Floating fish roam around Philippe Pareno's "Anywhen," an exhibition controlled by a colony of bacteria.

Floating fish roam around Philippe Pareno's "Anywhen," an exhibition controlled by a colony of bacteria.

Image credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images

An artwork controlled by a colony of bacteria

582 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save
    Image credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images

    Sponsored Links

    The Tate Modern's Turbine Hall has always been a vacuous space. Five storys high, with 35,000 sq ft. of space for artworks, it's been home to some of the London museum's most memorable exhibitions. Its latest, by sheer spirit of invention, is no exception.

    Anywhen is an immersive artwork by French avant-garde artist Philippe Parreno. Billed as an exhibition that challenges your perception of time and space, it's essentially, as The New Scientist puts it, a "factory-sized [children's] mobile." It features an ever-changing mix of sound, light and shadow, augmented by fish-shaped balloons, a transforming array of suspended speakers and a cinema that seemingly appears at random.

    Except, it's not random. The individual elements of Anywhen are at the whim of bacteria. Bioreactors sit in the corner of the Turbine Hall, housing a colony of yeast cultures. Data on the colony's movements, temperature and growth is being collected by scientists from University College London, and is fed into an algorithm that controls the artwork's many elements. As the cultures mature over the course of the exhibition, they'll forever change the patterns that play out. The artwork a visitor to the Tate Modern will see today will not be the artwork on display next year.

    This isn't the first time that Parreno has experimented with bacteria for art. Back in April he collaborated with Barbara Gladstone for a New York show that also utilized bioreactors. Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Parreno explained that he "liked the idea that this colony of bacteria can actually control your surroundings and affect the huge space of the Turbine Hall." While he created each element, the moments that visitors will experience are being dictated by the colony. "The bacteria that control your surroundings by responding to information coming from its surroundings."

    The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.

    All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
    Comment
    Comments
    Share
    582 Shares
    Share
    Tweet
    Share
    Save

    Popular on Engadget

    Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

    Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

    View
    Watch and listen to THX's new Deep Note trailer with spatial 3D audio

    Watch and listen to THX's new Deep Note trailer with spatial 3D audio

    View
    Facebook loses Oculus executive who led its mobile VR efforts

    Facebook loses Oculus executive who led its mobile VR efforts

    View
    YouTube is removing its direct messaging feature in September

    YouTube is removing its direct messaging feature in September

    View
    Walmart sues Tesla after solar panels catch fire at stores

    Walmart sues Tesla after solar panels catch fire at stores

    View

    From around the web

    Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr