Synthetic Aesthetics - Iwasaki + Catts The Biogenic Timestamp Sat, 18 Dec 2010 02:17:21 Project Synopsis

The Biogenic Timestamp is a project researching the links between geological and biological time, combining the unique geology and biology of Western Australia. We are exploring different aspects of material manifestations of temporality and placement using an array of time based artistic practices and new developments in synthetic biology, working with cyanobacterium as a model organism.

Our work involves exploring different ways of manipulating the cyanobacterial biological clock, its spatiotemporal pattern formations and its ability to accumulate, deposit and precipitate metals and other substances.  The work will engage with the rhythms and build-up of events and movements ranging from rapid microscopic, through day-night cycles, to extremely slow macro/geological formation. The concept of time (and its manipulation) as manifested by cyanobacteria and its by-products represents a fertile ground for the exploration of different modes of time-based art practices.

The project involves artistic research in some of the places of biological and biogenic geological significance, as well as lab work to explore the possibility of human-induced biogenic formation. By considering geological and human-derived biogenic formations, our artistic research will provide an alternative utilization and critical interpretation of synthetic biology.

"Biogenic Timestamp" at Ars Electronica, Austria and Japan Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:24:00 Hideo Iwasaki's and Oron Catts' Biogenic Timestamp project is on show until 2015 at Projekt Genesis in the Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria. It was also exhibited at InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, Japan, December 25 2013–March 2 2014.

Oron and Hideo explain: "When we use synthetic biology to perform complex changes to nature, we usually forget that we rely on fragile, human-made computer systems to do so. “Biogenic Timestamp” clearly illustrates that bacteria are capable of internalizing our technological creations and modifying them as they please. In the case study carried out by this project, electronic components are subjected to genetically modified bluegreen algae. These cyano-bacteria are among the most primitive forms of life; due to their ability to perform photosynthesis, they depend on light energy. In symbolic fashion, the tiny creatures ingest elements like silicon, gold and iron from the computer hardware, reorder them as they grow, and thereby completely disorganize the linear logic of the human-made electronic circuits. At the same time, they span an arc between a geological understanding of time and a biological one."



Photo: Ars Electronica.

Synthetic Flows Fri, 03 Sep 2010 04:33:35 “Imagine an observer with a time-scale so large... He wouldn't even see us. Species to him would seem like vast amounts of bio-mass in constant change.... That observer would see species mutating and flowing. He would probably worship flows -- unlike us, who, because of our very, very tiny time-scale of observation, tend to worship rocks." Manuel DeLanda

Is it any different with Synthetic Biology?

This might give us a more humble perspective, SB as yet another (random) generator of flow....

We are about to embark on journey exploring biogenic stratification – would we end up worshiping rocks?


Post by Thu, 02 Sep 2010 01:48:22
Hideo Iwasaki instructs Oron Catts in cyanobacteria protocols.

Measuring and manipulating circadian rhythm in cyanobacteria Wed, 01 Sep 2010 03:29:41


Post by Synthetic Aesthetics Wed, 01 Sep 2010 03:25:24

Time and Place Tue, 31 Aug 2010 09:27:11

Cyanobacteria expert, Hideo Iwasaki of Waseda University, Tokyo, and biological artist Oron Catts in Hideo's lab, discussing cyanobacteria and circadian rhythm.