Camera Obscura et les artefacts de l'invisible

A work master about the invisible data hidden in nature, brought visible through the use of cybernetics, algorithms, machines and bioengineered organisms. By merging electronic media and citizen science, this research and interactive installation uses bio reporters as a tool to gain understanding of a microbe’s perception of the Anthropocene.

©Photo by Raphäelle Mueller, 2017.

Photogram from the video "Camera Obscura & the artefacts of the invisible" made by Simon de Diesbach, 2017.

Camera Obscura & the artefacts of the invisible (Camera Obscura et les artefacts de l'invisible)
Master Diploma Project, @HEAD - Genève Master in Media Design graduated in 2016
Media Design, Haute école d’art et de design – Genève // HEAD- Genève. Juin 2016.
Tutors: Daniel Sciboz and Sachiko Hirosue.
Made with Biodesign for the Real World (BDRW), Sachiko Hirosue, Robin Scheibler.
Hosted at Hackuarium biohackerspace (HKRM), Univercité (UC).
Developed at BDRW, HKRM, Made@UC.
Video Shooting and montage: Fragment.in, Simon de Diesbach.
Special thanks to Michael Pereira, Sachiko Hirosue, Robin Scheibler, Marc Wettstein, Simon de Diesbach, Jan Roelof van der Meer.

Video by Simon de Diesbach, from Fragmentin, 2017.

« Camera Obscura and the artefacts of the invisible » highlights the traces and anxieties of progress through black boxed bio reporters that detect mercury existing in water. The case study is the Rhone river, polluted by industrial activities related to aluminium industry (Alusuisse, Lonza Group and other industries).
It aims to translate scientific numbers into black drops of evidence into a crystal clear water within a glass reservoir. It aims to clarify how can a media approach to polluted sites can help for a better understanding of global anthropogenic changes. Many tiny and almost invisible interactions materialise every second in our environment. Genes, bacteria or fungi are able to communicate metabolic and transcriptional behaviour in an habitat and furnish us with information of its immediate surroundings. Data exchanges and conversations woven amongst kingdoms of living beings happening under the naïve regard of our contemporary society.
By merging electronic media and environmental monitoring, this installation uses bio reporters as a tool to gain understanding of the world; a microbe’s perception of the Anthropocene translated into visual evidence.
Bois de Fynge, water and soil is sampled in the surroundings of the Rhone river. Photo by Dylan Perrenoud, photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.
Artefact?
An artefact is an error in both telecommunications and scientific research; also, a modification of biological structure (bioengineered organism) and a object made by humans. This work uses artefacts in its different form as an expression of the invisible, pieces of reality selectively ignored by our capitalist society that accumulates 50 years of ecological awakening.
Extractions are bottled together with a solution that contains our bio-reporters, a genetically modified E. Coli population that contains GFP a fluorescent protein that glows (in different intensities depending on the concentration of the heavy metal in water) when the bacteria starts up its defence mechanisms against mercury. Edited photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.
The whole mechanism is placed into the black box in the Camera Obscura. Photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.
The viewer activates the handle that places the water sample on an electronic optical detector of fluorescence. Edited photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.
After few seconds the optics detect the amount of fluorescence of the sample and translate it into different drops of black ink. Edited photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.
5 tubes (for 5 samples, each one with a concentration correspondent to 5 different periods since the 30's) that transports black drops into a glass reservoir. Photo by the author.
The reception of the tubes is done on the glass reservoir. Photo by the author.
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