Photos of the Symbiont at the Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, Oakland, CA, February 2001


The Symbiont is an interactive installation. It uses, as interface, the breathing, body temperature and other vital signs of a willing participant .
By engaging with the installation, a feedback loop between human and machine is created as the subject and the Symbiont develop a co-dependency.
Physically, the Symbiont is an amalgamation of the mundane, specialized, and obscure: a vinyl massage chair , various TV screens, digital video equipment, and obsolete military/ industrial materials.

Aesthetically, the physical construction of the Symbiont is informed by drawing and sculpture as much as by technical considerations. The structure and shape of the video content is influenced by the mechanical motion of the sculptural elements as well as by the viewer's behavioral responses to the machine.

The Symbiont is programmed using Cycling74's MAX/MSP and's nato 0.55 modular. The interface technologies are a combination of Infusion Systems, ICUBE, and the EZIO interface. The actuators range from stepper motors to DC motors, pneumatics, and hydraulics. It utilizes a B/W G3 300 and an 8500/ 180 Power PC.

The Symbiont has been in the research and construction phase for six years. The building of the Symbiont has required extensive research in fabrication, programming, mechanical movement, and electronics. The process of its creation is ongoing, constantly mutating and recombining as new questions arise and new technologies are discovered.

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