Molecular Art and Digital Disortion

Photo: Biota by Suzanne Anker - ”Sea sponges, they look like brains and are 70% identical to the human genetic structure.”

Photo: MRI Butterfly by Suzanne Anker 

"The speed of thought is what we are currently working on to fully understand ourselves," says Suzanne Anker, a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She explores the ways in which concepts in neuroscience research have been incorporated into visual art practice and contemporary culture. In a vivid tour through neuroculture, she follows the status of the brain in the art world. She shows that technological changes and biomedical sciences influence our social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Introduced as a very communicative person who is heavily influencing the art world, DLD’s own art curator and long-time friend Hans Ulrich Obrist brought next to Anker another unique artist along, Aleksandra Domanović who shares her thoughts on statues and which effect they can have on small communities. Her own work pieces can be downloaded on her website and printed out. Boundaries blur between digital and real world, and the art scene is the one daring enough to change our perceptions before it enters our everyday lives.

"First the idea comes, and then the material," both artists agree. Domanović seems to have a preference for sculptures, but is also heavily involved in digital art works. Anker works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation to large-scale photography. She puts the process like this:

"It’s like picking up the imagination and then holding it in your hand." video interview with Esther Wojcicki, who spoke at DLDwomen about the future of education. video interview with John Coates, who spoke at DLDwomen about ‘Risk Taking and Testosterone - The Biology of Boom and Bust.’

Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust

Testosterone can turn bull markets into bubbles and cause a financial crisis, world-class scientist John Coates has found out.

He explains what happens to our bodies when we take risks, what happens when we make or lose a lot of money. When young men are high on ambition and drunk on success at places like Wall Street. Coates, Senior research fellow in Neuroscience and Finance at the University of Cambridge, has taken a closer look at our male dominated world of financial traders and how they are connected with physiological coding that has been developed throughout human history.

"First I thought hormones is something women have and men don’t," he jokes on stage at DLDwomen. But the matter has a serious impact.

Coates, a former Wall Street trader himself, uses the expression "the hour between dog and wolf" (the title of his book) to refer to the moment of Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation traders pass through when under pressure. Based on a series of groundbreaking experiments, he outlines the connection - the feedback loop -  between hormones and success. Like animals get high on testosterone when winning fights, young males as well behave irrationally risky when making a lot of money. On the other hand, when losing a fight or the parallel example in the trader’s world, losing money, young males experience a rise in the levels of cortisol - the stress hormone that lowers the appetite for risk. These reactions are all physical. They’re based on body chemistry.

However, there seems to be a pretty straight forward solution to this biological problem. “Women on trading floors can function as stabilizers!” Women, and older men, do not experience the same body chemistry as young males. They have different biologies.

Overall, we need to understand body and mind as one organism, he says. There seems to be more biology in our decisions than we previously thought.

The Connectivity of the World is going to Explode

What’s the first thing teenagers do when they wake up in the morning? Ten years ago the answer would have been: brushing their teeth, having breakfast and saying good morning to their mums. Well, nowadays the very first thing they do is “logging on Facebook”, says René Schuster, CEO of Teléfonica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG.

On the panel ‘How the Mobile Revolution Promotes Diversity’ Schuster is feeding the audience with a number of very interesting stats, did you actually know that one out of six people marrying today met online?

Connectivity is changing the world we live in, “we are the last generation of the unconnected generation. The world’s connectivity is going to explode soon”, adds Shuster.

But in an attempt to challenge Schuster’s point, Ina Fried, senior editor at All Things Digital and moderator of the panel, points out that “roaming fees are still very high when travelling, so companies are not making it easy for users to remain online while abroad”.

“That’s true”, replies Schuster, “network companies haven’t got it right yet. But let me tell you that EU regulation is on its way and the industry will be forced to cut off roaming in Europe by 2015”.

We must not forget about the developing world. In Africa 500 million people have mobile phones and, for instance, “the Indian government is trying to put a phone in every women’s hand”, points out René Schuster.  

