Biomimetic electronics

What is it like to be a cell? To play with a colony?


Here I am here I am (synthetic community #1) is a biosynthetic colony of electric ‘organisms’ which communicate and evolve. Inspired by communication networks from mycorrhizae through termite signalling to the internet. It uses biomorphic circuit boards connected through pulsed electrical signals to show an emergent collective activity that follows a circadian rhythm over the course of the day.

Because the communication in the work is decentralised and nondeterministic, each link in a communication chain has agency and can alter the information being passed along in order to suit its own ends. In this the work draws parallels with our imperfect human communication systems resulting in rumours, “fake news” and political echo chambers.

This work was created during a Artist in Residency at Wageningen University (NL), with scientific input from researchers Vítor Martins dos Santos (Synthetic Biology), Diana Machado de Sousa (Microbiology) and Sabine Vreeburg (Plant Sciences Group).

First public exhibition: 25–29 September 2018, Forum Building, Wageningen Campus.

This project uses the open-source networking strategy PJON; the flexibility provided by PJON was a lifesaver at various points throughout the project’s development period.

Thanks for valuable help, support, assistance, introductions and advice to Jessica Duncan, Robbert Kamphuis, Hans Meijer, Patrick Keys, Giovanni Blu Mitolo, Mark Clintberg, Laura Kriefman, Verity McIntosh, Pépé Marang, and as always, Emma Hooper.

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