Seven Approaches to Eco-social Renewal Participants

Akwasi Bediako Afrane

Akwasi Bediako Afrane (b. 1990) is a Ghanaian artist living and working in Kumasi, Ghana. His works explore the idea of augmentation and extensions between technological gadgets and humans. He works with discarded electronic gadgets which he refers to as “amputees”, refashioning and repurposing them into machines and micro-organisms he describes as “TRONS”. These TRONS become potential platforms and media for reflection, engagement and interactions. Stripped bare of their familiar housing, the TRONS become mechanical gizmos subsumed with the consciousness of previous owners of these gadgets and himself.

(photo: Afia Asare)

Anne-Sofie Belling

Anne-Sofie Belling is a designer/technologist who interrogates design futures through practice-based and speculative design research. Her research often focuses on extending human somatic relations and experiences with other-than-humans through emerging technology interventions. She is currently studying a PhD at the HBBE, where she is examining the more-than-human relations of transplanetary imaginaries and off-Earth habitats through practice-based design research.

Portrait of Jan Boelen
Jan Boelen

Jan Boelen is a curator of design, architecture, and contemporary art. He is artistic director of Atelier Luma, an experimental laboratory for design in Arles, France. Boelen studied Product Design at the Media & Design Academy in Genk and is the founder and former artistic director of Z33 – House for contemporary art in Hasselt, Belgium. He was curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in Istanbul (2018) and initiated Manifesta 9 in Belgium (2012). Over the years he has been fashioning projects and exhibitions that encourage the visitor to look at everyday objects in a novel manner. Boelen recently edited Social Matter, Social Design: For Good or Bad, all Design in Social (Valiz, 2020), and his writing addresses the implications of design in everyday life, and how artistic practices shape the discipline. 


(Photo: Veerle Frissen)

Bea Delgado Corrales

Bea Delgado Corrales is an environmental microbiologist interested in finding new microbial species through bioinformatics and new DNA sequencing technologies and she is now focused on characterizing the built environment microbiome. During her PhD at the HBBE, she wants to explore the possibility of using the microbial distribution in our homes to promote a healthier environment through building design and other strategies.

Lena Geerts Danau

Lena Geerts Danau is an energetic and curious research architect who engages with political, environmental and planetary issues in a focused and skilful way. Her work has been exhibited among others, at Radialsystem (Berlin), De Gistfabriek (Wijnegem), ZKM (Karlsruhe), and Silent Green (Berlin). While she mainly thinks conceptually via research and design, she loves working with her hands.
Originally she comes from Antwerp, where she also completed her bachelor degree in Architecture. During her Masters, she explored the architectural field at the Bergen Arkitektur hogskole (Norway) and finished her degree at the Royal College of Art (London). In her Master thesis, Lena investigated fluid border situations and investigated the potential of digital environments as a new mode of representation. After working experiences in the architectural field at B-architecten and urbanist/researcher at Maat-ontwerpers, she is now working with Tick Tack gallery, as a carpenter for Studio Bonne, and as part of alternaa – a collective established with Andra Pop-Jurj.

Mang Dian

Mang Dian is an environmental activist that works with the river, waste management and urban farming in Bandung, Indonesia together with Cikapundung Community, Karang Taruna, dan PHL BBWS Citarum. He is now the director of Masagi Community and head of the neighbourhood 04 Cibogo, Bandung. He runs and manages his urban farming activity at his small garden called Urban Organik Farm at Cibogo, Bandung.

Sarah Donderer

Sarah Donderer is a curator focusing on the intersections of art, science and technology. After studying art history and sociology in Munich, she worked as a coordinator and curatorial assistant at Kunstverein München and completed her academic traineeship at Deichtorhallen Hamburg. She has been involved in various exhibitions and art projects among others at the design museum Die Neue Sammlung in the Pinaktothek der Moderne in Munich and the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden. Since 2020 she has been holding the position of a curator at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and has co-curated and co-coordinated the digital opening festival of the scientific and artistic collaboration project Driving the Human. 


