“a collection of fluid spaces” is a radical embryology laboratory, an installation of dance and somatic states,  that uses touch and movement as doorways into our embryonic journey. We will reveal some of the morphological patterns of embryogenesis, a surging of forces and forms, that continue to shape each of us.

We will create a series of dances, workshops, lectures, and conversations bringing the public together with artists, scientists, therapists and philosophers in the medical museum.

Special guests include movement researcher Konrad Obermeier, developmental biologist Scott Gilbert, anthropologist and philosopher Stefania Consigliere, ​​and movement educator and therapist Thomas Greil.

Learning through embodiment may start from a choreographic-like mind, the one that takes images as maps, maps as diagrams, and everything as scores. In the case of embryology, the term score seems almost to be closer to music than to dance, and in fact lines and directions describing the all too busy movement of the forming embryo, in order to be “correctly” read, need kinematics being paralleled with dynamics: a play of intensities, rhythms, simultaneous events, different speed rates.

Carla Bottiglieriproject researcher

Embryology is the description of the individuation process that underlies our coming into form. The first eight weeks after conception is when our body forms its basic structure. We transform from a fertilized egg, into two cells that multiply into a cluster of cells, fluid filled spaces, to become a complex being. These fluid spaces and processes underlie our current structure and inform our current state of being.

When we investigate embryology with somatic tools, we engage our imaginations through physical practice to challenge the predominant medical narrative, often focused on a pathologized embryo and an invisible mother. Focusing on our own embodied embryological experience we can learn something of the gestalt of an embryo, a manifestation of a being in its wholeness, rather than its individual DNA and cells.

Concept: Olive Bieringa

Direction: Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad

Associate Curator and Researcher: Carla Bottiglieri

Contributing Performers: Hanna Filomen Mjåvatn, Kristina Gjems, Gry Kipperberg, Otto Ramstad, Olive Bieringa

Musician and Composer: Bernt Isak Wærstad

Scenographer: Carle Lange

Costume Designer: Kristine Gjems

Visual Artist: Katja Henriksen Schia

Lighting Designer: Agnethe Tellefsen

Host and technical support: Anu Laiho

Opening text: Phil Loring

Video works created by the fluid spaces research cohort
Emerging Barnacle, Carrie Girstantas & Vasiliki Tsagkari, 2022, 18’48”
Emerging Ectodermal Ring,  Carrie Girstantas, 2022, 8’55”
Lake Effect, Mandy Herrick, 2022, 7’23”
farming practice, Vasiliki Tsagkari, 2022, 13’06”
places of potential,  Christine Quoiraud, 2022, 9’42”
Traces,  Fiona Harrisson (RMIT University), Kim Sargent-Wishart, Vanessa Chapple (RMIT University), 2022, 8’03”
Embryology, Julie Nathanielsz, 2022, 7’28”
fluid spaces,  Laressa Dickey, 2022, 5’10”
Untitled, Maria do Rosário Matos, 2022
Kent Avenue Orientation, Theo Armstrong, 8’44”
Untitled,  Late Harvest’s Daniel Racek, Monika Certezni, Katarina Vlnieskova and Anka Sedlackova, 2022, 5’10”


Event schedule

all these events are in the Central European Time zone

Thursday 21

15.30-17.00 Performance
17.30-18.30 Guest talk: Konrad Obermeier draws a line from Blechschmidt’s tradition of studying embryology to the importance of movement relationships to contemporary developmental biology’s understanding of “environment”.  Learn more Live stream available
19-20.30 Performance

Friday 22

12.30-13.30 Development of the foot workshop with Konrad Obermeier. Learn more Live stream available
14-15.30 Performance
16-17.00 Guest lecture with developmental biologist Scott Gilbert “The body and the body politic: New constituencies.” Learn more

Live stream available (Please note this event takes place after hours at the museum so please make sure you arrive before 16 to enter)

Saturday 23

11.30 – 12.30 Family embryology workshop. Learn more
13.30 -14.30 Development of the lungs workshop with Konrad Obermeier Learn more Live stream available
15 – 16.30 Performance

Sunday 24

11.30 – 13.30  Embodied embryology workshop with Olive Bieringa. Learn more
14 – 15.30 Performance Live stream available
16 – 17.00 Artist talk with BodyCartography’s Olive Bieringa, Otto Ramstad, Carla Bottiglieri (project researcher) talk with Phil Loring, curator of the National Medical Museum. Live stream available

Wednesday 27

11.30 – 13.30 “Making Connections”: A special applications workshop for working with embryology for the work with children with disabilities with movement therapist and educator Thomas Greil. Learn more Live stream available
14 – 15.30 Performance

Thursday 28

13.00 – 14.00 Guest lecture with anthropologist and philosopher Stefania Consigliere on “Biology as history”.  Learn more Live stream available
14.30 – 16 Embodied embryology workshop with Olive Bieringa
16.30 – 18.00 Performance Live stream available
19.00 – 20.30 Performance

Friday 29

12 – 13.30 Embodied embryology workshop with Olive Bieringa
14 – 15.30 Performance

Saturday 30

12 – 13  Family workshop
14 – 15.30 Performance

Thomas Greil

Our supporters and partners include:

Norsk kulturfond – Fri scenekunst dans, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, Oslo Kommune, Fond for Utøvende Kunstenere, Danse- og Teatersentrum, Nasjonalt medisinsk museum at Norsk Teknisk Museum, University of the Arts Helsinki, Tanzfabrik, Berlin, Minnesota State Arts Board and the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Special thanks to:

Phil Loring, Gro Synnøve Ellefsen, Thomas Fjærtoft, Igor Di Tota, Henrik Treimo, Ellen Lange, Ageliki Lefkaditou, Boris Oicherman, Per Roar, Thomas Greil, Lisa Bysheim, Kira Spenkiel, Emma Barber, Anna Marie Shogren, Arwen Wilder, Sarah Baumert, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Jaap Van der Wal.

Katja Schia