proliferating technobiosphere

Welcome to the technobiosphere, a place full of proliferating microscopic life which is invisible to the naked eye yet so important for everything that exists and evolves. Life is no longer just a biological category.

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virtual tour

Early render of the 7K:new life form installation model made in Blender. Made by Joby Harding.

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7K:new life form @ kiberpipa

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the first glimps

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invisible schematic

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sound design and the interactive audio

For this installation only one computer was used. The machine had to run two separate Processing patches (the software used for the graphical side of the installation) that are presented on two separate screens. That means that computer has to run as well two independent Max/MSP patches (the software used for the audio side of the installation). Since the graphical part of the installation consumes a huge amount of computer’s processing power, there was no chance to perform the sound design in real time. It is true that some simple sound design techniques could be used to generate the sound in real time but that is not something I was after. Therefore all the sound samples were prepared in advance.

To avoid the repetition I used the techniques from the world of game audio. In video games all the sounds are made in advance. The sounds are totally dry and mono because the audio engine in the video game takes control of the sound manipulation. Audio engine randomly choses sounds from a pre prepared sound banks and gives a proper acoustic treatments to the sounds according to the place in which the video game is happening. For instance when you hear the footsteps in the video game, the audio engine selects a random footstep sound from a footstep bank. If the scene is happening in a large room some big reverb would be applied to the sound and when the character moves in the space, the panning and volume is modulated according to the position of the sound source.

The second important significance of the game audio is that it can not be mixed or mastered in advance. Unlike in movies, where every sound event is determined, the sound in video games is chaotic. Many sounds can occur at the same time therefore the mixing of the sound has to be made in real time by the audio engine. When many sounds are fighting for the same frequency range, some of them need to be automatically filtered. At the same time some sounds needs to go quitter when other sound events appear. That results in a clearer sonic picture instead of an extremely loud and muddy one.

The Max/MSP patch in the 7K installation was therefore used to handle the audio samples in real time and to ensure the clean sonic picture. All the triggering messages are received from the Processing (graphical software used in the 7K installation). The communication between Max/MSP and Processing is therefore responsible that the sound and picture are synchronized.

The sounds for the installation are completely artificial although they rely on the fact that many processes in nature have a big musical potential. If we listen for example to the sound of the planets (NASA, Sound of Jupiter) or the sonification of the DNA sequences (DNA & Protein Music) we see that there are strong musical connotations in very different processes that takes place in our universe (and there are many other examples). This was the main influence on making the sound design for the 7K installation.

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out of the invisible new life form is born

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invisible kingdom

Kevin Kelly, senior maverick at Wired, presented a new definition of technology: ‘anything useful invented by a mind’ – whether it be a hammer or the rule of law. So technology is more than gadgets; it’s part of a great story that started long ago, an extension of life and it is moving through us.
So what does technology want according to Kevin Kelly? It wants us to be happy, it wants our co-operation, because we’re the sexual organs of technology. It wants increasing diversity, increasing complexity, increasing energy density and efficiency, increasing specialization. This patterns that we see that technology follows are the same patterns biology and evolution follows. In this respect Kelly’s suggestion that we should see technology as the 7th kingdom of life isn’t that outrageous.

7K in 7K:new life form stands for 7th kingdom of life but not only for emphasizing an enthusiastic exploration of technology but also for an awareness that technology is a part of our lives and it is not going to disappear with our ignorance. It has a life of it’s own that grows, evolves, expands and if we don’t start to understand it, use it and employing it in the right ways or places the technology will not stop growing but will overgrow us as species and destroy our natural biotope that is so crucial for our survival. So denial of technologies existence isn’t really an answer but responsible application is.

Some more on the 7th kingdom of life: To Upgrade is Human, How Technology Will Transform Us, Memes and Temes.

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invisible materials

Nanomaterials is a field that studies materials with morphological features on the nanoscale, and especially those that have special properties stemming from their nanoscale dimensions. Nanoscale is usually defined as smaller than a one tenth of a micrometer in at least one dimension, though this term is sometimes also used for materials smaller than one micrometer.

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invisible designer

Biomimicry /Greek: bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate/ as presented by Janine Benyus, the champion of biomimicry, is a design discipline that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf. The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with: energy, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, packaging, and a whole lot more.
Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most importantly, what lasts here on earth. Instead of harvesting organisms, or domesticating them to accomplish a function for us, biomimicry differs from other ‘bio-approaches’ by consulting organisms and ecosystems and applying the underlying design principles to human innovations. This approach introduces an entirely new realm for entrepreneurship that can contribute not only innovative designs and solutions to our problems but also to awakening people to the importance of conserving the biodiversity on earth that has so much yet to teach us.

7K was persuaded by Janine Benyus and decided that 7K’s nanobots will be inspired by nature which in thousands of years managed to solve innumerable design challenges without destroying natural habitat but creating conditions conducive to life although it was driven by pure necessity to survive.

Some more of biomimicry: 15 coolest cases of biomimicry, Natures designs.

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