Life is the Condition which Distinguishes Active Organisms from Inorganic Matter
In my experiment I’ve created a closed system where I’m capable of creating entities which closely reminiscent a living being. Reminding us about the fact that life is something that is very hard to define, although we have a strong feeling for what it is.
The idea is based on the physical phenomena of refraction. When light travels through a homogeneous medium (medium which is the same everywhere) it travels in a straight line, but when the medium is inhomogeneous the light will bend from it’s linear path.
A tank full of water is illuminated from two sides, and the projection of the heat gradient in the water can be seen on the adjacent walls. By pumping water from the tank through a heating mechanism and back into the tank, we introduce a temperature gradient in the water, rendering the media inhomogeneous. This change in temperature is very subtle, and unnoticeable with the bare eye. But due to the refraction of the light as it travels through the tank, we are able to see the shadowgraph of the heat pattern in the water in the projections on the walls.
The Miller- Urey Experiment was a big inspiration for this piece. The piece can be thought of as a reference to the prebiotic state of our planet 4 billion years ago. One can imagine that the cloudy background could represent the organic haze which was present in the atmosphere, while the waves on the lower part of the projection could represent the surface of the ocean.
Personally I’m mostly interested in the fact that inside the container there is nothing to be seen. Only pure liquid. But in the projection one can observe complex organic patterns and even something that looks like a living entity. For me this brings forward the most aesthetical part of science; Bringing into light something which we are not capable of observing with our own eyes.