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The Phytoplankton Confessional

The Phytoplankton Confessional is an ongoing project dedicated to collaboration with an organism that can’t tell you if it wants to collaborate with you.  In this particular collaborative investigation the organism we are attempting collaboration with is bioluminescent phytoplankton.  Early versions of the project included interacting with the organisms via a Cymatics based system, creating standing waves in the liquid, causing the organisms to bioluminesce based on the words and tones amplified through the water.  This system proved to be one sided and two much of a Pavlov’s dog experiment with nothing given to the phytoplankton in return for their participation. The 2nd iteration works by percolating air bubbles through the system, simultaneously oxygenating the water which is an essential element for the phytoplankton thrive, while also giving the human collaborator an opportunity to speak to phytoplankton while receiving a bioluminescent response in return.

Our second phytoplankton confessional from the “Living in the Anthropocene conference” and from the Last Festival at Zero 1 in San Jose, in a new collaboration with Musician and Artist David Kant.

These are some early photos of my portable phytoplankton bio lab where I have been growing my 3 species of phytoplankton for the past two years.  I also have a secondary culture that grows under natural light.

New prototypes for future phytoplankton systems enabling interactions between humans and phytoplankton via a combined oxygen / CO2 emitting systems and coming soon, a new integration with biometric sensors:

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