Sonic Transformation with Living Matter

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Presentation Title:

  • Sonic Transformation with Living Matter

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Abstract:

  • Sonomatter (2017) is a sound installation and performance that transforms the bioelectrical signals from microorganisms into sound. This work starts with building Winogradsky Columns to make a small ecosystem out of mud and water and generate an electric signal with a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). As time proceeds, the microbes will create electricity and eventually die when they lack nutrients. A custom designed Bioelectricity-Controlled-Oscillator (BCO) circuit converts the bioelectricity to sound at the same time, it consumes the (bioelectrical) energy to control the sound of the oscillator.
    In this work, mud is seen as a matter that implies a circular relationship between life and death because life and death phenomenon happen in the same material. Mud takes in valueless things such as dead bodies and digest it into nutrients to grow living things. A poetics of microbial sphere can be described throughout the interaction between organic matters such as soil and water, and natural phenomenon such as respiration and oxidation in the mud. It describes a symbiotic relationship in a microcosm. The project is thus not only a metaphorical exploration of the interaction between living matters and natural phenomena, but it also explores the domain of energy harvesting as well as sonification.

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