photos: corey rankin

Sentient (2017), is an immersive multimedia installation that engages both organic material and natural phenomena such as growing and decomposing, intertwined with a time-lapse video, as well as a looping meditative sound and light effects. Composed of many acellular bright yellow Physarum polycephalum cultures fed with oats and growing in enclosed containers within a semi-dark environment, it has a life of its own. The Sentient habitat is subtly animated by a natural, self-regulating process in which the organic cells grow and transform themselves, and by an Arduino controlled LED lighting system that gradually dims and brightens to best reveal the wondrous branching growth of the cell. Sentient aims to enchant by staging unexpected and intimate encounters with matter, and to reflect on organic spatial intelligence. In an alchemic interplay of positive and negative attractions, including a pungent synthesised odour of the creature, Sentient aligns human and nonhuman responsiveness with an environmental awareness. This work also anticipates the future direction of Ferracin research: the observation of smart living organisms capable of adapting to their surroundings and creating synergies within environments, and of phenomena that can contribute to an eco-phenomenological awareness by stimulating the development of an organic knowledge with an emphasis on sensory responses to it.

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