Monthly Archives: May 2016



WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHEN: Thursday, 26th of May, 6-7pm
WHERE: UNSW Art & Design (formally COFA), room D205
COST: Free!

Dorkbot Sydney is proud to be hosting a special talk by the Perth based artist and researcher from Symbiotica Guy Ben-Ary next week. In Sydney for his upcoming presentation of a new work cellF, the world’s first neural synthesiser, which will be presented at Cellblock Theatre at the National Art School from June 10-12.

The cellF “brain” is made of biological neural networks that grow in a Petri dish and controls in real time it’s “body” that is made of an array of analogue modular synthesizers that work in synergy with it and play with human musicians. It is a completely autonomous instrument that consists of a neural network that is bio-engineered from my own cells that control a custom-built synthesizer. There is no programming or computers involved, only biological matter and analogue circuits; a ‘wet-analogue’ instrument.

There is a surprising similarity in the way neural networks and analogue modular synthesizers function, in that for both, voltages are passed through components to produce data or sound. The neural interface we developed juxtaposes these two networks and in a sense creates a continuum that creates one unified network. With CellF, the musician and musical instrument become one entity to create a cybernetic musician, a rock star in a petri dish.

For more details on the work:

Guy Ben-Ary, born in Los Angeles, is a Perth based artist and researcher. He currently works at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia.  Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Guy specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive.

Guy’s work has been shown across the globe at prestigious venues and festivals from the Beijing National Art Museum to San Paulo Biennale to the Moscow Biennale. His work can also be seen in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2009, his work Silent Barrage was awarded an Honorary Mention in Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and also won first prize at VIDA, a significant international competition for Art and Artificial Life.

Guy  specializes in microscopy, biological & digital imaging, tissue engineering. His Main research areas are cybernetics, robotics and the interface of biological material to robotics. Much of Ben-Ary’s work is inspired by science and nature.  His artworks utilize motion and growth to investigate technological aspects of today’s culture and the re-use of biological materials and technologies.

Guy is in town to participate in the exhibition The Patient, curated by Bec Dean for UNSW Galleries. The exhibition opens on 2nd June. The performances of cellF are part of the program for The Patient.

For more details about Ben-Ary’s upcoming Sydney performances go to this eventbrite page.