Sculpture Factory

Quayola (IT), 2016

A robotic milling machine becomes a sculptor’s apprentice that turns out art in serial production. Sculpture Factory is a contemporary take on Michelangelo’s “non-finito”, and like the uncompleted originals, these works are unfinished too.

Courtesy of Quayola and bitforms gallery. Sculpture Factory is an ongoing project developed with the technical support of DARLab from London Southbank University, QD-Robotics, Kuka and Autodesk Delcam.

Sculpture Factory

Photo credit: Quayola

Face Cartography, creating new Identities

Daniel Boschung (CH), 2011-present

How do people perceive images produced by machine? With the help of a robot arm, Daniel Boschung maps faces. 600 macro-images are assembled to form these ultra-high-definition portraits. Due to their sharpness, they come across as irritating and excessively close-up. Perception vacillates between instinct and rationality.

Face Cartography

Photo credit: Tom Mesic

Environment Dress 2.0

uh513: María Castellanos (ES), Alberto Valverde (ES), 2015

Noise, temperature, air pressure, ultraviolet radiation, carbon monoxide level—we live amidst pollutants and other factors that influence our daily life. Environment Dress 2.0 consists of garments that collect information about the wearer’s immediate surroundings, visualize the data and make them available via app.

Project created thanks to the prize Next Things 2015-Conducta. Joint call of LABoral Centro de Arte and Telefónica I+D

Environment Dress 2.0

Photo credit: María Castellanos, Alberto Valverde

The Free Universal Construction Kit

Golan Levin (US), Shawn Sims (US), 2012

This is an array of adapters that enable users to interlock pieces from the 10 most popular toy construction kits. It thus makes possible completely new forms of exchange involving what were previously discrete, closed systems. This encourages the implementation of new ideas as well as a process of reflection about the relationship between human beings and mass culture.

Released by Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab and Synaptic Lab

The Free Universal Construction Kit

Photo credit: Golan Levin and Shawn Sims

Instruments of the Afterlife

Michael Burton (UK), Michiko Nitta (JP), 2015

With the help of plants and genetically engineered bacteria, these (musical) instruments transform toxic substances into valuable materials. Each instrument has been specially developed for a particular soil contaminant. This is a way to clean up zones that have been polluted by industry, warfare or electronic waste. The piece responds to the scientific research, ‘Cleaning Land for Wealth’ (CL4W), funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and supported by Creative Outreach Resource Efficiency (CORE) at Loughborough University. The project involves science teams from universities at Birmingham, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Newcastle & Warwick.

Instruments of the Afterlife

Photo credit: Lenka Rayn H.


Teresa Dillon (IE), Naomi Griffin-Murtagh (IE), Claire Dempsey (IE) , Aisling McCrudden (IE), 2013

A cow as a living producer of pharmaceuticals? Human saliva contains a substance that relieves pain very effectively. The gene that produces this substance is isolated and then implanted into the fertilized ovum of a dairy cow. The outcome of this pregnancy is a calf that, as an adult cow, gives pain-relieving milk: Opimilk.


Photo credit: Tom Mesic

Common Flowers / Flower Commons

BCL: Georg Tremmel (AT/JP), Shiho Fukuhara (JP), 2008

“Moondust” was the first genetically modified flower to hit the retail market. These blue poppies were purchased by the artists, who then used them to cultivate new flowers that they, in turn, planted in the wild. Thus, this flower is now common property available in the public domain. What has been created is a free space—a sort of floral allmende—is thereby created for them to grow wild and thrive for the benefit of the public at large.

Common Flowers

Photo credit: Martin Hieslmair


Nick Ervinck (BE), 2009-2010

The artist modeled AGRIEBORZ on medical handbooks’ depictions of parts of the human body—muscle groups, nerve networks and the circulatory system. The works thus not only allude to the increasing trend of integrating technology into the human body; they also play with the fascinating possibility of using living tissue as technical material.



Photo credit: Nick Ervinck


Nick Ervinck (BE), 2009

Inspired by Chinese rock formations, IKRAUSIM resembles a skeleton. A “dead” abstract structure is brought to life by an organic, flowing texture. The work exists as a 2-D printout, a 3-D printout, a digitally animated film and stills from that film. Each medium opens up another perspective.


