This web site is the web companion of the Leonardo e-book Meta-Life: Biotechnologies, Synthetic Biology, ALife and the Arts (MIT Press, 2014).

With biotechnologies, synthetic biology and Artificial Life, artists have opened new avenues in the artworld, going from still to autonomous objects to living creatures, exploring the thin border between animate and inanimate, confronting the grown, the evolved, the born and the built, raising aesthetic but also social, political and ethical issues. In this ground breaking collection, the editors have commission new original essays by key figures in these fields and collected document the ideas and practice of artists involved in

these areas as well as theoreticians and historians. Chapters include: Between Bio, Silico and Synthetic: Of Life and Arts; Artificial Life and the Arts; Bioart; Bio-Fiction, Design, Architecture; DIY Biology-Biohacking (see below for full Table of Contents). An exo-life may not come from outer space hitting the Earth riding a meteorite but very well from the lab, designed by a scientist — unless it is an artist— weaving biology and computing in a petri dish or a bioreactor as a vessel.

This web companion expands on the topics of the ebook, and provides additional information and resources.

  • Abstracts is the compilation of the abstracts of the articles published in the Journal “Leonardo” on those topics
  • Resources and Bibliography provide references for further readings and documentation
  • Terminology is intended to be a platform for presenting concepts & ideas
  • Networks is a series of links to Institutions & Platforms active in the related fields
  • News/Events to try to keep track of the field!



Annick Bureaud, Directrice, Leonardo/Olats

Roger Malina, Executive director, Leonardo/Isast

Louise Whiteley, Medical Museion and the NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research


Editorial Committee

David Benqué, Royal College of Art, London


Annick Bureaud, Leonardo/Olats, Paris



Oron Catts, Symbiotica, Perth



Matthew Gardiner, Ars Electronica, Linz


Roger Malina, Executive director, Leonardo/Isast



Nell Tenhaaf, Artist, Teacher at York University, Toronto



Ruth West, Artist, North Texas



Louise Whiteley, Medical Museion and the NNF for Basic Metabolic Research, Copenhagen



ATEC Editorial Interns

Stephanie Brisendine

Yvan Tina