Activities of the mikroBIOMIK Society
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Here is an incomplete summary of what happened in the last few years:
Microscopy and Soil Life Workshop in Dahnsdorf
The “old barn” in Dahnsdorf is to be revived as a lost place and contribute to the transformation of Brandenburg. A wide variety of change makers gathered to share their knowledge and experience with one another. Among them were Fräulein Brehm and her animal theatre, the society for mikroBIOMIK, Daniel Diehl from Ahrensnest and others.
Tim and Leo traveled to Dahnsdorf on behalf of mikroBIOMIK e.V. to share their knowledge about soil life. After a short lecture, things got dirty. Young and old alike searched enthusiastically in different soil samples to find isopods, nematodes, fungi, amoebae and earthworms. These were examined with their hands and eyes or under the microscope. The workshop felt like a complete success after the children got their friends to show them their discoveries under the microscope.
Kickoff: "Islands of the Day Before"
We are starting a new collaboration with „Islands of the Day Before“ - a project that uses urban farming innovation, gastronomy and microbial science as a way to interface the public with local fluvial ecologies.
Julian build a fungal bioreactor on site and performed a preliminary soil-food-web assessment in preparation of a scientific study on microbial soil regeneration. Stay tuned.
Workshop at Biotopia Lab in Munich
As part of "Fruit-City", an initiative for the preservation of orchards, we introduced the visitors of the Biotopia Lab to the world of soil microbes. After a theoretical introduction, the participants were able to microscopically explore soil samples at five different work stations. Together with Chiara, Tim, Tassilo, Lotta and Malte, we thus covered the soil part of the workshop series.
Bioreactor at Freiland e.V. Potsdam
In cooperation with the network of open workshops Brandenburg, Malte and Leo built the first IBC bioreactor at Freiland e.V. Potsdam together with committed participants. The reactor creates the perfect conditions for cultivating fungi and nitrogen-fixing soil organisms - a tool for the agriculture of the future. Students at the University of Potsdam create a video tutorial and a handout for farmers as part of the module "Design-oriented research in business informatics".
Soil workshop in Maribor
Julian gave a workshop on soil organisms for children at the GT22 educational laboratory in Maribor, Slovenia. We used different types of professional and homemade microscopes to observe all the little creatures crawling, creeping and swimming through soil, compost and leaves.
Lecture at the "Soil Assembly" of the Kochi Biennale
An international gathering of artists, designers, curators, architects, educators, activists, farmers, and hackers to support the freedom of exchange and sharing of knowledge. It is an active dissemination of a humanistic/biodiverse/holistic approach within notions of food growing practices, more-than-human correlations in these practices and life, as well as the freedom of movement for plants, animals, humans, algae, fungi and seeds. [Description from the website]
Malte presents our work on Fungal Bioreactors as well as our collaboration with MIYA e.V.
A summary of the event can be found here.
Our download area is online
Just in time for the new year, we have opened our download area. The guides on soil microscopy and chromatography are already available in English, Spanish and Indonesian (Bahasa). The soil microscopy guide is also available in German. We are working on further translations as well as new publications, but urgently need funding for this. If you have a tip, would like to support our work, or give feedback on the guides, we would be happy to receive your email.
All mikroBIOMIK publications are distributed under a CreativeCommons licence (usually CC BY-SA). We are happy if the material circulates. Print versions and other formats of the works are available on archive.org.
Many thanks to UROŠ and of course to all authors, translators and designers.
Microbial mud-generators in Maribor (Slovenia)
A child-friendly workshop on microbial fuel cells made from mud and recycled materials. Many thanks to Monika Pocrnjić for help and translation, and to the staff of the adventure playground "Doživljajsko igrišče" for the great place.
We were able to use here for the first time our bilingual guide, which was created earlier this year in cooperation with the konS network.
The pictures are by Julian Chollet & Boštjan Lah.
Mushroom stem and soil cultures in Forst (Brandenburg)
At Schöner Land e. V. in Forst, we gave a 2-day workshop on stem and soil cultures together with Wolli, Micha and Malte to enable the permaculture project to grow mushrooms. The Network of Open Workshops organised and financed the event.
Circular chromatography and fungal bioreactors in Slovenia
This Soil Research Week was organized in the framework of the project series “UROŠ - Ubiquitous Rural Open Science Hardware”. Many thanks to Zavod Rizoma for offering the research location & infrastructure. The UROŠ project has been supported financially as part of the konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Investigative Arts.
