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Living material as collaborator


Natura Naturans is the working title for a new, experimental work exploring the flaws in our current definition of the word ‘life’.  By augmenting the visibility and audibility of microbial organisms, they are enabled to take on the role of performer, questioning the nature of our relationship with the other and enabling us to consider whether they act under their own 'collective conscience' or they are merely our performing monkeys.


Natura naturans live at Domestic II, produced by Word of Warning


"Using a combination of live hack-microscopy, projection and sound recording within the seemingly uninhabited domestic space, Mackenzie & Reed reveal that the room is alive and coax it into a collaborative performance"


Natura naturans was commissioned for performance in an empty flat within a Salford tower block, currently undergoing renovation as a part of Domestic II, 2015.   Arriving a week in advance, we captured the yeast from the air in the room to grow within a sourdough, left food traces to grow mould, collected dust and mud from the corners and pipes and found tiny insects in the cracks and crevasses.  We then returned a week later and projected and amplified them back into the flat, finding additional micro material to 'coerce' or 'cadjole' into collaboration throughout the durational, 5 hour performance.  


Supported by Lancaster University Biomedical and Life Sciences; Newcastle University Bioimaging Unit and Northumbria University


Natura naturans

Photo credit: M Reed

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