Biophilia – Biology for Artists

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Call for applications. Deadline March 3rd.

Biolophilia is the urge to affiliate with other living forces. The term literally means the love of life or living systems.

Biophilia is a residency for Canadian and international artists interested in ecology, nature and life sciences to study, research and experience themes of interacting with the living natural world. It will take place over a week in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada in the spring 2015. The residency will facilitate daily excursions into natural habitats for collection of materials, exploration of and production within a wide range of Canadian wildlife. Daily expeditions into forests, wildlife sanctuaries, farms and research labs will be enriched by biologists, naturalists and experts.

Ayatana workshops focus on experience, research and brainstorming by visual and conceptual artists. Writers, poets, musicians and dancers are also invited to apply. Preference will be given to artists working with natural materials, bio art, performance, intervention, site specific installation, interactive or nomadic work, interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Although it is not necessary for a resident to produce work during the program, collaboration with each other and the non-artist community of biologists and nature observers is encouraged. All participants will be invited to give a short public artist talk, and to contribute to the residency catalogue. It is hoped that the residency will facilitate connection between participants and lead to collaborations or international shows.

The organizers are looking for adventurous artists with enthusiasm for daily brainstorming and creation and a willingness to share the development of early-stage work with a small group. Like-minded artists will be grouped together to encourage collaboration and skill share. The workshop will instigate the experimentation and sharing of new materials and artistic ideas in a supportive, analytical and critical context.



Hike and forage with a mushroom expert in the Gatineau forest: Residents will be invited to step off the path to experience making decisions with intuition and their senses to see, smell and taste the forest from a new perspective. Guided by a mycology expert the goal of this walk will be to appreciate and be inspired by the wild life with an emphasis on wild mushrooms. While enjoying the forest and collecting natural materials you will learn about the life cycles of mushrooms and some of their practical uses and industrial applications, including dye and ink making and print making.

Dinner with foraged wild mushrooms depending on what the group found that day.

Sterile technique workshop:

During a demonstration of sterile tek for home biology experiments, grain with bioluminescent mushrooms will be inoculated for residents to grow at home.


Guided tour of the frogs, snakes and turtles of the Ottawa Valley. Visit from Reptiles Rock, Ottawa’s Herpetological Center.


The Ottawa area is covered in lush trees. Be guided by local arborist in the magic of local trees and plants on a hike through the forest.


According to physics, bee flight is impossible. Still, we will visit a honey farm to witness the magic of bees. A moth lure with UV light will be set up to observe the local moths.


Learn about wild bird rehabilitation and the natural history of the birds of Canada and the magic of feathers through a guided tour of the Wild Bird Sanctuary. An up close look at ostriches, emu, peacocks, turkeys, ducks, geese and some other favorites of this local farmer and bird lover.

Local University Laboratory:

A guided visit to the Andrew Pelling Research Laboratory for Biophysical Manipulation to learn about synthetic biology. Residents will get expirience with lab equipment and working with human HeLa cells.


Residents will be picked up in Ottawa, Canada and driven to the residency house where you will stay in the small town of Wakefield in Quebec. The culturally vibrant town, surrounded by mountains is nestled between the Gatineau Provincial Park and the Gatineau River and is home to many scientists and artists.


Residency places are limited to 6 artists. Official invites will be given to accepted applicants to help in the procuration of grants and funding.

What is included: 

  • Accommodation with bedding in the Birch and Pine Ranch. Indoor and outdoor work spaces
  • All activities
  • Ground travel to all activities
  • Most meals will be provided, cooked by the resident chef. *Residents will be responsible for paying for their own meals from restaurants
  • Workshops by members of local community
  • Introductions to sites and contexts
  • Facilitators / production assistants
  • Participation in residency catalogue

How to apply

Send the following material to ArtLovesScience [at] gmail [dot] com (digitalucid [at] gmail [dot] com) before March 3rd 2015
  1. Artist CV
  2. Artist statement (about 200 words)
  3. Ayatana form
  4. Portfolio 5 – 10 images

More info:


Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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