project image
Nurit Bar-Shai

first performed on September 19, 2013
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Art Center, Colorado Springs, CO
performed twice in 2013


Colorado Springs, CO


“Objectivity [tentative]” explores the intersection of art, science and technology. It uses various settings to visualize the “chemical tweets” of microorganisms as exceptionally beautiful and rare image patterns. It is inspired by the research and the work of Professor Eshel Ben Jacob from Tel Aviv University, which explores the complex network and communication systems of a “smart” microorganism bacterium. It specifically relates to his research on the P. vortex bacterium, which is known for its advanced social behavior as reflected in the development of colonies with highly complex architecture structures.

This body of work considers biological systems of self-organization and collective decision making, the immense complexity within seemingly simple structures and the process of achieving dramatically varied results with slight alterations in initial settings.

The Soundscapes series, part of the body of work “Objectivity [tentative],” looks into morphogenesis and the complex social behavior and decision-making of microorganisms using sound waves and a range of frequencies to visualize these complex architecture structures.

“Sound to Shape,” part of the Soundscapes series, is a performance and an installation with live microorganisms, sound and bare-speakers. The research on microorganisms, often confined to a biology lab, is performed live in a gallery space and shared with the public. Biological experiments are conducted within a live sound performance to initiate the artwork. Audio waves are transmitted through the liquid agar-medium as it solidifies, forming sound-generated topographies for the bacterium to grow on.

The installation at the gallery space includes a showcase display table with petri-plates created during the live-performance. Audiences witness the bacteria as it grows during the exhibition and a wall display showcases previously made petri-plates with pure sound tones.

In a live performance setting, BioArtist Nurit Bar-Shai invited composer Ofer Ben-Amots, Professor of Music at Colorado College, to collaborate with musicians and create a site-specific sound-generated topography for bacteria, curated by Jessica Hunter-Larsen.