Art in the Age of Viral Infection Miniseries | Threads Across Time: BioArt, Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies (Artist: Anna Dumitriu)

The Media & Arts Speaker series at Duke Kunshan University is a bi-weekly event that invites leading practitioners in media and arts to speak about their work and practice and engage with our DKU community.

The third miniseries of talks looks at the intersection of pandemic, virology, disease and art, presenting three artists whose works inspect the delicate relationship between ourselves and the sicknesses that plague us, presenting their unique perspectives on wellness.

The lecture scheduled on Friday November 13th, 2020 at 6pm China Central time features the renowned UK bio artist Anna Dumitriu. This series is organized and hosted by Prof. Vivian Xu and Prof. Benjamin Bacon, and supported by Arts and Humanities and the Humanities Research Center at Duke Kunshan University. This event is open to the public.

Time: 11/13, Friday 6-7pm China Time

Location: Duke Kunshan Innovation Building 1046

Zoom: 262-835-7204

Plague Dress by Anna Dumitriu Contagious at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. Photo Fred Ernst.

Art in the Age of Viral Infection Miniseries:

  • 11/13 6-7pm  Threads Across Time: BioArt, Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies

Artist: Anna Dumitriu

  • 11/27 6-7pm   Proposal for Collaboration with Viral Entities

Artist: Pei-Ying Lin

  • 12/04 6-7pm  Ohh/Pff/Wow, Useless Body

Artist: Yiyun Chen

ArchaeaBot by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May in collaboration with scientist Amanda Wilson Imperial College Photo credit Vanessa Graf Ars Electronica 2018

Threads Across Time: BioArt, Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies

In Threads Across Time: BioArt, Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies, Anna Dumitriu will discuss the concepts and processes behind her artworks which explore infectious diseases, synthetic biology and genomics, and well as robotics, artificial intelligence and emerging digital technologies. Equally at home in bioscience and technology settings as the art studio, Dumitriu will discuss key past works including her “Plague Dress”, embedded with real plague DNA and artworks involving CRISPR genetic modification and antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, she will give an insight into new artworks created in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, including “Susceptible” which focusses on new innovations in global health and tuberculosis genomics, “Shielding” which looks at the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on victims of domestic abuse and is embedded with a SARS-CoV-2 RNA construct, and “Cyberspecies Proximity” a robotic artwork exploring how we will share future cities with intelligent robots. Her work is frequently inspired by the history behind research, situating contemporary issues within cultural contexts, weaving narratives and telling stories and drawing threads across time. She is currently developing new work around the “Collateral Effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Link to the videos:

Cyberspecies Proximity

Don’t Try This At Home


Biotechnology from the Blue Flower

Susceptible by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May image credit Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

About the Artist:

Anna Dumitriu Headshot credit Anna Dumitriu

Anna Dumitriu (1969) is an award winning internationally renowned British artist who works with BioArt, sculpture, installation, and digital media to explore our relationship to infectious diseases, synthetic biology and robotics. Past exhibitions include ZKM, Ars Electronica, BOZAR, The Picasso Museum, HeK Basel, Science Gallery Detroit, MOCA Taipei, LABoral, Art Laboratory Berlin, and Eden Project. She holds visiting research fellowships at the University of Hertfordshire, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Waag Society, as well as artist-in-residence roles with the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at the University of Oxford, and with the National Collection of Type Cultures at Public Health England. She was the 2018 President of the Science and the Arts Section of the British Science Association. Her work has featured in many significant publications including Frieze, Artforum International Magazine, Leonardo Journal, The Art Newspaper, Nature and The Lancet. Current collaborations include the Institute of Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology at BOKU – Universität für Bodenkultur in Vienna, the EU H2020 CHIC Consortium, the University of Leeds and the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells at HelmholtzZentrum in München.