Projects and Residencies

As a hybrid studio laboratory dedicated to enabling hands-on creative engagement with the tools and technologies of the life sciences, Coalesce sponsors several Biological Art residencies per academic year. Residents receive technical support and access to laboratory equipment, materials and supplies, and work closely with a scientific advisor.

Apply for Residency

Coalesce is accepting applications for residency though June 15, 2017.


Residency Application

With Lauren Sassoubre (Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering) and Solon Morse (GEM)

Nicole Clouston, "Soil"

The project takes soil as its medium, engaging the vast array of microbial life present within it and the ways in which we are connected to it. This project will involve filling a series of clear acrylic prisms with mud and nutrients: cellulose, sulphur and calcium carbonate. When exposed to light the microbial life already present — including bacteria, molds and yeasts — will flourish in varied sequence and different layers, creating vibrantly colored bands throughout the sculpture.

Clouston is a practice-based researcher currently completing her PhD in Visual Art at York University in Toronto.

With Heather Ochs-Balcom (Epidemiology and Environmental Health) and Tao Liu (Biochemistry)

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg and her DNA-derived self-portrait. Photo by Dan Phiffer.

SELL/BIO is a hybrid bioart/tactical media project investigating the transformation of human bodies into corporate profits, specifically the ethically controversial and largely unregulated practice of extracting and selling human DNA. By using the full arsenal of bioinformatics algorithms available today I intend to learn as much as I can about the individuals whose bodies are for sale and to visualize this by creating portraits of these people fabricated in their very own cells; using their commodified bodies as the very material of the portrait.

Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Echo the transgenic rat with Kathy High, from "Embracing Animal installation," 2004-06

With Elizabeth Wohlfert (Microbiology & Immunology) and Jeff Lackner (Behavioral Medicine)

The Gut Love project arises from questions concerning gut microbiota and the immune system. As a patient with Crohn’s disease, my interest in gut microbiota started with my own diseased body. The recent developments in medical research concerning this area create a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients, extending beyond our bodies to include ecological systems.

High is s an interdisciplinary artist and Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Documentation still from the show Donor Portraits © 2015 Nils Agdler

I intend to migrate, extend and transform “my” life, body and work beyond the limits of “myself” — essentially to become embodied artwork, to inhabit other non-human beings and forms, and to infiltrate the art world and its agents. My proposal is concerned with a radical human donation practice, i.e., the act of giving of “myself” to the world, on the premise of kinship and similarity between eukaryotes.

Menke is an artist, filmmaker and educator living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.

Gary Nickard, “Miller/Urey Redux”

With Dr. Katharina Dittmar (Biology)

Gary Nickard, “Miller/Urey Redux”

Gary Nickard is a conceptual artist committed to exploring the interstices between visual art and literature while engaging such diverse topics as science, philosophy, psychoanalysis and various historical knowledge systems. The aim of his project at Coalesce is to recreate the famous experiments of Harold Urey and Stanley Miller — in which many of the basic building block of life were synthesized using components of an early Earth atmosphere — but using gas mixtures typical in atmospheres more like that of other planets or their moons.

Gary Nickard is an artist/theorist and Clinical Associate Professor of Art at the University at Buffalo.

Zbigniew Oksiuta, “New Soil - New Building Material”

With Solon Morse (GEM)

Zbigniew Oksiuta, “New Soil - New Building Material”

The aim of this work is to create complex conditions and construct tools (bio-membranes, 3D Petri-Dish, bioreactors and mini biospheres) to generate biological experiences: the growth of living objects and spaces. The project for New Soil-New Building Material concentrates on the development of biologically active gels which are the growth medium and also the structural building material, strong enough to create 3D objects and membranes on a large scale. This substance is biologically active, and should enable cultivation of organisms on its surface and in its interior.

Zbigniew Oksiuta is a practicing artist/architect and lecturer at the Department of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Byron Rich and Mary Tsang, "Open Source Estrogen"

Byron Rich and Mary Tsang, "Open Source Estrogen"

Open Source Estrogen combines do-it-yourself science, body and gender politics, and ecological ramifications of the present. A form of biotechnical civil disobedience, the project aims to develop a system of DIY/DIWO protocols for the emancipation of the estrogen biomolecule, demonstrating the various ways that estrogen performs a molecular colonization on our society, bodies, and ecosystems.

Rich is a media artist and Assistant Professor of Art at Allegheny College. Tsang is an artist/biologist currently pursuing her masters in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT Media Lab.

Lucie Strecker and Klaus Spiess

Sigmund Freud Museum, London 2014 © Spiess/Strecker

With Marc Halfon (Biochemistry)

We develop a new experimental process, involving the provocative production of a semi-artificial, semi-natural being, with the equal treatment of apparatus, humans and non-humans. In Nicole C. Karafyllis’s terminology, the hybrid being that is to be created, whose ontological status alternates between animate and inanimate, can be described as a biofact.

Strecker is a performance artist and senior postdoc at the Art & Science department of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Spiess is a former endocrinologist and psychosomaticis now Head of Art & Science Program at the Medical University Vienna.

Paul Vanouse, “Labor”

With Gerald Koudelka (Biology)

Labor, concept collage showing twin fermenting bioreactors with t-shirt in aeration chamber, Vanouse, 2015.

Labor is an art installation that fills a gallery with the scent of people exerting themselves in stressful conditions. But there are no people involved in making the smell — it is created by bacteria breeding in two industrial fermenters at the center of the space. Each incubates a unique species of human skin bacteria responsible for the primary scent of sweat: Staphylococus epidermis and Propionibacterium. The project poetically reflects and interrogates industrial society’s shift from human and machine labor to increasingly pervasive forms of microbial manufacturing, and in this process contemplates the changing borders defining what is human.