12 March 2018: Art and Science Cafe by Heather Barnett “Many Headed: co-creating with the collective” @Hikarie, Shibuya

On May 12th, 2018, Art and Science Cafe “Many Headed: co-creating with the collective” was held with at the Shibuya Hikarie by the facilitation of Dr. Heather Barnett from University of the Arts London Central Sains Martins.

Heather Barnett’s presentation.  Photo © Shibuya Hikarie 8 2018

This event explored living systems from an art perspective, and used these ideas to think creatively about the possibilities of what Wearables could be, how they could function and be worn. As an exercise in thinking through making this event was spurred by a thought experiment: playing with randomly selected variables to generate ideas. From lists of ‘biological systems’, ‘communication devices’ and ‘parts of the body’, a roll of the dice decided which items were selected, provoking imaginative and creative speculations for the wearables of the near future.

Group Works and Presentation.  Photo © Nohara Lab 2018

Following the lecture by Heather, the participants were divided into groups and each group gave a presentation. As the participant, Suwa Aoi from the University of Arts accounted, Bioart was interesting for her to think about who was the subject that carried out the role of expressing and communicating. Another member also shared that there was similarity between the movement of the fungi and that of the society and finance.

Started from Heather’s practices and design, the discussions developed and encompassed a reconsideration of the larger structure of the society, animism, body, urban space, and biotechnology. This stimulating event called for further thinking of those taken for granted in our daily life.

Event Reflection

(by Aoi Suwa, Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Painting)

In this Art and Science Cafe “Many Headed: co-creating with the collective”, the participants were invited to appreciate Dr. Heather Barnett’s artistic approach to slime molds, and expands the discussion about what it means for humans and other organisms to coexist, what is “life”, and what kind of symbiosis could be realized in the mega city of “Tokyo”.

The event outline was a lecture by Dr. Heather and brief discussion with the members at venue, followed with workshop and discussion in groups divided by specialties. In the introductory lecture, Dr. Heather explained about what slime molds are and her past works. She shared the finding of how community could be observed from the structure of real organisms, and raised the possibility of how they might be greatly useful for our human society.

I also watched Dr. Heather’s video on TED, so I was very excited to listen her lecture in live. At that time, she asked one question: “How can a biological system such as slime mold can be useful for your work (life)?”. For me who was in the fine art field, I found this question surprisingly difficult. Even if there are various possibilities for applying biological systems to design field, when considering about how to express them, I feel like the slime molds are already too attractive by themselves, or rather already completed beings with no need for further value addition. Even if we were to present slime molds as themselves, do we really need an artist there? Can we call the presenter as artist?–and so on–many questions that cannot be easily answered began to emerge.

I honestly talked about them with my fellow friends from art field and they immediately sympathized with them. When I think about bio-art and about who the artist is, I feel that when the living thing or biological system is in the medium, they do not just function as medium but also serve as the expression. In such case, I feel like the one who do the expression in a true sense is not the human who set the situation but the inhuman being instead.

When being confronted in such position, I think there are various ways in which our human expressions can become more advanced without just leave them to non-human beings. However, they are more likely to be the clues to the reality that can be felt through the human body, and I believe it is a grand question that can only be answered by steady exploration. Since it leads to the phenomenon and problem representation of my graduation thesis work, I would like to continue thinking about it.

Next, one person from the same table group showed us video of similar creatures and talked about the structure of electronic money called blockchain. Certainly, the reason why the movement of slime molds feel similar to the movement of sociology and finance is probably because the predation and economic activities are related to the instinctive profits and losses of living things, and I felt the reality there. I also thought that the biological system of slime molds is indeed a community,and it has high affinity image with social community that has similar structure.

After that, each group briefly present the content of discussion and Dr. Heather summarized it. After a short break, Dr. Heather showed some practical activities through videos. The content of the video focused on how humans can think of a community system just like slime molds, and how people become “slime molds” by performing movements inside certain space (probably a maze), with holding hands together and eyes closed. I felt a very strong sociological point of view from there. Dr. Heather presentation made me to think about the “how to coexist” message and obtained many hints for overcoming what is going to happen on this earth from now on.

