Thomas Feuerstein


"METABOLICA Camp" by Thomas Feuerstein. You can see a large head made of plastic on a glass table. In this head are large needles with black heads.
Thomas Feuerstein
Medium / Material / Technic
7-part prozessual media installation

Rooted in many years of collaboration between artist Thomas Feuerstein and microbiologists at the University of Innsbruck working on the development of the biopolymer PHP (polyhydroxybutyrate), the large-scale project »METABOLICA« combines cutting-edge research and art history with science fiction. At its thematic and artistic core, metabolic processes are analyzed in multiple ways including biological, artistic, political, and economic perspectives. Developed specifically for the ZKM | Karlsruhe, the installation »METABOLICA Camp« comprises multiple works and forms its own workspace blending together artistic and scientific media in a studio and exhibition space that illustrates complex cycles of bacterial growth and metabolic transformation. It opens up a space for processes that mediate between the material, medial and imaginary spheres, sketching out the utopia of an “ouroborocracy” – a self-devouring, self-renewing and self-sufficient democratic culture.

Feuerstein’s sculptures, created from cultivated algae with the help of bacteria and a 3D-printer, hearken back to the Florentine Renaissance. At the same time, they are connected to an active bioreactor which contextualizes evolutionary and industrial histories with contemporary questions of environmental technology and waste water management. By entering Feuerstein’s Camp, we set foot on the path from fossil petrochemistry towards the biochemical future.

In collaboration with: Christian Ebner (Unit of Environmental Engineering at the University of Innsbruck), Thomas Pümpel (Department of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck), Biotreat GmbH, cera.LAB.

Microbiological research and biotechnological development: Christian Ebner, Livia Hökl, Judith Ascher-Jenull, Rudolf Markt, Thomas Pümpel, Christian Scherfler, Christoph Schinagl, Thomas Seppi, Pamela Vrabl
Materials engineering: Valentine Troi

Software: Peter Chiochetti
Mechatronics and 3D Printing: Jonathan Hanny, Jan Contala
Design and mechanical engineering: Leopold Fahringer, Stefan Göschl, Tobias Hartung von Hartungen, Mathias Hirnsperger
Project coordination: Eva M. Kobler