Strömungen: Ricardo Climent

Symposium on artistic sonification

Symposium on artistic sonification
02.12.2016 to 04.12.2016

»"Oxidising the Spectrum" - a Microbial Fuel Cell Musical System«

»Oxidising the spectrum« (Belfast, 2004) is a life-form music generator exploring the possibilities of microbial electrochemistry in the compositional environment. It is a collaborative work between Ricardo Climent (music composition) and Quan Gan (chemical engineer). An »ensemble« of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) can be built with relatively unsophisticated equipment and is capable of generating complex low-voltage patterns. As the microorganisms oxidise the fuel (a carbohydrate), they start a process of voltage charge and discharge, which was the basis for constructing a musical system based on its output data. However, rather than straight-mapping into sound the cycle of life of these cultures, the creative process explored ways of destabilising the living conditions of the cells, in order to reverse-engineer their cycles and the patterns, in search for musical expression. The performer of the microbial ensemble is restricted to the manipulation of the biological and chemical system (as »the instrument«) and cannot operate the computer, which is receiving and mapping the MFC data into musical parameters. The Microbial ensemble are: Jathinobacterium Libidum, Picchia Anomala, Saccharomyces Diastaticus, a mix with other four Yeast and Proteus Vulgaris.

Video Documentary:

ZKM | Institute for Visual Media

Camera: Sophia Kessel
Editing: Frenz Jordt
Live Editing: Christina Zartmann