Also, just like when I heard about it during lecture from Prof. Betty Marenko of CSM University of the Arts London who came to Tokyo Tech, the word of “animism” was repeatedly used as a keyword. It left strong impression and started to connect together in my head. It is probably because while it is a fresh way of thinking, it also felt familiar. When I think about where the familiarity comes from, I feel they are very much like Eastern ideas. In a sense, it may feel novel that the ideas that have been taken for granted as an Eastern view are being spoken in Western languages. I felt the strength of the ideological structure, which seems to be based on logic even under such uncertainty that has never been seen before.

Furthermore, such feelings will be further enhanced in the workshops that followed. After the lecture, we were divided into groups of somewhat equal numbers of person from art field, science field, and other professionals, and we began new work. First of all, we were asked to list 6 for each “biological system”, “communication means”, and “part of body”. After listing, Dr. Heather rolled three-colored dices. We were instructed to discuss and think about ideas in groups using the words with the numbers corresponding to the dice rolls.

My group was designated as “biological system: fingerprint”, “communication means: Morse code”, and “part of body: eyes”. Various voice of confusions came from each group, but I personally think that the topics our group obtained was relatively easy to be thought about.

From the argument that Morse code does not necessarily have to be digital, it progressed to the talk that even fingerprints do not have to be so-called fingerprint authentication. With further advice from Dr. Heather about how to convey the focus of the story and to whom, we managed to deepen the basic story. I also talked about the fact that art works are exactly the same, and that theaters are a typical example of such system. 

I talked about how in theater, the performers on the stage also express and communicate with the other performers on the stage, and that there is a composition where many people see that limited situation.I tried to connect it with that even when a specific person communicates with a specific person using some kind of fingerprint, it is possible that the majority of other people can also see it. We were able to deepen the discussion on it, bur Dr. Heather rolled the dice for the second time around that, and since it also seemed to be interesting, the discussion moved to the second combination.

This time, we got “Biological system: Authentication”, “Communication means: Carrier pigeon”, and “Part of body: Claws”. This time, it was not a bad combination, but I think that a word that can’t be ignored: ‘carrier pigeon’ would be the center of theme. In a sense, the discussion spread to the opposite vector from previously, and we started to bring the discussion direction to what about attaching GPS to the claws of the carrier pigeon so that it can be tracked. I feel it’s like a dream to be able to combine modern technology with mechanism that was once commonly used. Further discussions evolved into the possibility that the pigeon trajectory data obtained by the GPS could be used for something else. At that point, I felt that the trajectory that the pigeon showed was already a message, and it was not necessary to carry some conventional documents. When I proposed it, some people in the group sympathized with it so we concluded the discussion to that direction.

The beginning lecture about slime molds by Dr. Heather was also a stimulus, and it became a talk that if slime molds draw a two-dimensional world, then the trajectory drawn by pigeon will be three-dimensional, and it was very exciting discussion. During the presentation, we presented those ideas as pigeons that do not carrying things, but instead use the location information as media art works. While talking and considering about what is required for this time theme, after thinking about it again, it might be better to put at the core of the message that the invisible shape of the city could be highlighted by flying pigeons around Tokyo.

Other groups also presented about very unique ideas, such as signal that can express emotions with color, nail pet that can visualize and keep invisible bacteria on the nails, and educational ideas that allow us to think of a city as an intestine and learn about the properties of oil and water in it.

I originally thought that these kind of group works tend to end up become things that unrealistic, or conversely, too realistic in the common case. But, Dr. Heather’s skillful gimmicks has enabled the certain amount of absurdity and the logic part that can be derived from it being mixed very well. I felt the exquisite balance that I have felt since the beginning of the lecture, and I could enjoy it like a game while also easily have the logic in the output of ideas.

I wondered if Dr. Heather’s works were also born in this kind of way. It was a very exciting group work where I was able to witness a piece of Dr. Heather’s style of design-thinking. I am really honored to be able to participate in a project that could bring a feeling of thinking like this.

I become very interested in the future projects of the professors, and was very looking forward to participate since the content is closely related to what I have been thinking for my art production. Thank you Dr. Heather, Prof. Nohara, and everyone involved for this wonderful opportunity!

