fbpx Skip to content


OPEN CALL Viral Life

Join us (digitally or on-site) at NOBA: Norwegian Bioart Arena on November 17, 2020 for glocal exchanges about our viral life 

Deadline for submission of abstract 12th of october 2020  

Across the globe, our human bodies, emotions, values, politics, systems and insights have been shaken, stirred, tested, in some cases ruined, in other cases moved by the recent impact of one small virus. We see the continued need to process the changes that are taking place, whilst forging new bonds and inspiring wide outlooks in order to proceed fruitfully into the unknown territory of post-corona society. The virus gives us a chance to reassess, rethink and to make new sense(s) of the world we inhabit together, with all its varied species and networks.  

The second NOBA – Norwegian Bioart Arena – symposium, Viral Life, offers a space in which to discuss the situation we are currently in across perspectives and disciplinary boundaries, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from the global to the close at hand. We will host a local audience and some on-campus speakers, whilst inviting a global audience and including international keynote speakers that will give virtual (yet live and interactive) talks. Our keynotes are the wonderful artists Anna Dumitriu (known for artworks such as Plague Dress, Make Do and Mend, Cyberspecies Proximity) and Heather Dewey-Hagborg (Stranger Visions, Lovesick: The Transfection, Lovesick Futures)biologist and medical doctor LuíGra (Covid-19 biobanking and infection research, and artworks Immortality for Two and Anti-Marta with Marta de Menezes), and plant biologist Dag-Ragnar Blystad (plant viruses)The day will be concluded by an alternative “cook-along” symposium dinner with chef Haffstein Snæland (previously of Noma and Vågal). With this we call for short provocations and presentations of artworks and research from across the fields of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences that relate in a broad sense to the theme of Viral Life, possibly connecting to one or more of the following topics: 

  • Contagion, contamination. What alternative conceptions of the virus, of contagion and contamination, can we access through art, thoughts, emotions?  
  • Susceptibility and resistance. What modes of resistance are currently available to us, and what does it mean for us to be susceptible – to disease, to influence, to solutions? 
  • Body hacking and posthumanism. What is a good (human) body, and which speculative alternatives can we imagine or embody?  
  • WET labs, WET markets, WETware: How should we “get wet”, and what are the risks involved?  
  • Life-death dichotomy. Bioart explores the boundaries between life and death/non-life, where viruses also exist. What does it really mean for something to be alive? 
  • Death, sorrow and new ways of mourning. How do we approach and process death and mourning in a pandemic, and in the midst of the 6th extinction?  
  • Ecological connections. How can we relate to other living beings? Our close contact with wild animals, deforestation and monoculture are arguably at the root of the pandemic. Can art, theory and science that seeks to approach, listen to, understand, and create relations to other creatures and ecosystems from novel perspectives help remedy the rifts in our ecosystems? 

To apply, please submit a short bio and an abstract of maximum 250 words, specifying whether you would like to present on-campus at Vitenparken Ås or online The symposium will be open to a local and global audience of non-presenters. In selection of submissions, Nordic and especially on-campus presenters will be prioritised. 

NOBA aims to be a resource and network organization for artists and other professionals interested in the bio- and ecosphere. If you have made artworks that are relevant to the theme of Viral Life, feel free to also submit a link to the relevant website. We will create a repository of the links that will be shared ahead of Viral Life symposium, so that these artworks can also enter into the discussion at the event. 



Deadline for submission of abstract 12th of October 2020  

Selection process is finalized by 22nd of October 2020 

Please email your submission or any questions to info@noba.art 


About NOBA 

Norwegian BioArt Arena, NOBA, is a project by Vitenparken Ås. We are the first permanent arena for BioArt in Norway. NOBA combines art, research-based knowledge, critical thinking and new technology with the aim of stimulating increased awareness of our living environment, biology and sustainability. 


What is bioart? 

As arena we wish to explore what bioart is and can be. We define bioart as an umbrella term for a broad range of art forms that engage critically with biology, and concepts and relations in flux due to bioscientific research. Bioartists mix artistic and scientific processes, methods, approaches and tools, and artworks are often created in between the field, the studio and the laboratory.  

Through these processes and connections bioart delivers social and political critique, poses questions about the role of science in society, engages societal actors in bioscientific innovation, stimulates dialogue, and challenges our relationship with the living world that surrounds us.