• Fri
    7:30 pm - 10 pmWaag Society, Amsterdam

    Kira O’Reilly and Jennifer Willet
    Kira O’Reilly and Jennifer Willet

    During the final performance of Trust me I’m an artist O’Reilly and Willet will bring (or perhaps smuggle) a variety of living materials to the Theatrum Anatomicum of the Waag building in Amsterdam, questioning which species are allowed in which ecologies, the laboratory as ecology and the wilderness as lab. A specially formed local ethics committee will react.

    This performance will be followed by the Trust me, I’m an artist group exhibition that is on display from from 13 May – 25 June at Zone2Source’s Het Glazen Huis in the Amstelpark. Open Friday – Saturday - Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, or by appointment.

    The performance
    Questions will be raised on bio-safety, public health, pollution and toxicity. The work will be presented too the committee. While following the rules and procedures typical for the Netherlands, the ethics committee will debate the proposal and come to a decision. The artist will be informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, together with the audience, enters into a discussion about the result.

    Willet and O’Reilly have performed together before and for Trust Me I’m an Artist their work will again intersect, this time in a faux ethics review of different but parallel practices escaping the studio, the laboratory, and into the wilderness. Part performance, part lecture, part bureaucratic response and procedural rebellion O’Reilly and Willet will propose a series of real and imagined attempts at ‘re-wilding’ their art/science practices. They will propose to enact twin sets of installations in Canada along the coastline of the Great Lakes, and in the forests of Finland. Unruly laboratory and performance practices will challenge notions of pollution, invasiveness, toxicity, and discrete national boundaries in interspecies dispersal actions; calling into question the possibility of a wilderness at all.

    Collaboration between Willet and O’Reilly
    Jennifer Willet and Kira O’Reilly have collaborated on a project-by-project basis since they met whilst both artists in residency at SymbioticA, University of Western Australia in 2004. They have trained together in vitro tissue culture techniques, performed non-human animality with cell cultures, they have climbed into aseptic work environments disorientating scientific scrutiny, and have folded and unfolded bodily refigurations in various laboratory settings.

    Ethics Panel

    • Dr. Ellen tern Gast (chair) - The ethics panel will be chaired by Dr. Ellen ter Gast, who also chaired the very first edition of Trust me I’m an Artist. Ellen ter Gast is biologist, philosopher and teacher who teaches Art-Science at Maastricht School of Fine Arts and Design, bioethics and art and life sciences at Leiden University, ethics of test animals at Groningen University.
    • Prof. Dr. Sabine Roeser is Professor of Ethics at TU Delft (distinguished Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor). Her research covers theoretical, foundational topics concerning the nature of moral knowledge, intuitions, emotions and evaluative aspects of risk, but also urgent and hotly debated public issues on which her theoretical research can shed new light, such as nuclear energy, climate change and public health issues. She has a special interest in whether and how the arts can address ethical issues arising from emerging technologies.
    • Prof. Dr. Toby Kiers is professor of Mutualistic Interactions at the Department of Ecological Science. Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She received her Phd from University of California, Davis in 2005 with a focus on Ecology, Evolution and Agriculture. She became a University Research Chair and Professor at the VU in January 2014. Her mutualistic understanding of interactions in ecology will help to understand the intereactions created by the performance of Willet and O’Reilly.
    • Chris Bisson is Eden Project's Policy Development Manager and develops and manages bioscience and horticulture focussed projects. Having worked in areas of plant conservation, botany and most aspects of horticulture he has a broad knowledge of UK and global plant science. Recently, Chris has worked on Eden's scientific engagement programme and collaborative projects with Cornwall College, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, the Ancient Tree Forum, STEM Learning (UK) and the Wellcome Trust.
    • Karin Spaink is a journalist, writer and feminist. Spaink is a free speech advocate and social critic. Her frequently discussed subjects are amongst others the right to inform people about methods of suicide to the Church of Scientology, who sued her for more than then years.
  • Sat
    1:00 pm - 5:00 pmZone2Source, Amsterdam

    petri-dishes-utensils-7A group exhibition as a result of the project Trust me, I’m an artist with art works on the ethical complexities of emerging (bio)technologies at Zone2Source, Amsterdam.

