Aesthethics of Interconnectedness

17 Nov 2021 – 15 Dec 2021

Regular hours

20:00 – 22:00

Timezone: Europe/Berlin

Cost of entry

€187.64 – €321.32

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Hosted by: schoolofma

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe presents a 5-wk online class on how to collaborate with fellow Earthlings


/ Which tools does society need in order to be proactive towards biodiversity?

/ Five-week Live* Online class begins 17. November ends 15. December

/ Every Wednesday, 8pm-10pm CET

/ Small class of participants

/ Tickets availible at

Course Description

For more than 10.000 years, we have been domesticating non-human specimens. Plants (which were the first ones), horses, cats, dogs, amongst other species have become more and more a part of our daily lives, cohabiting with us on one hand in symbiosis, on the other hand as a necessary resource.

In the past, and still now in the indigenious communities such as Inuits in Arctic or Pygmy Baka Tribe in Africa, living beings were considered “non-human persons” - there was a knowledge that if these non-human persons are not respected, the equilibrium would be destroyed and nature would turn against the humans. But somewhere along the line, this understanding was lost.

In this course we will look at city-dwellers’ attitudes towards other living organisms, and whether it is possible to find ways to accept non-human persons agency and develop reciprocal relationships while sharing this predominantly human-made space.

How do we foster meaningful and conversational relations to fellow Earthlings within urban environments? What can we learn from other specimens? Which tools does society need in order to be proactive towards improving biodiversity?

Participants will be invited to select a living organism of their choice from their immediate surrounding (it can be a plant, an ant, a snail, lichen, a piece of mould from the wall, a moss, a bird living across the road, etc), who will become their focus for coming weeks. (*They can select the life-form with any criteria: affection, form, smell, texture, etc.) Through a mixture of scientific and design thinking methods as well as tools developed by Kasia Molga & Ivan Henriques they will be encouraged to uncover as much as possible about the biology, sociology, ecosystem of their selected non-human person, and their own interdependencies to it.

They will be introduced to selection of sensors (both analogue and digital) for greater observation and understanding of their organisms as well as bio-semiotics - an area of science concerned with interspecies communication - and how we can use it to communicate with their selected living organisms.

Finally participants, individually or in groups, will imagine and create a design work, art installation, design fiction or a ritual which will put their organisms in focus.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." Albert Einstein 

Course Outline


Together with the participants of the course Ivan & Kasia will introduce themselves. We get familiar with terms and concepts used through that course and some examples of practices from the idigenous cultures (such as Inuits, Baka tribes, Amazonian Natives) and from our contemporaries.

Participants will be invited to select one living organism and we make our first mind map - the living organism and its relations/interdependencies on the environment. 


In this class we will look into mechanisms used in design thinking behind the concept of interconnectedness. We also will learn about History of Domestication and what it means for us and non-human makers, and for the eco / socio / economical and political systems. (Who has been domesticating whom). We touch upon critical thinking around the topics and patterns we use regarding the ‘use’ of other life-forms.

Together we will conduct a discussion about energy and sustainability, and the necessity for new approaches in the context of this course.


We will look into science of how organisms communicate and technologies and tools which help to discover it; and into art - how artists are using this science in their practices. We also will learn some sensors and observations techniques and the Double Diamond Design Thinking method and how to apply it to participants’ research.

We will be exploring the life cycle of the organism / how do you care for it. This is also a part of the homework.


We will introduce a few case studies about what it means to be interdependent and interconnected, investigating new narratives for the completion of our projects.

We also will learn about the meaning of bio-semiotics to be able to use it as a powerful tool combined with a selection of meticulous datasets to reconfigure and restructure our relation to life-forms selected in previous weeks.

We will look into the Instagram page and creative way of utilising it as a platform for publishing our outcomes. 


It is the last class, so we will individually present our projects and publish them to the class instagram.

We also will talk about how the concepts introduced in this course can be applied in future work and how to enhance your projects further on. And we also will discuss how thinking behind this course and projects can be applied outside the speculative art and design fields.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to be a nourishing environment for creative exploration through code, regardless of predefined ideas of technical or artistic ability. Anyone with an interest in systems (visual and beyond), abstract art or the poetics of code is encouraged to enroll. Some programming experience could prove helpful, but the class structure is meant to accommodate all different levels of expertise. The class is also for anyone interested in trying a month-long daily practice exercise, with the support of an inclusive, warm and friendly community!

The only request is the ability to commit 30-60 minutes daily to creating a new sketch, for the duration of the class. This translates into a weekly commitment of about 3.5-6 hours outside of class – hopefully a good way to start or end the day, and to build the habit of carving out time for creative work in your daily schedule.


Ivan Henriques

Ivan Henriques is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher working in multimedia installations examining systems. He explores in his works hybrids of living and non-living systems creating novel approaches to investigate endangered and inhospitable ecosystems. Throughout his works he develops ways to enhance the communication between humans, other living organisms and the environment. He considers nature as inspiration and a necessary drive for the development of the technological world. Ivan is the coordinator of interdisciplinary research groups as Hybrid Forms and is the mobile residency program EME (both since 2008). 

His works are exhibited internationally, participating in festivals, residencies and talks. Some relevant prizes and exhibitions are: STW – Research Through Design Award together with a network of universities in 2019~20 and 2017~18, Stimuleringsfonds Talent Award, Proven Talent Award from Mondriaan Fonds, New Face Award from the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival and the Honorary Mention for the [next] Idea, Ars Electronica from 2014 until 2016. He was nominated for the Genomic Awards 2012 – DA4GA (NL), and lately exhibited at Bozar Institute (BE), Dutch Design Week (NL), the Salone Internazionale de Milano (IT), ISEA RUHR in Dortmund (DE), FILE- SP (BR) amongst other exhibitions and festivals. His artworks are part of relevant art/new media institutions. Currently Henriques teaches the intersections of art / design / (bio)technology for students from the Autonomous Practice at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. 

Kasia Molga

Kasia Molga is a design fusionist: artist, coder or technologist, environmentalist, storyteller and tinkerer, questioning the impact of technology on the natural environment and its role in our relation and perception to “non-human makers''. She moves across disciplines to communicate complex ideas through tangible multisensory hybrid installations. She exhibited worldwide, most notably: Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, V&A Museum, Ars Electronica, Meta.Morf (NO), Translife Media Arts Triennial (Beijing, China), MIS (Sao Paulo, BR), Dutch Design Week (NL); and is a recipient of many international awards, grants, nominations and accolades, among many others: Wellcome Trust Award, Ars Electronica 2012 Honorary, Creative Industries NL, European N.I.C.E Award, RESHAPE 2017 Honourable Mention, LES RESPIRATIONS 2016 Special Prize for Human Sensor. 

Her work was featured in international press such as Huffington Post, The Guardian, Wired, Dutch Technology Review and BBC. In addition to that Kasia is also a licensed Scuba Diver, avid aerial photographer and spent her childhood sailing on the merchant navy vessels.


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