At this year’s Prix Ars Electronica, the project Biobot by Slovenian sculptor and intermedia artist Zoran Srdić Janežič received an honorary mention in the Artificial Intelligence & Life Art category. Since 2019, the project has been produced by the Kersnikova Institute under the auspices of the konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art.
“The Biobot project explores the possibilities of a hybrid bio-cybernetic aliveness by transferring fat cells into neurons on a Multielectrode Array (MEA). The AI program uses the input signals from an evolutionary algorithm sent to neurons and compares the activity of the neurons on an MEA with possible leg movements in a library of movements from different arthropods to determine the shape of the Biobot. The bot joints are equipped with servo motors to enable Biobotto move in physical space. The project reveals the possibilities of a hybrid bio-cybernetic aliveness with its aesthetics, intelligence, and movement. The hardware enabling the Biobotaliveness is a custom-designed incubator, a data acquisition system built inside the incubator, and an AI-designed robot, while the software uses RoboGrammar, an evolutionary optimization algorithm, to search for a robot configuration that can move within a given environment. The jury found the excellence of the project in the unique combination of the hardware, software, and wetware, where their interoperability intends to enable unexpected behavior and therefore emancipate the Biobotfrom human productivistic expectations,” the Prix Ars Electronica jury justifies an honourable mention for Biobot.
Production: Kersnikova Institute / Kapelica Gallery
Curator: Jurij Krpan
Bioengineering: Kristijan Tkalec, BioTehna Lab; prof. dr. Helena H. Chowdhury, The Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology – Molecular Cell Physiology, Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana
Expert assistance: znan. sod. dr. Martina Perše, Medical experimental centre, Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana
Programming AI: Benjamin Fele
Biosensors, electronics, programming: Erik Krkač
Electronics, PCB design: Gregor Krpič
Measurements: Jakob Grčman
3D design: Cveto Kuneševič
Foto: Matjaž Rušt in Katja Goljat
konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art is a project chosen on the public call for the selection of the operations “Network of Investigative Art and Culture Centres”. The investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.