Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is collaboration between Peter Bosch & Simone Simons and Sergey Kostyrko. In this installation they transform video images into sound. These images were created via laser scanning confocal microscopy of a live isolated rat heart in scientific experiments by Dr. Danyla Bobkov and his colleagues from the Institute of Cytology located in St. Petersburg, Russia. The main focus of the research was on the arrhythmic behavior of a rat heart and the central question they were investigating pertained to why the arrhythmia arises and how it’s possible to avoid it. It was shown that some of the cells one by one start beating with frequencies different from the original cell due to chemical factors. The noise from these cells may grow, and finally affect the fundamental frequency causing an irregular heartbeat.

It’s a well-known phenomenon that the reduction of a cell is related to the calcium level in it. Using a special dye that reacts with calcium, it is possible to observe the beating even of only one cell. In this art project the main interest of the team lies in converting the movements of a biological system into sound patterns. They extract signals from the RGB channels of these videos and analyse and employ them to trigger industrial vibrators. The different temporal behaviors of the videos, coupled with different resonators result in a rich sound palette and unique polyrhythmic structures.

To increase the artistic result, the team applied an algorithmic approach to manage the video footage and organize the material into collage movies that are synchronized with sounds, mechanically produced by their vibrators. These movies, being projected on one or more screens, in combination with the sound of resonating objects (animal cages) create an audio-visual metaphor of a biomechanical machine.