Aoi Suwa, Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Painting

渋谷ヒカリエ8F COURT.  Photo © Nohara Lab 2018


ヘザー・バーネット先生によるイベント体験記録/渋谷ヒカリエ8F COURTにて

3月12日、東工大「生命体テクノロジーウェアラブルカフェ」の一環である、ヘザー・バーネット先生によるワークショップイベント「Many Headed: co-creating with the collective」が渋谷ヒカリエ8Fにて開催されました。



Photo © Nohara Lab 2018














Photo © Nohara Lab 2018





レポート: 東京芸術大学絵画科油画専攻4年 諏訪葵

Biotechnology Wearable Cafe 2

Biotechnology Wearable Cafe 1 at Shibuya Hikarie on March 12 was a great success! (25 attendees)
Next, a post science cafe discussion will be held to explore the topic further in an informal setting.

ALL welcome! No registration required!

Date: Monday, 19 March 2020
Time: 15:00 – 19:00
Place: Tokyo Institute of Technology, South 5 Building, 407A (Workshop Room)

Inquiry: Deep Mode Secretariat

ポストサイエンス&アート Cafe ディスカッション

東工大にて「ポストScience Cafe」を行うこととなりました。

場所:東京工業大学南5号館407A (ワークショップルーム)





Deep Mode事務局

Biotechnology Wearable Cafe 1: “Many Headed: co-creating with the collective”

For the 3rd series of “Tokyo Tech Transdisciplinary Technology Theory”, Heather Barnett from Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London will be invited for casual lecture and free discussion at Shibuya Hikarie 8/Court, Tokyo.

Biotechnology Wearable Cafe 1:
“Many Headed: co-creating with the collective”

Admire the original slime fungal art with Mr. Heather Burnett of the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins. From there, we will discuss what it means for humans and other organisms to coexist, what “life” is, and what kind of symbiosis can be considered in the mega city “Tokyo” in the form of a science cafe.

Event Information:

Date: Monday, March 12, 2018
Time:15:00 – 18:00
Opening time: 14:30
Venue: Shibuya Hikarie 8 / COURT
Facilitator: Professor Kayoko Nohara (Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Guest speaker: Heather Barnett (Tokyo Institute of Technology Invited Professor & Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London Faculty Staff)

  • Simultaneous interpretation available
  • Free of charge
  • Advance registration required

More information here.

Registration & inquiry: Deep Mode Secretariat

『 東京工業大学融合技術論』シリーズ第三回 ロンドン芸術大学からHeather Barnett氏を招き、渋谷ヒカリエ8/COURTでカジュアルに、講義とフリーディスカッションを行います。

生命体テクノロジーウェアラブル カフェ 1
Many Headed: co-creating with the collective


会 期 2018年3月12日(月)
時 間 15:00–18:00
開場時間 14:30
場 所 渋谷ヒカリエ 8/COURT
ファシリテーター:野原佳代子 教授 (東京工業大学)
ゲストスピーカー : Heather Barnett 氏
(東工大特任教授・ロンドン芸術大学 セントラル・ セント・マーティンズ校)

料 金 無料
事前申込 要


Deep Mode事務局

March 2018: Heather Barnett the Artist Arrived from CSM!

Heather Barnett from CSM.  Photo © The Experiment Symposium/TiTech 2017

In 2017, we invited three faculties from University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins and started collaboration between science and

technology and art/design. The last but not least is Heather Barnett, a slime mold specialist who came to Japan at the joint symposium “The Experiment”.

Very welcome to Nohara Lab and Deep Mode, Heather!

2018年度はCSMから3名の先生を招聘し、科学技術とアート/デザインのコラボレーションを開始しました。ラスト3人目は、合同シンポジウム「科学・アート・デザインの実験  The Experiment」でも来日してくれた、粘菌スペシャリストのヘザー・バーネット。ようこそ野原研へ、DeepModeへ

24 Feb 2018: Dr Betti Marenko’s Café Philosophique @TokyoTech

Dr. Betti Marenko’s Philosophy Cafe was held!

Previously at Life Science Fashion Studio PJ (Arts Council Tokyo), we were thinking about “What are people wearing in Tokyo 10 years from now?”. But this time, at Dr. Betti’s Philosophy Cafe, we discussed about “In the first place, what is Tokyo?” 