Photo credit: Nick Ervinck

Teacup Tools

Agnes Meyer-Brandis (DE), 2014-present

The tea is infused using everything that falls from the sky: leaves, dust, rain. Measuring instruments in and on the teacups emit heat to brew the tea. Information in the tiny clouds of steam rising from the concoction are likewise registered by the measuring equipment. The result is an endless loop, and environmental data thus gathered can be sipped as a cup of tea.

The project was produced in the scope of the “Climate Whirl Project”, a collaboration by the Department of Forest Sciences, the Department of Physics (University of Helsinki) and Capsula. Supported by Kone Foundation and the ResearchRaft for Art and subjective Science.

Tea Cup Tools

Photo credit: VG Bildkunst

Human Study #1, 3RNP

Patrick Tresset (FR/UK), 2012-present

The three drawing robots named Paul-XI.a, .b and .c have old school desks for bodies and webcams for eyes. The subjects sitting for portraits are observed both by the robots and by the audience. For the robots, each individual is merely the object of a study; for the audience, they are nothing more than one of four actors in a brief theatrical scene.

Human Study #1

Photo credit: Patrick Tresset

Balance From Within

Jacob Tonski (US), 2012

A sophisticated mechanism balances a 170-year-old sofa on only one leg. It’s constantly in danger of losing its balance and crashing to the floor. It reacts to externally applied forces by means of internal compensatory maneuvers. In robotics, high priority has been given to development of control systems to maintain and restore equilibrium.

Balance from within

Photo credit: Florian Voggeneder


Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT): Hideaki Ogawa, Matthew Gardiner, My Trinh Gardiner, Christopher Lindinger, Emiko Ogawa, Roland Haring, 2010-present

A switch is a simple interface that’s used to jump from one state into another. For SWITCH, two pictures are created—one for ON, one for OFF. A sensor that reacts to motion, sound, brightness or temperature toggles between the two images. Exhibition visitors are cordially invited to give their input to ON/OFF.


Photo credit: rubra

INAPRO Innovative Aquaponics for Professional Application

IGB–Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (DE), 2016

Aquaponics combines the cultivation of fish and plants in a closed cycle. The water the fish live in provides nutrients for the plants; the plants filter the water for the fish. INAPRO makes a nutritional solution available to the plants as required, and returns the collected plant condensate back to the fish cycle.


Photo credit:

bioMASON Biocement Masonry

bioMASON (US), 2012-present

Bricks are used in over 80% of all construction projects worldwide. Conventional bricks are made by firing, a process that requires a lot of energy and emits much CO2. In bioMASON, bricks made of sand are hardened with the help of bacteria.


Photo credit:

Rare Earthenware

Black stoneware and radioactive mine tailings, Unknown Fields Division (UK/AU), 2015

Rare earths are essential to the production of electronic devices and other technologies. This film traces rare earths’ path back to a radioactive lake. Mud from the lakebed is formed into three vases, whereby each one contains precisely as much toxic material as results from the production of a smartphone, a laptop or a car battery.

Commissioned by The Victoria and Albert Museum Unknown Fields in partnership with the Architectural Association Film and Photography in collaboration with Toby Smith, Ceramics work in collaboration with the London Sculpture Workshop, Animation assistance from Christina Varvia.

Rare Earthenware

Photo credit: Toby Smith / Unknown Fields

“The Culture” series

Afroditi Psarra (GR), Dafni Papadopoulou (GR), 2014-2016

These wearables—computer systems that are attached to the user’s body while they’re in operation—behave like sensitive organisms. They react to their wearer’s actions and physical state with slight movements. They were inspired by clothing and jewelry in the science-fiction novels of Iain M. Banks.

The Culture series

Photo credit: Afroditi Psarra, Dafni Papadopoulou

Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc

Jennifer Lyn Morone (US), 2014-present

The natural person named Jennifer Lyn Morone markets herself as a registered corporation, Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc. that exploits and sells past experiences and current potential (genes, work, creativity, blood, sweat and tears), future potential, and all data yielded by her quantified life.

