Hybrid Futures. Speaker Introduction – Vera Meyer.

©Martin Weinhold

©Martin Weinhold

Already two weeks ago we published a video on the collaborative work between the speakers of the third edition of the “Hybrid Futures. Art and science between the realms of past, present and future”; Vera Meyer and Sven Pfeiffer.
With the “Hybrid Futures” taking part in exactly a weeks time, on Thursday the 10th of December at 8:15 p.m., we would like to give you a better idea of the two speakers, starting with an introduction of the biotechnology expert and professor at the Technische Universität Berlin – Vera Meyer.

Fungi are at the core of Vera Meyers’ teaching, research and art. She is fascinated by these organisms, whose visible fruiting body is only a small part of its actual size as in actual fact everything we see in nature is touched by it. This fact seems to be the determining thought for her scientific work within which she imagines the future, human life would also be surrounded by fungi.

Within the last 100 years fungi have already brought us very far in the context of medical research without that being widely known. To a large extent they are responsible for the availability of birth control, for the development of insulin and penicillin or even blood pressure medicine. But Meyer sees even more potential when it comes to the topic of sustainable transitions.

With her team she is researching at the TU Berlin how fungi-material can be used as a plastic substitute and how a completely new type of fungi based textile can compose. She imagines the future human wrapped in fungi-clothing, in houses made of fungi constructing material, and sitting on fungi-furniture.

Not only the practical / medical purposes of the funguses and their immense future potential when it comes to our daily life, inspired Vera Meyer but also their aesthetics which lead to her creating a series of creative works. After dipping her toes into painting and graphic art, she is now working on sculptural objects under the pseudonym V. meer. To create her small sculptures she combines things that she finds by chance, such as wild mushrooms, wood and scrap metal.

Her first exhibition (created together with her collegue Prof. Peter Neubauer) “MIND THE FUNGI” opened September 2019 at the Futurium Berlin. The bases for the exhibition was the collaborative and same-named research project with the Art Laboratory Berlin.

The project was based on the idea to work interdisciplinary along the line of  “From STEM to STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Art) to expand scientific research with artistic and design-based research. At Futurium, “MIND THE FUNGI” demonstrated the entire life-cycle process of fungi and the creation of fungi based products starting with gathering mushrooms, isolationing and cultivating them in the lab and all the way to the production of new fungus-based products.

As Vera Meyer is a strong believer of the benefits of thinking both, scientifically and artistically at the same time, we are really excited to see her next week in conversation with the architect Sven Pfeiffer at the “Hybrid Futures”, hosted by the HP in cooperation with the Futurium.

– Rosa