Viral Life

Norwegian Bioart Arena Symposium
Artist Talk
Viral Life
Norwegian BioArt Arena (NOBA)
Watch Symposium

Unraveling: Material Artifacts & Poetic Subjectivities of The Biotechnological Landscape

Presented by Vitenparken Ås

Norwegian Bioart Arena (NOBA) Symposium: Viral Life
November 17, 2020

Viral Life Symposium Live Stream Recording, November 17, 2020 (Laura Splan’s presentation starts at 6:31:06)

Symposium Viral Life

Across the globe, our human bodies, emotions, values, politics, systems and insights have been shaken, stirred, tested, in some cases ruined, in other cases moved by the recent impact of one small virus. We see the continued need to process the changes that are taking place, whilst forging new bonds and inspiring wide outlooks in order to proceed fruitfully into the unknown territory of post-corona society. The virus gives us a chance to reassess, rethink and to make new sense(s) of the world we inhabit together, with all its varied species and networks.

The second NOBA – Norwegian Bioart Arena – symposium, Viral Life, offers a space in which to discuss the situation we are currently in across perspectives and disciplinary boundaries, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from the global to the close at hand. We will host a local audience and some on-campus speakers, whilst inviting a global audience and including international keynote speakers that will give virtual (yet live and interactive) talks. The day will be concluded by an alternative “cook-along” symposium dinner with chef Haffi (previously of Noma and Vaaghals). The topics up for discussion during Viral Life include Ecological connections, contagion, contamination, Susceptibility and resistance, Body hacking and posthumanism, WET labs, WET markets, WETware, Life-death, sorrow and new ways of mourning.

Due to covid-19 restrictions, the symposium is completely digital and will be streamed on an innovative digital platform from Vitenparken Campus Ås.



  • Anna Dumitriu: Art and the Impact of Infectious Disease
  • Luís Graça & Marta de Menezes: Adaptive Responses
  • Dag-Ragnar Blystad: Can Plant Viruses Give Their Hosts Ornamental Value?
  • Heather Dewey-Hagborg: Lovesick: Biotechnology and Intimacy

Bioart Presenters

Laura Splan, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Anna Dumitriu, Dag-Ragnar Blystad, Luís Graça & Marta de Menezes, Cammack Lindsey, Hanna Halsebakke, Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen, Sara Worgan, Pei-Ying Lin, Gavin Vaughan, Roland van Dierendonck, Ziwei Wu & Lingdong Huang. Introduction by Solveig Arnesen, Director of Vitenparken. Moderated by Nora Vaage.

About NOBA

Norwegian BioArt Arena, NOBA, is a project by Vitenparken Ås. We are the first permanent arena for BioArt in Norway. NOBA combines art, research-based knowledge, critical thinking and new technology with the aim of stimulating increased awareness of our living environment, biology and sustainability.

What is bioart?

As arena we wish to explore what bioart is and can be. We define bioart as an umbrella term for a broad range of art forms that engage critically with biology, and concepts and relations in flux due to bioscientific research. Bioartists mix artistic and scientific processes, methods,approaches and tools, and artworks are often created in between the field, the studio and the laboratory.

Through these processes and connections bioart delivers social and political critique, poses questions about the role of science in society, engages societal actors in bioscientific innovation, stimulates dialogue, and challenges our relationship with the living world that surrounds us.