CellF started with what could be seen as a “new materialist” question underpinned by the belief that artistic practice can act as a vector for thought: What is the potential for artworks using biological and robotic technologies to evoke or elicit responses in regards to shifting perceptions surrounding understandings of “life” and the materiality of the human body?
Guy Ben-Ary’s art-research project Cellf (2015) involves harvesting skin cells from himself and reprogramming them to be stem cells that are used to grow a ‘living’ bio-art neural network. The electric signals from this neural network are then transferred to an anolog synth and converted into audio signals. During concerts, sounds from human musicians are fed back into the ‘brain’ to perturb its growth and signal. In short, an external ‘brain’ makes music in collaboration with human ‘brains’. The artwork involves process, devices, people, ideas, living tissue and sounds. In essence, Cellf is a complex feedback system.
With cellF there is no programming, no computers, no zeros or ones; just biological matter and analogue circuits – a “wet-alogue instrument”
Contrary to many contemporary digital installations, Cellf does not rely on computation. It draws inspiration from biological recursion. The instruments used on the surface resemble old telephone switchboards, but underneath are circuits: no midi, no software, no microprocessors.