Workshop (2017)

AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC: Knowledge Link Through Art & Science

“Parker” Watercolor, 2015, 120x90cm. Otavio Schipper


We are proud to announce the “AESTHETICS get SYNTHETIC” workshop that will take place in the Main hall of the Max Planck Campus in Potsdam-Golm the afternoon of  Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th of November 2017.

This workshop is an opportunity to bring together scholars and practitioners to jointly discuss and reflect on contents, approaches and methodologies that draw the link between synthetic biology and artistic research and how those can synergically interact by mutually interrogating and reconsidering their methodologies and modes of operation in an Artist in Residence program like KLAS. In this workshop we are particularly interested in discussions and perspectives that explore how different institutions, organizations and interest groups with relevant expertise and knowledge of research, innovation and education address contemporary challenges of future developments in and beyond their respective knowledge silos.



Artistic practices and scientific research – how can they benefit one from the other?

  • What is the benefit of art-science collaboration – is it about the outcome, the process, can we frame or justify its utility or usefulness.
  • Which are the personal experiences in relation to the knowledge / conceptual / methodological exchange between art and science?
  • What are the current trends and what are the expectations for the near future in Synthetic Biology? and in Art?


This workshop is chaired by Prof. Lipowsky (MPIKG) and Prof. Wilmitzer (MPIMP)

Co-chairs: Caterina Benincasa, Arnau Horta and Rodrigo Perez Garcia



Download programme in pdf  updated!

Register now!  Limited places available!




[read more=”Sabine_Adler” less=”Sabine_Adler”]
ERES Foundation (

Studied germanistic, art history and communication science. Editor, art critic and book author. Since 2004 chairman and exhibition curator of the ERES Foundation, Munich, a platform for the dialogue between science and art. [/read]

[read more=”Arren_Bar-Even” less=”Arren_Bar-Even”]
Independent Research Group Leader (MPIMP) Systems and Synthetic Metabolism

Appointed by the President of the Max Planck Society Max Planck Independent Research Group Leader. He is the head of the Systems and Synthetic Metabolism lab at the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. He and his group study the biochemical logic and design principles of metabolic pathways and their applications in metabolic engineering of microbes. The group focuses on engineering synthetic alternatives to central metabolic pathways, aiming to uncover optimality in metabolic designs and to offer novel solutions for humanity’s needs in chemical and energy production. [/read]

[read more=”Christoph_von_Braun” less=”Christoph_von_Braun”]
General Manager of the Andrea von Braun Foundation (

Education: Law graduate from the Free University of Berlin; PhD in Space Law from the University of Freiburg, MSc in Technology Management from M.I.T. Professional Career: Consultant with Dorsch Consult Engineering in Munich, Germany; Corporate Planning Group, Siemens AG in Munich, Germany; Manager, Industry Analysis Dept. Siemens K.K. in Tokyo, Japan; Head of Technology Strategy, Research + Technology, Siemens AG; currently independent consultant and researcher in the areas of R&D, innovation, technology and organizational strategy, family businesses, and Japanese business issues; General Manager of Andrea von Braun Foundation for the promotion of interdisciplinary thinking and methods; Co-founder and Partner in creative photography Gallery f5.6, Munich.[/read]

[read more=”Joachim_Boldt” less=”Joachim_Boldt”]

Deputy Director at the Department of Medical Ethics and the History of Medicine, Freiburg University

Philosopher and bioethicist who has published widely on synthetic biology’s aspirations, models, metaphors and ethics during the last years. He is coordinator of the Forums für Ethik und Recht in der Medizin and also associated Member of Freiburg University’s Cluster of Excellence on Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS).[/read]

[read more=”Adriaan_Eeckels” less=”Adriaan_Eeckels”]
Spokesman of the European Commission – Joint Research Centre  (Scientific Development Unit)

He has been appointed by Directorate General of the European Commission, together with Dr. Jutta Thielen-del Pozo, to coordinate “Scientific Development Unit” at the EC Joint Research Center.[/read]

