Svenja Kratz


Svenja Kratz is a contemporary Australian artist interested in interdisciplinary practice with a focus on cell and tissue cultures. Aside from her work with The Edge as a Fringes Catalyst in 2013, Svenja worked at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) at QUT, where she also completed a PhD in bio-media art.

You can also read about Michelle’s time at The Edge on our blog, including instructions for a DIY laminar flow hood.

Svenja’s work

DNA Jewellery workshop
Inspiration can come from the strangest of places. Not your traditional jewellery making class, in this workshop Svenja showed participants how to extract DNA from a piece of fruit or vegetable and then use it to create wearable art.

Svenja covered the basics of the bioscience involved and also delved into genetic art by exploring current scientific ideas and discoveries including epigenetics, evolution, the impact of environment on genes and ethics, as well as the work of artists Eduardo Kac and Andre Brodyk.

Fluorescent Future Creatures
Have you ever wanted to learn more about genetic engineering? This hands-on workshop introduced participants to some of the key ideas behind genetic engineering by allowing participants to insert a jellyfish gene into E. coli bacteria. The transformed bacteria glowed fluorescent green under UV light.

In the first session Svenja provided an overview of common genetic engineering techniques and assisted in the transformation of the bacteria. During the second session, participants were able to translate their experience into a natural history museum-style diorama (to take home!).

The exhibition Explorations was developed by Svenja and commented on her engagement with consumer genetics and the often unexpected outcomes of creative practice within the life sciences. The exhibition included two multi-component bodies of work:

Self Portraits in the Genetic Age, which consists of a series of sculptures and computational animations that comment on contemporary genetic insights and the artist’s personal experience of having her DNA genotyped by the commercial gene sequencing company 23 AND ME.

The second series of works collectively titled Deviations from One Potato comment on the artist’s engagement with plant micro-propagation at The Edge.  While the artist’s plant culture experiments were largely unsuccessful, the investigation produced a variety of unexpected outcomes, such as the production and maintenance of fruit fly and algal cultures, as well as the development of alternative creative experiments including plant paint, algae drawing and microscopy.

Further Reading

Michelle Xen


Michelle Xen is a vocalist, producer and visual artist, maker of video and sound installations, collector of words, chaser of songs, seamstress of strange shapes, sequins and other experiments with colour. She has a vibrant performance practise, along with her band The Neon Wild, and recently released her debut EP Synaethesiac, recorded while in New York and Berlin. Michelle joined The Edge as a Catalyst for six months in 2013 to provide her expertise in the area of sound.

You can also read about Michelle’s time at The Edge on our blog.

Michelle’s Work

Michelle Xen

Michelle Xen

Sound Hunter workshop series

Field to Sample: In the first workshop of the series, participants took to the streets and riverbank of The Edge to record a range of sonic textures. With recording devices loaded with sound they then headed into the labs at The Edge to upload and cut recordings into a range of samples and sounds.

Waveform to Sample: The second session was focused on using a DAW and sound plugin to experiment and generate synthesised sound. The workshop explored types of waveforms, effects envelopes, arpeggiators, and filters and participants learned the difference between midi and audio, recording and saving, and synthesised sample and patch creation.

Effecting organic and sythesised sound: Using the sounds recorded and generated from previous workshops a range of effects were applied to change and morph existing local sounds. The basics of delay, reverb, compression, EQ, and filtering were covered, along with a discuss on how experimentation with effects can lead to new ways of hearing and producing sound.

Interactive Light Costumes for Performance
Michelle, in collaboration with microelectronics engineer Michael Maggs, demonstrated their use of sound-controlled, light costumes in this presentation. These costumers explore the relationship between a performer’s body and sound, light, gesture and garment.

As part of SoundSelect, Michelle performed her new single and previewed her new film clip for My Cells, produced in collaboration with Fringes Catalyst, Svenja Kratz.

Further Reading

Cameron Wilson


Having come to biology from an engineering background, Dr Cameron Wilson had an excellent foundation for communicating science to our non-specialist audiences. Already a poet, musician and medical engineer, he joined The Edge team in 2012 as a Catalyst through the Bioscience programming period, after returning to Brisbane from a four-year stint in Berlin researching blood vessel regeneration in bone fractures.

Cameron’s work

Probing bioscience in the broadest sense, Cameron brought biology out of the lab and got into science inspired by art. His workshops explored things like bacterial and yeast based fermentations (NB: Not as gross as it sounds: in real terms this means that you will be able to get into the science of brewing ginger beer and making kimchi) and growing sustainable textiles from kombucha cultures.

You can also read about Cameron’s time at The Edge on our blog.

Bioscience for the Belly
Cameron put some friendly micro-organisms to work in the kitchen in this tasty bioscience workshop. He introduced participants to the science of fermentation, using bacteria to turn cabbage into kimchi and yeast to turn ginger and sugar into (low-alchohol) ginger beer. Those who came along got to see, taste and measure what went on in the bottle and jar, and even got a look at the little critters that did the work.

Grow & Sew
Grow & Sew was a weekly meetup designed to give anyone and everyone an opporutnity to nuture crops of kombucha destined for use in fashion and accessory design. During casual meetup Cameron showed all willing participants how to harvest a pellicle, brew the nutritious tea, and harvest, wash and dry the finished product.

This project has had a long lecacy at The Edge, powering sustainable fashion workshops, talks and giving the Creepy Lab its name.

Window Farm
Starting with a workshop, Cameron put out a call to action to deck The Edge’s window bays in window farms using the open source Windowfarms™ design. The group was encouraged to experiment with different plants, nutrients, light levels and designs. Cameron’s own experiment at The Edge grew great crops of lettuce (and not so great crops of algae).