Japanese, foreigners, those who are living in Tokyo, those who come from rural areas… the meaning of “Tokyo” is different for each person. A place where tradition and modernity coexist, a chaotic fusion of west and east, and elusive space… a bizarre deviation and discomfort seems to exist between image from the outside and reality inside. Betti analogizes it as “Kaleidoscope”: an infinitely changing composition that you cannot be fully grasped even if we reach it out.

The discussion was continued with the focus of “something” important that we should not forget, that we are trying to express as future wearable.

Betti Marenko and her café philosophique. Photo © Nohara Lab 2018

2018年2月24日 2018 @南5号館407Aワークショップルームにて


日本人、外国人、東京在住、地方出身… それぞれにとって「東京」の意味は違う。伝統と現代が共存する場所、西と東の混沌たる融合、つかみどころのない空間。芯があるようでいて、ないようでもある。外から与えられるイメージと、現実との奇妙な乖離、違和感。ベティはそれを「カレイドスコープ」にたとえます。手を伸ばしてもつかめない、無限に変わり続ける構図。

その中心には力の抜けた無 “void”があることを忘れてはならない、と津田さんが発言。混沌たる実体をつきつめてゆくと、いつしか無にたどりつく。それをどこかで意識し矛盾として抱えながら、人々は東京で生きている。私たちが未来を想定しウェアラブルで表現したい何か、忘れてはならない何かは、そのあたりに潜んではいないでしょうか。

2-24 Feb 2018: Dr. Betti Marenko’s Lecture on “Technology and Product in Context”

Dr. Betti Marenko. Photo © personal documentation

“Technology and Product in Context” (LAW.X423), one of the Breadth Courses from Liberal Arts & Basic Science Courses and Global Scientists and Engineers Course (GSEC) Advanced, was successfully conducted on 2-24 February 2018 (4Q) at Workshop Room (407A), South 5 Building of Tokyo Tech.

This course was given in intensive lecture format by Dr. Betti Marenko, WRHI Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martins, University of Arts of London, with the following topics:

  1. 2 February (14.00 – 16.00): Tool to consider Post-Anthropocene
  2. 9 February (14.00 – 16.00): Narrative from human beings towards machines
  3. 16 February (14.00 – 16.00): Uncertainty of digitization of world-scale computation
  4. 21 February (14.00 – 16.00): Design the Future

What a luxurious opportunity for the GSEC students and all. Thanks, Betti!

ロンドン芸術大学CSMそして東工大WRHI特任教授のベティ・マレンコ先生による集中講義「物語のあるものつくり Technology and Product in Context」開催。
担当: Betti Marenko・野原 佳代子(Kayoko Nohara)
講義情報: 広域教養科目 LAW.X423/4Q 1単位
授業形態: 集中講義・演習
使用言語: 英語



  • 第1回 2月2日(金) 14:00-16:00
  • 第2回 2月9日(金) 14:00-16:00
  • 第3回 2月16日(金)14:00-16:00
  • 第4回 2月21日(水)14:00-16:00

27 May 2017: Tokyo Tech x Central St. Martins “The Experiment” Symposium @Shibuya Hikarie

Keynote speakers’ session.  Photo © The Experiment Symposium/TiTech 2017

A kick-off joint symposium between Tokyo Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, on “The Experiment” was held in Shibya Hikarie, Tokyo.

The symposium was a great success with interesting talks given by the keynote speakers included Akira Ikegami (journalist), Katsuhiko Hibino (artist) from Tokyo, and Jeremy Till (architect) from Central Saint Martins. The speakers shared their daily “experiments” and the cultures.

This five-hour event attracted more than 300 audiences and media report from The Science News. It was a scramble of communication between art and science, right emerged in Shibuya.

Full report (in Japanese) was also posted on Tokyo Tech main website.


