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Studio Sonja Bäumel
Witte de Withstraat 108-H
1057 ZG Amsterdam
The Netherlands

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Sonja Bäumel is an Austrian artist, independent researcher and art educator based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Vienna, Austria.

Her artistic research explores ‘the living’, the evolving perception of what bodies are made of. She investigates the influence scientific knowledge has had on the way we have perceived and interpreted the human body historically and how this affects current society and the cultural contexts in which we act. Sonja uses self-experimentation to question skin as a border of the human body, taking risks by engaging directly with the material and by seeking the points where the environment starts and ends. These spaces in-between are vivid entanglements full of life. They annul trans-species boundaries, revealing as yet unexplored forms of intelligence and communication.

Most of her projects involve long-term collaborations and extensive fieldwork. She creates process-driven, trans-disciplinary and imaginary, yet tangible microbial landscapes such as living paintings, sculptures, rituals, installations and performances intending to sense and thus better understand what the microbial paradigm shift means for the limits of the self and the relation between self-interest and collective behaviour.

At the moment, Sonja works as tutor and head of the Jewellery-Linking Bodies Department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, as well as lecturing and holding workshops at different national and international academies and universities.

She studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute in Vienna, and holds a Bachelor in Arts from the University of Arts in Linz, as well as a Master in Conceptual Design in Context from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. In 2012, she was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award for the Project Textile Anatomy by the BMUKK Federal Ministry of Education, Art and Culture in Vienna.

Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Ars Electronica Center, the Anthology Film Archives New York, the MAK Museum of Applied Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, the ZKM Center for Art and Media or the Centre Pompidou Paris. Her projects have also provided the basic impact for documentary films (e.g. BioArt - Kunst aus dem Labor, ORF/ARTE), to which she actively contributed. She was a co-founder of the Dunbar's Number collective (2011-2016), a member of the Pavillion35 (2012-2017) collective, based in Vienna, and of the WNDRLUST (2013-2018) collective, based in Amsterdam.

selected exhibitions / performances
Entangled Relations—Animated Bodies
XXIII Triennale Di Milano, IT

