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Experimental Art with living ink

Ars Electronica Futurelab's Bio Ink research combines cutting-edge digital technologies with biotechnology to explore nature, life on the planet and the microcosm of this world.

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“Our research at the border between art and science helps us to realize that we do not exist in isolation from nature, but in an ecosystem with countless forms of life.”

Yoko Shimizu, Artist and Researcher, Ars Electronica Futurelab

Using a digital pen and Bio Ink, a fluid containing living microorganisms, messages are carefully and gently drawn on the surface of a soft nutrient aggregate in a Petri dish. A highly sensitive Wacom tablet makes the signs visible to the naked eye and can store them digitally. Everything else is handled by biological processes from the realm of nature. The living microorganisms expand the human-created messages into an amazing performance of nature.
Co-creating art together with these microscopic living organisms has an impact on how we perceive the world and our awareness of what it means to be alive. Observing these colonies of microorganisms slowly growing in the Petri dish makes us think about how we humans use the limited resources on earth.

Learn more about the Ars Electronica Futurelab‘s Bio Ink research, its experiments with living microorganisms, and Future Ink, a collaborative project at the boundary between art and science.