The bio artists Xandra van der Eijk (‘Seasynthesis’), Cheng Guo (‘Anon. - An intervention in the Anthropocene’) and Jiwon Woo (‘Mother's Hand Taste – Son-mat’) were announced winners of the 2107 Bio Art & Design Award (BAD Award) on Friday 19 May. The jury chose these bio artists and designers from twelve teams of collaborating international artists, designers and scientists. The artists will use the award money of 25,000 euros to implement their art projects. The implementation of each BAD Award project is carried out in close cooperation with a Dutch research institution.

The final of the BAD Award was a huge success. A large audience had gathered to witness the participants make their presentations about their plans for an art project. The international jury, headed by chair William Myers (writer and curator, United States), was impressed by the teams’ creativity. Striking themes this years included the legacy of human beings, the influence of human beings on the earth, and new forms of communication between humans, animals and plants.

‘During the interviews,’ Myers says, ‘the interaction between the artists and researchers from the winning teams was extremely inspiring and convincing.’ Xandra van der Eijk, from the Netherlands, is going to use the award to develop an installation based on sound and vibration, which will put the audience in the position to experience life beneath the waves of the North Sea. As such, she will be bringing an unknown world, namely that of the sea, closer to the audience. Van der Eijk will be working on this project with Wageningen Marine Research (WUR). Artist Cheng Guo from China is studying the intriguing micro- and macro-entanglements of culture, technology and nature, by extracting and erasing physical human traces in land. Jiwon Woo from New York is examining, together with the Institute of Environmental Biology, Microbiology group of Utrecht University, how fungi on the hands of people in Korean households affect the taste of food. Woo is going to use the prize to create sculptures and visualisations that demonstrate how these fungi have changed across generations and in different locations, as families have migrated and passed on these fungi.

The winning artworks will be exhibited from 1 December 2017 onwards at MU, centre for visual culture in Eindhoven.

The jury on the winners

See the annex for the jury’s laudations of the three winners of the 2017 BAD Award.

Background of the BAD Award

The BAD Award is an annual international contest. The aim is to allow artists and designers who have graduated no more than five years ago to experiment with bio art and design and extend the boundaries of art and science. The 2017 BAD Award is an initiative of NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, MU artspace and BioArt Laboratories. The BAD Award is a continuation of the successful Designers & Artists for Genomics Award (DA4GA), which enjoyed international acclaim between 2010 and 2013. Established by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) and Waag Society, the award soon began to attract the attention of the fast-growing group of young creative people whose work focuses on exploring new possibilities in biotechnology. The 2017 BAD Award jury is composed as follows:

  • William Myers, curator and writer (United States/the Netherlands), chair of the jury
  • Ian Brunswick, curator, Science Gallery Dublin (Ireland)
  • Manon Parry, university lecturer of public history, the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
  • Brendan Cormier, curator of contemporary design for the V&A Museum, London (United Kingdom)
  • Samir Bantal, director of AMO, design division of Rem Koolhaas's architecture firm OMA, Rotterdam (the Netherlands)
  • Charlotte Jarvis, bio artist and film-maker, previous winner of the BAD Award (United Kingdom)


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