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SETI AIR Newsletter - September 2021

SETI AIR Newsletter - September 2021

September 2021




Bettina Forget

As summer is drawing to a close, the fall cultural season is coming back to life. In fact, many of our SETI AIRs are already busy participating in major international festivals and are premiering live productions.

It’s been a difficult year for artists of all disciplines. The challenges of lockdowns, limited access to studios and collaborators, and vastly reduced audiences meant that those active in the creative field needed to re-imagine how to make art and explore new ways to engage with their audiences. It has been an absolute delight to see our AIRs rise to this challenge. Highlighted in this issue of SETI AIR News are two projects that are on show this month. In New York, Theater Mitu has 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, the Mexican artist collective Interspecifics has fused microbiology and AI technologies to investigate how Life may exist in extraterrestrial habitats. Discover more about both projects below.

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



Current Projects



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 

Online: Ars Electronica Home Delivery:

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

Read more about the project on the Ars Electronica blog:



Utopian Hotline.

Theater Mitu: Utopian Hotline 

At MITU580: September 3 - 26, 2021

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





Theater Mitu: Utopian Hotline

If we were to send a message into 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.



Exhibitions and Events


Scratch Space: Synthetic Life

Scratch Space: Synthetic Life

September 23, 2021
13:00 - 14:00 PST
Montalvo Arts Center - Saratoga, CA, USA

How might Life originate in extraterrestrial habitats? Join us for an online discussion 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, Program Director of the SETI Institute’s AIR Program.


The Sea

MOMENTA Montreal Biennale
Jen Bervin: The Sea

September 8 - October 24, 2021
VOX, Centre de l’image contemporaine

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

Europlanet Science Congress
Jonathon Keats:
Applied SETI: From the Fermi Paradox to the Library of the Great Silence

September 20, 2021
17:30 - 18:00 CET

In this ODAA Keynote talk, Jonathon Keats considers the potential for artists and philosophers to apply SETI and astrobiology for the practical benefit of society.



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