Maria Simmons

Project: Creating Digital Growth Structures from Homemade Microbial Ecosystems

In session one, participants will be given an introduction to BioArt artists and methods and will create Winogradsky Columns from local mud sources. They will be taught ways to collect data from their columns to use in session two.
In session two, participants will learn to create an organic growth stimulator in TouchDesigner. They will take the data they collected over the week from their columns and input that data into their simulators to create their own unique digital growth systems. *

*Class structure can be altered if it needs to be one day. Also the kind of ecosystem can be altered to also me vinegar making.

Key Takeaways:
Introduction to BioArt, Data Collection, and TouchDesigner

Two part workshop with ideally 1-2 weeks in between. First part has a focus on bio-art and physical making, while session two has a focus on digital techniques.

Winogradsky Columns

● Test tubes with lids
● Chemical strips
● Popsicle sticks
● Latex gloves
● Egg shells
● Newspaper bits
● Mud
● Water
● Computer with TouchDesigner installed (program is free)

Organic Growth Structure Example

Organic Growth Structure Example


Maria Simmons is a hybrid artist from Hamilton, ON.
She investigates potentialized environments through
the creation of multidisciplinary sculpture and
installation. Her work embraces contamination as an
act of collaboration. She holds an MFA from the
University of Waterloo and a BFA from McMaster
University. She has recently exhibited at The Plumb,
Platform, Ed Video Media Art Centre, and the Hamilton
Artist Inc.

ART±BIO Collaborative

Workshop: ART±BIO Public Engagement and Community Outreach
As Node Leaders, Stephanie and Saúl will bring an international, core group of ART±BIO Collaborative artists and scientists participating in a Field Studies of Art+Nature program to DiNaCon to utilize the natural habitats of Sri Lanka as a STUDIO+LAB to make bio-inspired art.  Their group will also lead an open public engagement and community outreach event in Batticaloa that will creatively highlight the local ecology, animal behavior, and natural history of the area through artmaking, taking DiNaCon participants out of the conference and into the community. 
Find us on Twitter @artbiocollab

ART±BIO Collaborative ( is an artist and scientist-led nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA USA, that fosters the integration of Science, Nature, and Art and focuses on broadening participation and accessibility in the Arts and Sciences through novel collaborations, public engagement, education, research, and the creation of Science Murals. The ART±BIO Collaborative strives to create and develop accessible and collaborative opportunities for historically underrepresented and marginalized communities and populations utilizing the intersection of the Arts, Biology, and Natural History as a catalyst for social dialogue and creative exchange of ideas with artists, scientists, and the public. The founders are Stephanie Dowdy-Nava, M.A., artist, arts administrator, and art educator and Saúl S. Nava, Ph.D., biologist, artist, and Professor of Biology at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

Jay Bond

Workshop: Critters and Code – Naturalism in Videogames


Jay is a code artist who likes to make interactive digital worlds with a life of their own, inspired by nature.

Joel Murphy

Workshop: DIY Arduino Sensing

Learn how to build up an Arduino sensor platform with solar charging and more!Some soldering with basic electronics and coding.Walk away with your own Arduino Sensor Node! 


Joel made kinetic sculpture for years before he became an electronics design engineer. He taught physical computing at Parsons from 2006 to 2014, and has participated in several successful crowdfunding startups since 2011 when he co-founded World Famous Electronics, makers of the Pulse Sensor: an open source heart rate monitor. In 2014 he co-founded OpenBCI, a Brooklyn based company that makes high quality low cost EEG amplifiers for science and education, and was President of the company until 2018. Most recently, he has created and co-developed Tympan, an Open Source hearing-aid development platform. Joel also owns the technology consulting firm, Flywheel Lab. Joel lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Madeline Schwartzman


Madeline Schwartzman (,  @seeyourselfsensing)  is a New York City writer, filmmaker, and architect whose work explores human narratives and the human sensorium through social art, book writing, curating, and experimental video making. Her book, See Yourself SensingRedefining Human Perception (Black Dog Publishing, London, 2011), is a collection of futuristic proposals for the body and the senses. Her forthcoming book, titled See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded (Black Dog Publishing, London), looks at the future of the human head. At DiNaCon, Madeline will make fun head prosthetics using the island’s natural treasures, Arduino and the human sensorium.

