Hi, I am an artist originally from the subtropics (Sydney), now living in Berlin. I have been researching and making work on the subtropics, tropics, and rainforest ecosystems in recent years, as well as on global patterns and flows of food distribution and certain ubiquitous edible and inedible materials used in mass produced and niche products (plastics, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, gemstones). I make rhythmic objects with text, sound, sculptural assemblage and video, forming repeat patterned motifs for performances and installations, which I use to explore behavioural patterns and systems of labour, energy expenditure, depletion, and exchange. The work often has an absurd or humorous bent.
I plan to work on both a video and a sound work at Dinacon where I’ll make field recordings as well as voice recordings and additional post processed sound with rainforest flora as original sources for larger food crops as a focus. I am interested in the encroachments from the rainforest at Gamboa onto the human built settlements at its fringes where Dinacon takes place, (the Gamboa baseball field and playgrounds, for example) and the reverse process that took place historically, the Panama Canal as a massive human intervention that cut through the forest and landscape, as well as the changes that are taking place now. Human and non human interactions in urban and human made environments within subtropical and tropical landscapes is an area of interest and I will research these topics and seek feedback during the conference where I hope to talk to Dinacon’s field biologists and other local residents as well as Digital Naturalism’s neighbouring biologists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. I also wish to make on-site sculptural assemblages incorporating forest and local food packaging debris, and to use the wood workshop and 3D printer to make sculptural forms using found rainforest and fringe objects as a basis. I will also be researching for an experimental novel I am writing that takes place in various towns and cities in the shifting and expanding (as the globe warms) geographical bandings of the tropics and subtropics. Additionally, I am very interested in birdsong and will make field recordings of the Gamboa rainforest birds.
I am looking forward to meeting you all and finding out about your projects and potentially collaborating with you!
Studio portrait photo by Walker Esner at The Wassaic Project with a few leafy additions from me.
I am a writer, musician (Dezmediah), social worker, and amateur programmer. At Dinacon 2, I’ll be writing an electronic literature piece, which will write automatic poetry or prose using words said at Dinacon.
Project: I plan to research and write an ethnographic article about how the Digital Naturalists form a community, building “swift trust,” and then work together to accomplish various goals. What counts as sustainability for us? What aspects of a living environment should be conserved? What makes a technology instrumentally or morally good? What values characterize digital naturalism as a novel discipline? And what role does it play in global movements for planetary health and justice?
Bio: I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the anthropology of technology within Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science. Currently, I’m researching agricultural technology startups. My dissertation examines the rise of vertical farming in New York City.
I’m also a research associate regarding controlled environment agriculture at Cornell University, a research advisor to the nonprofit FarmTech Society, and a marketing advisor for the smart agriculture startup Grow Computer.
Project: Connected experience with feelings & wires
Bio: I’m a lowkey software engineer, part-time goofbal, and full-time bricoleur with an interest building some physical representation of two human connections with wires, colorful headbands, and guages.
In the early 1900s the Panama Canal was forged through the jungles of Panama. This shipping channel became a major factor in the expansion of globalised trade. In many ways, Panama’s Canal Zone represents the epitome of the Anthropocene. Industrial progress rupturing unique ecosystems.
In this setting I was inspired by broken nature. I collected introduced butterfly species, leaves that had been stripped to their skeleton by destructive fungus, dead insects and plant matter. I prepared these samples and photographed their finer qualities under microscope. I also collected a selection of field recordings using a hydrophone, two contact mics and a stereo atmospheric mic. Most audio recordings in Panama’s Canal Zone contain the sounds of engines. Sounds from passing ships, tug boats, dredging machines, cargo trains and light aircraft form the backdrop to birdsongs, monkey calls and frog choirs. The clash of nature and industry is palpable. Finally, I collected data relating to the temperature, light, movement and moisture of different ecosystems. This was done using an Arduino and a series of environmental sensors.
I presented the photo-microscopy images, audio and environmental data in an Open Studio showing at the Digital Naturalism Lab on 17 August 2019. The outcome of this residency was later captured in a 3-minute single channel video work. This video features photo-microscopy and audio recordings from three consecutive environmental art residences that I undertook in 2019 – Digital Naturalism (Gamboa, Panama), LabVERDE (Amazon, Brazil) and the EV Residency (Rio, Brazil).