Furthermore credit cards will soon be history as people are starting to use their phones to do online payments. “Given that there’re more phones than toothbrushes in the world we can clearly see where this is going. I advise kids not to forget brushing their teeth though”, concludes the CEO of Telefónica Germany.   

Welcome, DLDwomen!

In a lovely morning speech, co-founder and director Steffi Czerny calls Maria Furtwängler-Burda on stage, who supports her as DLDwomen chairwoman and friend, “with her beauty and smartness.” Digital Life Design - what DLD stands for - is an adventure for all of us. Where we invite our friends we’re admiring. We will challenge the status quo, and call for new rules, new values.

However, if it gets too crowded during these two DLDwomen days, Steffi smiles, we should all go to the English Garden just around the corner of the Haus der Kunst venue.

"We need new rules and new values," Maria underlines with a personal story. On her Facebook page, she posted a picture wearing a piece of rabbit fur, she recalls. "We’re eating rabbits, right?" But she received a whole wave of criticism. This is all part of a new transparency, not only as private persons but especially for companies.

"Google has the fabulous motto ‘do no evil’," she says. "We see a paradigm shift to a more sincere and overall more transparent world." Campaigns are connected and refer to each other (like the Dove campaign on YouTube, and Greenpeace’s reaction to it), Maria says. Our worldwide connectedness is tighter, we’re more personal on social media than ever before.

This community makes us stronger, Maria says. We just have to take a look at the uprising against suppressive regimes. In all this, we find ourselves, our individuality becoming stronger at the same time. We need to explore this new field of work and live. How are our bodies and minds connected? Which roles do hormones play? “I love the scientific approach here at DLDwomen,” Maria says.

Let’s explore these new rules, new values together. 

DLD in progress: Less than 48 hours till the #DLD12 community gets together at HVB Forum in Munich.

DLD in progress: Less than 48 hours till the #DLD12 community gets together at HVB Forum in Munich.

Dr Burda & Minister Zeil at DLD Campus

Add on: Dr Hubert Burda and Bavarian Economics Minister Martin Zeil will also be present at our first ever DLD campus event.

DLD12 will feature Skype and Atomico co-founder Niklas Zennström on January 23rd in a fireside talk at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. This public lecture, moderated by Stefan Winners, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Tomorrow Focus AG, and XING founder Lars Hinrichs, will be free of charge – open for all who show an interest in his subjects „Entrepreneurship, Technology and Venture Capital“.

Save the date:
Start: 6 PM (Entrance at 5.45 PM) // Monday, 23rd of January, 2012

Room W101, „Lehrturm“ („Teaching Tower“) //
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität // Professor-Huber-Platz 2 // 80539 Munich

Read more about the public lecture in our DLD article “Conquer the Campus”.

DLD12 Public Webcast Event in Munich

You are one participation click away to get to the “hottest ‘by invitation only’ conference in Europe” (WIRED). Be close to the scene at the exclusive Bayerischer Hof, bump into speakers who stay at the hotel, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere with people who are like you – interested in Digital Life Design.

Pre-join the event now on Facebook.

Read More

Take a deep breath, then announce it to all of your friends: DLD12 and with it the famous, soon-to-be-famous and those searching for talent in the “Digital, Life, Design” sectors will get together on January 22nd till 24th, 2012.

Take a deep breath, then announce it to all of your friends: DLD12 and with it the famous, soon-to-be-famous and those searching for talent in the “Digital, Life, Design” sectors will get together on January 22nd till 24th, 2012.

Tags: DLD12 Munich
DLD2011 - The Big Picture DLD (Digital-Life-Design) is a global conference network on innovation, digital media, science and culture which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion-formers and investors for crossover conversation and inspiration. Chairmen of DLD are publisher Hubert Burda and serial digital investor Yossi Vardi. DLD has been founded by Stephanie Czerny and Marcel Reichart in 2005.


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