Practices of the Sea


Čiovo island, Croatia

Summer school "Practices of the Sea - Experimental art on the edge of science, ecology and coast line" organized in the beautiful island of Čiovo (Croatia) will allow non-specialists to acquire theoretical and practical skills in biological and environmental sciences in connection to the visual arts.

Settled for the first time in Croatia, 2016’s summer school is sort of an extension of Cultivamos Cultura’s summer courses held and organized every summer in Portugal for 4 years by recognized experts from the bio-art field of practice.

The School’s programme offers both theoretical and practical part - through experiments and hands-on exercises as well as theorizing and debating, participants will get behind the scenes of creating stunning interdisciplinary art pieces and translating concepts into practice. The activities consist out of lectures and workshops in natural environment including one-day boat trips with the purpose of exploring different locations.

Summer School will deep dive you into the universe of bioart as told by César Sousa, one of the former participants, which can be seen from different points of view – as different as the experiences that Marta, first, and then each one of the participants and invited speakers, brought on to the table. Regarding artistic creation, Summer School allows the exploration of diverse possible forms of working with living organisms and organic substances to experimenting with fungi, bacteria, fruit-flies or moss, as well as providing step-by-step explanations about laboratorial techniques that were used and some Do-It-Yourself possibilities that did not require any particular advanced or expensive equipment.

Constant dialogues followed by 'hands-on' parctices aroused questions like: What room is there for an artist in a laboratory? Is there a behaviour conduct? Can an artist raise important questions for science? What are the ethical issues involved in working with living organisms – or, more specifically, what to do with butterflies after one uses them in an art installation? The questions multiply, and the answers depend on who’s being asked: the artist? The art or philosophy researcher? The architecture curator? The immunologist?

Lectures and workshops will be held by Marta de Menezes (, portuguese artist and the director of Cultivamos Cultura as well as Kontejner’s longtime associate; Marie-Pier Boucher (PhD in Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University) and Nigel Helyer (

The course will leave plenty of room for informal activities, and a cultural and social program.

Organizers: KONTEJNER | bureau for contemporary art practice (Zagreb, Croatia) with the courtesy of Nera Miočić and Toni Mijač
Partner: Cultivamos Cultura (Sao Luis, Portugal,

Nigel Helyer (AU)

Nigel Helyer is a Sydney based Sculptor and Sound Artist with an international reputation for his large scale sonic installations, environmental sculpture works and new media projects. His practice is actively inter-disciplinary linking creative practice with scientific Research and Development. His activities include; the development of a ‘Virtual Audio Reality’ system in collaboration with Lake Technology (Sydney) and the ongoing AudioNomad.He is an honorary faculty member in Architectural Acoustics at the University of Sydney and has recently been a visiting Professor at Stanford University. He maintains active research links with the SymbioticA lab at the University of Western Australia and has recently been Artist in Residence at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. Nigel is a co-founder and commissioner of the SoundCulture organisation; was a fellow of the Australia Council for 2002/3, the winner of the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award 2002 and curator ofSonic-Differences, part of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2004.

Marta de Menezes (PT)

Marta de Menezes is among the first artists to work with biotechnology, contributing to the creation of bioart. She has shown that biology research laboratories can be used as art studios. Her many artworks have incorporated materials and expertise from different disciplines (CRISPR/Cas9, MRI, structural biology, microbiology, among others). Her work has been presented throughout the globe in exhibitions, conferences, and publications. A Portuguese artist with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford, with a ABD from the University of Leiden. Marta has been exploring the intersection between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies can be used as a new art medium. In 1999 de Menezes created her first biological artwork (Nature?) by modifying the wing patterns of live butterflies. Since then, she has used diverse biological techniques including functional MRI of the brain to create portraits where the mind can be visualised (Functional Portraits, 2002); fluorescent DNA probes to create micro-sculptures in human cell nuclei (nucleArt, 2002); sculptures made of proteins (Proteic Portrait, 2002-2007), DNA (Innercloud, 2003; The Family, 2004) or incorporating live neurons (Tree of Knowledge, 2005) or bacteria (Decon, 2007). Her work has been presented internationally in exhibitions, articles and lectures. She is currently the Artistic Director of Ectopia, an experimental art laboratory in Lisbon, and Director of Cultivamos Cultura in the South of Portugal.;