We continue to work on both projects and will eventually publish “Short Guide”-Zines on the topics.
Circular soil chromatography
„Fungal compost bioreactor“ Version 3.0
With this new version, we created a scaleable and low-maintenance bioreactor that is optimally integrated into the workflows of the park management. The previous prototype already produced really good compost, but it was not big enough for the amount of material that had to be processed and a more convenient solution for loading the substrate had to be found.
We plan to publish a How-To Zine with detailed instructions within the next couple of months, so please stay tuned. If you know a park, farm, large garden or other place where considerable amounts of organic “waste” have to be transformed into valuable humus, please feel free to contact us.
3rd Agriculture Day in Wartaweil
The BUND Naturschutz, the Bavarian Farmers' Association (BBV) and the Office of Food, Agriculture and Forestry Weilheim in Upper Bavaria (AELF) had chosen soil life as their topic this year. The aim of this meeting was to bring agriculture, nature conservation and society together in an intensive exchange.
During two HUMUS sapiens workshops, the participants were able to examine soil samples they had brought with them from fields and meadows and thereby befriended many different microorganisms. In the afternoon there were several presentations and a panel discussion.
Many thanks to Constanze Gentz and Helene Falk for the organization as well as to Christine Starostzik for the pictures.
Remote workshop on microbial fuel cells
It does work digitally: a workshop on microbial fuel cells - from a distance and yet somehow in the middle of Mz*Baltazar's lab. Soon there will be another follow-up event to see how our mud-generators have matured and how we can optimize the electrical performance.
„Fungal compost bioreactor“ Version 2.0
The first batch of compost is ripe and an optimised version of the composting plant has just been filled with oak leaves. The modifications improve moisture regulation and ventilation from the bottom of the containers. In addition, we started working on designs to make the facility more easily scalable. We will keep you informed.
News from the „Fashion to soil“ project
Malte and Leo are busy cultivating and experimenting. The textiles are well colonized and the first results look promising. In order to produce really high-quality compost, the next step is to further transform the substrate with the help of worms.
mikroBIOMIK @PIFcamp Slovenija
This year Julian worked on Soil-Based Microbial Fuel Cells and participated in a "Brewing Beer for Hackers" workshop led by Rob Canning and Monika Pocrnjić.
Many thanks to all the wonderful people there!! :)
More Information on the PIFcamp Website
Images: Katja Goljat
Start of the „Fashion to soil“ project
Initial experiments are currently being conducted on the decomposition of various textiles with "Pleurotus ostreatus", "Trametes versicolor" and "Fusarium oxysporum". How quickly are the textile substrates colonized by the different fungal species? What is the degree of decomposition of the fibers after two weeks?
Leo is new with us and works on this promising project together with Malte in the Biopunk-Kitchen.
„Fungal compost bioreactor“ in Berlin park
At the end of last year, a static composting plant was set up in Wuhlheide in cooperation with FEZ-Berlin to turn large quantities of oak leaves into humus. Malte developed the concept and mixed the leaves with special fungal cultures and compost worms. With the temperatures slowly getting more mild, the decomposition is picking up speed.
Workshops at the Biotopia Lab Munich
We were invited to conduct a few „teach-the-teachers“ workshops at the Biotopia Lab in Munich on the following topics: Fungi4future, HUMUS sapiens, Microbial Ecosystems, Intelligent Amoebae and Kombucha Biodesign. It was great fun and as soon as the lab is open to the public again you should definitely stop by.
Many thanks to all participants and especially to Simone Gaab for the organization and to Kathrin Glaw for the pictures. Here are some impressions from 2 of the workshops - more will follow.
Fungi4future workshop with Malte
HUMUS sapiens workshop with Julian
Workshop in Bohinjska Bistrica
Directly after PIFcamp, Julian gave a HUMUS sapiens workshop in Bohinjska Bistrica: a lively and family friendly afternoon with lot’s of time outside. We were digging holes and found hundreds of tiny creatures. One participant had to take a rest from all the exitement. ;)
Many thanks for the invitation to Urška from KAMRA Art Projekt Bohinj as well as Tina & Uroš from Projekt Atol. Those wonderful pictures are from Matjaž Rušt.