(photo: Felix Gruenschloss)

Xandra van der Eijk

Xandra van der Eijk is a Dutch artist and designer connecting art, ecology, and activism. Graduated from the Interfaculty ArtScience (MA) at the Royal Conservatory, after graduating from Graphic Design (BA) at the Royal Academy of Art, Van der Eijk has developed a distinct research methodology demonstrated in a broad body of work. Incorporating theory, fieldwork, documentation methods and material development in her practice, she re-interprets the landscape from an anti-anthropocentric view. Each of her projects deals with a key ecological issue, and how it is exposed by the passing of time. Van der Eijks work has been nominated and awarded multiple times and is extensively exhibited throughout the world. Her work extends through lectures, workshops, writings and curating exhibitions. She has been an active member of renowned design collective Dutch Invertuals since 2017. Currently, she is undertaking her Ph.D. at Ulster University in Northern Ireland at the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences with an International Award from the UK Department of Economics. She is an associated researcher at Critical Media Lab Basel. In addition, Van der Eijk is leading MA Ecology Futures at the Masters Institute of Visual Cultures and is an affiliated researcher in the Biobased Art & Design Research Group.

Sandra Fendl

Sandra Fendl is a scientific advisor at acatech, the German Academy of Science an Engineering, where she translates and communicates complex science to the public. She is an author for the acatech HORIZONS series, which addresses cutting-edge technology fields in a manner that is scientifically robust yet still clear and easy to understand. Furthermore, she co-coordinates the science-art collaboration project Driving the Human. Before her work at acatech, she studied biology in Regensburg and Munich and received her PhD from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology where she contributed to the understanding of the fruit fly’s brain. Besides her scientific work, she was engaged in the Max Planck PhDNet as a podcast host discussing diversity and inclusion in academia.

Alexander Hicks

Alexander Hicks was born 1983 in Houston, Texas, and is an expert when it comes to chilis, starting his chili eating career before he even turned one. At 14 years old he started cooking with chilis, and shortly after that he started growing this plant. Finding many interesting new varieties from all over the world he has grown over 2000 different varieties over the years. Recently, he introduced his chili passion to an array of people by presenting interesting facts in many outlets, such as social media and in different TV shows.
Hicks organic grown chili plants received awards at major garden shows, and his presentations in schools show young people the different aspects about this plant that has a cultural impact all over the world.  
With experience in renewable energy and agriculture, he is now exploring energy efficient growing environments to produce crops. One project is a rooftop Greenhouse with a cradle 2 cradle concept that will be able to produce fresh chilis year-round, with a minimum of external energy.

Julia Ihls

Julia Ihls is an interdisciplinary researcher and designer at the intersections of (natural-)philosophy, media theory and scenography. After studying art/media studies (M.A.) in Konstanz and Cork, and scenography/media art (Dipl.) in Karlsruhe, she worked as a concept designer and writer, among others for the ZKM Karlsruhe. Since April 2021, she is the head of the Bio Design Lab at the HfG Karlsruhe, where – besides teaching and curating – she researches on new (bio-)materials and convivialism.

Hyeseon Jeong

Hyeseon Jeong is interested in social phenomena of digitalization, new power/network structures, and decentralisation. Her work engages with a wide range of themes, from scientific approaches to political issues. She has generated non-linear narratives by translating and reconstructing the research content from various fields, in a maximization of fictions, radioplay, videos and sounds, entangled under a theme, and then exhibited as part of exhibitions, festivals and sound performances. She is currently studying at Academy of Media Arts Cologne.

Eric Joris

Eric Joris, founder of CREW, is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher that pioneered immersive VR performances. On from 2003 he realized fully embodied performances using in-house developed Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Alternative Reality (‘AltR’). Unlike VR, AltR is fully anchored in the physical body. It mediates perception also through the tactile, the proprioceptive and the vestibular system. CREW is the artistic vehicle for his experiments, composed of scientists and artists. It developed technology with the University of Hasselt and Antwerp, Heinrich Hertz/Frauenhofer Institute, Inria and with partners of European and international research programmes, e.g. in the FP7 EU programmes ‘2020_3D Media’ and ‘Dreamspace’, and in the Horizon 2020 programme with the ‘PRESENT’ project that deals with digital companions and A.I.  CREW’s live performances C.A.P.E., W_Headswap, Terra Nova, Eux and it’s theatrical plays like O_Rex, Explorer (with Urland), and Absence have been shown around the world at major art festivals, conferences and events and are subject of many academic papers and articles. In 2020-21 CREW’s answer to the pandemic were three online performances, a therapeutic project under development and Delirious Departures that recently ran in The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Brussels.

