Winners of the “Yours Synthetically” open call present multi-sensory performances and installations in the context of synthetic biology. Transpiring inside an inflatable multi-dome pavilion, these spherically projected artworks evoke the transformation of prebiotic conditions into the complex behavior and dimensionality of synthesized living cells.
As part of the Studiolab open call, “Yours Synthetically”, the ArtScience Interfaculty and Synergetica Lab present a series of multi-sensory performances and installations in the context of synthetic biology. Transpiring inside Sphæræ, an inflatable multi-dome pavilion created by Cocky Eek, these spherically projected artworks evoke the transformation of prebiotic conditions into the complex behavior and dimensionality of synthesized living cells. “There is, however, a well-defined difference between the magical and the scientific imitation of life. The former copies external appearances; the latter is concerned with performance and behavior. Until the scientific era, what seemed most alive to people was what most looked like a living being. The vitality accorded to an object was a function primarily of its form”. [Grey Walter, The Living Brain, 1953]
Since Walter’s seminal premonitions of bio-programming (coincidentally, published the same year as the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA), the revolutionary epoch of genetic sequencing followed, and shortly thereafter synthetic biology emerged, redefining the very concept of living matter. Empowered by the tools and insight of synthetic biologists, artists have also joined the pursuit of the origins of life and the re-writing of its code.
Hyper-Rainforest [space-shifted portable version] | Francisco López (NL/SP)
A monumental sound piece, both in duration and in spatial terms, created from original environmental recordings done between 1990 and 2010 at multiple locations of tropical, sub-tropical and cold rainforests in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Gambia, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, USA, and Venezuela. Because of the vividness and presence of all the sounds and their spatiality, “Hyper-Rainforest” has the possibility of being perceived as a simulation. Beyond that immediate -and natural- reaction to this experience lies an entirely different possible territory: the realm of the phenomenologically ineffable. Sounds are not only indexical or referential (the standard view). They have their own life, their own ‘self-sufficiency’. They are the potential building blocks (substance, matter, magma) of a self-sustained sonic virtuality not grounded in representation, but rather on the emergence of a more free world.
Shadow Puppet? | Dieter Vandoren and Mariska de Groot (NL)
A combination of embodied performance and analog machinery gives rise to an engulfing play of light, shadow and raw optical sound.
Hydro-Acoustic Study | Paul Prudence (UK)
A cinematic exploration of sonically activated hydrological events, specifically evolving waveforms, proto-cellular bubbles, and meniscus’s that grow and exhibit behavior in direct response to sound.
Biosphere | Eduard Haiman, Michael Holub, Vadim Smakhtin, (RU) and V4W.ENKO (UA)
Investigating the borders and similarities between computer-generated creations and living beings, this interactive installation allows participants to interact with and control artificial life forms with their smartphones.
Polar | Nenad Popov and Erfan Abdi (NL)
Slime Mold, Physarum Polycephalum, grows over the spherical screen, it’s shape governed by Belousov-Zhabotinsky-like reactions within its giant cell.
Runaway AV | Bas van Koolwijk (NL)
Once set in motion, the performer’s software gradually gains independence, while the performer, on the other hand, gradually loses control over the processes which he initially directed. The result is a runaway process whereby the system continues to develop a growing complexity.
10000 Peacock Feathers in Foaming Acid | Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand (NL)
The original proto-cell, a direct chemical ancestor of lipid membranes, soap film comprised the foam of the primordial prebiotic soup. The sensitive skin of a soap bubble is capable of swallowing laser light as if it were confined by a waveguide antenna. In this performance, bubble-trapped laser beams reveal the biomorphic molecular dynamics inside of soap film membranes.
Citadels | Matthijs Munnik (NL)
An observatory of vivid hallucinations is produced within the eye itself, arising due to interference in the signal from the eye to the primary visual cortex. These complex interference patterns are spherically transformed in accordance with the retinotopic map.
Covex | Joris Strijbos, Yamila Rios (NL)
An extended cello performance interplays with a meticulous constellation of laser beams shot trough transparent objects.
Gut Feeling | Eric Parren (USA)
E. coli bacteria, the humble organisms with whom we share a symbiotic relationship, were genetically modified with iGem bio-bricks to express three different kinds of fluorescent proteins; red, green, and cyan. The bacteria were captured trough time-lapse laser-scanning confocal microscopy while undergoing growth and movement experiments. Processes that normally occur on the scale of 500 nanometers are suddenly visible a hundred thousand times their original size. This project was made possible with the support of the California NanoSystems Institute and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.
On Growth and Data | Martijn van Boven (NL)
The simple system of a closed feedback loop is developed, transformed, mutated, translated and after each iteration, it is mirrored and compared with real life strings of biological data available through online databases such as Genbank. In its most ideal situation during one performance the initial system transforms into a computer generated form equivalent to the fingerprint of animals or plants.
The ArtScience Interfaculty is an interdisciplinary bachelor and master program that fosters curiosity driven research as an approach for the making of art. The program considers art and science as a continuum and promotes the development of new art forms and artistic languages. The ArtScience Interfaculty is embedded in both the Royal Conservatoire and The Royal Academy for Fine Arts in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Cocky Eek’s (NL) work has been revolving around lightweight spatial compositions and her favorite media are wind and air. This resulted in floating or flying experiments or large, voluminous pneumatic forms constructed to capture air. She creates environments that translate this material into a tangible experience of form and volume. Since 2005 she co-directs FoAM (Amsterdam) whose main focus in the last years has been the topic of human-plant inter-relationships.
Arthur I. Miller (UK) is Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at University College London. He received a PhD in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1991 to 2005 he was Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at University College London, where he founded the Department of Science & Technology Studies. He is the author of several books, including Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art, Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc, Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes, and recently published, Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung, which explores how through Jung’s psychoanalysis, Pauli came to understand his creative powers while at the same time enabling him to cope with his complex life. http://www.arthurimiller.com
supported by European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Mondriaan Fund, The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie