Critical Making: DIY cardiac muscle cells

Can we grow our own brain or muscles in a petri dish? During this event artist Guy Ben-Ary, known for his human tissue sculptures, will introduce his biotechnological research and artistic practice. He will explain how he was able to grow his 'external brain' in a lab and he’ll bring alive and kicking heart cells. During the course of the evening the audience will be given hands-on demonstrations on how to culture heart tissue.

Guy Ben-Ary, researcher at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia, will show and tell us how he was able to make human brain tissue in the lab, the core element of his 'cellF' synthesiser which will be exhibited and performed with at TodaysArt this September.

cellF is a real-time interface between human musicians and living cells that have been altered through biotechnology. In the cellF performance, music is fed into these living neurons resulting in a posthuman sound piece. Additionally, Guy Ben-Ary will introduce his latest work in which he explores the use of beating heart cells. He will bring some of these beating cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes).

During the evening the audience will engage in hands-on demonstrations and discussions on what it means to work with and show this kind of sculptural material that is alive yet not a living being. Can we understand and experience biological sciences via interactive installations? And why would an artist work with this kind of material and techniques?

This evening is a collaboration between TodaysArt and Waag. English spoken. Entrance is € 5,- (including one drink).


Olof van Winden, director of TodaysArt, will introduce Guy Ben-Ary’s work. Guy Ben-Ary will present his work done at the organoids issue culture lab of Erik Danen at the Cancer Drug Target Discovery at the Division of Drug Discovery & Safety, as preparation of his performance at TodaysArt. Lucas Evers of Waag will moderate the programme.

Guy Ben-Ary at TodaysArt

TodaysArt, 21 – 23 September 2018 in the Hague, will present the Dutch premier of Guy Ben-Ary’s work cellF. The work will be on display in the exhibition and performances will take place with the neural synthesiser—the Dutch composer and poet Jaap Blonk and multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink are the 'human musicians' who will be playing with 'cellF'. During the TodaysArt Context Program, a special essay about the work will be presented by philosopher and professor Nora Vaage and discussed with neuro-cultures researcher Flora Lysen and Lucas Evers.

Essay on CellF by Prof. Nora Vaage

During Todays Art Festival in the Hague Lucas Evers brought together a number of researchers that commented CellF. He invited Professor of ethics Nora Vaage to write an essay about the work that formed the basis for the reflections by Flora Lysen, Paul Krimpenfort and Eric Daanen. Find the essay by Prof. Nora Vaage about the artwork CellF of Guy Ben Ary with graphic design by Collective Work here.

This event is part of the project Doing It Together Science. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 709443.



Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012 CR Amsterdam