June 23, 2010
Transbiotics. Temporal Stabilty Points – Tissue Engineering Workshop

The following is the SymbioticA workshop which took place at the University of Latvia’s Faculty of Biology last Saturday (19/06/10) as part of the Transbiotics Festival in Riga.

The workshop was run by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr from SymbioticA and ran from 10am to 6pm. During the day we had an introduction to the history of tissue engineering, a lecture to give us context as to what tissue engineering is, what it does and currently where it is in it’s development and then the workshop proper started.

Before lunch Oron explained the different types of sterile environments, indicated by levels one, two and three (image above). Then groups of us built a series of DIY ‘sterile’ hoods (image below) to perform the work tissue engineering work in, at least this was the intention. I don’t think we were terribly successful but this was largely a demonstration in practice as to the procedure that needs to be taken when working with biological samples.

We had liver and bone to extract samples from (image above), luckily there seemed to be no vegetarians present, which were then used to employ a number of basic tissue culturing techniques, passaging / subcloning etc. In the image below you can see what was essentially step two once the sample was extracted, adding nutrients to the sample and then, the image below that, a number of techniques such as separation, cleaning etc. (this time in a real sterile environment) to get the final sample of cells which were viewed under a microscope (last image).

All of this was new to me and while I’m never anxious about learning new things I’ve never had much of an interest in biology so that type of learning curve is all the more difficult. It’s interesting however when it’s framed within an art context it suddenly becomes quite interesting and potentially a ‘medium’ worth exploring.

The workshop has certainly fueled my interest but also underlined my ignorance in this area so for the moment I’m going to think about how / if I can take this forward in any way. Consideration of materials and equipment really needs to be priority number one for any artist to engage with this ‘medium’ as the equipment used in the workshop makes a DIY approach for any serious or sophisticated work all but impossible.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:08 am
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June 19, 2010
Transbiotics. Temporal Stabilty Points – Performances and Video

The following are the performances and video that were presented last night at RIXC media space as part of the Transbiotics Festival in Riga. Please note that due to the nature of the work and the lighting conditions my photos are not the best so do visit the links I point to for a better documentation of the work.

Planet A (image above) by Momoko Seto is an audio-visual composition (pre-composed and not live) which depicts a planet of salt crystals. The work, produced at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains in France, simulates a science-fiction film set on a distant world, far away, beyond normal sight etc. yet is in fact a world seen not through a telescope but through a microscope.

Mucilaginous Omniverse (images above) by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand consisted of Evelina, creating visuals, dropping droplets of silicone oil onto sonicated silicone oil which was filmed and projected, while Dmitry worked on the audio part of the performance. This was scientific demonstration as performance visualising wave-particle behavior, a phenomenon usually only visible at the quantum scale. Video produced during the performance had an effect on the sound and in return sound initiated and maintained the reactive process.

Materia Obscura (images above) by Jurgen Reble and Thomas Koner was an audio-visual performance, part live and part pre-composed. The visual material, consisting of approximately 25,000 scans of 16mm ‘chemograms’, are stored on Jurgen’s computer, archived, and then assembled in real time during the performance. Meanwhile the audio, created by Thomas, compliments the visuals as they evolved. While visually and sonically interesting, what was disappointing for me in this performance was the low levelness of the correlation between image and sound i.e. they did not seem to be connected in any sophisticated way as they had been in Mucilaginous Omniverse.

Posted by: Garrett @ 10:37 pm
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June 18, 2010
Transbiotics. Temporal Stabilty Points – Exhibition

I’m at the Transbiotics (image above) Festival in Riga, Latvia at the moment. The festival comprises of two exhibitions (one of which was temporary), a conference, performance and video night and culminates with a workshop (the main reason I’m here) on tissue cultures. I’ve been attending the conference for two days and while interesting has been at times difficult to follow and often strayed quite far off of any artistic connection / discussion. In fairness however this is not an art festival but one which covers the merging of art, design and scientific fields.