PluginHUMAN is an Australian art-technology duo featuring Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer. They have exhibited in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. PluginHUMAN has an acute understanding of the role that technology plays in contemporary society. Their progressive work places people in the centre of a human to digital encounter. They won a Good Design Award  and a Premier’s Design Award  and are creators-in-residence at the Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University, Australia.
I’m an Australian visual artist, working with kinetic sculpture (cheap servos, Arduino, pretty low tech) , video, performance, photography etc. My practice deals with how people interact with both the environment and technology, especially at the intersections of these. I work a lot with simulations of nature.
Recent work has been documentary based, I hope to explore the jungle and speak with a lot of researchers, and build some kind of speculative narrative about interactions with the environment. Also keen on some en plain air electronics tinkering 🙂
Project: The Sustainable Zine: Being a zinester for many years I’ve noticed how unsustainable zines can be depending on how they are produced. At Dinacon I plan on using natural dyes and inks on natural materials to explore all the ways that Panama and it’s nature can create colour and story. The goal is to make a zine inspired by Dinacon and the experiences in Gamboa that will eventually fade and degrade until it doesn’t exist at all except in pictures, much like memories!
Sid Drmay is a nonbinary queer multidisciplinary artist based in Hamilton, ON. They use textile art to explore growing up online, nosebleeds, queerness and transness and all the weirdness that comes with that. They love weaving, embroidery, screenprinting, their two cats, and sour gummy candies.
I’ve recently finished my PhD on plant biomechanics. I studied physics and teach it, but find a lot of things fascinating, including plants, art, cats, humans and other sentient beings. I like making things, thinking about things, and things that make me think.
Life of Leaf: The project I have in mind is a structure made mostly out of what can be found in the woods and some connective tissue. It will include sub-structures at various scales, which change in time as the plant elements in it grow or decay. Plants dynamics have many timescales, from seconds to years, and I aim to find a way to incorporate plant motion and function into a cool and totally useless thing that will be fun to look at.
I’m also curious to see unique patterns in local plants, and collaborate with other people who work on projects I can relate to.
Project: Interactive sculpture, “Fabricated foliage.” I will be researching, augmenting, and replicating jungle flora to create an interactive, responsive sculpture that emulates the sounds of rustling leaves, though with non-natural materiality. As a back-up to this project, I will be experimenting with fish scale structures and making an interactive, mobile sculpture using structures inspired by particular natural fish scales. As a back-up-back-up, I am coming to Dinacon ready to be inspired, and ready to make!
Bio:Emily Volk is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, now embarking on the world. Her research and curiosity spans science and art disciplines. Specifically, her prior research delves into bioinspired engineering designs. In undergraduate research, she has extensively studied the mechanics of fish scale structures, with application to novel flexible armor designs and biomimetic swimming robots. Importantly, Emily believes that science is nothing if not shared, and continually works to creatively infuse data-driven projects with aesthetics to appeal to a wide audience. This passion has led to great collaborations in the Boulder, Colorado community, including events, conference panels, immersive performances, public installations, data-driven storytelling, and innovative course design. She is so excited to launch out of university and into Gamboa, Panama, to meet all of you thinkers and makers, all while frolicking outside!
We are Janne Nora Kummer, Tomas Montes Massa, Lena Maria Eickenbusch and myself: we found each other as a group within the ¨Spiel && Objekt¨ MA program, sharing the desire to develop an ecologic & non-anthropocentric view of arts. Our research motivation drives us to explore the interaction between the biodiversity of the rainforest with the behaviour of light, using these local biosolar entanglements as inspiration to create a techno-vegetal monster. Relevant milestones for us are monstrous & cyborg thinking, kinetic sculptures and object-oriented theatrical narratives. We imagine a solar-powered, Arduino-motored, light-searching hybrid creature, a wired-photosynthetic robot that aesthetically condenses our research and friendly coexists in the jungle. Speculating on the fusion of organic material and new technologies is for us an artistic urgency, and therefore we are eager to prototype and meet this critter!