VIBRONACCI

Benjamin's Lab Journal   

by Robbie Duncan & Benjamin Palmer. Documentation blog of the progress made on the Broadvision 3 sci/arts collaboration.

The nature of the installation made photographing the stages a difficult task. But these shots show the artwork at its optimum glow rate. These 3 photographs are the only ones that exist in the World, and there’s something wonderful about that. Both Benjamin and I would have wanted more documentation of the finished product, but being there at the exhibition with the installation glowing brilliantly was enough for us. It was a journey we undertook together and truly, we will never forget that experience.

— 12 months ago with 8 notes
#rcad  #vibronacci  #bioluminescence  #artwork  #bioluminescent  #broadvision 
Final Configuration Drawing of our Proposed Installation.

Final Configuration Drawing of our Proposed Installation.

— 1 year ago

Problem Solving.

We work out the mathematical scaling of our fibonacci spiral frame using the golden rectangle ratio. We also came up with a simple and very cheap alternative to buying loads of loops for attaching to the petri dishes. A paperclip folded in half that can then be secured with the tape along the outer circumference. Using a roll of cellotape as our ‘dish’ we visualized this problem solver, that would also help us keep our costs down!

— 1 year ago

Benjamin provided me with a box of red glow sticks that I used to build this prototype after our conversation. If you can replace the cylindrical glow in your mind with an elliptical glow then you can get a sense of what the installation may look like. We will scale the proportions of the golden rectangle up to produce a larger spiral frame and then hang more petri dishes from it. The next stage is to work out the maths and then produce a finalised rendering of the sculpture. From there, we can prepare the VF and agar plates and get started making the sculpture!

— 1 year ago

19 March - The Beginning of the Final Idea Development

Benjamin and I had a fantastic brain-storming session over Facebook PM where we managed to visualize our idea with the help of the 5 image above. I tried to explain what I had thought of that might overcome our issues and still lead to the creation of a beautiful installation.

We were lacking an element of data within our project; although the bacteria is ‘data’ we wanted something that would be a finalising link between all of the research we had done thus far. The fibonacci sequence was the very subject that tied everything together. I shall explain:

  • Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Spiral: proportions that are deemed by many to represent the highest aesthetic. 
  • We could use the dimensions of the golden ratio to create a spiral frame and then hang petri dishes streaked with bacteria from it. 
  • This fram would be a link to the tentacles of the bobtail squid, from where our bacteria originates from.
  • If we hung the petri dishes at descending levels, it could also create the impression that there was a bioluminescent tentacle suspended in the air. 
  • The spiral form is very representative of marine creatures, and the way the petri dishes might sway and move would be a beautiful thing indeed.
  • We could attach the petri dishes to the suspended levels of wire using a simple hook, similar to the sheathed hooks of squids. 
  • We would then wrap petri dish tape around the outer circumference of the petri dish with a simple loop that would enable to assembly of the bioluminescent plates.
— 1 year ago
I suggested another design to Benjamin that could solve some of our problems. We wanted to have the VF in solution because it glowed so well, but we needed to have the tubes moving in order to encourage the quorum sensing in the bacteria. I suggested that we could suspend tubes from fishing wire and have them close together in a line. If one was to brush their hand from left to right along the test tubes then they would surely glow and create a beautiful sequence…in theory.

Benjamin assured me that this would have difficulties, for one the COSHH hazards of suspending glass test tubes to make a more aesthetically pleasing sound. In addition to this, he doubted that just a small side-to-side movement would agitate the VF enough to stimulate a strong glow. The sheer volume of VF needed as well on a large scale would be an issue and finally, one wouldn’t be able to fill up the tubes entirely because oxygen is needed to be inside the tube. This is just another example of how the limitations of science can cause problems with an artistic visualization. BUT, the problem solving mind of a scientist can overcome the issues and help the artist design an alternative solution. So this idea is a no go, but we will persevere! 

I suggested another design to Benjamin that could solve some of our problems. We wanted to have the VF in solution because it glowed so well, but we needed to have the tubes moving in order to encourage the quorum sensing in the bacteria. I suggested that we could suspend tubes from fishing wire and have them close together in a line. If one was to brush their hand from left to right along the test tubes then they would surely glow and create a beautiful sequence…in theory.

Benjamin assured me that this would have difficulties, for one the COSHH hazards of suspending glass test tubes to make a more aesthetically pleasing sound. In addition to this, he doubted that just a small side-to-side movement would agitate the VF enough to stimulate a strong glow. The sheer volume of VF needed as well on a large scale would be an issue and finally, one wouldn’t be able to fill up the tubes entirely because oxygen is needed to be inside the tube. This is just another example of how the limitations of science can cause problems with an artistic visualization. BUT, the problem solving mind of a scientist can overcome the issues and help the artist design an alternative solution. So this idea is a no go, but we will persevere! 

— 1 year ago
Benjamin at work →

Exercising precision and laboratory competence. Just incase the embedded video doesn’t work on some desktops I’ve provided a youtube link. 

— 1 year ago

The results of drawing inside a falcon tube with agar set inside the internal circumference of the vessel. 

— 1 year ago
Pouring agar into falcon tubes, rotating them to create a film of agar around the inside. We figured that if we were to streak the agar inside, then we could create the impression that the bacteria was in the test-tube like a solution. This way, it would still last for a few more days. One problem we encountered was the air bubbles that formed inside the tubes when pouring - even at a slow pace we couldnt escape this issue. It does look rather beautiful though.

One serious issue was that it was almost impossible to streak the plates with any artistic flair in this confined format. I practically scribbled with the VF. We experimented with the standard falcon tubes and some much smaller tubes too.

Honestly, we both loved our first design idea that we were holding onto it. I feel this is a personality trait Benjamin and I definitely share: the inability to let things go at times. We have a thought/visualization and nothing will make it change or alter if we dont want it to. Unfortunately we will have to come up with an alternative design that will either suspend the VF in solution and create a way to constantly agitate it OR we’ll have to use petri dishes as the base of our installation.

Pouring agar into falcon tubes, rotating them to create a film of agar around the inside. We figured that if we were to streak the agar inside, then we could create the impression that the bacteria was in the test-tube like a solution. This way, it would still last for a few more days. One problem we encountered was the air bubbles that formed inside the tubes when pouring - even at a slow pace we couldnt escape this issue. It does look rather beautiful though.

One serious issue was that it was almost impossible to streak the plates with any artistic flair in this confined format. I practically scribbled with the VF. We experimented with the standard falcon tubes and some much smaller tubes too.

Honestly, we both loved our first design idea that we were holding onto it. I feel this is a personality trait Benjamin and I definitely share: the inability to let things go at times. We have a thought/visualization and nothing will make it change or alter if we dont want it to. Unfortunately we will have to come up with an alternative design that will either suspend the VF in solution and create a way to constantly agitate it OR we’ll have to use petri dishes as the base of our installation.

— 1 year ago

Benjamin preparing a lawn plate. 

— 1 year ago