Sticky Settings collaboration profile created by the Simons Foundation, 2023
Multimedia Director: Rebecca Horne / Video Production and Editing: Ninetynine Films (Vanina Feldsztein and Johannes Kroemer)


Our research-based process culminates in collaborative artworks and installations that are presented at exhibitions and events.

As a theoretical biophysicist and a conceptual artist, we explore the mutability of the seemingly fixed and the tangibility of the seemingly complex.

portrait of artist Laura Splan

Laura Splan

Laura Splan’s interdisciplinary artworks and exhibitions connect hidden artifacts of biotechnology to everyday lives through embodied interactions and sensory engagement.

portrait of Adam Lamson

Adam Lamson

Adam Lamson’s research focuses on simulating active filamentous networks using computational and analytic techniques to study biological self-assembly and chromatin organization. 

portrait of Laura Splan by Danielle Ezzo / portrait of Adam Lamson courtesy of the Simons Foundation

Our animations, soundscapes, and sculptures rematerialize virtual representations 
and computational abstractions 
of biological phenomena.

Sticky Settings is a sciart collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Laura Splan and theoretical biophysicist Adam Lamson. The project explores entanglements of computational and biological worlds through research, artworks, exhibitions, and public engagement. Process and production for the project are informed by Lamson’s biological simulations and Splan’s studio practice interrogating scientific imaging techniques.

Lamson’s simulated chromatin structures serve as both material and as a conceptual framework for artworks that attempt to communicate complex biology by connecting virtual representations of the biological world with sensory encounters and tactile experiences. The collaboration explores the potential for deeper understanding of complex science by rematerializing representations of molecular phenomena. Weavings, soundscapes, animations, and immersive installations engage audiences with physically intuitive experiences of abstract biological concepts.

The creative underpinnings of Sticky Settings are informed by Splan and Lamson’s shared fascination with the layers of translation involved in digital representations of molecular biology. In software interfaces, “sticky settings” is a phrase used to describe “remembered” user settings.1 “Sticky” is also a term Lamson uses to describe certain molecular interactions in his computer-generated models. In biology, evidence has emerged for gene bookmarking suggesting mechanisms of epigenetic memory or “stickiness” in DNA.2 Their collaborative artworks repurpose the “GUI” interfaces with which we confront “gooey” biological materialities in the lab and reframe their implications in our everyday lives.

From the epigenetics of trauma to the visualization of its manifestation at the molecular level, Sticky Settings explores the biophysical processes that affect our embodied experience of the world around us. The collaboration operates on the belief in the potential for art to not only communicate science but to connect people through a shared understanding of its complexity and its implications for the future of our humanity.

Through sensory encounters and tactile experiences, our artworks create more intuitive and embodied understanding of abstract biological concepts.