2017年5月27日 13:00-18:00@渋谷ヒカリエ ヒカリエホール(ホールB)

東工大とロンドン芸術大学セントラル・セントマーティンズ校合同シンポジウム「The Experiment – 科学技術・アート・デザインの実験」が開催されました。



最後のキーノートセッションでは、池上特命教授がモデレータとして登場し、あらためて「実験」とは何かを見直す議論となりました。ティル学長の「アート・デザインは美しく、洗練されたものを作り出すだけでなく、社会との関わりによって政治、経済をも変える力を持つ」という言葉が印象的でした。その他、現代アートを専門とするリベラルアーツ研究教育院の伊藤亜紗准教授、分子ロボットを専門とする情報理工学院 情報工学系の小長谷明彦教授、また、シンポジウム企画チームのリーダーであり言語学、翻訳学が専門の環境・社会理工学院 融合理工学系の野原佳代子教授が登壇しました。伊藤准教授の「視覚障がい者は頬に感じる風で街の様子を掴む。標準と違うからこそ気づくこともある」などの語りには、多くの来場者が共感しました。小長谷教授「生体の微小管を使って人工的に制御できる分子ロボットが、将来、がん治療にも役立つようになるかもしれない」。




[Event Report Translation]

May 27th, 2017, 13.00-18.00 at Hikarie Hall (Hall B), Shibuya Hikarie

Tokyo Tech and University of the Arts London Central Saint Martins (CSM) joint symposium “The Experiment” was held.

Session 1, “Design and Industry”, was attended by architect Keisuke Toyoda, up-and-coming fashion designer Yoshikazu Yamagata, and Prof. Carol Colette of CSM, who devises textiles using mycelium. Prof. Colette shared her own view, “A hypothesis is needed to clarify the criteria for success. When the results are published and begin to influence society, design poses a problem to society.” During Mr. Toyoda presentation, the venue was surprised and impressed by his idea of “moving and communicating with the city” for architecture that tends to be only seen as something static.

Session 2 theme is “Art and Science/Technology”. Prof. Emeritus Shigeo Hirose of Tokyo Tech–known for his snake-shaped robots, Dean Heather Barnett of CSM–artist who collaborates with quasi-intelligent slime bacteria, Prof. Katsuhiko Hibino of Tokyo University of Arts–who develops installations and art education that makes the most of regional characteristics, took the stage to discuss how to deal with experiments. “Experiments are the bases of creativity,” said Dean Burnett, while Prof. Emeritus Hirose said, “Experiments connect theory and reality. Experiments can understand things that cannot be understood by thinking, and give a new perspective.”

In the final keynote session, Prof. Ikegami appeared as moderator and lead the discussion to reexamine what “experiment” is. University President Till’s words: “Art design not only creates beautiful and sophisticated things, but also has the power to change politics and economy through our involvement with society,” was impressive. In addition several members from Tokyo Tech also took the stage: Assoc. Prof. Asa Ito of the Institute for Liberal Arts, who specializes in contemporary art; Prof. Akihiko Kohase of the Department of Computer Science, School of Computing, who specializes in molecular robots; Prof. Kayoko Nohara of the Department of Transdisciplinay Science and Engineering, School of Environment and Society, who specializes in linguistics and translation studies and serves as the leader of the symposium planning team. Many visitors sympathized with Assoc. Prof. Ito’s remarks: “Visually impaired people grasp the state of the city with the wind they feel on their cheeks. Sometimes they notice it because it is different from the standard.” Prof. Kohase stated: “Molecular robots that can be artificially controlled using microtubules in living organisms may be useful for cancer treatment in the future.”

At the conclusion, Prof. Nohara said, “In cross-disciplinary communication just like this time, there is always exist a gap of understanding the meaning due to different cultural background of each language, but that also what makes it interesting. Translation is to change the expression and adjust the content depending on the other party, and this discussion is a kind of experiment,” and suggested that new field of study may be born from that ‘gap’.

Each “experiment” has different position and perspective. There is also an approach that does not take the position of “experiment”, and this was an opportunity to get a glimpse of the way cutting through various fields that centered on “experiment” and discover the differences and commonalities between each other. Summarizing the whole discussion as “a social experiment with great potential,” Prof. Ikegami remarks concluded the symposium.

With total of more than 300 attendant and received great deal of attention by also getting introduced in the “Science Newspaper”, this event was a new communication scramble.

(Source: Tokyo Tech News)