Uniting arts, science and society, ¡vamos, simbiosis! reveals the deep connection between humanity and the sea to create new concepts for a sustainable lifestyle in partnership with the marine world.

Healthy ecosystems are key to combat climate change, maintain our well-being and economic stability. A prime example is the Mediterranean Sea which supports fisheries, agriculture and tourism for millions of Europeans. Yet, it is massively over-fished and polluted and as a ‘climate change hotspot’ Southern Europe will soon be too dry and hot to sustain the current level of tourism and agricultural use.

For society to truly understand the importance of healthy oceans for life on planet Earth, we will create science-inspired artworks. In contrast to pure facts, art reaches people at the emotional level – a prerequisite for taking action. Moreover, we will develop innovative solutions for preserving the Mediterranean Sea as a functional ecosystem and recreational region at a high economic level. Implementation of novel ideas and change rely on widespread acceptance within society. This can be reached by allowing all parties to be heard and to contribute to finding solutions. 

The Symbiosis Studio: feel – understand – create

Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information. Albert Einstein

To achieve this, we will bring together international scientists, artists and the public in Águilas, a coastal city in Southern Spain. We will set up a multifunctional Symbiosis Studio to experience the sea, understand the facts and create transformative ideas. 

The Symbiosis Studio will be located in the harbour next to the local dive school Buceo Estela which will organize a special programme for all participants to jointly experience the Mediterranean Sea.

Envisioning of the „Symbiosis Studio“ and its features

The studio also serves as a communication platform and will be specifically designed to promote exchange between scientists, artists and the public, collaborative out-of-the-box thinking, co-creation of ideas and concepts and their visualization. Moreover, the Symbiosis Studio will facilitate the broadcasting of our activities, discussions and interviews worldwide.

Thinking Hands: interdisciplinary communication and designTo facilitate communication across disciplines including the public, we will take advantage of Thinking Hands, a powerful method for visual communication that we developed. It manifests ideas through drawing (instead of specialized language) and is designed to promote collaboration and empathy. The visual representation and combination of knowledge and ideas from distinct disciplines and the public leads to transformative results which are co-developed through teamwork. The Symbiosis Studio will have a Thinking Hands Wall as a special feature to display all visual material publicly. 

Together, by the means of arts, science and societal participation we will create a vision for a symbiotic lifestyle in the Mediterranean region, defined as prosperity for society in conjunction with healthy ecosystems. 

About Us

The sisters, Annika Guse and Stephanie Guse are the initiators of !vamos, simbiosis!

Annika is a molecular biologist at Heidelberg University working on coral symbiosis and Stephanie is a free-lance artists and designer based in Vienna addressing societal issues by various artistic means.

Annika and Stephanie believe that our well-being depends on the understanding that we are part of the global ecosystem. Using interdisciplinarity, knowledge exchange and creativity, they want to raise awareness and develop novel concepts for a sustainable future. They have experience in interdisciplinary projects and invented the communication method Thinking Hands to work across disciplines and communicate with the public.

Since early childhood, Annika and Stephanie have a deep connection to the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal town Águilas. They are supported by an extraordinary founding team of colleagues and friends from the science and art world who share their love of the Mediterranean. Together, they are assembling a group of outstanding, international artists and scientists to exploit diverse disciplinary knowledge and approaches to co-create transformative arts and ideas together with the local community. 

!vamos, simbiosis! is part of the interdisciplinary Marsilius Kolleg (MK) at Heidelberg University. The MK aims to build bridges between distinct academic disciplines and fosters research-based dialog to address pressing issues of our times. 

Marsilius Kolleg, Heidelberg University, Germany

Join us

Join us on the Blue Orange Book release on Friday the 5th of November 2021 via live stream: the link will be published here soon!

Get one of 50 signed copies by Kristina Heldmann and Stefan Michaelsen who beautifully illustrated this art edition available in English, Spanish and German! Save your signed copy for 25 EUR!

This art book tells the story of the „round men” dating back to Platon. These men were split into two halves and are now on the search for their counterpart to re-create unity for a fulfilling partnership.

We feel that the orange cut in half is a significant visual for this project and consider this principle as trendsetting to achieve unity between humans and ecosystems and thus a symbiotic lifestyle. As the Spanish call they spouse the half of the orange (media naranja) this added another symbolic aspect to the story.

Art edition booklet The Blue Orange. Inspired by historian Nikolas Jaspert, illustration, design and storytelling: Kristina Heldmann & Stefan Michaelsen

Available now: Photo art edition

Photo art edition The sea does not suck, 2020

This art piece is a collaboration of the scientists Annika Guse and Silvia Urbansky and the artists Fabian Gasperl and Stephanie Guse. The idea and modelscaping is science-based while staging and photography evolved through an artistic process.

Making of photo art I
Making of photo art II

It illustrates the current over-exploitation of the natural resources of the Mediterranean Sea through human actions by staging an especially designed 3-D model of the Mediterranean Sea that is filled with jelly and straws. It reminds us of fun drinks at the beach during summer holidays, yet questions our attitude towards the use of marine resources.

To us, this represents the starting point of the project from which we develop new models for a symbiotic lifestyle.

Photo art edition The sea does not suck (2020), 40 x 60 cm, high-quality Fuji Crystal photoprint, mounted on 2 mm aludibond and protected by 2 mm acryl. The hanging system is integrated. Production: Whitewall, Germany

Idea: Annika and Stephanie Guse, modelscaping: Silvia Urbansky, staging and photography: Fabian Gasperl and Stephanie Guse

Price: 300,- EUR

(incl. tax and shipping – 100% profit to the project ¡Vamos, simbiosis!)