Bacteria can do a whole lot of things. Two London-based artists have taken advantage of the fact that some types can be rotated in ways that cause light to scatter, creating a visible shimmer inside liquid, to bring a novel imaging technique to life.
Laura Cinti and Howard Boland combined magnetotactic bacteria, which can orient itself along Earth's magnetic fields, with electronics and photo manipulation to create real-time liquid images. They call their interactive installation "Living Mirror," as the manipulated cells form a "living mirror" within liquid that essentially mimics images captured of people.
"Multiple pulsating waves of bacteria can be made to form a pixelated but recognizable image using tiny electromagnetic coils that shift magnetic fields across surface areas," explain Cinti and Boland of the art-science collective C-Lab. "By taking pixel values from darker and lighter areas in captured images, 'Living Mirror' attempts to programmatically harmonize hundreds of light pulses to re-represent the image inside a liquid culture."
The resulting image might not work for a passport photo, but it does represent a rather unusual blend of art and science.
December 5, 2013 9:45 AM PST
Photo by: Living Mirror (2013), C-Lab UK
| Caption by: Leslie Katz
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