    Festive opening: Saturday 13 May, 1 – 6 pm
    Exhibition on display from 13 May – 25 June,
    Open Friday – Saturday - Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, or by appointment.

    Trust me, I’m an artist is group an exhibition of nine artists whose artworks involve gene editing, human tissue culture, the commons of nuclear materials, trans-species communications, the smuggling of biomaterials across continents and the relation between rituals of self healing and personalised medicine.

    Can art help us understand the ethical complexities of emerging (bio)technologies? Are artists able to uncover our hidden desires and demystify the promises emerging technologies represent? Are living artworks allowed and is art allowed to alter life?

    These are but a few questions that are raised by the art works commissioned and presented in the European project Trust me, I’m an artist.

    Opening event
    The exhibition opens on May 13, 2017 at 1 pm at Zone2Source’s Het Glazen Huis in the Amstelpark.

    1 – 2 pm: Walking lunch and welcome
    2 – 4 pm: Statements and discussion
    4 – 6 pm: Official opening and drinks

    Before the festive opening of the exhibition an important discussion is organised to understand the legacy of Trust me, I’m an artist. All present artists will make a statement about their artworks in the frame of Trust me, I’m an artist. After this a moderated discussion will take place between the public, the artists, the curators and invited guests about the relationship between society, ethics, arts and the roles of individuals and institutions involved – during the project and beyond.

    Minutes of the discussion will be published and are meant to create a new agenda for the possible continuation of the project and to understand the possible new form wherein Trust me, I’m an artist as a collaboration will be sustained.

    Bringing ethics closer to the public
    In daily life decisions about ethics provoked by technology are taken by experts, far from the general public. Trust me, I’m an artist selects artists that bring these ethics closer to the public through their artistic practice. Doing so these artworks help to create as if it were a commons of techno-ethics.

    This exhibition shows the artworks that are the result of a series of performative events that took place between 2015 till 2017. During these events artists proposed and presented an ethically complex artwork to a specially formed ethics committee. While following the rules and procedures typical for the host country, the ethics committee would debate the proposal and come to a decision. During the performance the artist is informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, together with the audience, enters into a discussion about the result. Find out more about this project here.

    About the artists
    The artists and collaborators are Martin O’Brien (GB), Gina Czarnecki (GB) & John Hunt (GB), Anna Dumitriu (GB), Špela Petrič (SLO), Jennifer Willet (CAN) & Kira O’Reilly (GB/FIN) and Howard Boland (GB), Erich Berger (AT/FIN) & Mari Keto (FIN). The artworks are in part commissioned by the projects Trust me, I’m an artist, except for those of Erich Berger & Mari Keto and Howard Boland.

    The exhibition is curated by Anna Dumitriu and Lucas Evers and the project partners Nicola Triscott, Louise Emma Whiteley, Jurij Krpan.

    The exhibition of Trust me I’m an artist will take place at Zone2Source’s Het Glazen Huis in the Amstelpark, a former exhibition site of Floriade of 1972. Floriade is the Netherlands world horticulture exhibition held once every decade. Zone2Source builds on that legacy by developing art projects in the park that oscillate between nature and technology, creating a context for Trust me I’m an artist.

  • Tue
    18:00 - 19:00Fabrica Gallery, 40 Duke Street, BN1 4AG Brighton

    As part of the British Science Festival, at Fabrica Gallery Brighton we are pleased to announce "Trust me, I’m an artist: Displaying Resistance".

    Get Your Tickets Here

    Trust Me, I'm an Artist” is an internationally renowned series of events debating the ethical issues that arise when art meets science. Can and should an artist exhibit fragments of wild DNA that have the potential to cause antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases in order to raise awareness of this sublime existential risk?

    Anna Dumitriu wants to exhibit sculptures containing wild antibiotic resistance plasmids, legally it's no problem as they are only DNA and as such can be displayed, but it is not clear if there is a risk that bacteria in the environment could take up these resistance genes and become superbugs. Since the work was first proposed by the artist the resistance plasmids she wants to use have appeared in the UK population so are no longer something we can escape. Without a bacterial hosts plasmids are hard to put in to bacteria outside the lab so transfer into a suitable bacterium (if present) would be extremely rare if at all. In fact science doesn't yet seem to know the answer. In this event we will discuss the risks how Dumitriu can make her sculptures both safe and sublime, and you can join the debate.

