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The Synthetic Sacred

A research initiative by Lucy Rose Sollitt and supported by Goethe-Institut London, the Synthetic Sacred explores pathways for ecological restoration amidst hybridity.

The notion of the Synthetic Sacred, is both a provocation and an attempt to forge sustainable narratives and practices. Weaving together posthuman and Indigenous knowledge systems, it explores the sacred as a means to heal fractured relations with nature and resist capitalist-colonialist extraction. It proposes the sacred as a framework to guide and detoxify our synthetic creations. In this way, the Synthetic Sacred aims to shift the compass of development away from extraction and exploitation of life and towards restoration, kinship and flourishing.

The Synthetic Sacred explores these ideas through the cutting edge of art, technology and science.

Podcast: Talking Culture Episodes

Through two special editions of the Talking Culture podcast, curated by Lucy Rose Sollitt, we delve into the Synthetic Sacred looking at some of our most high-tech creations - in particular, biodigital convergence and the emergence of synthetic life.

The discussions grapple with questions of control, harmony, and emergent relationships between synthetic and natural forms of life, offering listeners a thought-provoking journey into the complexities of these evolving paradigms.

Our guests are: artists Agnieszka Kurant and Anicka Yi, scientists Johannes Vogel and Michael Levin, and Mohawk scholar, Keith Williams.

Talking culture logo and image of Agnieszka, Johannes and Mike Goethe-Institut London

Talking Culture Podcast
Episode #19: Synthetic Life: A future of 'Natural History?'

The creations of biodigital convergence are redefining what constitutes life, just as a mass extinction is taking place. Emerging synthetic life includes biological robots, digitally controlled dragonflies, and internet-connected implants in humans. What future natural history is being created today? The developments raise complex philosophical, societal and ecological questions about the kind of future present biotechnologies are ushering in. We explore what becomes of nature when life is synthetic and ask what role biotech can play in ecological restoration. 

Episode 20 logo for talking culture with three portraits and the number 20 in front of the portraits © Goethe-Institute London

Talking Culture Podcast
Episode #20: Biotechnologies and the Web of Life

Might reframing biotechnologies in the context of the sacred web of life be useful in guiding innovation towards the creation and restoration of flourishing and generative ecologies? When formulated within the modern paradigm, the products of biotech tend towards the extraction, alienation and entrapment of life, both natural and synthetic. For this episode, we consider biotechnologies within the context of indigineous cosmologies together with Anicka Yi, Lucy Sollitt and Keith Williams.


A selfie of Lucy Sollitt Lucy Sollitt Lucy Rose Sollitt is an experienced researcher and cultural programmer, specialising in innovatively merging art, technology, and ecosystemic change. Lucy’s career is dedicated to forging new narratives for sustainable development that prioritise restoration, kinship, and flourishing. Originally trained as a philosopher, Lucy approaches art as a form of felt knowledge and a gathering point for exploring alternative ideas for how things can be. 

Lucy’s work includes writing, cultural programming, innovation strategy, funding and policy design. Lucy works with organisations ranging from Serpentine Galleries, Rhizome, Rupert and FACT, to the Goethe Institut, DACS, Creative United and the British Council. She previously led on Creative Media at Arts Council England (London office) and digital innovation lead for DCMS. She has worked for organisations including Tate Modern, the Mayor of London and the RSA. She regularly participates in panel discussions in the UK and internationally, lectures at Christie’s and the Royal College of Art, and mentors artists independently and for SPACE Studios and Somerset House Studios. Lucy is an Advisory Board member for Furtherfield and is based at Somerset House, London.