Art and Science presentation at the Vienna Biocenter

March 15, 2016

Creativity, idealism and the ability to think laterally are the most important characteristics of a scientist – and of an artist. These two disciplines have much in common and, because of this, the Vienna Biocenter (VBC) and the Angewandte Innovation Lab (AIL) of the University of Applied Arts Vienna invited their PhD and Master´s students to collaborate in a joint project of science and art based on their research topics.

“Science and Art have much in common. For example, they are not “jobs”, they are choices. Both also rely on an iterative creative process, on communication and perseverance. Yet there are not many opportunities where scientists and artists can work together and share a common project – that was our motivation with this initiative, “says Ines Crisostomo, project coordinator of the Vienna Biocenter PhD Program.

The challenges started in the first get together at the AIL, where the participants first tried to close in on a topic. To begin with, they had to find a common language and learn how to combine their different backgrounds, expertise, and research topics. The students discussed ideas, experienced how to communicate in an interdisciplinary environment and started joint projects. „It was fascinating to see how a bunch of young people with different expertise developed novel ideas together. We hope to have built the groundwork for a fundamental connection between science and art”, says Alexandra Graupner, project coordinator at the AIL. There were inspiring discussions that broke the barriers between these two seemingly different worlds, and new thoughts and visions emerged “Creativity is a core part of science, as is the ability to visualise and conceptualise. This initiative offers a wonderful opportunity for cross-fertilisation between two seemingly disparate fields that, in fact, share many of their underlying processes “, says Annika Nichols, PhD student in the laboratory of Manuel Zimmer at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology.

The result of the initiative will be exhibited on March 17th, 2016 at the Vienna Biocenter. There, Hana Križanová, a student at the University of Applied Arts, and Jorge Zepeda Martinez, a PhD student in the lab of Oliver Bell at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, will present their project "Fluxum mirum". Within their project, they describe the City with all its different aspects, day-night pulsing and changes, as a living organism. We, who live in the city, are actually also a fundamental building block of it. Cities are often too overwhelming due to their size and plurality, so we can get drowned in information. How then do we really perceive an organism that we are part of, a self-controlling, self-observing entity? It is a system of connected quadrants, intelligently interacting and depending on each other. Nobody - no resident, no stranger in passing - is passive anymore, as every impact at either the physical or intangible level causes changes. It belongs to everyone, because it is partly anyone. The artist and the scientist caught this strange organism in a prism (as a hologram) for you to observe. You are invited to take it home, by downloading a video onto your smartphone - it will come alive in a small prism anytime you want. Observe and affect your city as it observes and affects you in its turn.  

After the presentation the movie „The Fly Room “, will be screened. It is an intimate portrait of the relationship between Calvin Bridges, the father of modern genetics, and his daughter Betsey. The story brings to life one of the most important laboratories of the 20th Century: Thomas Hunt Morgan's laboratory, called the fly room, at Columbia University where the brilliant Calvin Bridges worked. The fly room pioneered the use of fruit flies as a model organism to understand genetics. The film shows Betsey's visit to the Fly Room as a young girl and explores the girl's relationship with her father as well as the science at the Morgan lab.


Date: March 17th, 2016
18:00 Presentation Science and Art initiative by AIL and VBC
19:00 Screening of the Movie „The Fly Room“
Vienna Biocenter IMBA/GMI Lecture Hall, Dr. Bohrgasse 3, 1030 Vienna

Angewandte Innovation Laboratory
With the establishment of the Angewandte Innovation Laboratory (AIL), the University of Applied Arts Vienna seized on the idea of a 19th century Viennese salon. The AIL was created to facilitate an open dialogue between people from different disciplines. This exchange among artists, economists, and scientists should result in the emergence of innovative ideas.
The AIL offers an ideal platform for various forms of communication and exchange. Exhibitions, lectures, performances, as well as discussions can all take place there. Moreover, the AIL Lounge offers a place to ponder.
The AIL is open to the public Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 8:00pm.  Information on the current talks and exhibitions can be found under

Vienna Biocenter
The Vienna Biocenter (VBC) is Vienna‘s largest life science hub and a center of molecular biological research excellence. In addition to four research institutes that are dedicated to basic research, 18 companies are currently located at the VBC in New Marx. More than 1,400 employees and 700 students make the VBC a hotspot of innovative approaches in the life sciences. In the academic field, the Gregor Mendel Institute (GMI), the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), and the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) are the flagships of the Vienna Biocenter. The Vienna Biocenter Core Facilities (VBCF) provide state-of-the-art scientific services.



The Vienna Biocenter in the third district of Vienna has established itself as the premier location for life sciences in Central Europe and is a world-leading international bio-medical research center.


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