Today I had a chance to get to see the exhibition part of the festival which is at the Kim? Galleries at Spikeri on the other side of town. A small exhibition of six pieces, the show has been well curated and presented work I’ve not seen anywhere else (always a good thing). On the whole works in the exhibition tied together quite well, with perhaps one a little out of place, and were also closely related to the performance and video night (later that evening) and the content of the workshop, both of which I’ll come back to in another post.

The Relative Velocity Inscription Device (image above) by Paul Vanouse is the first of two works by the artist in the exhibition. The work is essentially a DNA race, almost using the expression “survival of the fittest” literally, between four members of his Jamaican descended family, so a race about race. DNA from skin colour genes are raced through a computer regulated separation gel and the progress of this race is displayed in the projection.

The second work by Paul Vanouse is Latent Figure Protocol (image above) which uses DNA samples and visualises them in unorthodox ways.

The installation includes a live science experiment, the result of which is videotaped and repeated for the duration of the gallery exhibit. Employing a reactive gel and electrical current, Latent Figure Protocol produces images that relate directly to the DNA samples used. The above images were re-produced live. Each performance lasts approximately one hour, during which time audience members see the image slowly emerge.

Succession (image above) by Terike Haapoja is a nine day time-lapse recording, which comes to a four minute film in total, of bacteria grown on a canvas as a result of the canvas being pressed to the artists face.

Dialogue (image above), also by Terike Haapoja, consists of electronic devices suspended from a tree which are triggered by breathing on, but preferably whistling to, a CO2 sensor. The devices respond by activating a light and a small CO2 measuring chamber measures the decreasing CO2 caused by photosynthesis. This is turn causes the devices to whistle back.

Lights, sound, CO2, digital and analogue technology form a circuit of information which enables the viewer to perceive the information with non-human environment [sic] not only as a physical process but also as flow of information.

Deep Data (image above) by Andy Gracie uses data by deep space probes such as Voyager to recreate certain conditions of the Solar System within an astrobiology laboratory environment. In this particular iteration of the installation (prototype 1), magnetometer data is used to recreate electro-magnetic field experiments on Tardigrades (organisms). The user is allowed to change between different probes data affecting the Tardigrades in different ways.

Lastly was E-Static Shadows (image above) by Zane Berzina and Jackson Tan. This was the one work I felt was a little out of place in this particular exhibition as there was no biological component. However that’s no refection on the work itself. The installation filled a room and consisted of an LED lit textile suspended from the ceiling which measured electrostatic fields caused by visitors. These fields are then visualised by the LED’s on the textile, a graph of activity is projected on a wall and sound is generated to be played on headphones scattered throughout the space.

Posted by: Garrett @ 5:48 pm
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June 10, 2010
44 Hours of Cornucopia Momentum documentary

Bendix Freutel (Eifachfilm Vacirca in Second Life) has posted a documentary video (below) about the event, 44 Hours of Cornucopia Momentum (image above), my performance I’m Garrett Lynch (IRL) was part of on the 28th of May at Odyssey Art and Performance Simu in Second Life.

Bendix makes a few very good points about quite a few art events (SL or otherwise) these days taking advantage of artists in a number of ways, often simply as a profile raising mechanism for the curator, and how the intention here was to promote the artists doing what they do best with no imposed interpretations etc. The event places these art forms generated by a ‘virtual’ community of artists from all over the world within a ‘real’ community in Switzerland which would have limited knowledge or exposure to it previously. Highly commendable objectives, which remind me of some of the idealism of early net.art. Congratulations to Bendix on a very successful event which was a joy to be a part of.

Posted by: Garrett @ 2:55 pm
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June 7, 2010
Wind-up Birds

Wind-up Birds by HC Gilje are a flock of mechanical woodpeckers which seem to communicate through sound but in fact use xbee wireless networks. Originally created in 2008 the work is currently showing at Festpillene i Bergen 2010 in Norway until Wednesday the 9th of June 2010.

There is a Flickr set of the Wind-up Birds here and an explanation of how it all works here.

Related work (set in forests, using trees etc.) includes Untitled (Singing Tree) by Peter Coffin.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:55 am
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