SETI AIR Newsletter – September 2021

As summer draws to a close, the cultural fall season comes to life. In fact, many of our SETI AIRs are already busy participating in major international festivals and creating live productions.

It was a difficult year for artists of all disciplines. The challenges of blocks, limited access to studios and collaborators, and a drastically reduced audience meant people active in the creative realm had to reimagine how to make art and explore new ways to interact with their audiences. It was an absolute pleasure to see our AIRs take up this challenge. In this issue of SETI AIR News, two projects are presented this month. In New York City, Theater Mitu re-imagined what theater can be, creating a unique interactive project that exists both in the virtual world and in its Brooklyn-based performance space. In Linz, Austria, Mexican artist collective Interspecifics fused microbiology and AI technologies to study how life can exist in alien habitats. Find out more about the two projects below.

I wish you a colorful start to the cultural season!
Stay healthy and safe,


SETI x AI: Ars Electronica festival Interspecifics: Codex Virtualis – Genesis

In person: September 8 – 12, 2021 in Linz, Austria, AI Lab exhibition in Kepler’s gardens

In line: Ars Electronica home delivery:

Codex Virtualis is an artistic research framework oriented towards the generation of an evolutionary taxonomic collection of bacterial-IA hybrid organisms.

Learn more about the project on the Ars Electronica blog:

Utopian hotline.

Mitu Theater: Utopian hotline

At MITU580: September 3 to 26, 2021

Utopian Hotline is a project that exists as a live, in-person, vinyl record, and phone hotline experience. Go to and deploy an adorable robot avatar to explore a virtual landscape dotted with phone booths that let you listen to other people’s messages about the future.

Mitu Theater: Utopian Hotline

If we were to send a message in the distant future, what message would we send?

SETI AIR program director Bettina Forget in conversation with Ruben Polendo, founding artistic director of Theater Mitu.

Scratch Space: Synthetic Life

Scratch Space: Synthetic Life

September 23, 2021
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. PST
Montalvo Center for the Arts – Saratoga, California, United States

How could life come from alien habitats? Join us for an online chat with the artist collective Interspecifics, Donna Conwell, Curator of the Lucas Artists Residency Program, Veronika Liebl, Director of European Cooperation Ars Electronica and Bettina Forget, Director of the AIR Program at the SETI Institute.

The sea

MOMENTA Montreal Biennale
Jen Bervin: The sea

September 8 – October 24, 2021
VOX, Contemporary Image Center

Jen Bervin presents her artist’s book The Sea, a project that combines printmaking, poetry and embroidery.

Applied SETI: From the Fermi Paradox to the Library of the Great Silence

Europanet Scientific Congress
Jonathon Keats:
Applied SETI: from the Fermi paradox to the library of great silence

September 20, 2021
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. CET

In this main ODAA lecture, Jonathon Keats examines the potential for artists and philosophers to apply SETI and astrobiology for the practical benefit of society.

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