Jennifer Lyn Morone

Photo credit: Jennifer Lyn Morone

Silk Leaf

Julian Melchiorri (IT/UK), 2014

Inspired by natural mechanisms and physical phenomena, Julian Melchiorri (IT/UK) conducted laboratory experiments in order to explore the potential for making materials that photosynthesize, and their possible applications. Silk Leaf is the first result of this research. It is a modular device that photosynthesizes, made of a biological material mostly composed of silk protein and chloroplasts.

Silk Leaf

Photo credit: Julian Melchiorri


Mind the Scrap

Certain Measures: Tobias Nolte (DE), Andrew Witt (US), Michael Degen (US), Jason Tucker (US)
Sound Design: Simon Epstein (UK)
With support from Forecast Platform

Instead of the laborious task of recycling construction rubble, Mine the Scrap finds a new use for even the tiniest part. The software scans the material and calculates how these pieces could be combined into a new form.


Photo credit: Certain Measures, LLC

The Wiltshire Chair

Gavin Munro (UK)

Gavin Munro lets his chairs grow right in the garden, and totally dispenses with glue and screws in the process. With the help of traditional craftsmen’s techniques and modern computer simulations, he brings forth young sprouts shaped like pieces of furniture. After three to four years, the finished furniture can be harvested.


Photo credit: Gavin Munro

Sammy P.

Istituto Europeo di Design – IED (IT): Cesare Griffa (Master coordinator) with Mohamed Awaty, Victória Calil Barriatto, Anirudh Datta, Giulia Del Din, Samuel Fiolis, Riccardo Rigo (students), 2016
Teaching staff: Marco Caprani, Andrea Graziano, Stefano Paradiso, Fabrizio Alessio, Giacomo Leonzi, Tibor Antony
Partners: Officine Arduino, Arup

Performing photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into glucose and oxygen. The system entitled Sammy P. combines various technologies to cultivate special high-photosynthetic plants. And not only do these micro-algae bind a disproportionately large amount of CO2; they’re also a tasty vegetarian source of protein.


Photo credit: Istituto Europeo di Design – IED


YQP: Maximilian Hoch (DE), Florian Dohmann (DE), Manuel Urbanke (DE), 2014

A prospective future scenario envisions day-to-day business transactions involving our data—a supermarket in which customers can pay only with their personal Facebook data. No cash. No credit cards. No checks. Just data. Special thanks to Anita Hass store, Jana Koeder, Charlotte Kehl, Daniel Freitag and Katia Flouest-Sell


Photo credit: YQP – Maximilian Hoch, Manuel Urbanke, Florian Dohmann

5 Mètres 80


A herd of giraffes embarks on a sequence of high-flying acrobatic dives. One after the other, the giraffes dynamically execute the most awesome rotations and twists before knifing perfectly into the water of the Olympic-size indoor swimming pool. The absurdity of the situation comes as a surprise, and then quickly dissolves to make room for a healthy dose of humor.

5 Metres 80 Deveaux

Photo Credit: Nicolas Deveaux


Human Sound Factor

Karl Julian Schmidinger (AT), Joschi Viteka (AT), 2016

The objects on display are represented in the soundscapes by familiar musical sequences and embedded in atmospheric tonal imagery. The styles of the symbolic passages range throughout musical history from the time of Michelangelo, through the Industrial Revolution, to the New Music of the 20th century.



Florina Costamoling (AT), 2016

With every step we take, we slightly change our environment. But the traces that individual human beings leave behind are not what endures; their totality is what constitute the Human Factor.


As Time flies by

Ars Electronica (AT), Maria Pfeifer (AT), MOOI OG (AT), 2016

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton, 1676

For which manmade problems do we seek solutions? How is humankind configuring the world? What does progress actually mean and what influence do creativity, flexibility and the spirit of cooperation have on innovation? The Human Factor Timeline includes historical phenomena, discoveries and developments that have led up to the works on exhibit. It offers examples of artistic and scientific inventions that have changed the lives of human beings up to this day, showing how prototypes have become common, everyday objects and how industry also makes an impact on art and society.


STARTS: Science, Technology und ARTS.

Appointed by the European Commission, Ars Electronica has launched a prize to select the most pioneering collaborations and results in the field of creativity and innovation at the nexus of science and technology with the arts. A selection of prizewinning and nominated projects is presented in the exhibition.