Adam Brown
Andrew H. Fagg

University of Oklahoma

Bion is an interactive art installation that explores the relationship between humans and artificial life. The name makes reference to an individual element of primordial biological energy identified as orgone by the scientist Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). The installation is a sensor network that is composed of 1000 3-dimensional glowing and chirping sculptural forms. Each bion, measuring approximately 4x3x2.5 inches is a synthetic "life-form" consisting of a tiny computer, an audio speaker, blue light emitting diodes, and multiple sensors. These sensor units have the ability to communicate with, and react to, the bions around them and the viewers that enter the space.

The experience: when a viewer approaches the installation space, she witnesses a dynamic array of blips of sound and blue light emanating in cloud-like patterns from all parts of the room. She notices that the source of the light and sound come from hundreds of small organic shaped forms. The bions are communicating, unaware of the approaching visitor. She enters the room; one of the bions is alerted to the presence of a stranger and quickly communicates the information to the swarm of bions. One by one, in rapid succession, the bions signal other bions of the stranger and, in a wave-like pattern, become silent. The bions eventually become accustomed to her presence and begin to respond to her as if she was part of their ecosystem. They become attracted to her and glow more intensely when she nears. Eventually, she is incorporated into the dynamic array she once witnessed.

Last modified: Fri Jul 2 11:03:04 2010