Susanne Kadner

Convinced that reaching our climate targets requires a fundamentally different way of using resources, Susanne Kadner initiated the Circular Economy Initiative Germany at acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering. She leads the Head Office of the state and industry-funded initiative, which aims at defining the transition towards a resource-efficient and digitally-enabled Circular Economy with stakeholders from Politics, Science, Industry and Civil Society. Before that, Kadner worked for ten years at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, where she was Head of Science and Deputy Head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In this function, she co-authored and managed among other things the fifth Assessment Report, which provided the scientific basis for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement. Before starting her career on the science-policy interface, she studied Oceanography at the University of Southampton and received a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and Marine Microbiology from the University of East Anglia.

Romy Kaiser

Romy Kaiser is a designer with focus on biomaterials, smart textiles and future textile thinking. As a “designer with hands, scientist in mind, activist by heart” she aims to change our mindset as well as current systems towards a more sustainable living using textiles and materiality as a tool. Currently Romy holds a PhD position at the HBBE. Her project Textile Hosting investigates the scaffolding potential of textiles for living media, like mycelium or bacteria, for bio assembly and construction purposes.

(photo: Daniela Ferro)

Freo Majer

Freo Majer is the founder and artistic director of Forecast, an international mentorship program that transcends disciplines and geographical locations to connect cultural practitioners with renowned mentors.
Trained as an opera director, Majer looks back at a career as a director and producer in European theaters, opera houses, and at festivals, including at Mainz State Theater, Lucerne Theater, Bremen Theater, and the international festival “Theater der Welt.” Driven by his own experience, and recognizing a gap in the type of support available to cultural workers, he changed paths and founded Forecast in 2015.
Together with curators and festival directors from various European cities, he initiated the interdisciplinary research project Housing the Human (2017-2019). In 2020, Majer began a three-year collaboration with the ZKM and HfG in Karlsruhe and the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech, developing prototypes on the eco-social research program Driving the Human.


(Photo: Annette Koroll)

Vera Meyer

Vera Meyer runs the Chair of Molecular and Applied Microbiology at TU Berlin since 2011. The focus is on researching and optimising fungal cell factories, with the aim of making more effective use of fungal metabolic potentials for the production of medicines, platform chemicals, enzymes and biomaterials in the sense of a sustainable bioeconomy and circular economy. Together with her team, she pursues a holistic approach and develops and combines methods from systems biology and synthetic biology. Vera Meyer is the spokesperson for the European think tank EUROFUNG, a board member of DECHEMA and a member of acatech. Her inter- and transdisciplinary research projects combine natural and engineering sciences with art, design and architecture and create bio-based scenarios for possible living and housing worlds of the future. Vera Meyer is also active as a visual artist under the pseudonym V. meer and uses the means of art to make society more aware of the potential of mushrooms for a sustainable future.


(photo: Martin Weinhold)

Hemal Naik

Hemal Naik is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. Hemal's research focuses on developing software to study animal behavior using technologies like computer vision, augmented and virtual reality.  Along with scientific projects, Hemal is deeply interested in sharing scientific findings with the community through public talks and collaborative art projects. He is working on several art projects that focus on wildlife and conservation with independent artists (Akademie Schloss Solitude) and institutions such as Merz Akademie.

Jeremy Narby

Jeremy Narby, Ph. D., studied history at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and received a doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. For the last 31 years, he has coordinated projects in favour of Amazonian people for Swiss NGO "Nouvelle Planète”, involving land titles, bilingual education, and sustainable forestry. He has written several books including The cosmic serpent, DNA and the origins of knowledge (1998, New York, Penguin Putnam/Tarcher), and Intelligence in nature: an inquiry into knowledge (2005, New York, Penguin Putnam/Tarcher), and co-edited with Francis Huxley Shamans through time: 500 years on the path to knowledge (2001, New York, Penguin Putnam/Tarcher). He recently co-signed with Rafael Chanchari Pizuri Plant teachers: tobacco and ayahuasca (2021, Novato CA, New World Library).

Paula Nerlich

Paula Nerlich is a designer and explorer. With her material research she aims to support the elimination of so-called food waste through the creation of circular biomaterials from industrial food production surplus. In her practise as material designer and as co-founder of Circular Home Lab, she initiates discourse around rethinking systems of waste, the food industry and community. Her PhD project The Materiality of Well-being is a practise-led research project, searching how multisensory experiences and interactions of smell and touch, with a focus on the interrelationship of bacteria, smell and textiles for enhanced wellbeing.

