“Cyanovisions:The Transmutation of Light Harvesting Bodies” by Tiare Ribeaux, Jody Stillwater

  • ©, Tiare Ribeaux and Jody Stillwater, Cyanovisions:The Transmutation of Light Harvesting Bodies
  • ©, Tiare Ribeaux and Jody Stillwater, Cyanovisions:The Transmutation of Light Harvesting Bodies


    Cyanovisions:The Transmutation of Light Harvesting Bodies

Artist(s) and People Involved:




    Single-Channel Video and Installation, 3D print, air pumps, cyanobacteria cultures, glass, silicone tubing, speakers


    dimensions variable

Artist Statement:

    Cyanovisions: The Transmutation of Light Harvesting Bodies focuses on cyanobacteria, the first light-harvesting organisms on the planet to photosynthesize. Humans generate the pollutants that cause aggregations of toxic cyanobacteria blooms, yet we also create new life forms through synthetic biology, genetic engineering, and artificial life. What would the future look like if humans and cyanobacteria merged membranes, genes, and metabolisms?
    Inspired by the recent experiments in CRISPR gene editing technologies, Cyanovisions posits potentials for biological hybridity and scientific spiritualities with microbial species that recognize the inextricable relationship of humans to those of other organisms. Though the trajectory for millennia has distanced the human body and consciousness from the chemical processes and organisms that it is composed of, it is eternally linked to forces, processes, and organisms.
    Cyanovisions offers potentialities of symbiotically living with both other species and our technologies as extensions of nature. Cyanobacteria are one of the most ancient life forms; they were responsible for first creating oxygen on our planet as the first light-harvesting organisms. Through endosymbiosis they became the chloroplasts that plants use to process sunlight into energy today.
    Cyanovisions imagines a future where the light harvesting pigment phycocyanin is engineered into human bodies not only to surpass their limitations but to protect against the toxic conditions that we have induced on the planet. Portrayed in the short film are landscapes of algal blooms and the inner workings of a DIY Biology Lab. Science fact becomes science fiction as lab technicians move from routine experiments into an embodied ritual as part of a speculative experiment. As a cine-poem, this piece meditates on different states of bacteria and water, the transformation of light, and the embodiment of this transmutation. Photobioreactor systems growing cyanobacteria cultures are incorporated into the installation, along with speculative future prostheses of the human body.


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