©Photo by Raphäelle Mueller, 2017.

The more the people come and see, the more visible it becomes. Photo: ©Raphaëlle Mueller, 2017.

By shifting the narrator, we discharge a shirking society to better confront the ecological shift and seek for alternative futures. By merging electronic media, toxic matter and genetically modified bacteria, this research and interactive installation uses bio reporters as a tool to gain understanding of a microbe’s perception of the Anthropocene*.
After few seconds the optics detect the amount of fluorescence of the sample and translate it into different drops of black ink. Edited photogram from the video "Camera Obscura and the Artefacts of the Invisible" Video shooted by Simon de Diesbach, 2017, CC-BY-3.0.
Project done in collaboration with Sachiko Hirosue and Robin Scheibler from Biodesign for the Real World (BDRW), a project hosted at Hackuarium biohackerspace. The DIY fluorimeter is their BDRW v4 version.
Master Thesis, practical work, honorable mention 2016, HEAD - Genève. Tutors: Dr. Sachiko Hirosue and Daniel Sciboz.
Extractions are bottled together with a solution that contains our bio-reporters, a genetically modified E. Coli population that contains GFP a fluorescent protein that glows (in different intensities depending on the concentration of the heavy metal in water) when the bacteria starts up its defence mechanisms against mercury. Edited photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.

A gene, bacteria or fungi is able to communicate metabolic and transcriptional behaviour in an habitat and furnish us with information of its immediate surroundings. This work uses artefacts in its different form as an expression of invisible, pieces of real selectively ignored by contemporary society. (Photo: Vial with standards for a test, source: Biodesign for the Real World.)

Results of the experiments achieved in such conditions of timing were not determinant and we decided to reproduce them according to the results published to the Cantonal Environmental Department. I then decided to mimic an increasing quantity of fluorescence within 5 samples with different concentrations of mercury, representing a timeline by means of the concentration found in the are since the 70’s till nowadays. I illustrated, through toxic matter in dialogue with genetically modified bacteria, the evolution and accumulation of heavy metals in Rhône riverside and waters since the establishment of Alusuisse in Visp area.
Above: Image 1. Journal "Le Cofedere"; Image 2 and 3. Extract from the documentary "Alerte au mercure! Un scandal valaisain" from RTS SSR.
Special thanks also to Hackuarium community, and my dear tutors and mentors:
Sachiko Hirosue (
BDRW + EPFL + (Art)ScienceBLR + Lifepatch)
Daniel Sciboz and Nicolas Nova (HEAD-Genève)
Technical support of Marc Wettstein (Les Ateliers Modernes)
Technical support of Michael Pereira (EPFL)
Emilie Crittin (Recup Artivisme) introduction to her community & "Making off, Camera Obscura"
Thank you Simon de Diesbach (Fragment.in) the video shooting & post-production
Dylan Perrenoud and Isra Viadest (HEAD Genève) video shooting & post-production
Raphaëlle Mueller (HEAD Genève) for the stunning photographs and later fruitful collaborations in the Xeno-geo-bio-medialogics project (XGBML) http://cargocollective.com/xgbml/THE-XGBML-PROJECT

Some local memories, cultural references and research notes on Alusuisse, Lonza and their cultural societal ties in the region. Lonza (previously part of Alusuisse group), is the company who executed the spill of 250 tn of mercury (Hg) in the Rhône and Grossgrund Kanal here
Bois de Fynge, water and soil is sampled in the surroundings of the Rhone river. Photo by Dylan Perrenoud, photogram from the video "Making of Camera Obscura" by Dylan Perrenoud and Israel Viadest, 2016.

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