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Screening Event: Areosphere and Atmosphere

from 8:30pm – midnight, January 25th 2011 at New Plymouth Observatory

The debut launch of ‘Areosphere and Atmosphere’ will take place as a late night screening event at the New Plymouth observatory, Marsland Hill, New Plymouth. A double video projection and an experimental sound composition will be played on the dome.

While we wait for darkness to fall, an open panel discussion between the artists Nina Czegledy and Janine Randerson and astronomers John Calcott and Paul Moss will take place. We will focus on the polar regions of Mars and Earth, from Science fiction imaginings to ‘terraforming’.

This event is open to the public, as well as New Plymouth Astronomical Society members and SCANZ artists-in-residence. Come along!

Biomodd Workshop – Angelo Vermeulen

Above a succinct summary of Angelo’s wider Biomodd work and concepts.

Workshop for 8-20 people
In the workshop participants will explore how to connect recycled and open source computer technology with the living environment. A series of second hand computers is disassembled, and new units and networks are being constructed in which diverse forms of small-scale biological life co-exist with the electronics. The participants are invited to come up with novel ways to make both worlds communicate through energy exchange, cooling mechanisms, simple sensors, etc. These hybrid systems are finally used for multiplayer gaming. Participants can learn how to graphically modify existing games, or bring their own software. The workshop draws upon the international Biomodd art project initiated in 2007. More info on the Biomodd community website.

Dates and times
18-21, 24, 25, 27, 28 January, 10am – 4pm, other times by arrangement.
Venue:  SCANZ Central – 109 Devon Street West (next to Kina).
You are welcome to drop by any time.

Tangible skills that participants will acquire: ecosystem building, computer recycling, case modding, open source software usage, game modification, energy management.

Want to participate?
Go to the registration page here [link removed post-event] and tick Biomodd under the ‘Workshops to be held Jan 17-29’ heading.

Result of the Biomodd Workshop at KIBLA in Maribor (Slovenia), 2010.

Testing and reconfiguring used computer parts during the Biomodd Workshop at KIBLA in Maribor (Slovenia), 2010.

Sampling local flora during the Biomodd (ATH1) project in Athens (Ohio), 2007.

Participant testimonies about the Biomodd (LBA2) project in the Philippines, 2009.

This is from an article that appeared on the Philippine ABS-CBN News website: “Leo Olivades, a student at UPOU, has been learning to grow plants with computers. He is part of a group of volunteers that built Biomodd, an art exhibit that uses recycled computers to power an ecosystem, on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila. At its core, Biomodd is a network of computers, the excess heat from which has been harnessed to sustain an ecosystem that includes plants and fish. The computers have been equipped with a game that visitors can play. The more the game is played, the more the computers are used, and the more robust the ecosystem grows. For Olivades, Biomodd is not just an art exhibit; it is an experience. “It has some kind of dynamic characteristic,” said Olivades. It sort of encourages people to come out of themselves.” Although he does not consider himself a ‘team player’, usually preferring to work alone, Olivades said that Biomodd changed his perspective on group cooperation. In a personal statement posted on the project website, Olivades notes that the Biomodd experience reminded him of the Filipino concept of ‘bayanihan’, the traditional idea of a volunteer community project.” Continue reading here for the full article.


Angelo Vermeulen is a visual artist, filmmaker, biologist, author, and activist. His research in ecology, environmental pollution and teratology informs his art, which includes bio installations, experimental setups incorporating living organisms and sci-fi references. His projects include ‘Blue Shift’, a Darwinian art project in collaboration with biologist Prof. Luc De Meester, and ‘Biomodd’, a worldwide series of cross-cultural, symbiotic installations fusing game culture, ecology and social interaction. He is currently collaborating with the European Space Agency on the use of ecosystems in future space settlement. Vermeulen exhibits and lectures globally. In 2010 he was awarded a TED Fellowship.

Adapting the worldscape of modernity to climate change — Ruth Irwin

It is well known that modern industrial “business as usual” is “very likely” (to use the IPCC’s technical term) to create a tipping point in the earth’s climate that will take us from the Holocene, through the Anthropocene and collapse to a new climatic Age altogether. This apocalyptic scenario is what Heidegger describes as the “proximity to the zone of nihilism”. Ironically, Heidegger regards this proximity as potentially the greatest possibility for transforming modernity towards a more authentic relation with the earth.

At present, enlightened knowledge is enframed by modern technology. Through mass production, storage, trade, and communication, the technological lens has both freed people from the constraints of their localised ecology, but also alienated us from the needs of the earth. The question to ask is whether all components of modern trade and its concurrent technologies are the problem. Trade, after all, has occurred for thousands of years without producing climate change. Is it the massive global population then, and the longevity made possible by modern medicine, that is overcoming the earth’s capacity for absorbing pollution and thus, exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet? Again, not necessarily, as several billion people manage to live on less than 2 tonnes of CO2e per annum. These people have access to some of the benefits of modernity; medicine for example, but not rampant consumerism. Herein lies the crux. Consumerism is based on the premise of profit and exponential economic growth. It is actively encouraged by nation states that have enshrined economic growth into their financial legislation. All of this is based on the “fractional” banking developed in the late 18th century.

