Medium: Mixed media installation
Autoinducer_Ph-1 exploits a traditional rice cultivation technique from SE Asia where the floating fern Azolla is used as an organic, nitrogen rich fertilizer in rice paddies. This process is re-interpreted as a complex, networked laboratory which reflects modern agricultural techniques, our modern relationships with nature and the machinic nature of ecosystems.
Autoinducer_Ph-1 probes into and interferes with the symbiosis between the cyanobacteria Anabaena and Azolla. Notions of data and information systems inherent in the relationships between the organic protagonists of the installation, and how they may be augmented, are realised by a software-based bacteria that interacts with them at times symbiotically and at times parasitically.
Outcomes of this complex relationship determine the behaviours of the robotic rice farming system that forms the physical bulk of the installation. If the core of the systems interprets the relationship as being symbiotic it will instruct the arms to begin to scoop out Azolla and deliver it to the rice, however if the relationship is interpreted as being more parasitic the arms will withhold the delivery. The robotic arms are also capable of evolving new expressive movements based on data they receive, movements which will ‘balletically’ and abstractly describe the ‘emotional’ state of the system as a whole.
Autoinducer_ph-1 loops biological, electro-robotic and computing processes together in a fertile interaction where the organic aspects of the Anabaena and Azolla cultures, and fragility of the young rice shoots, contrast strikingly with the artificial chemistry of the synthetic bacteria.
(Autoinducer_ph-1 was originally commissioned by AV06.)
Andy Gracie works across various disciplines including installation, robotics, sound, video and biological practice. This work is situated between the arts and the sciences, creating situations of exchange between natural and artificial systems which allow new emergent behaviours to develop. More recently his work has begun to reflect cultural associations with the science of astrobiology. He has exhibited across Europe as well as the USA, Japan, Mexico and Australia including several specific commissions for new works. He has also exhibited at ISEA, Artbots, Radar, Ars Electronica and at the Capital of Culture robotic exhibitions as part of Lille2004. He has presented at numerous conferences and seminars internationally, has written and published a number of articles and papers, and his work has been featured in books by Stephen Wilson and Dmitry Bulatov. His work has received honourable mentions from VIDA (2007) and Ars Electronica (2007).