10 years of BAD Award

In 2020, the BAD Award celebrated its tenth anniversary. Specially for this unique edition, we talked to the three winners of 2020 and nine previous BAD Award winners - one from each year. All showed new or recent work in the group exhibition Evolutionaries.


11 December 2020 -
9 May 2021

The interviewed artists, designers and scientists take you along their speculative, daring and eccentric bio art and design projects. Together they underline how meaningful a prize like the BAD Award is for the collaboration between art and science.

Furthermore, we launched a short film in which MU director & curator Angelique Spaninks, head of the BAD Award 2020 jury William Myers and previous winners take us along 10 years of BAD Award and explain what the award & the collaboration between art and science means for them. Together they portray the unique character and value of the BAD Award and tell us about the new possibilities the life sciences have to offer. Not only for the fields of art and science, but for the whole of society.

Designer & architect Dasha Tsapenko explores the mutually defined relationship between human bodies and the (designed) domestic spaces, combining tools of fashion, architecture, performance and microbiology. Together with researcher Han Wösten, she created Fur_tilize. The project, five grown ‘fur’ coats, offers a speculative prototype of a value-building form of fashion, in which a garment evolves through phases of growing: producing materials as well as food for consumption.

In her practice, artist Sissel Marie Tonn explores the complex ways humans perceive, act upon and are entangled with their environments. Her works always return to the question at the core of ecological thought: Where do we perceive our bodies to end, and the environment to begin? In collaboration with researchers Leslie Heather and Juan Garcia Vallejo, she presents Becoming a Sentinel Species. The intriguing, experimental science-fiction film follows two researchers on a quest to explore and amplify their own bodies’ sensitivity to microplastics on a cellular level.

Nadine Botha is a research designer preoccupied with the unseen social, political, economic, scientific and cultural values embedded in our material reality. In collaboration with skin infections specialist Henry de Vries, she created The Orders of the Undead. The project explores the colonial origins of contemporary narratives of infectious disease, race, violence, and apocalypses through zombie films.

Jalila Essaïdi won a BAD Award in 2010 with the project 2.6g 329m/s, also known as Bulletproof Skin. This year, her work Double Edged is on show at MU. Jalila is specialized in the fields of bio-based materials and bio-art and is the founder of BioArt Laboratories, one of the leading artistic development institutes in this field in the Netherlands.

The artist-led think tank Center for Genomic Gastronomy examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems. Over the years, they participated multiple times in the bio art and design exhibitions at MU. The first time was in 2011, when they won a BAD Award with the project Eat Less, Live More, & Pray for Beans. This year, they present O.F.F.I.C.E: an interactive space that combines ten years of their research.

In 2012, Charlotte Jarvis won a BAD Award with Ergo Sum. Charlotte’s practice often utilizes living cells and DNA: she has grown her own tumor, recorded music onto DNA and she has seen her heartbeat outside her body. This year, her ongoing work In Posse is on show at MU. Together with professor Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes (LUMC) she works towards creating viable semen from her own female cells.

Špela Petric won a BAD Award in 2014. This year, her work PL'AI is on show at MU: the third work in the series PLANT-MACHINE. PL'AI showcases a playful interaction between a cucumber plant and a robot, lasting for several months as the plant grows. The installation embraces the notion of play as an ontological or natural condition of all living bodies, including plants. The act of playing, unlike games, which are limited by clear rules or goals, reflects the uncertain character of existence and is therefore at the heart of self-discovery.

In 2015, Agi won a BAD Award with the project Drones with Desires. During Evolutionaties, she presents Alter-Terrestrial. The work illustrates how beings, at one time having been earth terrestrials, might have to change to the point that reintegration on earth is no longer possible. They are 'alter terrestrials': not quite terrestrial (being of or from the earth), yet not quite extra-terrestrial either (being of outside earth).

The work Contemporary Diagram - Berlin by former BAD Award winner Cecilia Jonsson presents the visual effects of bacteria, which corroded a series of iron plates over the course of being stimulated by sounds and music. In 2016, Cecilia won a BAD Award with the internationally acclaimed project Haem, for which a small amount of iron was extracted out of human placentas and turned into a compass needle.

In 2017, Xandra van der Eijk won a BAD Award with her project Seasynthesis. This year, Ghost Reef is on show at MU. In her practice, Xandra connects art, ecology, and activism. She has developed a distinct research methodology demonstrated in a broad body of work, incorporating theory, fieldwork, documentation methods, and material development in her practice. Each of her projects deals with a key ecological issue, and how it is exposed by the passing of time.

No regrets for what you haven't been, Be the ghost you want to see in the machine: in 2018, Ani Liu won a BAD Award with the project that probably has the longest BAD Award title ever. In her practice, Ani examines the reciprocal relationships between science, technology and their influence on human subjectivity, culture, and identity. Reoccurring themes include gender politics, biopolitics, labour, nostalgia and sexuality. This year she presents the three works Small Inconveniences, Maternity Menswear and the film Mind Controlled Sperm.

Michael Sedbon explores digital networked technologies and systems through their convergence with non-human intelligence, like plants, unicellular organisms, insects, and bacteria. In 2019, Michael won an award with the large, complex installation CMD: Experiments in Bio Algorithmic Politics. During Evolutionaries he presents the 2.0 version of the project. The installation is based on a possible future in which humans are directed by diffused digital networks that form a governing artificial intelligence.