“Objectivity [Tentative]: Soundscape” by Nurit Bar-Shai

  • ©2012, Nurit Bar-Shai, Objectivity [Tentative]: Soundscape
  • ©2012, Nurit Bar-Shai, Objectivity [Tentative]: Soundscape
  • ©2012, Nurit Bar-Shai, Objectivity [Tentative]: Soundscape


    Objectivity [Tentative]: Soundscape

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Creation Year:



    Installation with petri-plates and lifeless microorganism

Artist Statement:

    The Soundscapes series is part of Bar-Shai’s body of work Objectivity [tentative], a series of experiments and interventions that explores the intersection of Art, Science and Technology. Bar-Shai applies traditional lab techniques as used by scientists and artistic inquiries to visualize the “chemical tweets” of microorganisms as exceptionally beautiful and rare image patterns, while drawing a link between microbial morphogenesis and designed ecosystems. Taking inspiration from the work and research of Prof. Eshel Ben Jacob who studied “The Social Life of Bacteria”, this body of work explores the complex network and communication systems of “smart” microorganism known for its advanced social behavior, reflected in development of colonies with highly complex architecture structures. It looks into biological systems of selforganization and collective decision making, the immense complexity within seemingly simple structures, creativity and problem solving among billions of microorganisms and the process of achieving dramatically varied results with slight alterations in initial settings.

    In addition to the advanced social and morphological abilities, as well as the patterns and unique structures that these microbial colonies create, what fascinates Bar-Shai is that eventually, the outcome we witness here is a visual representation of a communication system. Microbial conversation that generates an image. An ever changing, developing, evolving image. A language? A map for communication? A story? A poem? The “Soundscapes” series, on display at ISEA2016HK, part of the body of work Objectivity [tentative], looks into morphogenesis, complex social behavior and decision making of micro-organisms, using pure sound waves and a range of frequencies as a variable replacing traditional scientific factors (such as temperature, moisture, nutrients and antibiotics), to initiate the growth of complex compositional structures among bacteria colonies. The Soundscapes installation on display here, consist of petri plates with lifeless microorganisms. These living maps of bacteria social and communication systems are created using scientific technique and creative experimental practices. Audio waves are transmitted through liquid agar, a bacterium growth medium, as it solidifies, forming sound-generated topographies for the bacterium to grow on. Each outcome is unique and directly conditioned to the initial settings introduced to the bacteria – a collaboration between the microorganism and the artist.

Technical Information:

    Generated using pure sound tones and a range of frequencies.



All Works by the Artist(s) in This Archive: