20.09.2021 – 24.09.2021 Workshop

Starting-Workshop with Kat Austen, Johann Bauerfeind, Shuyun Liu, Dr Falko Matthes, Rebecca Ritter-Grießhammer and Andi Wagner in the BioLab as part of the “BurgLabs Herbstsession re-up”

New technologies make it possible to create living products. Integrating microorganisms into materials offers a seemingly inexhaustible potential. We want to discuss this using 3D bioprinting as an example.
With specially mixed substances, we make the mostly liquid or gelled habitat of microorganisms malleable and printable. Through the resulting possibilities, we will test product-like scenarios and thus question our relationship to living artifacts. In addition to experimental, manual extrusion, we will use the 3D paste printer to create objects and geometries.

The two-day workshop teaches the basics in the production of bioactive materials and their manipulation, an introduction to 3D printing of pasty substances – supported by Shuyun Liu, residency participant in the BioLab in the summer semester 2021 – and asks about the influence of the living on the form and the forming itself. Together we discuss how our everyday life could change in the future through living materials.


For Kate Osten, the question of how to organize and network knowledge was particularly relevant. New, speculative ways of working are to emerge from the collaborative networks that have been created.

To classify the type of interaction, she introduced the conceptual worlds of mutualism, parasitism and commensalism. She underlined her explanations with examples such as the Honeyseeker, a bird that shows people the way to honey, and mycorrhiza, a network of mycelium within tree roots, and repeatedly emphasised the power of agency. She also repeatedly made the connection of agents within local ecosystems to global micro plastic or climate change.

The next speaker Rebecca Grießhammer, a residency of the BioLab, gave an introduction to system theoretical considerations. These were accompanied by a collection of exciting actors in the field of BioDesign such as Neri Oxmann. The lecture was rounded off with a call for participation in an Obsidian and Github-based network for the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of BioDesign.

Before the participants could start working themselves, Johann Bauernfeind and Falko Matthes presented the basics of biotechnology and general rules of conduct.

Finally, Shuyun Liu presented a semester project in which a culture was shaped in agar-agar using electrospinning.

Afterwards, all participants received several flashcards on which bacteria and fungi were presented with their functions, habitats and reactive capacities. One of these was then to be embedded in an everyday function and thus replace conventional technology.

The participants spent the rest of the workshop working independently and were supported by the workshop leaders to the best of their abilities.
The results ranged from speculative ecosystems on floating rubbish platforms to a bacterial wrecking ball and material studies of alginate.

Thanks to:

Kat Austen
BURG BioLab: Dr. Falko Matthes, Johann Bauerfeind, Andi Wagner
Shuyun Liu
Rebecca Ritter-Grießhammer
text:Enrique Torres
project:mutual affairs