[read more=”Peter_Fratzl” less=”Peter_Fratzl”]

Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces

Peter Fratzl obtained his engineering diploma in Paris, completed his doctoral degree in physics in Vienna, and subsequently worked in the United Sates, the United Kingdom and in Germany. Fratzl then held a professorship in Loeben and worked as Director of the Erich Schmid Institute for Materials Science (Austrian Academy of Sciences), before switching to the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam where he is head of the biomaterials department. Peter Fratzl is a leading international representative of modern biomaterials research and he is an internationally recognised teacher.[/read]

[read more=”Detlev_Ganten” less=”Detlev_Ganten”]
World Health Summit – InterAcademy Partnership for Health

President of the World Health Summit, a specialist in pharmacology and molecular medicine, and one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of cardiovascular disease. He was President of the Helmholtz Association, a member of the National Ethics Council and chairman of the board of the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch. He has received many international awards for his work in research. [/read]

[read more=”Jens_Hauser” less=”Jens_Hauser”]

He is a Copenhagen and Paris based media-studies scholar and art curator focusing on the interactions between art and technology. He holds a dual research position at both the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies and at the Medical Museion at the University of Copenhagen, and is a distinguished affiliated faculty member of the Department of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University. Hauser is also a founding collaborator of the European culture channel ARTE. [/read]

[read more=”Bart_van_de_Laar” less=”Bart_van_de_Laar”]

Science LinX, University of Groningen

He has built a reputation as a no-nonsense innovation manager, making ideas real with high professionality and an open eye for the unconventional. He translates his strong belief in individual choice, learning and growing into key national and international projects. He initiated and directed Science LinX, the university of Groningen science center with a crossover outreach programme, for more than ten years. Now he leads the science and engineering programme team to prepare teaching and research at the University of Groningen Yantai (UGY), one of ten so-called joint campuses in China; degree programmes and research activities will start there in 2019. [/read]

[read more=”Reinhard_Lipowsky” less=”Reinhard_Lipowsky”]

Director of Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

Co-founded the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and head of the “Theory and Bio-Systems” department. He is also a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, honorary professor at the University of Potsdam and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as well as member of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) on “Multiscale Bio-Systems”. [/read]

[read more=”Roger_Malina” less=”Roger_Malina”]

UT Dallas, Leonardo

Physicist, editor and art-science researcher. He is a Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology at the University of Texas, Dallas where he is developing Art-Science R&D and Experimental publishing research. Former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence. Since 1982 he has been the Executive Editor of the Leonardo Publications at MIT Press.[/read]

[read more=”Agnes_Meyer-Brandis” less=”Agnes_Meyer-Brandis”]

Artist (

German artist based in Berlin. Her artistic research leans on the boundary between fiction and science, with a highly poetic approach. Meyer-Brandis’ artistic process is a cross between myth making, scientific research, and creating a platform for public discussion about attitudes towards the exploration of new worlds, either real or imaginative. [/read]

[read more=”Darian_Meacham” less=”Darian_Meacham”]

Deputy Director for Responsible Research and Innovation at BrisSynBio

Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE, Bristol) and researcher in philosophy and ethics at BrisSynBio. My main teaching and research interests are in political philosophy, philosophy of nature and bioethics. I am particularly interested in problems surrounding the concept of Europe and post-national political institutions (I am a lead on the Post-Europe Project), and the ethical and anthropological issues raised by the technological alteration of the human body and mind. At the most fundamental level I am interested in the relation between sense and nature.[/read]

[read more=”Heike_Catherina_Mertens” less=”Heike_Catherina_Mertens”]

Curator and managing director of the Schering Stiftung (

She studied art history, philosophy and sociology and after academic work in the field of contemporary art, she worked as a curator for public art from 2000 until 2007. In 2001, she founded stadtkunstprojekte, a Berlin-based association to promote urban public art. Since 2007, she is head of the cultural department of the Schering Stiftung. Alongside her work at the foundation, she regularly teaches at the Berlin University of the Arts and publishes books on contemporary art. She is also a member of the University Council (Hochschulrat) of the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, of the Board of Directors of the Association of German Foundations, of the board of trustees for the award of the KAIROS Prize and of the board of trustees of Common Purpose Berlin. [/read]

