Festival Internacional de la Imagen - INTER/SPECIES

Soundscape performance Dendritiformis Selected for Production at the Festival

Festival organized in Manizales, Colombia. Festival was held virtually on May 24 to 28, 2021.

Dendritiformis is a live, generative sound scape performance that utilizes machine vision to generate various expressions of sound that evolve over time. The piece is a hybrid biological-technological performance featuring a bio-driven artificial intelligence system that observes a bacterial culture ecology while generating an audio-visual composition in real-time. The work creates a situation where the aesthetic classifications of a group of bacterial cultures are determined by the whims of an AI model that has an internal model of "beauty". This AI builds its model by observing the cooperative pattern-forming and swarming behaviors of numerous bacterial species. The performance and installation system consists of colonies of these bacteria placed under microscopes for observation and interaction with a machine learning model. Images of their growth patterns, movements and spatial dynamics were captured using time-lapse microscopy and dark field photography and used as an evolving dataset that is sent to the AI and audio-visual synthesizers in real-time. Growth patterns, colors and spatial dynamics were analyzed by the AI to determine how well the colonies conform to its internal model of beauty, and the AI model will generate a classification of the colony’s relative “beauty”. The AI will express its analysis of the bacteria via a series of evolving sound and visual patterns. The performers facilitate the exchange between the bacteria and the AI by introducing nutrients or repellants into the cultures.

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Coalesce BioArt Lab and Beauty Project

[Pylum] is currently conducting research at the Coalesce Center for Biological Art at the University at Buffalo. The research collective was awarded a Coalesce Artist Residency and Grant award to work on the Beauty project in the BioArt Lab. During the residency, the artists will develop a new project titled Beauty that includes bacterial culturing, synthetic biology, microscopy and digital imaging, fabrication, and soil remediation. Beauty is a hybrid biological-technological installation featuring a bio-driven artificial intelligence system that remediates a contaminated soil ecology while generating an audio-visual composition in real-time.

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[phylum] is an experimental research collective specializing in cultural production informed by the intersections of science, technology and the arts. Our approach is exemplified by the embracing of aggressive transdisciplinarity and a continuously shifting, heterogeneous structure. We build systems and models that exhibit high degrees of uncertainty and ambiguity, which allows us to explore novel approaches to knowledge generation and experiential inquiry. What we like to call “ontological phase portaits”. Current research is focused on three overlapping areas: (1) building culturally evocative systems that interface intelligent machine environments with non-human organisms in order to investigate models of shared interspecies experiences; (2) addressing issues of collective agency in addressing ecological issues via creative deployments of environmental sensing and emerging bioenergy technologies (3) using unmanned aerial vehicles, field expedtions and mixed reality techniques to explore intersections between art, culture and landscape ecology.