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Beat the Heat with Microbially-Augmented Popsicles at Esther Klein Gallery

PHILADELPHIA, PA-- (July 8, 2019)--Are microbially-augmented popsicles, grown on palm trees and delivered by parrots the answer to the climate crisis? Orkan Telhan, an internationally renowned artist and former University City Science Center BioArtist-in-Residence, will exhibit in his hometown of Philadelphia for the first time at Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) with his latest exhibit, Fruits of Matadero, opening Thursday, July 11th. The exhibit is a public commission by Matadero Madrid and the Mutant Institute of Environmental Narratives, Spain and featured at EKG.

Fruits of Matadero explores the idea of growing microbially-augmented popsicles to develop new forms of cooling rituals in public space. The exhibit proposes robotic bioreactors living on artificial palm trees that grow fruits with flavors, proteins, and nutrients sourced from microorganisms. The bioreactors work like vending machines that run in the spirit of community gardens. The devices run on solar power, ferment the organisms and come down to deliver their frozen fruits all at the push of a mobile phone payment. The popsicle sticks double as a collectible item, each containing one action that we can take to help us adapt to the climate crisis.

Awareness of the climate crisis and the Paris Agreement are as central a theme to the exhibit, as is the nostalgia and tradition of a delicious popsicle on a hot summer day displayed through vintage ads dating back to the early 20th century.

Fruits of Matadero
July 11th – July 27th

Esther Klein Gallery

3600 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 1904

Artist Talk

July 11th
5-6 p.m.
Venture Café Philadelphia
3675 Market Street, 3rd Floor

Opening Reception
July 11th
6-8:30 p.m.
Esther Klein Gallery
3600 Market Street

Orkan Telhan is interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher whose investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces, and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural, and environmental responsibility.

He is an Associate Professor of Fine Arts - Emerging Design Practices at University of Pennsylvania, School of Design, holds a PhD in Design and Computation from MIT's Department of Architecture, and was part of both the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and a researcher at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied Media Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies and Graphic Design at Bilkent University, Ankara. Telhan's individual and collaborative work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Istanbul Biennial (2013), Istanbul Design Biennial (2012, 2016), Milano Design Week, Vienna Design Week, the Armory Show 2015 Special Projects, Ars Electronica (2007, 2017), ISEA, LABoral, Archilab, Matadero Madrid, Architectural Association, the Architectural League of New York, MIT Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. He is also a co-founder of Biorealize.

About the Science Center

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported businesses account for one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond.

For more information about the Science Center, go to

About the Esther Klein Gallery

The Esther Klein Gallery (EKG), which opened in 1977, uses the creative arts as a platform to explore relationships between art, science and technology. EKG seeks to positively impact the cultural life of both its immediate neighborhood of West Philadelphia and the broader Philadelphia community. EKG programming is designed to explore the range of art, science and technology exhibitions, and includes gallery talks, panel discussions, and education programs. For more information, visit

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