Biotricity is an art and science research project that uses negotiations with living microorganisms for free electricity. Since 2012 RIXC artists, together with scientists, have experimented with MFCs (microbial fuel cells) – a next generation bio-technology. We make sonifications of bacterial activity in dark gallery spaces, host public DIY workshops on how to build bacteria cells, and install bio-energy 'power-stations' outdoors in ponds. Bacteria, who live in dirty water, waste, soil, inside of our bodies, that is, everywhere where they can 'eat' organic matter and where there is nearly no oxygen, release free electrons. Biotricity interprets this “bacteria fuel” process in video and sound structures, providing an aesthetic perspective on the interaction between nature and technology, biologic systems and electronic networks, biology and computing. Biotricity also makes visible and audible the invisible activity of nature – such as was is happening at the bottom of a pond, and which otherwise we can neither see nor hear. In Riga Botanical Garden we have set up an out-door version – a “Pond Battery”. Since the summer 2014 we are monitoring, measuring, and recording living cycles of bacteria from summer to winter. Currently, we are working on re-transforming the collected data into multi-channel sound structures and 3D visualizations. In parallel, we also have created a new in-door version of the “Biotricity” installation (2014). It consists of a double cell “bacteria battery”, live stereo-sound that sonifies fluctuation of bacteria's generated electricity, and a video – which simultaniosly with the sound creates real-time visualizations of bacteria activity. Thereby, by negotiating with bacteria for free electrons and making audible and visible its electricity generation process, Biotricity is creating sensual and emotional experiences – a poetics of green energy. Biotricity also aims to constitute new 'techno-ecological' paradigm, which may help us to build scenarios for more sustainable, creative and imaginative futures.
Biotricity project, as audiovisual installation in different versions has been exhibited in Latvia (Arsenals exhibition hall exhibition Fields, LU Botanical garden exhibition “Skan II” etc.), and in other countries (Copenhagen Alternative Art Fair Alt_Cph14, Vroclav WRO biennale, Ljubljan festival KIBLIX, Eindhoven Dutch Technology Week, Lincz Ars Electronica centrā etc.).
In different versions of the project artists Voldemars Johansons, Martins Ratniks and Janis Jankevics, as well as scientists Janis Kleperis and Arturs Gruduls from the Institute of Solid State Physics and Faculty of Biology of University of Latvia had worked together with RIXC.
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