Protista Imperialis is an interactive bio-sculpture that uses an elaborate technological apparatus to maintain or destroy itself depending on the interface between the viewer and the art. The work uses algae to represent the natural world, and the technological apparatus to signify the techno-sphere that mediates our societal relationship to the environment.
The piece offers the viewer a moral conundrum. By maintaining close proximity to the work and an active engagement of it, the viewer is able to sustain the life of the bio-sculpture. Once the viewer disengages from the piece, the apparatus reverts to a state in which the sculpture decays. This is achieved by utilizing motion-sensing technology that outputs a signal that is translated into high frequency tone when the viewers display apathy through non-movement or becomes removed from the viewing area. This high frequency tone has been shown to mitigate algae growth on a molecular level.
Protista Imperialis is designed to invert the seemingly prevalent belief that our societal relationship to the environment is being negatively impacted through mediation by the techno-sphere. The piece is intended to provide a contemplative space in which the viewer has the ability to sustain, or suspend the ability of the bio-sculpture to grow. In essence I aimed to produce a piece that would generate itself with active engagement of the viewer, or conversely be destroyed by apathetic interaction.
Text and Image via Byron Rich