(photo: Marielle Samstad)

Eliana Otta

Eliana Otta (Lima, 1981) is an artist with a Master in Cultural Studies, who inquiries about our relations with nature and precarious labor in neoliberal, extractivist economies, and also gender inequality, intersecting feminism, poetry and politics. She addresses these questions creating spaces for conversation, trust and curiosity through shared intimacy, with projects that involve pedagogical, curatorial and editorial work. Her current PhD project Lost & Shared: A laboratory for collective mourning, towards affective and transformative politics, aims to investigate the ways in which art can enable the collectivization of mourning, creating dialogues between theory and affective labor, through collective experiments that connect emotions, critical thinking, body and space. She coordinated the curatorial team of Lugar de la Memoria (Museum of Memory) in Peru (, has taught at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and co-founded the artist-run space Bisagra ( She is currently Candidate at the Phd in Practice Program at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.  She is represented by the Galería 80m2 Livia Benavides. She founded the first shop dedicated to young fashion designers in Lima, Pulga, and has an eternally amateur alter ego, dj Flaquita. 


(photo: Camille Blake)

Andra Pop-Jurj

Andra Pop-Jurj is an architectural designer and researcher born in Romania. She trained in architecture at the Technical University of Munich and National University of Singapore and holds a MA Architecture from Royal College of Art. Her diverse and multidisciplinary background have stimulated her interest in the expanding definitions of architecture, research-based worldbuilding and speculative design in digital environments. Her MA work explores the spatial manifestation of geopolitical conflicts in the Arctic region caused by environmental degradation. Building upon this, Andra further investigated the tension between extractive economies, wildlife and and permafrost landscapes based on forms of multispecies cohabitation encountered in the natural gas infrastructures of the Yamal peninsula.
Andra has practiced at several architecture studios in Germany, at Sergison Bates architects in London and the Belgian studio Veldhuis architectuur. She is currently a researcher with Forensic Architecture, where she has worked on investigations into border violence between Greece and Turkey, where natural processes have been weponised to assist in human rights violations. Alongside this, her spatial practice is situated at the intersection of arts and science and employs various formats ranging from writing, drawing and mapping to films, game engines and spatial installations. 
Andra is currently expanding her research and enquiry into forms of multispecies cohabitation together with Lena Geerts Danau as part of the Driving the Human arts and science collaboration. 

Xiaoyu Iris Qu (曲晓宇)

Xiaoyu (Iris) Qu (曲晓宇, b. 1993, China) is an artist, technologist, and programmer based in Brooklyn, NY, working at the intersection of software engineering and new media art. With code as her primary medium, her works engage with the speculative, political, and poetic aspects of technology. Currently, she works on prototyping experiments at Google Research. Do AIs Dream of Climate Chaos started from her reflection on the entanglement of technology and nature and her role in speculating change as a tech worker.

(photo: Xinyu Li)

Volker Rachold

Volker Rachold is the Head of the German Arctic Office at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), which serves as an information and cooperation platform between German stakeholders from science, politics and industry. Before moving to the German Arctic Office in 2017, he served as the Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) in Stockholm and Potsdam since 2006.
Dr. Rachold graduated as a geochemist from Göttingen University, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1994. Since then he worked with the AWI. His research focused on land-ocean interactions in the Siberian Arctic and he led several land and ship-based Russian-German expeditions. 

Vincent Rumahloine

Vincent Rumahloine is a contemporary artist that playfully interrogates the social fabric and the mundane in society. His work mainly revolves around people; from social issues, human rights, traditional values, human relations, collective memories to re-designing historic narratives. Rumahloine is the winner of the sixth Bandung Contemporary Art Award 2019. His winning project Don’t Call Me A Hero was exhibited in the Latiwangi Art Gallery in Bandung and tells the story about an Indonesian exile in Prague, who lost his citizenship after the 1965 tragedy. Vincent’s work bridges the gaps in society by adding a twist of uncanniness and by using artistic strategies to get closer to the experiences and lives of (non-art minded) others. Vincent graduated in Ceramics at The Bandung Institute of Technology in 2009. He worked as an art teacher and as a social worker with HIV/AIDS victims, before becoming a full-time artist. His project has been presented at Pulosari Public Space in Bandung, Contemporary Ujazdowksi Castle in Warsaw (Poland) and The National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta.

