27/06–08/08/2024
Roots & Wires: Merle Bergers, Maria Castellanos, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Lerin/Hystad, Špela Petrič. Curator Katažyna Jankovska

On the 27th June 2024 a group exhibition ‘Roots & Wires’ will be opened ar Atletika gallery, featuring works by artists Merle Bergers, Maria Castellanos, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Lerin/Hystad, Špela Petrič, curated by Katažyna Jankovska.


A cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms

(Richard Brautigan, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”, 1967)

Due to our limited sensory perception, we were never able to connect with plants. We can’t perceive their movements and behaviors, which happen on a different timescale, nor can we detect their chemical and electrical signaling. But technology can. That is why we rely on technological devices, operating as our sensory prostheses, to mediate between the human and plant, and reveal their true nature.

Since the 1970s, artists have been connecting plants with technological systems, creating new hybrid forms of intelligence. Plants were recognized as “analog electrical computers” capable of transferring information over long distances and acting as natural sensors that detect changes in the environment. This has inspired new computer, robot, and network designs, moving beyond electronic systems and silicon chips to hybrid plant-machines. Now that we design artificial intelligence largely aimed at replicating human-level intelligence, could we use plants’ methods of collective decision-making, information processing, and resource distribution (such as the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants), to feed data-hungry machine-learning algorithms? As James Bridle asks, what would an AI modeled after a forest look like?

From AI systems analyzing plant behavior to bio-hybrid installations revealing their sensory abilities, the Roots x Wires exhibition presents experimental artistic works that playfully explore alternative relationships with plants. Rather than seeking to exploit technology for productivity, these works bridge the gap between the human and plant worlds, revealing a hidden dimension. What if we could decode the hidden messages in plant-fungi conversations? What happens when plants communicate at a distance connected by the Internet? What if we build machines sole purpose of which is to play with plants?

Artists – Merle Bergers, Maria Castellanos, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Lerin/Hystad, Špela Petrič
Curator – Katažyna Jankovska
Design – Ringailė Demšytė
Technical manager – Merkys Žebrauskas

Opening and tour with the curator – 27/06/2024, 7 pm. 

Exhibition dates & times: 28/06/2024 – 08/08/2024, Wednesdays to Fridays 4 – 8 pm.
Closing event with artists – 08/08/2024
Address: Atletika gallery, Vitebsko 21, Vilnius. Free entry to all events and exhibition, no registration needed.

Organised by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association (LIAA). LIAA activities are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality.
The exhibition is partly sponsored by the Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), Swedish Arts Grants Committee. 

 

Biographies

Lerin/Hystad is a Swedish/Norwegian art and music duo that consists of Simon Torssell Lerin and Bettina Hvidevold Hystad. Since 2010, they have been working at the intersection of visual art and experimental music. Lerin/Hystad are both educated at Konstfack and the Royal Konsthögskolan in Stockholm, as well as at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bergen, Norway. The duo has participated in a number of individual and group exhibitions internationally. Lerin/Hystad are also active as musicians and have toured in Europe, China, and Japan.

Špela Petrič is a Slovenian new media artist with a background in the natural sciences. Her artistic practice combines bio-media practices and performativity to enact strange relations between bodies that reveal the underpinnings of our (bio)technological societies and propose alternatives. Petrič has received several awards, such as the White Aphroid for outstanding artistic achievement (Slovenia), the Bioart and Design Award (Netherlands), and an Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).

Mindaugas Gapševičius explores the intricate relationship between non-human entities and human creativity alongside humanity’s environmental impact. He holds an MA from the Vilnius Academy of Arts (1999), an MPhil from Goldsmiths University of London (2016), and a PhD from Bauhaus University Weimar (2022). Since 2015, he has been an artistic associate at Bauhaus University Weimar, later becoming a research fellow in 2022. He co-founded Institutio Media, Lithuania’s leading media art platform, in 1998, and Migrating Art Academies, supporting emerging artists across Europe from 2008 to 2017. In 2016, he helped establish Berlin’s first TOP community biolaboratory. In 2019, Gapševičius founded Alt lab, a Vilnius-based hub for interdisciplinary research, and in 2024, he launched the Centre for Non-machines Research in Athens, demonstrating his dedication to pioneering exploration.

María Castellanos is an artist and researcher working at the intersection of art, science, technology, and society. She is currently a postdoc researcher at Oslo Metropolitan University in the framework of the FeLT Project–Futures of Living Technologies. Her artistic practice focuses primarily on research about human sensory boundaries and the creation of complex systems that promote communication and understanding between humans and nonhuman beings.

Merle Bergers is a Dutch designer and founder of Lingua Planta. During her studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven, she developed a particular interest in plants and fragrances. Inspired by the work of forester and ecologist Peter Wohlleben and writer and biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer, she began to study the communication of plants through odors. Lingua Planta is the result of this research and combines Bergers’ interest in nature with her aesthetic vision.

Katažyna Jankovska is a curator, writer, and researcher currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and theory from Vilnius Art Academy and a master’s in Arts, Culture, and Society from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her scholarly and curatorial interests focus on ever-evolving relationships between humans, machines, and natural systems. She is interested in experimental art forms exploring sensory perception, digital culture, and the influence of technology on contemporary society. She uses a range of methods, including writing, programs, exhibitions, and publishing.

Exhibition brochure