Iwasaki Lab metaPhorest
Materials: cyanobacteria (Geitlerinema sp., Nostoc sp.Leptolyngbia sp. collected by the artists in Tokyo), plexyglass, liquid culture media, solid culture media, gelrite, glass specimen bottles, LED, PC, video
Size: 600 mm x 600 mm x 3 m
Exhibited at "Utsurobune: Science and Art Marriage", Kawasaki, Japan (Taro Okamoto Museum, 2011-2012), and "The Fourth State of Water: From Micro to Macro" Torun, Poland (Contemporary Art Centre, 2012), also featured at "Waterbodies.org"
This installation is originally a part of "Boundary Garden" (2011-2012).
"Bacteria called cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) started oxygenic photosynthesis by getting energy from water with solar power ~ 3.5 billion years ago, and the earth has become a planet which is rich in molecular oxygen. They are one of the most widely distributed organisms on the earth, such as in the polar regions, oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, soils and deserts. Based on the cellular symbiosis, they are thought to be ancestral to the chloroplasts in higher plants. It is important to know that any carbon source in the body of terrestrial organisms is derived from photosynthetic reactions in cyanobacteria and plants.
When I was a small kid, I have earnestly worried why I could not photosynthesize by myself: "If I can do, I could spend a whole day by simply basking in the sun!" In glass specimen bottles, human-shaped cyanobacteria are growing slowly. Does the pastoral/childish dream of ggreen humansh go to a Utopia, or go to dystopia? Filamentous (multicellular) cyanobacterial species used in this artwork have been isolated and cultured by myself from the neighboring ponds in Japan. They will be living at the interface which is hard to be called artificial or natural, drawing complicated patterns, and die. Instead of solar light, they will photosynthesize with illumination from projected movies of the semi-artificial/natural cyanobacterial colony pattern formations under the microscope. Such patterns are not familiar even to biologists, but absolutely they are our close neighbors in our daily life.
The "life" concept on a daily basis is inseparable from the subjective recognition, and the view of life and words talking on it are always based on ambiguity. Scientific activities can also be positioned in a social context and historical culture. The expansion of science and technology are changing them, while the longing for life and human desires concerning life are likely to be stronger. Hence, a drop of water from a small pond containing a lot of microorganisms can be a platform to reconsider the multifaceted relationship among life, art and science."
(C) Hideo Iwasaki