name: the Laboratory for Form and Matter, project, year start: 2016, year end: ongoing, techniques: working with micro-organisms and organic matter, creating artworks with biochemistry, combinations of high end bioresearch with craft techniques, mixed media installations in the overlapping domain of art & science

The Laboratory for Form and Matter is a research project into artistic practices in the post-digital and post-media era. It is situated at the intersection of biology, ecology, technology and contemporary culture. The research is fed by my interest in bacteria as a medium for artistic expression and by a certain fascination for natural structures and organic processes at microscopic level, such as the collaboration in bee colonies and the strength of fungi networks. The artistic precipitation of this research crystallizes in the creation of objects and installations, and by giving workshops, presentations and performances.

Laboratory for Form & Matter, part_01 (video 01:46)

Laboratory for Form & Matter, part_02: working with living organisms, bacteria & yeast cells, plants, natural dyes and pigments. 3Dprinting after biomimesis, research into new organic materials (video 01:13):

For the artistic research the following techniques are used: digital fabrication, 3D printing, laser cutting, traditional modeling techniques, creation of textiles with plant materials, creation of biotextiles with microorganisms, research on intelligent biotextiles by adding biofilms with bacteria, research on implementation of artisanal, industrial and organic materials in artifacts, … but also theoretical research, discussions with colleagues, reading circles and so on.

In the biological world structures are formed with a wide variety of forms and with a minimum of energy. Organisms use simple molecular chemistry and an abundance of organic resources to build complex structures such as bee, bird nests or termite mounds. These biological structures are embedded in their environment, they are responsive and resistant to disturbances from the environment, and they are also fully recyclable. Starting from this biomimesis, I conduct my research into new materials and structures.

Below are 2 videos presenting each a case study that I conducted in the Laboratory for Form & Matter, and during residencies in the Textile Lab Barcelona and the Hybrid Forms Lab at the VU Amsterdam. The outcome of the research was presented in multilayered installations in art centers internationally.

The Laboratory for Form and Matter: Casestudy ‘Genesis of a Microbial Skin’. From observation to realization. (video 04:44)

The Laboratory for Form and Matter. Casestudy: ‘A Biological Pollution Sensor’, leading to the artwork ‘L’Origine du Monde’

AnneMarie Maes at work in her Laboratory for Form and Matter:


Links to presentations, expo’s and festivals and derivative artworks of the Laboratory for Form & Matter:
Emergent Veurne (2021)
Theatrum Algaerium (2021)
Laminaria (2021)
Sensorial Skins at Pilar VUB (2021)
Woven by Nature at iMal (2021)
STARTS at 104 Paris (2020)
The New Green Deal at Snowball Regional Starts Center, Harelbeke (2020)
Le 46 Digital at the Centre Wallonie Bxl in Paris, France (2019)
Seeing Together, The Color Lab at KASK Gent (2019)
Levende Kunst, Paleis der Academieën Brussel (2019)
Alchimia Nova, N0dine, Brussel (2019)
Imaging Cities Beyond Technology, Songeun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (2019)
Kunst en Wetenschap in Symbiose, Academie voor Kunst en Wetenschap, Brussel (2018)
Ecology of the Senses, BioArt Society at Kilpisjärvvi, Finland (2018)
NovaXX, Halles St. Géry Brussels (2017)
Hacktivate the City, Generation X, Bozar Lab Brussels (2017)
Sensorial Skin, Resonances II Milano (2017)
PH3 Future Archaeology, Tendencies at Bozar, Brussels (2017)
Flags, Grids & Sensorial Skins, SivaZona, Korcula Croatia (2017)
Sensorial Skin at Sonicville Brussels (2016)
Summerschool on Creativity, Como, Italy (2016)
Made@EU, Fabtextiles at IAAC Barcelona (2016)
The Raw and the Cooked at Transmutations, Wissenschaftcolleg, Berlin (2016)
All Objects May Be Both Green and Small, Leda, Brussels (2015)

Books, articles and papers on the Lab for Form&Matter:
Alchimia Nova (publication, 2016)
Sensorial Skins and L’Origine du Monde, STARTS Residency at the Hybrid Forms Lab, VU Amsterdam (2019-2020)

More research in the Lab for Form&Matter:
Genesis of a Microbial Skin
Weaving and New Materials
Algae Research
Pollen database in my Research WIKI
Alchimia Nova, a video on my work methodology, filmed in my Open Studio

Collaborative Research and Residencies, wiki research material:
Wiki documentation: collaboration with DIY-BioHacklab Barcelona – Hangar
Wiki documentation: home DIY bio-hacklab
Wiki documentation: collaboration with Fablab/IAAC Barcelona (made@EU)
Wiki documentation: collaboration with FabTextiles Barcelona