MAK - Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT
Trees of Life - Stories for a Damaged Planet
Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, DE
La Fabrique du vivant
Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR
#TullnART Garten der Künstler
Rathaus/Minoritenkloster, Tulln, AT
MOMENTUM 9: ( alienation )
The Nordic Biennial Of Contemporary Art, Kunsthall, Moss, NOR
Fifty Percent Human
Zone2Source Orangerie Amstelpark, Amsterdam, NL
Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, KR
Red October Chocolate Factory, Moscow, RU
ZKM - Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, DE
National Science Museum, Seoul, KR
Gare du Nord
Waag Society, Theatrum Anatomicum, Amsterdam, NL
Musrara Mix festival
The Naggar School of Art, Jerusalem, ISR
Project Genesis
Ars Electronica Center, Linz, AT
The sixth sense
Copernicus Science Center, Warsaw, PL
Natural to next natural
MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, TW
Gewerbemuseum, Winterthur, CH
Scientific skin
MAK - Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT
Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
Tools for the Design Revolution
MQ - MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, AT
Castello Sforzesco, Milan, IT
i FABRIC.european talent
Textielmuseum, Tilburg, NL
INDUSTRIOUS | Artefacts, the evolution of crafts
Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen, NL
BIOART - Art from the laboratory
ORF/ARTE, Natural History Museum (NHM), Vienna, AT
RMNSC.Krakow Theatrical
 Reminiscence, Film screening, 
Krakow, POL
Wir sind Planeten
Documentary film, ServusTV
Film festival, Natural History Museum (NHM), Vienna, AT
Utrecht Manifest
Biennial for social design, Jongeriusvilla, Utrecht, NL
Semper Depot, Vienna, AT
selected lectures / workshops
Institut für Kunst- und Baugeschichte, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, DEU
Linking Bodies
The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, DEU
Microbial Bodies
University of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT
Behavioral Matter - Composer avec le vivant
Symposium, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR
Designing the Self
Keynote speaker, MAK FUTURE LAB, MAK - Museum für angewandte Kunst Vienna, AT
Arts and Life Sciences
Faculty of Humanities Leiden University, Leiden, NL
Crossroads of Arts & Sciences
Wageningen University, Wageningen, NL
Arts in Society
Faculty of Humanities Leiden University, Leiden, NL
What would a microbe say?
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Madison, Wisconsin, US
Empathy and Microbes
The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, London, UK
The Alien Within
Medical Museion, Copenhagen, DK
Artist talk
Wageningen University, Wageningen, NL
CONTROL - European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts
Stockholm University, Stockholm, SWE
Bioart Seoul
Sogang University, Seoul, KOR
in collaboration with Maurizio Montalti, Mediamatic, Amsterdam, NL
Bio-workshop Musrara
The Naggar School of Art, New Media Department, Jerusalem, ISR
International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women
University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Traunkirchen/Wels, AT
Living landscapes
MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, TW
in collaboration with Pei-Ying Lin, Shih Chien University, Taipei, TW
BIO-LOGIC workshop
in collaboration with Maurizio Montalti, Mirko Daneluzzo and Tommaso Casucci, WASP, WAAG Society, Amsterdam, NL
(In)visible worlds
Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, EST
PROJEKT GENESIS, Ars Electronica Center, Linz, AT
Artist Talk
University of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT
Keynote speaker, design4health, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
Artist talk / Workshop
Art&Design Technology Institute, Suzhou, CHN
IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, AT
Bio Data Visualisation Workshop
in collaboration with Maurizio Montalti, Mediamatic, Amsterdam, NL
(in)visible film
ICSB 2011 Heidelberg, International Conference on Systems Biology, Heidelberg/Mannheim, DE
(in)visible film
1st Bio:Fiction Science, Art & Filmfestival Vienna, facts and fiction, Natural History Museum, Vienna, AT
(In)visible membrane
Design Indaba Conference, Cape Town, ZAF
Head of Department, Jewellery-Linking Bodies
Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL
Tutor, Jewellery Department
Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL
Tutor, Basicyear
Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL
Tutor, New Frontiers
Willem de Kooning Academie, Rotterdam, NL
Co-founder of WNDRLUST collective
Amsterdam, NL
Member of Pavillion35 collective
Vienna, AT
Co-founder of the Dunbar's Number collective
Vienna, AT
guest tutor
Akademie der Bildenden Künste
Klasse für Schmuck und Gerät, Critics, Munich, DEU
Musrara the Naggar School of Art
New Media Department, Jerusalem, ISR
Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Jewellery Department, Amsterdam, NL
Shih Chien University
Industrial Design, Taipei, TW
Estonian Academy of Arts
Faculty of Architecture, Critics, Tallinn, EST
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Department of ID 2 , Critics, Vienna, AT
Suzhou Art & Design Technology Institute
Suzhou, CHN
IM Master in Conceptual Design in Context, cum laude
Design Academy Eindhoven, NL
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude
University for Art and Industrial Design Linz, AT
Fashion Design Diploma, cum laude
Modeschule Hetzendorf, Vienna, AT
awards / grants / residencies
is supported by National Science Foundation, US
What would a microbe say?
is supported by National Science Foundation, US
Fifty Percent Human
is supported by the ‘Creative Industries Fund NL‘, AFK - Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and Wageningen University, NL
Bio: Fiction Science, Art & Filmfestival
category: fiction, Vienna, AT (winner)
Future-and Biolab
Ars Electronica Residency / Grant, Linz, AT
Outstanding Artist Award Experimental Design
BMUKK Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, Vienna, AT (first prize)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS/Science)
(in)visible film part of Member Central, US
Outstanding Artist Award Interdisziplinarität
BMUKK Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, Vienna, AT (shortlisted)
Bio: Fiction Science, Art & Filmfestival
Natural History Museum, Vienna, AT (shortlisted)
Imagine Science Film Festival
‘(in)visible film’, New York, US (shortlisted)
Startstipendium für Architektur und Design
Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, Vienna, AT
Prize for the graduation project (In)visible membrane
Design Academy Eindhoven: Participation Design Conference Indaba Cape Town, ZAF (winner)
Prize from the city Vienna
Bachelor of Art, fashion collection Vienna, AT (winner)