HUMUS sapiens @PIFcamp Slovenija
This year with fewer participants but at least as much action: Herbalism with Dario & Darja, soil scanning and microscopy with Julian, hiking, music, etc. Many thanks to all the wonderful people there!! :)
More Information on the PIFcamp Website
Images: Katja Goljat & Matjaž Rušt
HLabX Reflections in Zürich
The Hackteria Network was meeting in Zurich to reflect on the last decade of activities, dream about futures projects and launch a new local program at their recently inaugurated OpenScience Lab. We had some interesting talks, discussions and workshops and the evenings were filled with performances and jam sessions.
Many thanks to Marc & Maya for organizing.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we unfortunately have to postpone all workshops planned for April and May.
The mikroBIOMIK Society is exclusively concerned with friendly microbes - if you want information about SARS-CoV-2, take a look at the Website of Mona.
HUMUS sapiens tree sponsorships
As a thank you for two generous supporters of our last crowdfunding campaign we planted a morello cherry (Prunus cerasus subsp. Acida) and a peach (Prunus persica) a few months ago. Both trees are now finally getting their first green and look very healthy. For the cherry we chose a half-shaded location and for the peach we chose a sheltered place - as soon as the peach grows larger than the blackberry hedge it will get plenty of sun.
Thanks a lot for your support!!
mikroBIOMIK @ biopunk.kitchen Potsdam
In this wonderful community laboratory Malte is working on an open source "gene library" for fungal species. In order to support sustainable projects (e.g. in agriculture), we would like to provide access to these species in an open and transparent way. There are already 42 cultures in the library. If you have any questions, please write to email@example.com
Talk about HUMUS sapiens at the Chaos Communication Congress
Maya, Malte and Julian had the great honor of giving a lecture at the annual hacker conference. Afterwards the discussions continued in the tea tent.
HUMUS sapiens retreat
From the 25th to the 27nd of Oktober 2019 a bunch of humus enthusiast were meeting at Projekt Draussen. Similar to last years retreats, the participants came from very diverse backgrounds and contributed their own unique perspectives.
Humus, Humanity & Humility @Ars Electronica, Linz
Julian was on site to dig some holes in a cobblestone courtyard of the university...
many thanks to the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, the Kunstuniversität Linz and the Organizers of Ars Electronica.
Report about the Shared Habitats exhibition (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)
Booklet for the installation Humus, Humanity & Humility
mikroBIOMIK @PIFcamp Slovenija
This year under the motto "DITOxication". Many thanks to all those amazing people there!! :)
Some impressions... soon more.
mikroBIOMIK @Ex-Teppich Erlangen
Many thanks to Jochen Hunger and Alessandro Volpato for the organization.
Humus workshop by Julian
Fungi workshop by Malte
HUMUS sapiens and the Extreme Biopolitical Bistro @Biotopia EAT Festival in Munich
Earth is more than just dirt under our feet: it is a complex and dynamic ecosystem, home to thousands of different organisms and the basis of our food. Julian and Josephine invite you to explore a variety of soil samples with the microscope.
Many thanks also to Markéta Dolejšová, Denisa Kera, Zohar Messeca-Fara und Yair Reshef vom Extreme Biopolitical Bistro.
Biotopia Eat Festival Website
Extreme Biopolitical Bistro
3 Day Workshop "SCOBI, Shit and Humus" @Mo Museum in Vilnius
Mindaugas Gapsevicius, Juan Pablo Diaz and Julian Chollet gave a 3 day Workshop with the Titel "SCOBI, Shit and Humus" as part of the exhibition
Shared Habitats (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar). The main themes were Symbiosis, Permaculture und Soil life.
Documentation by Mindaugas Gapsevicius
Soil analysis summary by Julian Chollet
Pictures by Rytis Seskaitis
Excursion to Reformatu Square (Pictures: Julian Chollet)
HUMUS sapiens at the SEEDS & SOIL conference in Paris
SEEDS & SOIL conference we explored the invisible biodiversity of
the Parisian soil.
Afterwards, there was a round table with Ariane Leblanc, Pedro Wirz and Julian Chollet at the Center culturel suisse - moderated by Antonia von Schöning. The conference continued on Saturday (08.03.) And also included film screenings, lectures, performances and installations.
ARTICLE from Makery
mikroBIOMIK at the Marie-Curie-Alumni-Conference in Vienna
Josephine represented mikroBIOMIK and the HUMUS sapiens network on the MCAA
(Marie Curie Alumni Association) general assembly and annual conference in
Vienna (25-26th Feb 2019).