    "Trust me, I'm an Artist" investigates the new ethical issues arising from art and science collaboration and considers the roles and responsibilities of the artists, scientists and institutions involved. At each event (before a live audience) an artist proposes an artwork they want to make to a specially formed ethics committee (following the rules and procedures typical for the host country), the ethics committee then debates the proposal and comes to a decision, the artist is then informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, alongside the audience, everyone can enter into a discussion about the result. The project aims to reveal the mechanisms that drive this usually hidden ethics process, enabling the wider public to understand the driving forces behind ethical decisions and the role of artists working in scientific settings more deeply.

    Proposers: Anna Dumitriu (artist) and Dr Leena Hassan (BSMS)
    Ethics Committee Chair: Professor Bobbie Farsides (BSMS)
    Ethics Committee: Dr. Simon Waddell, Professor Gail Davey (BSMS), Tim Henbrey (Science Gallery London)

    This event is part of the internationally renowned Trust me, I’m an artist series and is being organised in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

    The event is part of the international project ‘Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Developing ethical frameworks for artists, cultural institutions and audiences engaged in the challenges of creating and experiencing new art forms in biotechnology and biomedicine in Europe’. The project is led by artist Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with ethicist Professor Bobbie Farsides and coordinated by Waag Society (NL) in collaboration with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (UK), The Arts Catalyst (UK), Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova (SI), Medical Museion (DK), and Leonardo Olats (FR).

    The work here builds on Anna Dumitriu's ongoing collaborations with Modernising Medical Microbiology and Dr Nicola Fawcett as well as her work with MRG-Grammar and her project "Make Do and Mend: Controlled Commodities" which will be on show at Ars Electronica in Linz following this event.

    There will be drinks available.

  • Thu
    Waag Sociey, Amsterdam

    Can the arts play a role in understanding the ethical issues arrising from new (bio)technologies? Can ethics be an artform or should art making require ethical approval? "Trust me, I'm an Artist" investigates the new ethical issues arising from art and science collaboration and considers the roles and responsibilities of the artists, scientists and institutions involved.

    The final symposium of the Trust me, I’m an artist project will take place in Amterdam on 17th November 2017, building on previous events in Amsterdam, Brighton, Copenhagen, London, Berlin, Dublin, Ljubljana, Paris, Prague and Riga. Artworks that explored issues such as gene editing and antibiotic resistance, humanity’s radioactive heritage, self-experimentation, human tissue culture and sculpture, interspecies communication, biocontainment and responsibility, the microbiome, and synthetic biology were presented and debated in public ethics panels in a series of performative events (before a live audience). Specially selected artists proposed ethically complex artworks to a specially formed ethics committee (following the rules and procedures typical for the host country), the ethics committee then debated the proposals and came to a decision, the artist was then informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, alongside the audience, they entered into a discussion about the result.

    This final symposium will address key questions arising from the project such as: “What can science and ethics learn from the Trust me, I’m an artist project?” “Can ethics become an artistic practice?” Can Trust me, I’m an artist lead to the reframing of research questions?” Should art and culture organisations require ethical approval; do we need ethical institutions?”

    Artists, ethicists, scientists and representatives of the institutions involved in the “Trust Me, I’m an Artist” series will present their reflections and visions.

    To prepare us for the final symposium, on the evening of 16th November we will host a new”Trust me, I’m an artist” ethics panel event reflecting on the art work K9 Topology of the award winning Slovenian artist Maja Smrekar. Smrekar researched the co-evolution of humans and dogs, taking the measure to place their cell materials in an equal cohabitating relationship.

    Trust me, I’m an artist is a project supported by the Creative Europe programme of the Europen Commission coordinated by Waag Society with partners Art Catalyst, Kapelica Gallery, Medical Museion and communication partner Leonardo-Olats. Lead artist is Anna Dumitriu and lead ethicist is Prof. Bobbie Farsides.


