Created by Adam W. Brown in collaboration with scientist Robert Root-Bernstein, ReBioGeneSys – Origins of Life is an extreme minimal ecosystem theoretically capable of forming the self-organizing chemistries necessary to produce semi-living molecules and, perhaps, even protocells.
Designed as a fully functioning scientific experiment capable of being reconfigured into any real or imaginary world, ReBioGeneSys combines all the research on origins of life to create a “mashed-up” extreme minimal ecosystem. While other artworks are designed to mimic nature, this piece actually produces nature in its most basic form, using all known natural conditions including desiccation, hydration, freeze, day and night cycles, exposure to UV light and electrical energy. In addition, ReBioGeneSys is also described as the first installation that has the ability to evolve since in the process some of the matter is destroyed, forcing evolutionary processes and natural selection.
Adam W. Brown writes: A system that can evolve by means of natural selection must incorporate means of not only producing living matter, but also to select among the matter it produces that which is best adapted to that minimal ecosystem. This cycle of production and selection must operate over and over again across time creating a process of self-improvement that spirals back to a slightly more evolved place each time. Unlike Galatea, who when fully formed, suddenly comes to life, ReBioGeneSys is always coming to life.
ReBioGeneSys is a hybrid installation (process) that combines sculpture, chemistry, alchemy, conservation and computation to autonomously create extreme minimal ecosystems capable of autopoetic evolution.
Editor’s note: ReBioGeneSys – Origins of Life is among this year’s entries for Prix Ars Electronica – Hybrid Art category (of which I was a jury member). For more information about the category and submissions, see here.