This kind of (art)work demands new conditions that are not the same to those in research science and not what we are used to in art. Hybrid processes require hybrid tools and in order to completely control the working process and fulfil the demand for a high quality microscopic visual material, we need to develop a special kind of incubator. Incubators are standard equipment when working with cells, but in
Zoran Srdic is an intermedia artist using new materials and technologies to create his pieces. He is currently working on Biobot a robot with functioning biological muscle which moves the robot’s body. Through this artwork, he is raising ontological and ethical questions about the status of those new forms using living materials and our attitude toward them. This kind of artwork requires new physical conditions, which are neither the one used for research science nor the one used in art. Hybrid processes require hybrid tools. In order to completely control the working process and fulfil the demand for a high quality microscopic visual material, the artist realised that a special kind of incubator was lacking. This is why he partnered with Kambic, a company which develops diverse equipment for medical and research purposes. The company also produces custom advanced technical equipment for specific needs.
Together the artist and the Tech Project developed a new kind of incubator with integrated microscopes and microscopic camera for enhanced visual material. Thanks to this incubator the Biobot can be exhibited in artistic venues. More than an exhibition piece, this incubator was essential for the research and the creation of the Biobot as it maintains its optimal living conditions.
Interview with Zoran Srdic at CENTQUATRE-Paris, during the STARTS Residencies Days 2020
The innovation impacts of this residency touch both the equipment and the biobot itself. On the one hand, the research and experimentations that the team conducted in order to create this robot with functioning biological muscle is unprecedented. The team is still struggling to grow muscle cells and create the moving mechanisms but they are moving forward in this direction. On the other hand, the incubator developed for the Biobot (the purpose of this residency) is state of the art. Thanks to the great collaboration between the artist and Kambic, based on mutual attention, they achieved to build this incubator with specific features to allow the Biobot researches to be conducted. What is really interesting is that this incubator is used by Zoran Srdic to exhibit the Biobot but there are already other bio artists that are interested in this device. Now that the incubator is created, the tech company is trying to see if they can develop a similar product to put on the market for other uses than art, to propose to their general customers (medical, biology and research labs). Thanks to its distinct sections, cameras and glass ceiling, many labs are interested in this incubator. The next step now is to define the features that are interesting for customers and create a generic incubator, gathering those features and then put it on the market. An important amount of work remains to be done but the whole team is willing to make the most out of the residency results. A few weeks after the end of the residency, the Producer and the Tech Project applied together to a Slovenian grant supporting products to be released on the market.