Paula Te

Workshop/Project: DIY Hydraulic Press for Scrap Acrylic Upcycling


Paula (she/her) is an interface designer & technologist focused on the intersection of crafting, learning, and culture. Her work on digital fabrication & interfaces has been featured in Ars Electronica, SIGCHI Interaction Design & Children, & Eyeo Festival. She is a collaborator on (connecting with narratives on the Chinese-Indonesian diaspora). She likes owls. 

Ramy Kim

Workshop: Prototyping an Equitable Community Project: Case Studies and Let’s Figure Some Out Together!


Ramy is an Oakland-based environmental health scientist-activist and educator who aligns herself with initiatives involving public collaboration and knowledge-sharing, particularly in biohacking and science outreach. Her past projects involve place-based participatory understanding of open civic data, air quality, and lead contamination rooted in citizen science. Currently, she works on a multidisciplinary team in design, real estate, community engagement, and advocacy to address root causes of mass incarceration, through active application of restorative justice principles and abolitionist lens in the built environment. 

August Black

workshop: Lagoon Radio Research: Low to No bandwidth audio interaction and beyond

“What does the ocean say to the shore?  Nothing, it just waves.”  Let’s make some radio waves and stories using the ambient impulses, incursions, and random soundings of the lagoon.  To do so, we’ll take walks and sit and listen together.  After some doing that, we’ll think together on ways to modify our mobile recording devices (aka phones) as well as my Mezcal software to interact with the local Sri Lanka ecology for fun and profit interest! 

Project photos:, (credit: Alon Koppel)


August Black is a hybrid practitioner of art, design, and engineering. He makes experimental spatial, telematic, and acoustic situations and spaces, often creating his own software and instruments in hardware and software. He is currently an Assistant Professor at CU Boulder in the department of Critical Media Practices.

Additional links: https://august.black

Marc Juul

Project: Crafting custom antennas: Long distance low power communication using simple tools

In this workshop we will craft antennas for long distance communication on common unlicensed and cellular radio frequencies, then test out designs using antenna analyzers and real equipment. We will go over how to select antennas and communication hardware for a variety of real world scenarios from concrete jungles to actual jungles as well as common pitfalls and scams. This workshop will be light on theory with a focus on giving you the tools you need to quickly solve real world problems. A subset of the practical portion of this workshop will be kid friendly (making antennas by cutting flexible material with scissors).


Marc hacks on software, wetware and hardware. He has co-founded hackerspaces and biohackerspaces in Copenhagen (Labitat, BiologiGaragen) and Oakland (sudo room, Counter Culture Labs) and from there several community projects: A project to create vegan cheese using genetically modified microbes (, an off-grid low-bandwidth community mesh network ( and a high-bandwidth mostly-on-grid one ( He is excited about building decentralized and resilient open alternatives to existing infrastructure and wishes he didn’t have to specify that, no, this does not include cryptocurrencies.

Lisa Schonberg

Project: Human hearing is pretty mediocre – techniques for listening to hidden nonhuman soundworlds.

I will be building prototypes for interactive music composition systems with invertebrates in soil microhabitats. I am interested in nonhuman hearing perspectives and will be documenting and speculating on sonic entanglements between inter-specific, intra-specific, anthrophonic, and geophonic relations.


I am a composer, percussionist and sound artist with a background in ecology and entomology, & currently a PhD student in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I make music and sound art based in ecological research with an emphasis on hidden invertebrate sound-worlds. I present my work in performance with my percussion ensemble, i, on albums, in Web-VR, in galleries & forests, and often contextualize it in print.