The "Art & Science" research group at MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Public Health is once again taking part in Ars Electronica in Linz, one of the world’s leading festivals for electronic art, as part of an FWF project (AR 687). The installation by Klaus Spiess’s research team shows a virtual microbiome.
The contribution results from a project funded by the FWF (within the framework of the FWF PEEK programme "Development and Exploitation of the Arts" - project number AR 687, project leader Klaus Spiess, project collaborators: Emanuel Gollob, Paul Gründorfer, Jens Hauser). This is a cooperation between the Centre for Public Health of the Medical University Vienna and the Department of Digital Art of the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
The installation presented is based on recent studies that consider the microbiome as an interface between fast-moving external influencing factors and internal body rhythms. "The microbiome reacts to these differences by modifying its growth rate and its alpha and beta diversity," says Klaus Spiess, who heads the Art & Science programme at MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Public Health. Whole-body vibration is currently being investigated as a therapeutic means of influencing the microbiome.
For the virtual microbiome presented at Ars Electronica, the researchers used their own in vitro data on the growth of the oral microbiome in response to phonetic vibrations. An artificial intelligence (AI) was trained with this data. This enables the visitor:s to experience how the altered microbiome growth changes the vibrations of a plate they sit on and their vocal articulation by changing the frequency of their voices. "This in turn is used as input to the system that is constantly learning during the festival. The result is a polyphonic system of vocal compositions conducted by the microbiome," says Spiess.
Ars Electronica Festival 2023, 6-10 September 2023, Postcity Linz