Sabine Kacunko´s practice investigate concepts of sustainability, ecological structures and social models with intention to boost and engender interdisciplinary cooperation between the local, micro logical worlds and the world (cosmos) in its global, macro logical sense. Her projects, installations and performances emerge from the vision of a world in which cultures and living beings co-produce their coexistence. As cosmopolitans, they inhabit and co-create the natural and cultural world they reflect. While stimulating strands of various artistic and scientific disciplines, Sabine Kacunko´s artworks link the concrete microbiological material with her micro-human visions of the future.
In 2005, Sabine Kacunko activated a number of projects aimed at offering interdisciplinary discussion that connects art, science, humanities and the widest possible public realm. Under the umbrella name BOOTSCHAFT, these projects presented dynamic experimental setups focused on the omnipresent yet barely representative bacteria (the first living beings), fungi or aerosols, adhered to a number of the world heritage sites. LIFE FLAG  focussed on the efforts for a synthesis out of economic growth and environment protection as a challenge for the 21st century: The densely distributed network out of 129 embassies in Berlin shared a flag with the same motif of bacteria cultures originated from a historically unique dust sample from the Sahara acquired by Alexander von Humboldt. The artist discovered in the process of their colouring a new subunit of the 16s rRNA sequence, which occurs in plants, animals and humans, becoming a symbol for the transformation of the animate, representing its constitutive condition. While the possibility for isolation, identification and recombination of genes made the gene pool of our planet accessible as a primary raw material resource, Sabine Kacunko advocates an overcoming of the reductionism implied in the identifications of culture as capital or nature as ressource.
Just like in the mentioned example, in Sabine Kacunko´s practice in the public space turns often into a lab, in which the interrelations of things or creatures with their environment is permanently screened, analyzed and communicated. By early recognizing the fact, that bacteria are the facts of the permanently changing and sensing living matter, she pioneered a ubiquitous artistic application of bacteria at the center of medial public with a programmatic consistency: Being aware of the viral challenges on the global scale long before the present Corona case, Sabine Kacunko pioneered also the general recognition of aerosols, viruses and bacteria as models for study of humans. In her work, they become more concrete in the natural and cultural health and heritage context where knowledge about the bioremediation function of the used micro species and their application in concrete cases of biodeterioration is still in its infancy. In this context, Sabine Kacunko initiated international BIG BACTERIA Research Network to pool a wide range of disciplines to address their proverbial diversity, variety, ubiquity and sociability.
INVINCIBLE (2015) was her first BIG BACTERIA-labelled project led by interest in virology and bacteriology from the health and heritage points of view and leading to a better understanding of microbial ecology including what has been called sociomicrobiology. Granted with the UNESCO-patronage in the context of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, the project included gigantic live-projections of the microorganisms from the most iconic World Heritage site, the Colosseum in Rome on its own surface. The project was introduced as a Homage to Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553), Italian physician and humanist and a pioneer in clinical epidemiology, who provided first scientific statements of the true nature of contagion, infection and modes of disease transmission as caused by a rapidly multiplying minute bodies, transmitted by direct contact or through the air.
COSMOPOLITAN (2017) is an example of an ongoing project, which visualizes accumulation of aerosols on the sculptural level. By addressing the increasing problems of air pollution, increasing traffic and industrial emissions, project recalls the perspectives of COSMOPOLITAN at the intersection of theories and practices of cultural encounters.
In the past decade, Sabine Kacunko has collaborated with Charité Berlin; Freie Universität Berlin; Humboldt-Universität Berlin; Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany; The Academy of Science Berlin and Brandenburg; Cultural Office Berlin; Department of City Planning Düsseldorf; Senate Chancellery Cultural Affairs Cologne; Senate Chancellery Cultural Affairs Berlin; Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf; Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg; University of Osnabrück; University of Copenhagen; UNESCO; Fraunhofer Institute; Robert-Koch Forum; Weizmann Institute Israel; CHB (Collegium Hungaricum Berlin); Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD); IfA (Institute for foreign affairs); Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing Berlin; 94 diplomatic missions of Berlin, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, Paris; Robert-Koch-Forum / Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene Berlin, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin; Naturkunde Museum Berlin; ICOMOS general assembly, Paris; Ecolé des Beaux-Arts, Paris; La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Universitatea de Artӑ & Design, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Louise Bourgeois, New York;
Sabine Kacunko´s work has been exhibited, among others, at the Ecolé des Beaux-Arts, Paris; Colosseum, Rome; MACRO Museum, Rome; Fotogalerie Fabrik Heeder, Krefeld; Jasim Galerie, Düsseldorf; Artist-Gallery, Kassel; Galerie New World, Düsseldorf; Galerie Schüppenhauer, Köln; Städtische Galerie Wesseling; Galerie 44, Barcelona; Galerie Mönter, Düsseldorf; Medical Museion, University Copenhagen; Plange Mühle, Düsseldorf; University of Osnabrück; Platform China, Beijing; Schlossplatz, Berlin-Mitte; Robert Koch Forum, Berlin; Collegium Hungaricum Berlin; Museum Viersen; Kunstraum, Düsseldorf; Art Museum Klovićevi Dvori, Zagreb; Raum X, Düsseldorf; Kunstmuseum Ehrenhof Düsseldorf; Gallery Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf; Artkino, Frankfurt; Art Pavillon, Zagreb; LichtRouten, Lüdenscheid; Rechtsrheinischer Kunstverein) Cologne; Aristotle Universität Thessaloniki; Concent Art, Berlin; Total Museum Seoul; Martin-Gropius- Bau, Berlin; Robert Koch-Institut Campus Seestraße; Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, Berlin.
STUDIO SABINE KACUNKO
After studying art, design, photography, and art history in Göttingen, Düsseldorf, Krefeld and Essen, Sabine Kacunko continued her study with research residences in Paris, New York, Beijing, Zagreb, Reykjavik, before she established her studio in Berlin in 2008. Here, the work spreads over the major tracks of Sabine Kacunko´s artistic development including analogue b/w photography, slide photography and photographic installations, interactive light and closed circuit video installations, media performances and permanent installations as well as product designs. The range of the works produced covers audio and networked sculpture and choreography as well as performances and projections and collaborations with major cultural heritage sites and scientific institutions, media partners and diplomatic offices.
MICRO HUMAN foundation houses a core team within Studio Sabine Kacunko, where an implementation of the arts based research into the real world takes place. The purpose is to actively use and implement the most recent results of the scientific research (microbiology, and in particular the study and visualization of microorganisms, dust, patina, aerosols etc.) and artistic tools to provide public and affordable access to a more healthy, conscious and ethical standards and behavior in a common contact with the natural resources, not least the food and the drinking water.
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