The MCAA meeting this year focused on 'disseminating research results from European research projects through public relations', open science and on how better working conditions can be created for scientists. Presenting the work of the Society for mikroBIOMIK in Vienna, we were able to bring our approach to open, collaborative and practical science communication into the discussion. For our multimedia presentation, with which we participated in the poster session, we received consistently positive feedback. Our presence at the MCAA meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss topics that are important to us with experts from many exciting disciplines. We presented the HUMUS sapiens soil microscopy workshops as an opportunity to engage interested people in research regardless of their educational background and agreed that hands-on activities are important in providing physical memory for hard facts.
Talk and discussion about HUMUS sapiens in Tel Aviv (TAMI)
"@ Tel Aviv Makers I... hackerspace!"
Interactive exhibition "SCOBI, Shit and Humus" @ACUD Berlin
As part of the Transmedial "Vorspiel" (Prelude) at ACUD Berlin we had an interactive exhibition on the theme "SCOBI, Shit and Humus" - in cooperation with Mindaugas Gapsevicius and Juan Pablo Diaz. Among other things, the participants had the opportunity to analyze their own soil or compost samples under a microscope. With more than 500 visitors and very positive feedback, we consider the event a great success.
Lecture on collaboration between art, science and technology (Kunsthaus Raab)
The Munich Embassy of the Self-proclaimed "Republic of Užupis" invited us to reflect on what happens when artists, scientists and engineers work together. The artist colony Užupis was founded in Lithuanias capital Vilnius in 1997 and now houses about 7000 people.
Workshop: Invisible life in compost and soil
As part of the symposium "„Weil alles irgendwie zammgehört“" by the
Center for Environment and
Culture Benediktbeuern, Julian was invited to give a workshop on
microbial soil life.
The meeting brought together very interesting people and initiatives: e.g. Daniel Diehl from Slow Food Germany with his project „Boden begreifen“ and Susanne Stoiber from the IG Gesunder Boden.
September 2018 – HUMUS sapiens on tour
«Humus sapiens on tour»
Lucerne, 22.-25. September 2018
Stuttgart, 26.-29. September 2018
Zurich, 03. October 2018
Berlin, 01.-07. October 2018
Here is an overview
The first stop of our tour was Lucerne: we met @FabLab to discuss about microplastics, analyze soil samples and build centrifuges. Of course including an excursion. More Information
Retreat in the Container City (Kunstverein Wagenhalle)
For 5 days a large part of the HUMUS sapiens network gathered in the
center of Stuttgart.
What happened there, we cannot summarize in a few sentences - please be patient until we have set up a decent wiki. In the rooms of the Kunstverein Wagenhalle some results of this productive time were open to visit in an exposition until 14. October.
mikroBIOMIK soil retreat
From the 20th to the 22nd of July the woods surrounding Projekt Draussen as well as the house itself became the setting for the «mikroBIOMIK soil retreat». We gathered a colorful mix of experts from different disciplines, curious gardeners, skilled hobby microscopists and passionate artists. The event was flexibly structured (as a barcamp/unconference) to address as many questions and approaches as possible and to develop the program together with the participants. There were many discussions and networking sessions, but also a lot has happened in practice: excursions, microscopy, composting, electronic crafts, comic drawing, yoga, a jazz concert,...
Workshop: Workshop: Invisible life in compost and soil
As part of the Children Climate Camp 2018, we were invited to do a workshop series on soil microbes at the BUND Naturschutz- und Jugendzentrum Wartaweil. Several groups of children between the ages of 8 and 12 collected samples, rummaged through compost, and observed the wild mini-creatures at work. A day full of muddy hands, astonished faces and fascinating insights into the world of invisible life.
The HUMUS sapiens RandeLab retreat 4.-6. May
The Global Hackteria Network, Gasthaus: Fermentation and Bacteria and mikroBIOMIK invite scientists, biohackers, artists, makers, teachers, ecologists and farmers to meet in a forest hut to develop new DIY concepts and workshops on soil ecology. We are all very excited !! :)
- The HUMUS sapiens website
- Discussion and ideation on the HACKTERIA Forum
- Information about the RandeLab Soil Retreat
Spring awakening in plants and microbes
What is going on below the ground? Especially in spring, plants excrete a variety of substances from their roots to the ground. In young plants, these so-called "exudates" can account for up to 40% of the carbon compounds they produce from air and sunlight. With the help of these excretions, microbes with whom the plant would like to cooperate are attracted and supported; harmful ones are deterred. The fact that the energy of the first spring sun-rays flows into the ground to such an extent, shows us how important the interaction between the young plants and microbes is for further growth.
