Vanessa Lorenzo is a hybrid researcher based in Lausanne. She creates fictional scenarios to put in context the use of biotechnology and DIY biology through imagined objects that usually influence in our perception of our environnent. She holds an engineering degree in industrial design (Mondragón, Spain, 2008 and Barcelona, Spain, 2010) and a Master of Media Design (HEAD – Geneva, 2016). Currently, she is an independent researcher and artist in Hybridoa, co-president of the Hackuarium biohackerspace (Renens), part of the international network of collaborative art and biohacking Hackteria and member of Utopiana Genève transdisciplinary association. She received a distinction for her final Master project "Camera Obscura et les artefacts de l'invisible" in collaboration with Biodesign for the Real World. She presented her work in «La Semiosphere du Commun » at Le Commun (CAC, Gevève, 2017) and TouchMe Festival (Zagreb, 2017). She earned a residency "Biofilia Urbana" at the MediaLab Prado (Madrid, 2016) and Ars Bioarctica in Subartctic Lapland (Kilpisjärvi, 2017). She presented her work on bioink and biomaterials "Prin(k)t plastic, it's fantastic! " at the Istituto Svizzero del Diseno (Milan, 2016), the Salone Internationale del Mobile (Milan, 2014) and at Lift Conference (Geneva, 2015 and 2016) and LIFT (Genève, 2015).
With We Spoke Music Company and Hackuarium, she also presented her experimental music and new media work "Living instruments" at KlangMoorSchopfe (Gaïs, 2017), the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Darmstadt, 2016), in Le Bourg (Lausanne, 2016) and was part of the colaborative Kammer Klang Program at Project Space with a performance in Cafe Oto (London, 2017). She organises and designs collaborative workshops about biodesign, ideation and biohacking with Hackuarium (Great Lausanne), Utopiana (Geneva) and collaborates with the Open Science School (CRI, Paris).
Most interactions between humans and the Earth are mediated through technological objects, often influenced by a dualism that separates nature from culture; they filter out a wide range of data streamed from events that cut across spheres (biosphere, lithosphere, ionosphere, semiosphere, techno-sphere, etc...). This partial approach to our environment haunts our perception and requires new modes of abstraction to decipher the secrets of a global shift. By exploring the potential contribution of living beings to media systems, we build a common ground that enables equity by considering the other inhabitants at the same level to tell stories about our planet: citizens with memory, sensing capabilities and political weight that could influence policy making and help us create forms of collaboration. What would be the dialogue between a GMO with sensing capabilities and a toxic artifact? Could fungi and bacteria stream out data to map techno-geographies of our damaged locations? Could moss sound out the Anthropocene? By appropriating technologies and scientific protocols, we could give rise to new ecologies that would lead us to alternative futures.
Camera obscura & the artefacts of the invisible
Camera Obscura & the artefacts of the invisible is part of a design research project that aims to rise awareness on the anxieties of progress in the age of the Anthropocene through new media ecologies. By merging electronic media, toxic artefacts and bioengineered organisms, this interactive installation uses bacteria as witness of an ecological shift that was caused by a massive spill of heavy metals in the Rhone valley since the 1960’s. Since then, the incident has been overall covered, badly managed and unspoken at social, political and / or economical level till 2015, when workers of the A9 highway, unveiled the dormant evidence laying under the mud at the river side in Turtig (Vaud, Switzerland). The Camera Obscura is a DIY, (bio) hacked, opensource tool that uses the “blackboxed” dialogue between bacteria and toxic matter as non-human narrators (I use non-human carefully here, meaning that we humans failed telling liable stories about our damaged planet). By shifting the narrator, we discharge a shirking society to confront the fact, mourn the loss and accept the ecological shift and seek for alternative futures.
Designer — ES/CH