An art and science collaboration between The University of Western Australia's SymbioticA and a neuro-engineering laboratory in the US that investigates treatment for epilepsy has won a prestigious Honorary Mention for hybrid and transdisciplinary projects in Prix Ars Electronica (PAE).
PAE is one of the most important awards for creativity and innovation in the field of digital media, with artists from more than 70 countries participating.
Silent Barrage, recently on show at Exit Art Gallery in New York, is the work of SymbioticA's Guy Ben-Ary, fellow WA artist Phil Gamblen, and scientists from Steve Potter's Laboratory for Neuro-engineering at Georgia Technical College, Atlanta.
The installation consists of 32 robotic objects, each responding via the Internet to the electrical activity that occurs in the ‘brain' - a neural network grown in a Petri dish in a lab thousands of kilometres away. The audience interacts with the network by moving between the noisy pole-shaped robots, helping to silence the barrage of electrical impulses.
The work focuses on bursts of uncontrolled activity of nerve tissue, a typical characteristic of epilepsy.
"This is a genuine art and science project, in that it is both artistically meaningful and scientifically valid," said Mr Ben-Ary, a researcher from UWA's SymbioticA.
SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, is a jointly funded initiative between UWA and the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts. Silent Barrage was assisted by the Australia Council of the Arts.
For more information, visit http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/silentbarrage