In MMMM…, we, the public, are invited to join in
the process of sonic performance for cells in culture. Please engage your
living unfamiliar relatives. Here is your chance to massage various living
tissues or organisms without getting your hands dirty. We, as fleshy flasks
of living culture, are also invited to become part of the experiment by
vocally vibrating each other’s rear ends at the same time.
Two ButtVibe lounge recliners are placed facing each other on opposite
sides of a room. The chairs massage according to sound output miked from
the vocalizations of the person in the opposite chair. This can include
voice and instruments/noisemakers. The same signals are sent to neighboring
vibrating plate speakers applied to various lifeforms. The organisms will
bounce, splash, stretch, bear down and/or jump to attention in response
to the audio source. Please Feel Free to Sit Down and Talk to the Living
Video of reclining volunteers and their life-world mirrors dancing on
biopolymers is projected above and behind the volunteers. This functions
as a closed circuit and very local vibro-videophone for talking to various
kinds of strangers. We have here a real time, multimedia, multi-species
erotic continuum of sonic jostling. We also have the ability to record
a certifiable non-repeatable effect through bioassay of public play. Please
record any data you might have amassed during your research in the communal
lab books provided.
Public Knowledge Purpose:
My personal favorite artistic offering to public experience
is the reinsertion of fun for fun’s sake into the social. I know
that sounds simple and naïve. It is. Vibrating chairs are titillating.
The idea of helping strangers in public liven each other’s bodily
experience shamelessly in a temporary suspension of moral standards is
my call to duty. It’s something to do while waiting for the AIDS
vaccine. At the same time, the conjoining of the microcosm and the human
body, so often forgotten in the workaday world, is emphasized. Simple
assays could show alterity of cells due to vibration, which can be an
effective comparative aid in analyzing human facial response patterns
to mechanical tickling and vibro-erotism in general. This sensual experience
could abstract our importance as self-centered entities by focusing on
bounce as a form of transient existence. In other words this is art and
tech lite, public hedonism and unashamedly so. Sit Down and Extrapolate!
Philosophy of Science Purpose:
If our research into the effects of sonic spectrum vibrations are progressing
so neatly, why then is the next stage of this project an interactive public
event? MMMM… is an artistic experiment. No hard data is expected
to arise. This in no way limits potential insights into the natural world
that might stem from MMMM... Most artistic products, if shaken well, exude
scientific data as a by-product. Unfortunately, there are often strong
and contentious reactions to cross-disciplinary activities. It is almost
as if breadth itself were a kind of blight on the stability of taxonomy.
If labels and classifications are more than mythic, faith based logics
of the day, then they shouldn’t have such a phobic reaction the
birth of hybrid concepts and complex admixtures. With a little grant money,
this too can be reduced to its fundaments. Tame All Anomalies!
I am a rather insular little maniac. I know how important
it is that interactivity be interactive and not some uni-dimensional point/click
act of avoidance. Dialogical artworks are important diffusers of the unsporting
voyeurism of which both scientific objectivity and artistic appreciation
are prone to. This bodily bi-directional communication is both remote
and deeply interpersonal. It should remind us of our corporeal fleshiness
and, by proxy, our relation to all the squiggly things that squiggle upon
the earth. As a libertine in the days of deadly STDs, this is perhaps
a reflection of the traumas of libidinal economizing for personal survival.
The vibratory arts are highly underrated due to fears of lost productivity.
Seeding Musical Bioreactor
Between 1999-2001, Adam Zaretsky was exploring the effects of music on
bacterial fermentation as an Artist and Research Affiliate in Arnold Demain’s
Laboratory for Microbiology and Industrial Fermentation at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. During that time, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr were
also in Boston. They were in the process of growing their Pig Wings as
as Research Fellows in Dr. Vacanti’s Tissue Engineering and Organ
Fabrication Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Harvard
Medical School. That we were in the same town living with similar day
to day tactics was pure happenstance. As some of the few artists who use
biological laboratories as their studios, we decided to collaborate by
playing Pig Music to Pig Wings.
To this end, we downloaded all the pig related MP3s from the soon to be
illegal Napster. By typing in PIG as the keyword, our search revealed
a cross section of the etymological nuance symbolically connected to this
family of animal. A few examples: War Pigs by Black Sabbath, Fascist Pig
by Suicidal Tendencies, Da Killing of Da Pigs by Da Yoopers, Chokin this
Pig by Eminem, Squeal Like a Pig by The Reverend Horton Heat, Filth Pig
by Ministry, American Pigs by The Angry Samoans, British Pigs- The Price
of Royalty by One Life Choir, PigInCheez By Aphex Twin, Blue Christmas
by Porky Pig and of course, Pigs on the Wing by Pink Floyd.
Once a week, over the next three weeks, we played Pig Music to Pig Wings
at Mass General Hospital. This allowed us time during the week to relax
and listen to music with the steadily differentiating bone precursor cells.
We started with what we referred to as a Dynamic Seeding Musical Bioreactor.
Getting cells deep into constructs is common quest for many in the tissue
engineering field. The constructs are very porous and it was hypothesized
that the irregular vibrations of the music might assist in the distribution
and physical embedding of the cells into the construct. The Vibro Transducers,
generously donated by Acouve Laboratories, were intalled in a 37 degree
Celsius incubator. The Synthecon Bioreactor vessels were then stuck to
these vibrating plate speakers. Inside the vessels were the wing shaped
polymer constructs (about 4mm thick) and a rich sample of Mesenchenal
stem cells (each cell ~ 15 thousandths of a millimeter in diameter.) Pirate
MP3s were played. Scientists, artists and stem cells took moments of repose
Alteration of Sculptural Morphology was noticed early on as the wing shaped
biopolymers curled up like fried corn chips after the first few songs.
Not surprisingly, the wings visibly 'danced' to the music both during
the early seeding of the biopolymers and on their following weekly exercise
regiments. Bouncing and twisting, stretching and jumping, the Pig Wings
took flight. After the incubation period had finished, some of the Musically
Entertained Pig Wings were sent to histology to be compared to the Pig
Wings whom had been Musically Deprived. Considerable differences in cells
count, tissue morphology and distribution throughout the construct were
ascertained. Although our application of music to growing tissue cultures
was informal and non-repeatable, our observations and the results of the
histological comparison lead us to postulate that Pig Music may have a
curious effect when applied to Pig Tissue in Vitro.
By Kylie M Sandy
In the pig wings project, mesenchymal cells (bone marrow cells) from pigs
are grown over bioabsorbable poylmers. The scientific aspect of the project
is engaging an artisitic medium, to investigate both the movement of bone
cells within the 3D scaffold of the polymer, and the occurrence of calcification
within the polymer. Future research should include quantitative and qualitative
accounts of the amount of calcification in the polymers, when they are
subjected to sound waves. Findings have a potential application to orthopaedic
science and tissue engineering.