In a world where computer systems have the capacity to learn and resemble living systems, where we can clone our own meat and grow our own clothes, what then differentiates the organic from the artificial and the living from the dead? - Vivian Xu
Vivian Xu refined a technique for dispersing charges through an E. coli growth medium, causing the bacteria to grow in the pattern of electrical waves. A bio-artist from Bejing, she created these beautiful living devices at Genspace’s lab as part of her thesis project at Parson’s Design and Technology MFA program.
In the tradition of scientists and DIYers alike, Vivian provided extensive documentation, giving her project real methodological and theoretical rigor. Cant wait to see where she takes her art/science next.
Devices from Jacques de Vaucanson’s Mechanical Duck, 1739 (image below)—a mechanism that could flap, squawk, even eat and poop like a duck—to modern bio-memetic robots and computer learning algorithms blur the lines between the organic and technological. Xu blurs them one step further.
Bacteria and other organisms like ants are known to have an unexplained affinity for electrical fields. She uses this scientific mystery as a point of departure for her art. Vivian’s results are, to say the least, intricately visually stunning.
Had a blast today at the World Science Festival! Always great to hang out with kids and have fun with science.
First, one of the CUT/PASTE/GROW exhibitions was in full swing doing Maggot Q&A. The participants ask a question, choose a maggot, and see which way fait wriggles.
Genspace also unveiled the prototype of WetPong, the video game you play with live single-celled organisms. Kids loved the concept of controlling real paramecia with a joystick, but liked scoring points with them video game style even more.
Co-founders Oliver and Ellen set up the next round of gaming paramecia.
Genspace is unveiling our new prototype of WetPong, the video game you play using swimming single-celled organisms this Saturday at World Science Festival.
DATE: Saturday, June 1st, 2012
TIME: 12 PM – 8 PM
PLACE: NYU Poly, 6 Metro Tech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Based on the work of Professor Ingmar Reidel-Kruse of Stanford University, a joystick is used to control positive and negative charge within a chamber. Paramecia are attracted to negative electrodes, so the gamer can make them stampede across the screen, wiping out evildoers in their path! Fairgoers will be able to try out the game themselves this Saturday.
On the morning of Saturday May 4 2013, Genspace members and volunteers set their workshop tables up on space 29 under “MirrorMirror”, Ideas City’s tent contest winner project designed by Davidson Rafailidis. The New Museum’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in front of Genspace’s booth and provided an initial strong interest from Ideas City goers to come in for a hands-on science experiment. Genspace’s area was happily crowded throughout the entire day.
Strawberry DNA extraction workshops held in the morning as well as slime mold and bacterial painting workshops offered in the afternoon were big successes! Kids were thrilled to finish their strawberry DNA extraction workshop with their own hand-made strawberry DNA-filled necklace lockets. Participants also got to bring back home their custom slime mold decorated petri plates as well as a Genspace bacteria painting card with a draft of their design. Each completed activity participant received a colourful sticker badge corresponding to their workshop.
Jon Cluck, a Genspace volunteer, was stationed at a microscopy table workshop were participants could peruse objects and details through one of the two available stereo (dissecting) microscope lenses. A third table proposed Genspace co-founder and scientific director Oliver Medvedik’s vision of a “Museum of the near future” where participants could find several actual and hypothetical projects developed with current and future bioengineering and synthetic biology methods. Genspace co-founder and president, Ellen Jorgensen, welcomed participants and explained Genspace’s mission and goals. All participants to the workshops came to and left Genspace’s tables with smiles on their faces. The festive atmosphere provided everyone with a chance to discover much more about science as well as Genspace’s outreach activities, workshops and classes while having great fun.
Special thanks to Genspace members and volunteers who provided the public with a thrilling Ideas City citizen science experience: Nurit Bar-Shai, Ellen Jorgensen, Oliver Medvedik, Andrea Sutton, Jon Cluck, Jean Zhao, Vivian Xu, Sarah Choukah, Keith Comito, Pia Kelsey, Paula Castillo and Luphane Bonhomme.