Martina Schraudner

Martina Schraudner is head of the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation and of the department Gender and Diversity in Technology and Product Development at the Technical University of Berlin. From 2018-2021, she was on the board of directors of acatech - German Academy of Science and Engineering e. V. She deals with methods, instruments and processes that make diversity, understood as different perspectives, accessible and usable in research and development. Schraudner is active in expert groups for Structural Change of the European Union and national and international selection committees for application-oriented research and innovation projects. She is a member of the Council of the University of Paderborn, of the Board of Trustees of the European Academy for Women in Politics and Economics (EAF) and the Board of the Competence Centre Technology-Diversity-Equal Opportunities e. V.


(Photo: Vera Christoph)

Barbara Di Ventura

Barbara gained a degree in Computer Science from the University of Rome La Sapienza after which she obtained a joint Ph.D. in molecular biology at the EMBL and the University of Heidelberg. In 2011 she became the leader of the “Molecular and Cellular Engineering group” at the BioQuant center, at the University of Heidelberg, where she stayed until summer 2017. From September 2017, the group moved to the University of Freiburg, where Barbara is now full professor. Her team is interested in understanding the mechanisms used by cells to control processes in space and time using an interdisciplinary approach that combines molecular and cellular biology with synthetic biology and mathematical modeling. A special focus of the lab is optogenetics, that is, the use of light to externally control protein function and localization in individual living cells.

Biao Xiang

Biao Xiang 项飙is Director of Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany since 2020, and Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford before that. Xiang’s research addresses various types of migration – internal and international, unskilled and highly skilled, emigration and return migration, and the places and people left behind – in China, India and other parts of Asia. Xiang is the winner of the 2008 Anthony Leeds Prize for his book Global Bodyshopping and the 2012 William L. Holland Prize for his article Predatory Princes. His 2000 Chinese book 跨越边界的社区 (published in English as Transcending Boundaries, 2005) was reprinted in 2018 as a contemporary classic, and 自己作为方法 (Self as Method, co-authored with Wu Qi) was ranked the Most Impactful Book 2020. His work has been translated into Japanese, French, Korean, Spanish, German and Italian.

Seongmin Yuk

Seongmin Yuk is an artist, interested in notions of de(re)constructing boundaries, space and physical embodiment, interdependent perception, transboundary, posthumanity, and digital transhumanity. Seongmin Yuk looks for the possible nodes networking through those notions, (de)composes the intersections through his videos, performances, installations, and constructed spaces. He is currently studying at Academy of Media Arts Cologne

Philipp Ziegler

Philipp Ziegler is a curator in the field of art and technology. He is currently the head of the Curatorial Department at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany, and has been responsible for numerous exhibitions there since 2012. He curated or co-curated several international projects such as the ifa (Institute for foreign Relations) exhibition Future Perfect. Contemporary Art from Germany which has toured internationally since 2013. In 2018 he was one of the curators of the 6th Guangzhou Triennial at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China. Ziegler has written articles and essays in various magazines and catalogues and was recently the co-editor of the publication Digital Imaginaries. African Positions Beyond Binaries. He studied art history and history in Stuttgart, Germany and Milan, Italy.

(photo: Felix Gruenschloss)

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators, and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, a transdisciplinary research practice that facilitates exchange amongst diverse nodes of knowledge production and artistic practice in pursuit of projects that transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. Urbonas have exhibited internationally at the São Paulo, Berlin, Moscow, Lyon, Gwangju, Busan, Taipei Biennales, Folkestone Triennial, Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions, including a solo show at the Venice Biennale and MACBA in Barcelona. Their writing on artistic research as form of intervention into social and political crisis was published in the books Devices for Action (MACBA Press, 2008), Villa Lituania (Sternberg Press, 2008), and Public Space? Lost and Found (MIT Press, 2017). Urbonas 5 year-long research project on Zooetics concluded in 2018 with the symposium at MIT and opened Climate Visions a new research lab. Urbonases curated the Swamp School at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. The book Swamps and the New Imagination is forthcoming in 2022 (Sternberg Press). Urbonas taught and lectured extensively internationally including full-time positions at NTNU (2005-2009) and MIT (since 2009) where Gediminas is Associate Professor and Nomeda is Research Affiliate. They are also Visiting Professors at VDU in Kaunas, NABA in Milano, Dartington Arts School in UK, and at CAFA in Beijing. 


(Photo: Berta Tilmantaite)