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Anna Dumitriu (UK) & Alex May (UK) ArchaeaBot: A Post Singularity and Post Climate Change Life-form

Robotic installation, 2018

ArchaeaBot takes the form of an underwater robotic installation that explores what “life” might mean in a post singularity, post climate change future. The project is based on the latest research about archaea, ancient micro-organisms that are now considered to be one of the three domains of life. Archaea are believed to be the oldest life-forms on Earth and originally evolved near hot deep sea vents when the Earth was still in the process of cooling down. Some species are highly acid tolerant, feed on methane, or can live without oxygen. They will be ideally suited to the hot, acid rain polluted future that humans are in the process of creating.

Archaea are simple creatures that have little control over the tails that help them swim and feed. But this biomimetic ArchaeaBot has an artificially intelligent neural network and uses machine learning to collect data and evolve. Perhaps in the future it will be the perfect host for techno-positivist human minds to upload their consciousness to and live on, embodied, inside the “ultimate” species for the end of the world as we know it.

New research is revealing the mechanisms by which ancient archaea called Sulfolobus acidocaldarius can move around to seek “food” using tails known as archaella. The archaella use cogwheel-like ‘motors’ to swim about. Collaborator cryo-microscopist Amanda Wilson is studying the structure of these archaella to make tiny drills made of DNA which might be used to drill into cells to cure diseases, but the robotic archaella are made through 3D printing.The work is made in collaboration with Amanda Wilson as part of the EU FET Open H2020 funded MARA project based in the Beeby Lab at Imperial College London, and with Professor Daniel Polani from the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

ArchaeBot was realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (Gjión, Spain) with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Unionand with generous support from Arts Council England.

Anna Dumitriu (UK) & Alex May (UK)

Anna Dumitriu is a British artist who works with BioArt, sculpture, installation, and digital media to explore our relationship to infectious diseases, synthetic biology and robotics. She has an extensive international exhibition profile including ZKM, Ars Electronica Festival, BOZAR, The 6th Guangzhou Triennial, The Picasso Museum, Philadelphia Science Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, LABoral, Art Laboratory Berlin, The History of Science Museum Oxford, Furtherfield London and HeK Basel. She was the 2018 President of the Science and the Arts Section of the British Science Association. Her work is held in public collections including the Science Museum London and Eden Project. She is Artist in Residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at The University of Oxford and with the National Collection of Type Cultures at Public Health England.

Contact: www.annadumitriu.co.uk

Alex May is a British artist creating digital technologies to challenge and augment physical and emotional human boundaries on a personal and societal level in a hyper-connected, software mediated, politically and environmentally unstable world. Alex has exhibited internationally including at the Francis Crick Institute, Eden Project, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica, LABoral, the Museum of Contemporary Art Caracas, the Science Gallery Dublin, University of Calgary (international visiting artist 2016), Texas A&M University, and the Beall Center for Art + Technology. He is a Visiting Research Fellow: Artist in Residence with the School of Computer Science of University of Hertfordshire.

Contact: www.alexmayarts.co.uk