[read more=”Martina_Münch” less=”Martina_Münch”]

Brandenburg State Minister of Science, Research and Culture. (

Martina Münch studied medicine in Hamburg, London and the USA. In 1988, she promoted and then worked – until her move to Cottbus in 1995 – in neurology at the Rudolf-Virchow-Klinikum in Berlin. She has been a member of the SPD party since 1978. Her personal drive lead her to initiate “Cottbus Aufbruch”, a national “action alliance against violence, right-wing extremism and xenophobia”. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Einstein Foundation Berlin and MPIKG in Potsdam. [/read]

[read more=”Heleen_Mulder” less=”Heleen_Mulder”]

Project Manager, International Affairs of Groningen City Council. (

Heleen Mulder has worked for 13 years as staff coordinator for mayor and alderman of Groningen. She is currently working as project manager within the international affairs team for organizing and supervising foreign missions with an economic interest. She is an organizational talent with an eye for detail, respect for protocol and foreign use to achieve a professional result. [/read]

[read more=”Ingeborg_Reichle” less=”Ingeborg_Reichle”] 
Head of the Department of Cross-Disciplinary Strategies and Chair of the Department of Media Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna.

She studied art history, sociology, and archaeology at the University of Hamburg, and completed an MA (1998) and PhD (2004) in art history at Hamburg University and Humboldt University Berlin where she also gained her habiliatation in 2013. Before joining the faculty of the Department of Media Theory as full professor in 2016, she was FONTE professor at Humboldt University Berlin. She is a cultural theorist writing on contemporary art, new technologies and new media, with a focus on biotechnology and artificial life. [/read]

[read more=”Hans-Jörg_Rheinberger” less=”Hans-Jörg_Rheinberger”] 
Emeritus Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Director 1997-2014) Honorary professor for Wissenschaftsgeschichte, TU Berlin.

Hans Jörg Rheinberger has been a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and of the Collegium Helveticum in Zürich. He is honorary professor at the Institute for Philosophy and History of Science of the Technical University Berlin, a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences, a member of the Leopoldina, the German Academy of Natural Scientists, and a doctor honoris causa at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. [/read]

[read more=”Tom_Robinson” less=”Tom_Robinson”]

Independent Research Group Leader in “Biomicrofluidic systems” lab at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam.

He aims to better understand how cells are able to maintain and organise their various organelles. By creating these artificial biomimetic systems, we hope to gain valuable insights into how the early protocell was able to evolve into the true modern cell. He has studied at Imperial College London and has been Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ETH Zurich. [/read]

[read more=”Maximilian_Schich” less=”Maximilian_Schich”]

Associate professor for arts and technology at the University of Texas at Dallas and a founding member of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History.

His work converges hermeneutics, information visualization, computer science, and physics to understand art, history, and culture. His motivation is to harness and advance expertise in collaboration, to build and lead a group of researchers, to teach students, and to contribute within a team of teams. Maximilian is the first author of A Network Framework of Cultural History (Science Magazine, 2014) and a lead co-author of the animation Charting Culture (Nature video, 2014). He is an editorial advisor at Leonardo Journal, an editorial board member at Palgrave Communications (NPG), Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), and the Journal for Digital Art History. He publishes in multiple disciplines and speaks to translate his ideas to diverse audiences across academia and industry. [/read]

[read more=”Nathalie_Singer” less=”Nathalie_Singer”]

Vice-President Bauhaus-University, Weimar.

She studied Musicology, Communication and Psychology at the universities of Berlin and Paris. In 1995 she completed her Masters in Berlin in Modern Music and Sound Art. Since then she worked as writer, director and producer for German and French public radio stations, as a composer of radio drama, theatre and movie as well as a scientific writer on sound and radio art. Prof. Singer is the chair for Experimental Radio at the Bauhaus-University and she is part of the SNF-Sinergia project Radiophonic Cultures. Sonic environments and archives in hybrid media systems.

