Hideo Iwasaki

Hideo Iwasaki works in the fields of both biological science and contemporary art. He obtained his Ph.D. in biology from Nagoya University (1999) and is currently working at Waseda University (since 2005) and is a presto researcher of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (since 2007). As a biologist, he has studied spatiotemporal pattern formation dynamics in cyanobacteria, including molecular genetics of biological clocks, reconstitution of in vitro circadian biochemical oscillations, quantitative analysis of spatial patterning with cell differentiation, and population dynamics of colony pattern formations. As an artist, he has produced contemporary abstract paper cut art to be exhibited as three-dimensional installations and worked on lab biomedia art, especially using cyanobacteria. At his lab, both fine/media artists and scientists share the benches for biology and art simultaneously. His artworks have been exhibited at Havana Biennial, sicf, Holland Paper Biennial, and Artist-in-Residence in Linz. He is co-founder of the Japanese Society for Cell Synthesis Research and the head of the Socio-Cultural Unit.

Oron Catts

Oron Catts is currently setting up a biological art lab called BiofiliA—Base for Biological art and design—at the School of Art, Design, and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, where he is a visiting professor. He is also the founder and director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, and a visiting professor of design interactions, Royal College of Art, London. Oron is an artist, researcher, and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture & Art Project, which he established in 1996, is considered a leading biological art project. In 2000, he founded SymbioticA, which, under Oron’s leadership, won the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009, Oron was recognized by Thames & Hudson’s 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future book in the category “Beyond Design” and by Icon Magazine (U.K.) as one of the top 20 designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work.” Catts’s interest is life, more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and its application. Often working in collaboration with other artists (mainly Ionat Zurr) and scientists, Catts has developed a body of work that speaks volumes about the need for new cultural articulation of evolving concepts of life. Oron was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and a visiting scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University.
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The Biogenic Timestamp

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.

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"Biogenic Timestamp" at Ars Electronica, Austria and Japan

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.

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Measuring and manipulating circadian rhythm in cyanobacteria

 

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