As an artist, I am fascinated by new inventions in the history of science and technology – those really unexpected and original ideas that have allowed some huge leaps in thinking and opened up new areas of progress that no one imagined. For example, the shift from mechanical to a paradigm of electricity. As today we think of it as nothing special, but it lead to previously unimaginable autonomous systems such as computer today.
In my opinion, there is such new paradigm developing at the moment in the field of motion and the transmission of energy, while living cells and tissues are becoming a part of machines and robots: the so-called biobots. The Center for Industrial Research at the University of Tokyo has already made a tiny muscle that moves a simple mechanism. Various biobots are usually put inside a glass container, filled with fluid that contains food for the cells. I want to construct a biobot that will carry the muscle on its construction outside water, that is, a muscle as a part of its own body.
Many scientists and experts are helping and advising on the Biobot project, but we also need the help of laboratories and some specialized equipment to develop muscle tissue. At Kambič we always got help when we needed an incubator for the cells, but now we know that practically all art projects with live material under a microscope would need a camera that would record what is happening inside the incubator. We want to develop an incubator for artistic purposes, which I believe also scientists could use and it would change the ways of working with cells.
Artistic concept, construction of the mechanism and development: Zoran Srdić Janežič | Programming: Matic Potočnik | Biosensing electronics: Erik Krkač | Electronics, PCB design: Gregor Krpič | Neural engineering: BioTehna Lab / Kristijan Tkalec | Curatorial guidance: Jurij Krpan | Engineering of the incubator: Kambić, lab equipment | Producer: Jana Putrle Srdić | Text: Jana Putrle Srdić | Producer: STARTS Vertigo | Coproducers: Kapelica Gallery, BioTehna Lab / Kersnikova Institute
Exhibition of Biobot Insider was in exhibition space Centre 104 in Paris as a part of the presentation of STARTS residences, February 2020