Microscopic Opera

Les micro-organismes peuvent-ils aussi être des artistes? Comment notre relation à ces créatures change-t-elle, après qu’elles sont vues dans un contexte artistique et théâtral? À la recherche d’un micro-organisme qui aurait les qualités d’un interprète, j’ai été présenté à C. elegans; un petit ver, de moins d’un millimètre de longueur, qui se déplaçait aussi élégant que son nom l’indique et la première créature à avoir séquencé tout son génome. J’ai été intrigué lorsqu’un chercheur m’a dit que, pour distinguer les vers au microscope, il utilisait différentes mutations qui modifiaient la façon dont ils se déplaçaient. Certains se déplacent en spirale, d’autres ont roulé ou ont des contractions et certains sont devenus morbides obèses à cause de leurs mutations. Dans mon installation, j’ai cinq boîtes de Pétri remplies de cinq vers mutés différents, chacun se déplaçant légèrement différemment. Ces cinq groupes d’interprètes sont filmés avec un microscope USB diffusé en direct sur les cinq écrans. J’ai écrit un logiciel spécial qui suit les vers et traduit leurs mouvements en sons, faisant d’eux les interprètes non avertis de la musique dans le monde macroscopique au-dessus de leurs têtes. Alors que les chercheurs sont presque comme des dieux pour ces vers impuissants, les contrôlant de leur première à leur dernière division cellulaire , j’espérais donner aux vers le pouvoir de nous affecter également dans notre monde.

Patricia Olynyk

Oculus is a large-scale, collaborative light sculpture that depicts a colossal abstracted drosophila eye, replete with compound faceted surfaces. It both recalls the circular opening at the apex of a cupola and alludes to a surveillance device or drone hovering in mid-air. Oculus is inspired in part by a series of scanning electron micrographs produced in a transgenic lab while researching human and non-human sensoria. The work evokes affective encounters with scale such as viewing miniature particles through the lens of a microscope or wandering through monumental physical environments. As each viewer’s reflection plays across the sculpture’s undulating surface, the apprehension of the self affects both individual and collective behavior in unexpected ways. This affective dynamic plays on the precariousness of our coexistence with other lifeforms in the world, one that is always contingent upon viewers’ bodies and the variability of the environment around them. The act of gazing at Oculus also puts into play the reciprocal condition of both seeing and being seen.

Shaun Hu

Internet of Everything: All Connections
‘Internet of Everything: All Connections’ is a piece of work that connects human, animals, plants, bacteria, environment, compound and equipment using the Internet. It consists of seven parts. One part affects the other by sequence. It doesn’t have a starting point or an ending point in this connection – because they are an interlocking loop structure. The weak bio-electricity of the human body is passed to the bacteria, Proteus. The bacteria starts to vibrate due to the electrical stimulation. Its motion is captured by the microscope and input to Max in real time. Data arising from the change in value in the bacteria movement controls the next part.

iris van herpen

sensory seas
runway LOOK 08

“The first threads of inspiration came from the Spanish neuroanatomist Ramón y Cajal. He wanted to uncover something that no one had yet understood.
Sensory seas’ holds a microscope over the indelible nuances between the anthropology of a marine organism, to the role of dendrites and synapses delivering infinite signals throughout our bodies. It enchants the attention of how two processes of torrential messaging exist in an uninterrupted state of flux. The collection consists 21 silhouettes that illustrate a portrait of liquid labyrinths, where dresses spill onto the floor in elegant train and pigments gather in cloudedpools of blues and lilac, leaking into one another like marble.” Joanna Klein

Igor Siwanowicz

insect microscope
The scientist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, has been using laser-scanning microscopes to capture the incredible details of the insect world unseen to our naked eyes. Not only that, he also colors the pictures to show the tree-like structures that turn the pictures into these vibrant blueprints of life.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal

purkinje neuron from the human cerebellum
Ramón y Cajal’s theory described how information flowed through the brain. Neurons were individual units that talked to one another directionally, sending information from long appendages called axons to branchlike dendrites, over the gaps between them.
He couldn’t see these gaps in his microscope, but he called them synapses, and said that if we think, learn and form memories in the brain then that itty-bitty space was most likely the location where we do it. This challenged the belief at the time that information diffused in all directions over a meshwork of neurons.


Intromitent organs of Tasmanian harvestman models after electronic microscope scans