Her main focus has always been the creation of bridges between different countries as well as the artistic and sensual communication of new ideas by the use of diverse media. [/read]

[read more=”Otavio_Schipper_&_Sergio_Krakowski” less=”Otavio_Schipper_&_Sergio_Krakowski”]

Artist duo (

Brazilian Visual Artist Otavio Schipper and Musician Sergio Krakowski have been developing a unique artistic practice based on their scientific background and interest in diverse fields of knowledge. The artists have been using scientific research such as artificial intelligence, computational music theory, electronic engineering and neuroscience, to develop complex sound and light installations, leading the public into territories more closely associated with dream states and imagination dives. [/read]

[read more=”Volker_Stollorz” less=”Volker_Stollorz”]

CEO and Chief Editor of the Science Media Center Germany (

He studied biology and philosophy at the university of cologne. Now working at the interface between science, journalism and the public. He has written extensively about the life sciences and the unfolding public debates and covered the complex road of discovery and innovation in the field of biotechnology as a personal passion. A science journalist or editor since 1991 he has been involved in the birth of three major science sections in eminent national german weekly newpapers: DIE ZEIT (1992), DIE WOCHE (1993-1998) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (2001-2014). He is a member of the German Association of Science Journalists. [/read]

[read more=”Antje_Tepperwien” less=”Antje_Tepperwien”]

Head of “Persons and Structures” team at Volkswagen Stiftung

Antje Tepperwien studied History and Modern German Literature in Tübingen, Aix-en-Provence and Durham (UK). She moved from Tübingen to Marburg in 2003, where she completed her doctorate in the field of “Contemporary History”. In 2008, Antje Tepperwien moved to the Volkswagen Foundation, where she initially worked as Executive Assistant to the Secretary General. In February 2016, she took over the management of the “People and Structures” team in the funding department of the foundation.[/read]

[read more=”Alex_de_Vries” less=”Alex_de_Vries”]

Lecturer/Post-doc at Molecular Dynamics Group at University of Groningen.

Dr. de Vries works with a “Computational Microscope” that is able to visualize the motions of the molecules of life and their interactions with a model for biomolecular simulations – the so-called Martini model – using High Performance Computing. The group has contributed to a better understanding of how lipid membranes function, and how small molecules such as alcohols and sugars influence this function. They also study how membrane proteins move and assemble within the membrane, and have recently included DNA in our models. They see this simulation model as an aid to interpret results from experiments we perform in the lab given that the model provides detail well beyond the resolution of these experiments. [/read]

[read more=”Lothar_Willmitzer” less=”Lothar_Willmitzer”]

Director of Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology

Director and Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. He is also an active research Group Leader in the “Small Molecules” department. He has devoted himself to researching plant metabolism since many years and is one of the founding fathers of the research field known as metabolomics. [/read]

[read more=”Siegfried_Zielinski” less=”Siegfried_Zielinski”]

Rector University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe.

Chair: Media Theory (focus: Archaeology and Variantology of Media) at the Institute for time based media, Berlin University of Arts; Michel-Foucault-Professor for Techno-Culture and Media Archaeology at the European Graduate School Saas Fee (Switzerland); director of the International Vilém-Flusser-Archive at the University of Arts Berlin. Elected member of the Academy of Arts Berlin and the Academy of Sciences and Arts in Düsseldorf. [/read]




“Interdisciplinary encounters are particularly powerful to bridge the gap between disciplinary fields and provide a new look into scientific tasks and working methodologies”



Support for this conference is provided by the Max Planck Society, Schering Foundation and the contribution of the Wissenschaftspark Potsdam-Golm, ERES Stiftung and DAAD. In cooperation with the Max Planck Alumni Association, the Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences and Leonardo magazine.

A special thank to Alexandra Latnikova, Marco Camboni, Nadine Stolz, Afroditi Doriti and Andreas Stockhaus, without whom all of this would not have been possible.