Lab 3: The Wet

20. August 2014 to 3. September 2014


ROBERTINA SEBJANIC - "Hydra reminiscence"


Residency Proposal:
For the residency, I plan to build a Hydra is biologically immortal freshwater animal. The first experiments hat explored the regenerative properties of Hydra took place 250 years ago. Nowadays, it is scientifically proven that the Hydra can be completely regenerated to 1/200 part of her body. This impressive fact inspires
further material exploration on the regeneration of Hydra’s pluripotent stem cells. As a member of Hackteria network (, I will construct an Eleonore­specific DIY wet lab that includes items like DIY microscope, DIY biotech kit etc.



During the 14 days of residency, I will work on the following experimentation:


1. Record sound produced by Hydra
2. Study Hydra’s reaction to color ­  put them into mini aquariums with different colours for testing.
3. Make various experiments and observations with hydra for its reaction and  regeneration process.


Working towards a performance:
Featuring the research subject Hydra, the residency works towards creating an ambiental poetic immersive performance. The performance features sound transmitted live as generated by Hydra, mixed with the sound recordings, the archive of the time reminiscence, collected during the 14 days’ residency.
The DIY microscope pictures make up the visuals echoing the sound landscape.


Context and inspiration:
The human life expectancy almost doubled during the last century while we attempt to solve the limitations of our bodies with the regenerative medicine whose research is lately focused on biologically immortal animals. We study their cells and proteins with the hope to acquire their properties via “biotech download” in our cells. Much effort has been spent trying to prolong life itself, it is important to understand the quality of an extended life. Aging research is not only about lifespan, but also the mental and physical changes that accompany the aging process (for now 1⁄3 of the old people are suffering from Alzheimers diseases). The
dream of living forever is only possible in legends ­ and even then the never­ending life is not without its drawbacks, after all ­  Tithonus had to live his eternal life as an old man because he forgot to ask for eternal youth.


Biological life forms are inseparable from their restrictions which we have not yet managed to fully understand either by medical interventions or engineering innovation. The immortal life of certain species has generated interest in the field of science as well in humanistic research. Until now these organisms have been proved to be immortal ­  Hydra, Turritopsis nutricula ­ Jellyfish, Tardigrades, Lobsters, Planarian flatworms and Bacteria. During the stay at Eleonore, I will focus my research on Hydra (a freshwater polyp), often attach themselves to vegetation by the base of the tubular body or column, with their tentacles suspended free in the water.


Robertina Šebjanič
based in Ljubljana, is an artist and cultural facilitator. In her art practice she is interested working in the field of humanist and natural science in the context of Living systems , AV performances and installations. The context for her ideas and concepts is often realized in collaboration with other authors, and thus through interdisciplinary and informal integration embodies in her work. She is member of BioTehnaLab, HacteriaLab and Theremidi orchestra. Between 2008 and 2012 she was a programme manager at Ljudmila, between 2013 till July 2014 she was working as mission and programme developer at KSEVT - Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies.

Post date Author

Hydra reminiscence

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 20:45 Robertina Sebjanic

Workshop: DIY Hydrophone

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 20:52 Robertina Sebjanic