Current Location/Location during MAG workshops, Artist Statement (up to 150 words), Affinity/Diversity data, Website/Social media, Other employment/affiliations
  • CV/Resume
  • Cover Letter addressing your experience in Metabolic Arts and any relevant experience or artworks you have produced  (up to one page) OR Why are you interested in joining the Metabolic Arts Group and what experiences/artworks will you bring to our conversations? (max 300 words)
  • Slideroom Portfolio with 3-5 artworks relevant to this Open Call, with 100 word descriptions of each piece)

 

Organizers

Hannah Star Rogers

Hannah Star Rogers holds the postdoctoral fellowship of art and science, funded by Novo Nordisk, at the Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen. She holds a PhD from Cornell University in Science and Technology Studies and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Art, Science, and the Politics of Knowledge (MIT Press) and the lead editor of the Routledge Handbook of Art, Science, and Technology Studies. Rogers works as a curator for art and science exhibits including  “Emerge: Artists and Scientists Redesign the Future” at Arizona State University and “Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Futures” at North Carolina State University and the University of Pittsburgh. Her exhibition “Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott,” received an exhibits prize from the British Society for the History of Science and resulted in an invited lecture at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. 

Read more about Hannah Star Rogers

Adam Bencard fra Medicinsk Museion

Adam Bencard
is Associate Professor in Medical Humanities at the Medical Museion in Copenhagen, and affiliated with The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research. His work is split evenly between practical science communication (mainly curating exhibitions, most recently the exhibition Mind the Gut at the Medical Museion) and medical humanities research. His current research interest is focused on the cultural and philosophical impact of microbiome research, and what it means to be human in a post-genomic world.

Read more about Adam Bencard

Notes

1: Landecker, Hannah. “Metabolism, in Three Parts.”Dialectic and Paradox: Configurations of the Third in Modernity. Eds.: Berhard Malkmus and Ian Cooper Peter Lang.   (2013): 193-224.

2: Foster, John Bellamy. “Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology.” American Journal of Sociology 105, no. 2 (1999): 366–405. https://doi.org/10.1086/210315.