- Ivan Henriques
- Medium / Material / Technic
- Plexiglas, Gummi, Metall, Motoren, Algen (Chlorella vulgaris), Kaliumpermanganat, Kohlenstoffnetz, Kunststoff, 12V-Batterie, Kabel
»Bacterbrain« is a portmanteau of the words »bacterium« and »brain«, hinting at the combination of two very distinct biological entities. The installation consists of three batteries running on »Rhodobacter spheroides« bacteria, a structure made of six lengths of tube and steel cables, and electrical wiring. The tubes and steel cables form a tensegrity structure, a kinetic system in which the individual elements stabilize each other via the tension of the cables connecting them. Within each tube is a weight mounted on a threaded rod, enabling the installation to shift its center of gravity, until it eventually reaches a tipping point. The balance of the tensegrity structure changes based on electrical variations in the metabolism of the three batteries, which together act as a fuel cell. Viewers get to watch a mysterious micro-choreography play out with extreme slowness.
Ivan Henriques's project was created in the context of environmental robotics research and touches upon questions about the automation of robotic structures. A basic model was created for scientific use, allowing researchers to study fundamentals for future symbioses between microorganisms and technological applications. A corresponding paradigm shift in robotics is aimed at finding new ways of connecting and controlling kinetic structures. Henriques’s broad and almost utopian premise was the question, how would a robotic structure with a “brain” controlled by bacteria behave?