"The Eventual" combines traditional screen printing with synthetic biology. It is designed as a stand-alone microbial battery that uses bacteria to grow electricity to power up an image printed with electroluminescent inks. Feasting on rich soil, Geobacter bacteria forms a biofilm on the electrodes of the battery to produce electricity. As electricity becomes available, it begins to power the printed orb image, causing it to flicker and glow.
Excerpts below are from Molly Petrilla's write up at The Penn Gazette: Art for the Future
"In designing the piece, Telhan says he and Neff strove for a “noir” look and feel. “We wanted an object you could place inside the Blade Runner house or the Minority Report house,” he adds. “We played around with different images, the look and feel of the glass container, how much dirt and the different ingredients in the dirt—it’s quite a bit more complex than it looks.”
Telhan began exploring synthetic biology—a field that fuses biotechnology with design, computation and electronics—when he came to Penn in 2010. “It’s a sub-field that is founded by computer scientists and engineers and designers,” he says. “They’re not necessarily interested in making medicine or human-related research, but rather in using biology as a way of investigating what other things we can do with living systems in relation to human needs, desires and wants."
Read more about the piece from Adam Clark Estes' write-up at Gizmodo.