Museum für angewandte Kunst, Wien, AT
Frankfurter Kunstverein
Museum für moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, DEU
Centre Pompidou
Paris, FRA
University of Tübingen
University, Tübingen, DEU
Alte Schmiede
Kunstverein Vienna, AT
Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, DEU
Punkt Ø AS
The Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moss, NOR
Ars Electronica Center
Museum, Linz, AT
Wageningen University
University, Wageningen, NL
Textielmuseum Tilburg
Museum, Tilburg, NL
Österreichischer Rundfunk, AT
Deutsch-Französischer Kultursender, DEU/FRA
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
University, Vienna, AT
contributions book
De cobre, microbios y arte
Autores/as Andrés Marcoleta , André Barbet , Giorgio Boccardo Editorial: Ediciones Departamento de Artes Visuales, Facultad de Artes, Universidad de Chile, pg 37-38

Art of Anthropocene
Changes of Ecology, Life and Body by Hyesook Jeon. Ewha Institute for the Humanities, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea, pg 168 - 171
Exploring Pathos at Life’s Material Interfaces, Marjolein Oele, State University of New York Press, pg 128

download pdf
Being Material
Explorations of the many ways of being material in the digital age. The MIT press, Edited by Marie-Pier Boucher, Stefan Helmreich, Leila W Kinney, Skylar Tibbits, Rebecca Uchill and Evan Ziporyn, pg 84
Slime Mould in Arts and Architecture
Edited by Andrew Adamatzky, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, River Publishers Series in Biomedical Engineering, BioLogic - Living Structures and Swarm Bodies by Maurizio Montalti, Alessio Erioli, Andrea Graziano, Tommaso Casucci, Mirko Daneluzzo, Sonja Bäumel, Massimo Moretti, Pieter van Boheemen pg 189-203
La Fabrique Du Vivante
Sous la direction de M.-A.Brayer et O.Zeitoun, Exhibition Catalogue, Editions du Centre Pompidou, Paris, pg 136-137
Arte Transgenica
by Mario Savini, Pisa University Press, pg 28-29

download pdf
Experiencing the Unconventional, Science in Art
Edited by Theresa Schubert and Andrew Adamatzky, World Scientific, pg 279-299

download pdf
BioArt, Altered Realities
by Willim Myers, Thames&Hudson
Practicing Pragmatist Aesthetics, Critical Perspectives on the Arts
Edited by Wojciech Malecki, Microontologies of Soma by Monika Bakke, Brill, pg 155-158
Thresholds 42, human
Edited by Tyler Stevermer, Journal of the MIT Department of Architecture, Refashioning the microbial body by Mariel Villeré, pg 60-69

download pdf
Ultrabody: 208 Works Between Art and Design
Publisher Edizioni Corraini, pg 240
contributions essay
Fifty Percent Human – how art brings us in touch with our microbial cohabitants.
Microbial Biotechnology, UK, pg 1-4

download pdf
Fifty Percent Human
Exhibition leaflet, Introduction by Sanne Bloemik pg 2, Fifty Percent Human by Sonja Bäumel and Birgit Nemec pg 3-18, Text contributions: Living in the Big Mesh by Alice Smits, pg 19
selected printed press
Triennale Mailand
Parnass, Kunstmagazin, Vienna, AT, 09.2022
Det udvidede selv
Weekendavisen, Danish Newspaper, Text by science journalist Lone Frank, Copenhagen, DK, 10.2021
Kunst & Wissenschaft
KUNSTMAGAZIN PARNASS, Biologische Systeme als künstlerische Ausdrucksmittel - die Verbindung von Gegenwartskunst und modernen Biowissenschaften. Text by Silvie Aigner und Paula Watzl, AT, 02.2020
Bakterien und Käfer an der Macht
by Dierk Wolters, Frankfurter Neue Presse, DEU, 09.10.2019

download pdf
Special Issue: Skin Matters: Thinking Through the Body’s Surfaces edited by Marc Lawrence, Volume 24, Number 1-2, CAN, 03.-05.2018

download pdf
From gut to gallery
by Nadine Botha, Damn Magazine, 08.2017

download pdf
SeMA Biennale
Mediacity Seoul catalogue, Seoul, KOR

download pdf
Clothed in Bacteria
by Martina Efeyini, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, USA, 04.2016
Gevaarlijk schoon
by Jop de Vrieze, Sir Edmund, De Volkskrant, NL, 04.10.
Maagiline muutus
by Veronika Valk, SIRP, EE, 05.09.