If you would like to know more and/or read scientific literature on this topic, just write a short e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Many thanks to all supporters of the Humus sapiens crowdfunding campaign!!!
Humus Sapiens crowdfunding campaign launched
In cooperation with the Global Hackteria Network and Gasthaus: Fermentation and Bacteria, we are launching our first, larger project with the title "Humus Sapiens: open soil research" dedicated to the complex topic of soil ecology.
To begin, we focus on the organization of two events near Munich and Schaffhausen (CH) in the spring and summer of 2018, as well as the establishment of a global network of amateurs and experts who are developing new approaches to soil analysis.
The financing of Humus Sapiens runs until 08.04.2018 on the Swiss crowdfunding platform wemakeit.com.
To the campaign
mikroBIOMIK Society founded
Finally, we are a legal entity and the association should very soon also receive the status of a non-profit organization - this is currently being examined by the tax authorities. We are committed to the promotion of research and science, as well as the promotion of education and vocational training.
If you would like to be a patron or member, please write to email@example.com
Workshop: antibiotic properties of garlic
The participants made their own agar-plates and cultivated different species of bacteria and microbial fungi. Garlic was placed in the middle of the plate to see how the microbes react to its antibiotic properties.
Results: some microbes hate garlic (bacteria?!) and some don’t mind (fungi?!).
Workshop: DNA amplification at the Bauhaus-University, Weimar
A laboratory course for art students to communicate basic knowledge about molecular biology. We performed real DNA-amplification and then reenacted the ‘invisible’ procedure with the help of paper-DNA and creativity.
Workshop: kombucha fermentation and biomaterial
Some friends were interested in the cultivation of kombucha for drinking and tinkering. We tested a few different recipes for fermentation and drying of the microbial cellulose. We also had some fun forming letters from mushroom material.
Kick-off meeting of the ‘Nordic Biohack Network’ in Vilnius, Lithuania
“The international meeting with a coded name "siNbiozė" is an attempt to realize the possibility of symbiosis of scientific and artistic practices, aimed at development and presentation of ideas, [...]“ Nordic Biohack Network
There was some lichen-biohacking, a ‘reversed science cafe’ and a lot of time for networking!
Fermentation & Microscopy at the Klöntal Biohack Retreat
During the last warm days in september, an international crowd of biohackers gathered in the beautiful swiss mountains to share knowledge, inspiration, techniques, good food and of course also microbes. Julian brought his aunts old ZEISS microscope so we could analyze all the fermented food, soil extracts, water samples and other funny stuff. We even tried to do some digital 3D reconstruction.
Klöntal is also the birthplace of the “wormlab project”
Here is a video from the event:
Phage Hunting in Georgia
The Georgian Eliava Institute is worldwide the most experienced research institution in all aspects of phage research, production and therapy. Julian and Rüdiger attended the “centennial celebration of bacteriophage research” and also took part in a summer school concerning the isolation of phages from the environment. This was also a good chance to present the idea for an interactive learning platform on microbial communities. The poster definitely got a lot of attention - also from the cleaning lady (see picture below).
This was also the beginning of the „ Phage Academy “ project
Hackteria and mikroBIOMIK at the MakeMunich Makerfare
In the middle of 3D-printers, robots and other fancy electronics, we had a nice little booth about biology. Special guests were Marc and Urs from Switzerland, Timbil and Geger from Indonesia, a huge batch kombucha and some mushrooms.
We performed several workshops concerning fermentation and biomaterials as well as a discussion-round on biohacking.
Biofabbing convergence at CERN, Geneva
The famous research institute for particle physics hosted a very international and interdisciplinary crowd of “enthusiasts, practitioners, and researchers on Biohacking and Do-it-Yourself Biology in an effort to foster transformative discussions and learning experiences.” Biofabbing convergence website
We discussed some important developments in the community, cooked and fermented good food as well as ideas and got to know each other a lot better. During a visit to Lausanne\'s Biohackerspace Hackuarium there was also enough time to built some webcam microscopes and test the ‘foldoscope’.
DIY macro/microscopy in the Spanish mountains
While hiking through northern Portugal and Spain, Julian got a little bored and built a very simple microscope from a 2€ laser pointer (only the lens) and a piece of cork. It works by placing it very near to your eye – like the 17th century Van-Leeuwenhoek microscopes or (more convenient) by using it together with a smartphone.
It works great for little insects and we spontaneously organized a workshops with kids from the village.