    Ethics Panel Perfromance TMIAAA, 16 November 19.30 – 22.00

    Maja Smrekar – Ecce Canis - K9 Topology

    Ethics panel:

    • Prof. Dr. Bobbie Farsides, Brighton Sussex Medical School – chair
    • Dr. Ellen ter Gast, philosopher, integrative thinker
    • Arjen Mulder, writer, biologist
    • Assistant Professor Dr. Nora S. Vaage, Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and social Sciences, Maastricht University
    • Professor Dr. Ing. Robert Zwijnenberg, Art and Science Interactions, Leiden University

    Symposium TMIAAA, 17 November 10.00 – 17.30

    Welcome & Introduction 10.30 – 11.00
    - Marleen Stikker, director Waag Society
    - Anna Dumitriu, lead artist Trust me, I’m an artist, presentation of the background of Trust me, I’m an artist
    - Prof. Dr. Bobbie Farsides, Brighton Sussex Medical School, Lead Ethicist “Trust me, i’m an artist”
    - Lucas Evers – Explanation format of the symposium: Provocations, panels and participatory negocitation session.

    Ethics – Can ethics learn from the arts? 11.00 – 11.45
    - 10 minute reflection by Dr. Wieke Betten, Free University, Amsterdam
    Jurij Krpan, what did ethics learn from arts in the TMIAAA edition in Ljubljana?
    - Ass. Prof. Nora Vaage, Maastricht University
    - Dr. Ellen ter Gast
    - Dr. Wieke Betten
    Moderation Prof. Dr. Bobbie Farsides

    Arts – Can ethics be an arts practice? 11.45 – 12.30
    - 10 minute reflection by Spela Petric
    Jareh Das: Were ethics an arts practice in the London editions of TMIAAA (Neil White and Martin O’Brien)
    - Spela Petric
    - Jareh Das, curator Arts Catalyst, London (tbc)
    - Anna Dumitriu
    Moderation Annick Bureaud

    Ethical institutions or institutionalised ethics? 13.30 – 14.15
    - 10 minute reflection by Jurij Krpan
    Dr. Ellen ter Gast – Do we need ethical institutions, reflecting on Rewilding, the performance of Jennifer Willet, Kira O’Reilly?
    - Jurij Krpan, director Kapelica Gallery, Ljbljana
    - Dr. Ellen ter Gast
    - Marleen Stikker, director Waag Society
    Moderation Lucas Evers

    Making public – How do we make this research public? 14.15 – 15.25
    - 10 minute reflection by Agnieszka Anna Wolodzko
    Adam Bencard: Can Trust me I’m an artist make bio ethics public, reflecting on Gina Czarnecki’s work Heirloom?
    - Agnieszka Anna Wolodzko
    - Lucas Evers
    - Adam Bencard
    Moderation Nicola Triscott

    Launch of DIY pack of Trust me, I’m an artist
    - Anna Dumitriu 15:25 – 15:30

    Negotiating – Ethics are negotiated, aren’t they? 15.45 – 17.30
    An afternoon dedicated to negociating the importance of Trust me I’m an Artist and staying away from consensus
    - Dr. Baruch Gottlieb
    - Lucas Evers
    - Participation by all people present

    CONCLUSIONS & WRAP, drinks 17.30 – 19.00

  • Thu
    6:30 pmArts Catalyst | 74-76 Cromer Street | London

    Trust Me, I’m an Artist: DNA Ancestry Testing with Larry Achiampong and David Blandy

    Ancestry DNA testing has been widely embraced as a new way to understand our identity. But how does this removal of identity from its narrative and social dimension impact on understandings of race and relationships? And what is the scientific validity of this testing?

    As part of a new project with Arts Catalyst, artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy are each taking multiple Ancestry DNA tests. In this special event, the artists will present their findings and discuss the bioethical issues with a specially convened ethics committee of medical experts, geneticists and artists, chaired by ethicist Professor Bobbie Farsides.

    This event forms part of Dreamed Native Ancestry (DNA), an installation and programme critically addressing and re-thinking contemporary issues around race, migration, biopolitics and culture, through an Afrofuturist science fiction narrative and deep history perspective.

    Organised in the framework of Trust Me, I’m an Artist, a European programme examining ethical issues that arise in relation to issues raised by modern biomedicine and genomics and their use by artists.

    Tickets are £5
    Book Here