download pdf
Total Recall, The Evolution of memory
Ars Electronica catalogue, Linz, AT

download pdf
by Michael Hausenblas, Rondo, Standard, AT, 24.08.
Our design critic has seen the future, and - if we are lucky - it's full of friendly bacteria.
by Hettie Judah, Art Review, UK, 01.-02.2012

download pdf
Organic Data Visualisation: Mapping Amsterdam's cultural life with a slime-mold.
Visible Data, financing culture 2011-2012

download pdf
Mikrobiologie & Kunst

download pdf
Good dirt. What's so great about washing anyway?
by Hettie Judah, The Word Magazine, The skin issue, Brussels, BEL 03.-04.2010

download pdf
selected online press
Österreich-Beitrag lässt Amöben tanzen, Nicole Scheyerer aus Mailand, 17.07.

Sonja Bäumel bei Milano Triennale
Ö1-Kulturjournal, Do, 23.06., 17:24 Uhr
Trees of Life-Stories for a Damaged Planet
We make money not art, 29.01.

Kunst und Klima-geht das zusammen?
ARD, Hauptsache Kultur, HR Fernsehen, 10.10.
Wissenschaft trifft Kunst
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 08.10.

La Fabrique du vivant
Centre Pompidou, Paris-Art, 18.02.

Zwischen Atelier und Labor
SWR2 Radio, Ausstellung "Zwischen Atelier und Labor" in der Villa Rot in Burgrieden by Frank Wiesner, 22.06.
ALIENATION Momentum 9th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art
by Supritha Patil, ARTE FUSE, 07.07.
Nordic Contemporary Art Biennale Momentum 9 discusses Aliens, Bacteria and the Future
by Fleur Helluin, KALTBLUT Magazine, 22.06.
Momentum9 - Nordische Kunstbiennale
by Werner Bloch, Ö1 Kultur im Mittagsjournal 26.06.
Der Mensch ist sich ein Alien
by Gerald Heidegger, ORF, 24.06.

Wien ist anders, und wir sind anders, als wir denken.
by Astrid Kuffner, MADAMEWIEN Portrait, 20.05.

Investigating the invisible diversity of the human body
by Lula Criado, CLOT Magazine, 08.01.

Op de Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam ligt een naakte vrouw van bacteriën op je te wachten
by Leander Roet, Vice, 24.07.

Musrara Mix festival
by Reut Barnea, Calcalist, 02.06.

We are only 10 percent human and 90 percent bacteria.
by Agnese Čivle, Arterritory, 31.07.

Q&A: Sonja Bäumel
by Irene Boshoff, Design Indaba, 19.11.

2nd Design4Health Conference 2013
by David Pao, Sheffield Hallam University, 02 - 05.07.

by Michael Knoll, ARS Electronica Blog, 29.07.

Design Indaba, 03.08.

Bacteria “R” Us
by Rachel Armstrong, Next Nature, 13.03.

by Christina Agapakis, Scientific American, 27.01.

BioArt - Kunst aus dem Labor
Documentary ORF/ARTE Artgenossen,ORF 2, Kulturmontag, 31.10.

Do-it-yourself biology and Biohackers: Facts und Fiction
Bio:fiction Vienna – lecture and panel discussion.

(in)visible membrane
Design Indaba, 24.05.

(In)visible Membrane by Sonja Bäumel
by Marcus Fairs, Dezeen magazine, 22.10.



site: Maurits de Bruijn
graphic design: Chen Jhen

legal notice

All images are protected by copyright law. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written prior consent from Sonja Bäumel.



for press inquiries

mailing address
Studio Sonja Bäumel
Witte de Withstraat 108-H
1057 ZG Amsterdam
The Netherlands

online letter

To receive regular updates
regarding new work or
exhibitions, please
subscribe to the online letter.