Tiri Kananuruk's installation on exhibit at Gwangju Art & Media Technology

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2022

Image of installation piece Symbiois.Live


Open Arts professor Tiri Kananuruk's installation "Symbiois.Live" will be on exhibit in Gwangju, Korea from March 30 to June 30. The installation was made in collaboration with Sebastian Morales (NYU ITP '18).

Part digital, part physical, fully alive. Symbiosis.live is an estuary website where microscopic organisms meet their digital equivalent, internet bots. Together, they begin to develop a symbiotic ecosystem, bots travel the world through cables to deliver food into the bioreactor.

The cells, in turn, transform the servers to attract or repel internet bots. The ecosystem runs continuously with minimal human intervention. The piece can be divided into two parts, a physical part and a digital one. In the exhibition space, a microscope and a bioreactor connect to each other in a closed loop. In the digital space, custom servers connect to a computer networked with the microscope and the bioreactor. These two parts lay the grounds to an environment that is subject to both physical and digital influences, transforming it into a peculiar habitat capable of supporting new forms of symbiotic relationships. 

As inorganic living organism (crawlers, fetchers, scrapers, spammers, hacking tools, etc.), bots for short, visit the server, their presence is recorded and their behavior studied. What were they looking for? What were they trying to do? The information is then used to turn the server into a more alluring honeypot, designed to attract them, and if possible, keep them coming back. 

As bots move through the estuary, going through links and filling out forms, their movement releases food into the bioreactor. In turn, cells in the bioreactor start manipulating the servers through their behaviour and chemical reactions, transforming parameters in the servers ultimately affecting the fertility of the digital grounds, supporting different levels or inorganic life.