20. 12. 2018

Time: 20:00
Location: Kapelica Gallery
Address: Kersnikova ulica 4, Ljubljana


Guy Ben-Ary, Nathan Thompson, Andrew Fitch, Darren Moore, Stuart Hodgetts, Douglas Bakkum, Mike Edel: ‘cellF’

‘cellF’ is a neural synthesizer, the first autonomous wet-alogue electronic instrument. The ‘brain’ of the project consists of a biological neural network that grows in a Petri dish and controls an array of analogue modular synthesizers in real time.

For over a decade Guy Ben-Ary has been working with the art group SymbioticA which operates in a unique art-research laboratory at the University of Western Australia. In this laboratory artists and scientist from around the world research, study and critically debate living systems. 

First of all Guy Ben-Ary had a part of his skin removed from his arm. He cultivated his skin cells in vitro in the SymbioticA laboratory, and then he used special technology to transform these new skin cells into stem cells. These stem cells began to differentiate into a neural culture which enabled the emergence of ‘Ben-Ary’s external brain’. The neural culture was placed into a multi electrode array (MEA), a dish with a grid of 64 electrodes. These electrodes can record the electric signals produced by the neurons and use these recordings to produce a sound portrait. When the project is exhibited in a gallery the sound signals are looped back as electric impulses which stimulate the cells to be active.

Every time this project is invited somewhere, the author cooperates with one or more local musicians who are invited to play with ‘cellF’. The music performed by the musicians stimulates the neurons, and the neurons respond by controlling analogue synthesisers. As a final result the audience can listen to improvised music created by two living entities, a person and disembodied human neuron cells. This time the dialogue with ‘cellF’ was improvised by the members of one of the most unique Slovene bands Širom (Ana Kravanja, Samo Kutin, Iztok Koren) and Alexei Borisov, an icon of the Moscow experimental music scene.


Kersnikova Institute // Kapelica Gallery + BioTehna

The exhibition was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Ljubljana.