Our concept is the mutated eels with a luminescent biofilm created by various kinds of ocean bacteria, which can protect the eels from polluted waters. In return, eels’ mobility, together with the luminescence, will help the bacteria convey their experimental compositional information and manifesto to human.
As eels, a great threat is the presence of metal and chemical pollutants in estuarine waters. Beginning with the creation of a woven floating science station in the Sargassum, with bacterial affiliations created, the eels eventually developed a series of biofilm ‘bandings’ of luminescent, filtering, oxygenating, and photosynthesizing bacteria. They are already versed in undertaking morphological change at different maturing and pigmenting stages, so they deliberately developed new distinct markings with these organized cultures of bacteria in their skin mucosal surfaces. They carry these new mutations across the entire Gulf Stream to help the bacteria disseminate their findings, in exchange for the crucial bio-remediation of troubled waters near the city.
Threats less drove bacteria to their survival. Although the intraspecies competition is problematic in the massively long term, as mass colonies, they were mostly driven by diverse scientific ambitions for futures suited to different bacterial groups. One interesting aspect of this collaboration was therefore the mixing of an inherently solo, endangered individualistic species (eels) with a successful colony species (bacteria). This also affected different visions of science – as an urgent rescue (for the eels, with urgent needs such as filtering the water) versus a more manifesto – like experimentation into possible utopian future organizations by the bacteria.
We worked together to explore the strange questions including what does science mean to non-human species? The process of collaboration was both material and conceptual, with a constant need to re-assess and question ourselves due to the unsettled nature of our two species coming together. In the final outcome, physical and material work (such as creating a viewing box for the aquarium projection mapping) was balanced with scientific communication and the display of material experiments with types of biofilm skin and presentation including careful aesthetics of labeling and explanation. It also needed designing around the requirements of including a display of light projection in the shop space. Finally, the film and its soundtrack were co-produced, drawing on archival as well as original footage to try and communicate the right scientific voice, which moved at a key point from traditionally human narration to an experimental non-human approach.
Conceptual Writing: Amy Cutler
Video Effects: Ke Peng; Ting-yu Lee
Video Editor: Yueshen Wu; Aijia Wang
Sound Design: Aijia Wang; Yueshen Wu; Amy Cutler(Recordings Collection)
Voice-over and Special thanks: Charlotte Jarvis
Video Material Collection: Yueshen Wu; Ke Peng; Aijia Wang; Qing Wang; Amy Cutler; Ting-Yu Lee
Petri dish design and production: Ke Peng; Aijia Wang; Qing Wang
3D modeling and 3D printing of eels: Yueshen Wu
Display case design and construction: Yueshen Wu; Ke Peng; Aijia Wang; Qing Wang
Bio plastics (eel skin) design and production: Ke Peng
Installation building: Yueshen Wu; Ke Peng; Aijia Wang; Qing Wang
2022, POD, Ocean Leisure London
Online exhibition website: https://podgame.net/Exhibition-1