Call for Applications

Estrofem! Lab

When: June 1-10, 2022

Where: Laboratory for molecular genetics, and online.

For whom:

Artists living and working in Bulgaria of all disciplines: visual, media, digital, and AI artists, sound artists, designers, architects, contemporary artists, and others interested in tinkering with living organisms and biotechnologies.


symbiomatter: experimental arts lab organizes a 7-day free hybrid course of lectures and laboratory practice, introducing the specificities of biological art. The course includes online lectures with several internationally acclaimed bio artists and an onsite laboratory practice led by prominent Bulgarian biologists. The international lecturers will deliver their presentations and workshops online, while the laboratory practice will take place at the Laboratory of molecular genetics at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. The course is designed for 10 participants, selected on the basis of their motivation letter and portfolio by a jury, consisting of the members of symbiomatter. The only requirement for the applicants is to be artists, with no discrimination in terms of age or discipline.

Upon accomplishment of the full course the participants will receive a certificate. We expect to train a core of talented artists, who would be able to reimagine, creatively and critically, emerging tendencies in the development of biotechnologies, as well as to augment the relationship between science and society.

How to apply:

To apply for this program, fill in the following application form and describe briefly:

  • Your motivation to participate in symbiomatter Bioart Lab 2022 (approx. 300 words);
  • Short biography;
  • Up to 3 of your previous projects with links to detailed information.

Relevant deadlines:

Applications are open until 20 April, 2022. Jury selection until 10 May, 2022. The course will take place between the 1 and 10 June 2022.


1 June: The course will begin with an introductory lecture delivered by dr. Nevena Ivanova, philosopher of technology, who will present fundamental conceptions and tendencies in bioart practices, as well as the goals and focus of the course.

2- 3 June: Follow two lectures by internationally acclaimed bioartists Saša Spačal and dr. Špela Petrič, who will present some of the methodologies and ideas in their bioart projects. The participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and actively discuss with the artists.

4-6 June: Following are three days of laboratory practice led by molecular biologists prof.dr. Georgi Milosev, Milena Georgieva, and bioartist Mary Maggic, which will take place at the Laboratory for molecular genetics at the Institute for Molecular Biology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. Participants will receive a basic understanding of molecular biology and hands-on experience in scientific protocols and techniques for genetic research. Mary Maggic will deliver a workshop on Open Source Estrogen.

9 June: The program will finish with a discussion of the participants’ artistic projects, which will be expected to tinker with the ideas, the media and/or the instruments introduced throughout the course. The work of the participants will be discussed by dr. Špela Petrič, prof.dr. Georgi Milosev, Milena Georgieva, and dr. Nevena Ivanova.

symbiomatter bioart lab 2022 is a project of symbiomatter: experimental arts lab, curated by Nevena Ivanova and Albena Baeva. symbiomatter aspires to forge close bonds between scientists and artists in Bulgaria, by introducing them to a shared workspace. The interdisciplinary mixture of lectures, laboratory practices, and artistic presentations works towards encouraging mutual exchange of ideas, skills and cognitive models between the scientists and the artists. The participants will have the opportunity to permanently join symbiomatter’s international network of contacts, collaborations and initiatives, which seek to bridge science, art and technology.


Dr. Špela Petrič is a bioart artist that holds an MFA from LUCA, Brussels and a PhD in biomedicine from University of Ljubljana. Dr. Petrič received several awards, such as the White Aphroid for outstanding artistic achievement (Slovenia), the Bioart and Design Award (Netherlands), and an Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).

Saša Spačal is a postmedia artist that works at the intersection of artistic research of biological systems, contemporary art practices, and sound art. Her works are exhibited internationally and have received awards and nominations at prominent venues such as Prix Ars Electronica, Ars Electronica Starts Prize, Japan Media Art Award, Prix Cube, New Technology Art Award and New Aesthetica Prize.

Mary Maggic is a bioart artist with a BSA in Biological Science and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and an MSc in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab. They work at the intersection of contemporary art, speculative design, biopolitics, and ecology. Their work has been awarded at distinguished international forums such as Ars Electronica, DIYSECT, and BIO-FICTION.

Prof. George Miloshev and assosiated professor Milena Georgievafrom the Laboratory of molecular genetics at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences are among the leading scientists in epigenetics worldwide. They have numerous publications in distinguished academic journals.

Prof. George Miloshev is the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics. He has worked as a visiting researcher in the UK and the US. He is currently a part-time lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Sofia University’s Faculty of Biology and a guest professor at the Medical University - Sofia and the Medical University - Plovdiv.

Assoc. prof. Milena Georgieva has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and an M.Sc. in Cellular and Developmental Biology from the Institute of Molecular Biology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her scientific interests are in molecular biology and genetics, epigenetics, and contemporary biomedicine. She is a guest editor of the prestigious scientific journal CELLS MDPI, and a scientific consultant at the international Enago academy.

Dr. Nevena Ivanova has a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary information studies from the University of Tokyo (Japan). She has published in the domains of philosophy of technology, media aesthetics, and critical software studies. Currently, she is assistant professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and visiting professor in post-cybernetic aesthetics at Sofia University.

All epidemic safety measures will apply during the in-person laboratory classes. The online lectures and presentations will be accessible to the wider audience, while the in-person classes will be exclusive for the participants in the course. symbiomatter Bioart Lab 2022 is organized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund.

Question? Write us an email: symbiomatter[@]