A unique art and science project using beehives and compost as incubators to grow cells is exploring our relationship with nature and other life forms.
It is the creation of the team from the University of Western Australia’s SymbioticA research centre, an artist’s laboratory based in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology.
They use technology available in a biological laboratory to highlight how living materials and the environment are engineered or manipulated for human purposes.
In this case they are also turning that concept on its head.
Bacteria inside the “Compostcubator” generate heat and carbon dioxide which allow the cells to grow.
The “Hivecubator”, allows the bees to create a similar warm atmosphere that can be used for the cultivation of bee cells, mice cells and potentially even human cells.
SymbioticA researcher and academic coordinator Ionat Zurr said the incubators had been made with scientific guidance but were primarily works of art.
“We are making incubators from living organisms and from living systems. We are creating a surrogate body, an alternate surrogate body to grow cells,” Dr Zurr said.
“We’re actually looking at those materials and instead of making medicine or making other tools et cetera, we are making cultural projects and cultural expressions, art works to take into the public and tell the public let’s talk about it, let’s demystify the technology, and let’s talk about where we want to take this technology to the future.”
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