Adaptation to climate change means rethinking the relationship between climate change, consumerism, the definition of wealth, and alienation from the earth. This cannot entail a return to some kind of romantic pastoralism, because the global population is too heavy for the horse and cart to manage. But embracing certain indigenous concepts of whenua, or the inextricable connection between the earth and the people, like a placenta or umbilical cord, could begin to dissolve the antithesis between the bulk of the global poor and the modern elite whose toxic emissions are causing calamity for us all.

Dr Ruth Irwin is a Senior Lecturer in ethics with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Business Studies. She did a double major in her undergraduate degree, in the History of culture contact, and Women’s Studies. Ruth has won the Commonwealth Scholarship, Bright Futures, Ryoichi Sasakawa, and William Georgetti Scholarships. Her research interests include Nietzsche, Heidegger, Deleuze and Guattari, and ecofeminism, modernity, and climate change. She engages with globalization, philosophy of economics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of technology. She is the author of three books and she has published journal articles and book chapters on Nietzsche, Heidegger, the critique of neoliberalism, philosophy of subjectivity, philosophy of education, philosophy of science and technology, globalisation, and the philosophical and cultural implications of climate change. Ruth Irwin is a foundational member of the Sustainability Research Group at AUT.

Thriving in a World of Complexity – using Living Systems Thinking

In this workshop we will question long held assumptions and knowledge about how we make things happen in complex environments, communities and organisations where things are seldom black and white.  That will involve us better understanding the nature of complexity itself, its networks, dynamics, ambiguities, patterns and how the new emerges within in it.   In this domain we need to be prepared to replace our simple and complicated “problem solving” and “change management” processes with more effective ways involving networks,  inter-dependence,  win-win alliances and telling new stories that lead us towards the long term outcomes we all seek – far beyond just today’s sustainability practices.

Living Systems Thinking is about taking lessons from nature and applying them (sometimes called Biomimicry).   The Tipu Ake ki te Ora Organic Leadership model (, the Cynefin Framework, a range of other participative exercises and fun will be used to help us do that.    Its all about growing team behaviours and organic  leadership that can exploit our collective wisdom and co-creative power.

Andree Mathieu and Peter Goldsbury – Educator, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada and Learning Facilitator, Strategic Expertise Ltd, NZ

Biophilia — Mike Dickison

Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard University entomologist, coined the term "biophilia", referring to humans' "love of living things" - our innate affinity with nature. Wilson describes biophilia as the "innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes."

Debate for and against the idea of biophilia and their implications can be seen in publications such as The Biophilia Hypothesis - A collection of invited papers supporting & refuting the biophilia hypothesis - edited by Kellert & Wilson

I’m interested in exploring the universality and common basis of our relationship with the environment. In particular, how do we reconcile our universal biophilia with the destructive effect we have on the natural world? I’m also interested in challenging idealised Western representations of indigenous peoples worldwide as ecological caretakers, and exploring how we can move beyond these simplistic binary oppositions to develop an environmental ethic for the 21st century.

Mike Dickison – My PhD training is in evolutionary biology, specialising in evolution of flightless birds, and the global history of extinction in general. I’ve also worked as a graphic designer and teach visual thinking techniques to scientists. PhD 2007 Duke University: The Allometry of Giant Flightless Birds. Currently employed as a learning advisor at the University of Canterbury. Commentary on science, matuaranga Maori, and the natural environment (in press) Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Toothbrushes of Perception

Mr. Blue Bristlebot

Mike Paulin Associate Professor of Zoology at Otago University will talk about the beginings of perception and the evolution of the first animals and nervous systems over 500 million years ago, relating this to emergent behaviour in simple robots. He is joined by robotics educator Andrew Hornblow to lead a bristlebot workshop where you can learn how to create a small fast moving robot. Suitable for children, youth and adults. Material fees to be announced. With thanks to
Previous Toothbrushes of Perception workshop at Greenbench

Part of the Open Workshop Day at Owae Marae in Waitara on Sunday 16th January. Start time 9am.

Call – Interpolar Pathways

:  an interdisciplinary evening of presentations on Arctic and Antarctic research

We invite participation in a discussion evening event exploring interdisciplinary and cross-cultural links between Arctic and Antarctic research.

The discussion will form part of the SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens symposium to be held at Owae Marae (Waitara, Taranaki, NZ). Presenters are welcomed to physically attend the symposium, or can present remotely.

Format — Remote and on-site 10–15 minute presentations (pre-recorded version requested)
When — January 15, 2011, 6pm New Zealand time (7am Finland time / 9pm, Jan 14th, PST)
Where — On-site: Owae Marae, Waitara, Taranaki. Remote: skype preferred, please discuss other.

Topics—The session aims to create dialogue between artists and scientists whose work has a focus on polar regions: to highlight the commonalities, differences and interrelatedness of their research and practices, and encourage unsuspected insights.

