Go forward to nature at the La Fabrique du Vivant (the Factory of Life), the newly opened exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Exhibiting the recent works of fifty international creators, along with research from scientific laboratories, La Fabrique du Vivant brings together artists, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs in the course of a collective exhibition to examine the tilting concept of nature, as linked to technological production.

As biotechnologies are now a medium (more and more) used by artists, designers and architects, we must question the notion of the living. Biodesigner Maurizio Montalti acknowledges this in our recent chat, as he considers the design practice as a collaboration between himself, the studio and the other living systems such as microbes and fungi. What's more, he refers to them as his “partners.”

Between biology and genetics, the exhibition shows how design can take a cross-disciplinary approach. Design now makes use of 'bio-engineering' around living matter. Bio-materials, produced from biological organisms (from fungus mycelium to bacteria, etc.) have generated innovative objects, such as the Electric Life, a sustainable light source using bacteria to create electricity, by Next Nature fellow Teresa van Dongen.

In the (electric) spotlight: Teresa van Dongen

Teresa van Dongen is a biodesigner exploring natural forms of artificial light and energy. In Paris she showcases the latest installment of Electric Life. Built upon previous research, Electric Life is a light installation powered by micro-organisms that have electrons as a waste product. These micro-organisms originate from the muddy soil of rivers and lakes, and Teresa utilizes them for domestic use.

Electric Life (2019) by Teresa van Dongen

The light does not completely power itself; it needs to be taken care of by its owner. A sip of water and some additional nutrients once a week will be enough to keep the micro-organisms alive and alight. The relationship between human and micro-organism becomes mutually beneficial.

Electric Life (2019) by Teresa van Dongen

Experience Electric Life among other expressions of bio art and innovatice reserach by scientists such as Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Maurizio Montalti and Daan Roosegaarde at Centre Pompidou. La Fabrique du Vivant is organised as part of the third edition of Mutations/Creations in association with IRCAM and will be on show at Centre Pompidou until the 15th of April 2019.

Cover image: Mycelium Chair, Klarenbeek & Dros

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