Art and biology may seem like an unlikely combination, but blending these two disciplines is at the heart of my creative work. I combine digital and stop-motion animation, live and electronic music, video, and performance to explore the emerging field of Evo Devo (Evolutionary and Developmental Biology). I call myself an Evo Devo Artist.
My work uses digital media to explore a variety of Evo Devo stories, to visualize biological processes in novel ways, and to underscore the emotional dimensions of scientific research. In my short animated film Beetle Bluffs, I bring natural history museum specimens to life in order to illuminate the evolution of beetle mimicry. My art-science performance Theory of Flight delves into the genetic mechanisms of feather development, evolutionary theories of flight, and processes of regenerative limbs and transgenics. In Theory of Flight and my multimedia work Bird Brain, I use pasta, buttons, yarn, and bits of lace to visualize biological processes: a foreign microscopic world beyond human perception becomes approachable when animated with familiar objects. My work is also invested in examining the human emotion and subjectivity behind scientific research. While grounded in scientific research, my work ventures into the realms of speculative fiction and fantasy. In Theory of Flight, an emotional, Icarus-like passion for flight drives a scientist’s ambitious and increasingly reckless experiments. Scientists in Bird Brain begin to mimic their subjects of investigation as they exhibit flocking behavior. In Beetle Bluffs, archival lantern slides and photographic portraits show the aging of scientist and curator P.J. Darlington alongside the stories of the beetles he studies. My Evo Devo Art has been featured at black box theaters, planetariums, galleries, concert halls, film festivals, natural history museums, and at the 2014 Evo Devo Conference in Vienna, Austria.
But biology is not just the thematic content of my work. I also use biological processes as a model for my own creative process. For example, I created the electronic music textures in several of my compositions—including the music for Beetle Bluffs, Theory of Flight, Winged One, Bird Brain, and Where do you come from little seedling?—using algorithms, based on biological development, that I developed in the Matlab technical computing environment. I have presented my recent collaborative research project called Evo Devo Music, which explores music based on gene networks as well as cell division and cell differentiation, at the ATLAS Institute at CU-Boulder and at the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver.
As both an artist and educator, Anna Lindemann is devoted to integrating art and science. Her work combines animation, music, video, and performance to explore the emerging field of Evo Devo (Evolutionary Developmental Biology). She graduated magna cum laude with honors from Yale with a BS in Biology and received an MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she was awarded the DeWitt Wallace Fellowship, the Ellis and Karin Chingos Graduate Fellowship, and the Rensselaer Graduate Fellowship. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Digital Media and Design Department at the University of Connecticut.
Anna Lindemann’s work integrates multi-disciplinary art and biology. She combines digital and stop-motion animation, live and electronic music, video, and performance to explore the emerging field of Evo Devo (Evolutionary Developmental Biology). Anna’s work as an Evo Devo Artist has been featured in David Rothenberg’s book Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution (2011).
While Anna has always taken inspiration from nature—her first piano compositions written when she was eight to twelve were pieces about insects and forest animals—her interest in biology became fully developed as a student at Yale. While at Yale, she worked for two and a half years in an Evo Devo lab. She received the Edgar J. Boell Prize for her thesis research on genes involved in the patterning of wing eyespots during butterfly development, and was a first co-author on a paper on butterfly wing patterning published in PLoS One. She became enthralled by the stories that the field is uncovering, by the awe-inspiring and baffling processes that make single cells grow into flies or butterflies or birds or humans. Anna wanted to share these stories with a wider audience, and she felt that animation, music, and performance would allow her to do just that. Wanting to forge a path as an “Evo Devo Artist,” Anna pursued an MFA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The unique program in integrated electronic arts at RPI, and the opportunity to work closely with faculty involved in BioArt, supported her development as an artist exploring biological systems using a range of digital media.
Anna’s work as an Evo Devo Artist includes the animated short, Beetle Bluffs, and the art-science and animation infused performance Theory of Flight. These and other works have been featured nationally and internationally at the Imagine Science Film Festival, New York, NY; ISEA, Vancouver, Canada; KLI Institute for Theoretical Biology, Klosterneuburg, Austria; Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY; the Entertaining Science Series at Cornelia Street Café, New York, NY; Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; MATA Festival, New York, NY; Ho Tung Planetarium and Visualization Lab, Colgate University; Franke Program in the Science and Humanities, Yale University; the Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO; Bio:Fiction Science, Art & Film Festival, Vienna, Austria; Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, New York; and the Cantor Film Center, New York, NY. Her other animation work includes commissions from the USS Constitution Museum and Boston Cyberarts.
Anna is committed to illuminating the intersections of art and science for students and audiences from young to old. From 2012 to 2014 she worked with high school students in Boston to think creatively across the arts and sciences through a program called the ArtScience Prize. She has given talks about the integration of biology and art at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Colgate University, Boston Architectural College, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Utah, University of Tennessee Knoxville, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Anna taught digital art as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Colgate University during the 2011-2012 academic year. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Digital Media and Design Department at University of Connecticut.