Presentations could encompass:

  • Global climate change, pollution, and ecosystems
  • Pathways between Arctic and Antarctic: e.g. global migrations, meteorology, food chains
  • What the poles represent to others: scientifically, politically, philosophically
  • Representation of the Arctic and the Antarctic: indigenous peoples, governments, NGOs, UN
  • People and the landscape

Proposal Contacts:
Please email us at:, with a proposal title and a few sentences to describe your interest in joining the dialogue of presentations.

Required by December 15th
in order to ensure appropriate presentation arrangements.

Project Partners:

  • Ars Bioarctica, Finnish biological arts organization,
  • Ramon Guardans, scientist/artist studying persistent organic pollutants,
  • Intercreate, the organisers of New Zealand’s SCANZ 2011 event,

Further information:

  • SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens event —
  • Ars Bioarctica —

Please forward as appropriate.


It takes many people to make an interesting, welcoming and thought-full symposium or public event to happen!

We would both welcome and wholeheartedly appreciate the help from local people or others who might be interested to get in the mix of this symposium and residency in some way.

Herebelow are some of the areas where we will really need some assistance in order to make the whole event run smoothly. Below that are the specific areas/roles where we are able to offer a discount on symposium fees.

Please do email us if any of these sound like you, or to go onto a list of people to contact as needs present themselves.


  • publicity wand wielders (online, needed pre-event/now)
  • social media network weavers (online, needed pre-event/now)
  • writers/media, journalists (online or print, needed pre-event/now)
  • pre-arrival enquiry helpers (by email, needed pre-event/jan)
  • car-pooling & transport connectors (online tools, needed pre-event/jan)
  • welcome package wizards (needed pre-event/jan)
  • registration desk charmers
  • presenter technical supporters
  • video journalists/documentors/creators
  • tea & coffee table minders
  • kitchen hands & corralers
  • workshop materials wranglers
  • cleaning/laundry orchestrator


  • publicity wand wielders (online, needed pre-event/now)
  • social media network weavers (online, needed pre-event/now)
  • writers/media, journalists (online or print, needed pre-event/now)
  • car-pooling & transport connector (online tools, needed pre-event/jan)
  • local city guides (The residency participants will have bikes.)
  • local people connectors (needed pre-event/jan)
  • welcome package wizards (needed pre-event/jan)
  • artist event support
  • van drivers
  • food organisers/corralers/inspirers
  • friendly faces!

… and many more we are sure!


Symposium Discounts

Until we get over a certain number of people to the symposium, we can’t give a huge or full discount to volunteers, but can at minimum provide that elusive ‘free lunch’, bringing a day visitor pass down to $45.

If you are not local to the event, here are some ideas for ways to get your marae accommodation covered ($56), in addition to the free lunch ($15) for volunteering:

  • be the car-pooling transport co-ordinator for a major city (online tools)
  • get networking and get 3 or more people along (full registrants or presenters, and ask them to state how they heard on the registration form).
  • network with food producers/sellers, to secure & organise food donations
  • be a van driver (must be mobile phone/textable)
  • be a presentation support technician (must know your way around computers, file formats, and presentation gear)
  • be a kitchen sous-chef (second in chain of command)
  • find and bring a portable cob oven (need to know by Dec 14)
  • Your suggestion here

So do get in touch with us as above if interested. Your input and ideas will be most welcome.

Pollinator Frocks Project – Karen Ingham

The Pollinator Frocks Project involves members of the public, garden lovers, and bees, butterflies, moths, flowers and plants. Frocks treated to attract pollinating insects are taken on walkabout around the city, parks and surrounds, and hung in Pukekura Park at night.


You are invited to participate:

Karen’s dresses will also be a part of the Festival of Lights events. Come and meet the artist and see her dresses on the below the dates. You might also spot her dresses hanging in the trees along the Festival of Lights walkway at night from 24-28 January.

Daywear for Butterflies

Daywear for Butterflies

Tuesday 18,  Thursday 20, Saturday 22 – 1pm – Meet at the Band Rotunda
If you see a lady covered in butterflies at the festival that will be Karen Ingham in her ‘Daywear for Butterflies’. Come and meet her and ask her about her dresses which are made to attract insects.

Evening wear for Moths

Tuesday 25,  Friday 28 – 8pm – Meet at the Band Rotunda
If you see a lady covered in moths at the festival that will be Karen Ingham in her ‘Evening wear for Moths’. Come and meet her and ask her about her dresses which are made to attract insects.

Fabric design 'Morning Glory, Blue Adonis and Southern Damselfly'

Karen Ingham is an artist, writer, and curator, and a Reader in Art and Science Interactions at Swansea Metropolitan University in the UK. She was born in England but now lives and works in Wales where she was awarded a PhD in 2006 with research into historical and contemporary arts and science collaborations in the anatomical theatre. She is the founder of the science, art and technology network SATnet and in 2009 and she was awarded a Major Creative Wales Arts Prize to develop new ideas around transience, synthesis and sustainability. Her work is internationally exhibited and disseminated and has been shown at the ICA London, the Berlin and Edinburgh Film Festivals, the Enter3 Festival Prague and The National Museum and Gallery of Wales amongst other venues.