Open Call – Residency Program 2017  NOW CLOSED!
AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link through Art and Science


Synthetic biology is a thriving field at the interface between molecular and cell biology and engineering disciplines. It is predominantly based on design, construction and analysis of new functions and unprecedented biological systems while it also allows a better understanding of existing biological phenomena by means of its synthetic “reconstruction”. AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link through Art and Science (KLAS) main goal is to initiate collaborative artistic and scientific exchange to foster transdisciplinary dialogues as well as to contribute to a wider understanding and appreciation of synthetic biology.

The knowledge link established during the residency period intends to influence both the work of the participant research groups and the resident artists. This bidirectional feedback is expected to provide a highly fertile ground for a dialogue that should also attract the attention of non-specialized audiences much more easily than purely scientific orientated discourses.

Artists interested in exploring the aesthetic and discursive possibilities that are derived from the connections between innovative creative practices, new materialistic approaches and synthetic biology research are invited to submit an application.

This competition is open for artists to propose all kind of innovative concepts and ideas in the field of visual art, interactive art, digital music/sound art, sculptural art, hybrid art, performance & choreography, architecture and photography.


This call is open to artists internationally to apply for a residency program at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, both located in Golm (DE) as well as the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute of the University of Groningen (NL).


The residency program:

There will be two Artist-in-Residence stays within the time period June to September 2017. The artists are expected to be present for a minimum of two weeks in each of the two locations (Potsdam-Golm and Groningen). Both Artist-in-Residence stays are intermitted by a private time for the artist to develop the final project. It is at the chosen hosting institution for the second Artist-in-Residence stay where the work will be showcased later on. A commitment of the artist to deliver an art-piece within one year after the starting date of the residency will be requested.

Artists will be free to work on their own projects but will also be expected to interact with their colleagues, participate in the lectures and group talks during their stay and document/ share their experiences for both academic and general audiences in an online form.

The artist will be expected to be in-residence for 2+2 weeks between June and September 2017.


The jury:

Tomás Saraceno (AR) Architect, artist, performer.

Jens Hauser (DK) Arts and Cultural Studies and Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen.

Alessandra Pace (IT) Contemporary art consultant, curator –science and medicine–.

Andrew Pelling (CA) Canada Research Chair Physics and Biology, University of Ottawa.

Josep Perelló (SP) Fundamental Physics, University of Barcelona.

Nicola Triscott (UK) Cultural producer, curator and writer. Director of Arts Catalyst (UK).

Nathalie Singer (DE) Experimental Radio, Bauhaus University – Weimar.


We offer:

  • An opportunity for mutual exchange with scientists and other researchers.
  • € 7.500,00 award money for each selected artist.
  • Extra budget of max. € 2.000,00 for production materials per awardee.
  • Accommodation and insurance for the periods of stay at the research institutions.
  • A return ticket to the locations of the residency (max. 1.000,00€).
  • Access to the labs.
  • Access to lectures and talks various experts around the world.
  • Access to the library and scientific journals.
  • The winning artists will have a scientific mentor on the basis of the art project’s focus, to inspire him/her and his/her work.


Artists’ obligations:

  • VISA to the hosting countries.
  • Applicants should be fluent in English and able to connect with the team by video conference if requested.
  • Purchase of the material required for their work.
  • Living expenses, provisions.
  • With the assistance of KLAS, the artists are free to apply for additional external funding for their stay.


Submission details:

Each submission has to be made in English. It must include the following:

  • Completed application form (download here) The first open call of KLAS has been closed
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A letter of motivation (max. 1 page)
  • A selected portfolio showcasing significant works by the artist
  • An outline of an idea that the artist wishes to pursue at KLAS. The submitted idea must already reflect what the artist is interested in and on which subject she/he would like to realize her/his project (approx. 1 page).


Closing date for applications: 31st January 2017 (postmark)


Please submit your application with all required documents by postal mail only.


Rodrigo Perez Garcia – KLAS
Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung (K 1.235)

Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476, Potsdam – Golm (DE)



Applications will be evaluated by the Jury and organizing team.
Awardees will be announced at the end of March 2017.


NOTE: The reception of each application will be confirmed by email. All documents provided will be archived by KLAS.