The Hydra Project – Maja Smrekar < Hu.M.C.C. >

At Corner College, Kochstrasse 1, Zurich (CH) August 25-30, 2015
An installation and work in progress curated by Boris Magrini as part of Hackteria’s The Hydra Project.

The Hydra Project is an initiative of Hackteria, which aims to foster artistic and literary ventures in addition to the association’s main mission of promoting knowledge sharing and citizen’s science. The hydra is a mythological creature, a hybrid, a polychephalous monster and antagonist to fictional heroes seeking glory and fortune. It is also the name of a small organism, a water animal with the ability to indefinitely regenerate its cells and tissues, hence being virtually immortal and therefore a fascinating subject for biologists and researchers. The crossbreed form of the hydra is a metaphor for the merging of art and science that characterizes the activities of the Hackteria platform while signifying a multiplicity of interventions across a variety of disciplines. The project aims to support and present artists working with biotechnologies in collaboration with cultural institutions in Switzerland and worldwide, presenting their work to a wider public. Furthermore, it seeks to foster exchanges and encounters between artists, curators, critics and researchers of trans-disciplinary fields and with a larger public.


During a Hydra Project, one or more artists are invited to stage an intervention within the space of the partner institution or at an alternative location in the city. The artists are selected on the basis of their personal and creative use of biotechnologies, DIY/DIWO tools and hacking strategies and they are encouraged to develop new projects and partnerships. At Corner College in Zurich, Slovenian artist Maja Smrekar will present her work Hu.M.C.C. (Human Molecular Colonization Capacity) from August 25 to 30. The work consists of the presentation of a nutriment, the Maya YogHurt, which was produced in a laboratory by creating a new genetically modified microorganism containing the artist’s enzyme. It is a very provocative work, questioning the industrial food chain and its sustainability while also raising ethical questions about the future possibilities for nutrition offered by biotechnologies.


On Thursday August 27 at 7pm, Corner College hosted a public talk with the participation of Maja Smrekar (SI), Jens Hauser (curator, art and media studies scholar, DE/DK/FR) and Sven Panke (Professor at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETHZ, DE). On Saturday August 29, the artist offered a workshop, presenting and sharing her artistic research and allowing the public to experiment with the Maya YogHurt. In addition, Maja Smrekar was invited to share her artistic research and findings with the public through the Hydra Reader, a small publication printed as a compendium to the project.



The Hydra Reader #1

The Hydra Reader #1 is published on the occasion of the intervention by Maja Smrekar at Corner College, Zurich (CH).

Download The Hydra Reader #1.


Hackteria is an international network active since 2009 in the field of Open Source Biological Art.

More infos HERE

Partners and support by: Corner College, Biofaction KG, Migros-Kulturprozent