Living matter is the canvas of a unique group of artists that dare to challenge what we know about biology, nature and our own bodies. Their ground-breaking ideas incorporate revolutionary new concepts in science and technology that foreshadow the next stages of human evolution and boldly question our direction as a species.

Biogenesis (AUS) follows their stories and the genesis of a new definition of life itself.

Melbourne WebFest spoke to Director and Writer Steven Alyian about the series.

What inspired the concept behind Biogenesis?

An experimental art laboratory based in Perth, Australia named SymbioticA – I am an artist as well as a video director and I was endlessly fascinated by the artworks that came out of this institution and knew it would make a fascinating series.

What is your favourite aspect of the series that you’d love your audience to know about?

These artists and their biological artworks investigate the boundary between life and death, make us examine what ‘life’ and ‘consciousness’ truly is.

Biogenesis (AUS) Trailer

What research was taken into developing your series?

I have been working with SymbitiocA for many years, so I took a look into their roster of artists and guests over the past several years who had new emerging artwork and chose a variety of interesting stories. There was a lot of gold to choose from.

How did you find the artistic scientists featured in the series?

Some of these artists were friends, others were new discoveries, all were connected to the central hub of artists at SymbioticA – an organisation situated at the University of WA and directed by artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr.

Wide shot of Sentinels Exhibit at PICA, projection images - Biogenesis

Wide shot of Sentinels Exhibit at PICA, projection images.

What was your greatest challenge creating the series?

The biggest challenge of making Biogenesis was to tell these insanely complex stories in the short documentary format in a way that could make sense to the viewer but still do justice to the work of the artist. I strived to uphold the intentions for their artworks as strongly as possible and honour their work by making them the narrators of their own story. Some of the ideas are massive and paradigm-shattering, and from audiences reactions, I feel that we succeed in translating these wonderful and sometimes-shocking ideas into enjoyable and entertaining stories.

If they only took one thing, one message, what would you like the audience to take away from the series?

That life is much more complex, beautiful and exciting then we could even begin to possibly imagine, and we should all dig much deeper into the concept of biological life and how we fit into the intricate environmental systems and emerging technological systems of the 21st century.