Inspired by how SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is used to ferment kombucha, MIT and Imperial College London researchers have produced several proof of concept living materials. Drawing on the flexibility of lab-grown yeast, Timothy Lu (MIT) and Tom Ellis (Imperial College) have produced microbe cultures that detect environmental pollutants, and glow in the dark when exposed to certain hues of light. “We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” says Lu.
With “Alchemical,” New York’s bitforms gallery opens a collaborative exhibition by artist Casey Reas and composer Jan St. Werner (of Mouse on Mars fame) that explores machine learning techniques as image-making instruments. Mobilizing generative adversarial networks (GAN) trained on feature films, Reas produced Untitled Film Stills, a haunting series of prints, alongside five experimental films, part of Compressed Cinema, for which Werner composed “sentient” electroacoustic sounds.
Digital artist and ASCII aficionado Andreas Gysin (of Gysin & Vanetti fame) releases a browser-based live-coding “playground” that allows you to render stunning imagery with text. A self-professed exercise in extreme reduction, the tool comes with ~40 examples and demos, a live-code editor, a manual, and many text- and ASCII-art related resources. “It is born from the joy and pleasure ASCII and text-based art can give,” writes Gysin. “It is a homage to all the artists, poets and designers which used and use text as their medium.”
Sophie Haigney profiles interactive experience wunderkinds teamLab, with a particular focus on the ascendent studio’s scale, organization, and business model. As per other recent analysis equating swarming crowds, long queues, and ticket sales (strike that: ticketed experiences!) with the democratization of the museum/art world, the burgeoning collective catalyze timely conversations about life after the auteur and the rarified viewer, and the fine line between immersion and spectacle.