Chimera Workshop

On Nov 8th, 5-7 pm at Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY you are invited to participate in a workshop co-led by artist Boryana Rossa and biologist Heidi Hehnly.  Through the lens of an artist-scientist collaboration, this experimental hands-on workshop will stimulate conversations from the biological to the ethical — including discussion of genetic predisposition of behavior and policing, as well as scientific and media representations of the state of genetic research.

Rossa will also present her “Mirror of Faith” bio-art project, meant to provoke critical public dialogue about genetic research, exposing some issues this technology and its political and commercial promotion creates.

A message from Boryana and Heidi:

During this workshop, create your chimera. You will collage and create your own imaginary bestiary creature based on genetics as both dream and science.  Speculate on its aesthetic, metaphorical, fantastical, or utilitarian properties, its ethical ramifications, and us.

This program is FREE and open to all!

Bring two or more objects (stuffed and plastic toys, plants, but not living animals) that represent these species from which you will create your chimera. For instance, an elephant stuffed toy and a lavender plant. During the workshop, you will make a collaged chimerical object and write a paragraph description of the use of this chimera or its aesthetics. Any approach is good – playful, anecdotal, or serious. At the end, we will make a book with images of the chimeras and their descriptions, which will resemble an ancient bestiary. During your work, we will engage you in complex conversations about genetic modification.

Boryana Rossa is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who works in the fields of electronic arts, film, video, performance and photography. In 2004 together with the Russian artist and film maker Oleg Mavromatti, Rossa established UTRAFUTURO–an international group of artists engaged with issues of technology, science and their social implications. Her works have been shown internationally at museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Museum of Modern Art MUMOK, Vienna, Austria etc. Currently, Boryana is an Associate Professor in the Transmedia department at Syracuse University. Boryana earned a doctorate degree from the Department of the Arts, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012. More information can be found on her website.

Professor Heidi Hehnly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, at Syracuse University. She holds doctorate degrees from the the University of Iowa, Iowa City IA (2003-2009) and did her postdoc at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Mass (2010-14). Her research interests include understanding the interface between cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane transport and defining how they co-regulate one another to control essential cellular processes such as cell division, fate, and polarity. For more information, visit the website here.

Co-sponsor: iEAR Presents! (Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer), in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, puts on publicly accessible “performances, exhibitions, screenings and lectures dealing with innovative aesthetic, cultural, and technical exploration of experimental media and electronic arts.”