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Videos installations

Art Director Nadir Bouassria

Art Director Pierre Froment

Art Director SCIENTIFIQUE Manuel Théry

Creation September 2013

Places Paris (Fr)

Human cells develops large-scale

Research carried out in Manuel Théry’s laboratory on the way cells adapt to their environment has led us to imagine a video and sound installation, linking this scientific research to an artistic approach.

Passing from micro to macro by a factor of over one million, Living Architectures thus provides a vision of the driving forces that animate cells, the state of balance that is constantly sought, the mechanical laws permanently underlying them and through which they are able to multiply, mitosis after mitosis.

How can we render the vertiginous nature of such research, making visible the almost unbelievable dimension of such a vision - the development of living cells and their constant adaptation to their environment?

Living Architectures was first performed during the Paris Nuit Blanche in 2013 on a facade of the saint Louis Hospital. The installation presented focused on the possible echoes between the development of urban architecture and living cells.

As a continuation of this monumental dimension, we are now working on many distinct forms - from video installations to mobile sculptures – all approached in a similar way and motivated both by the desire to explore and the wish to render visible this cross-process between art and science:

#1: a multi-screen hanging installation: a scenography enabling the spectator to wander, an encompassing environment.the changing geometry of cells is developing from specific patterns.
#2: a video mapping installation on the facade of a building: a breath-taking enlargement where human cells are seen spreading on the scale of urban architecture. (The installation produced for the Paris Nuit Blanche in 2013)

#3: sensitive surface: this would show an interaction between the movements and forces of the cell and of the surface on which it is projected, a screen animated by several servo-motors.
#4: tensegrity sculpture: a multi-faced structure designed according to the principle of tensegrity, animated by a mechanical system on which are projected multiple images of growing cells. in biology, the concept of tensegrity is used to establish a pattern in cellular biomechanics to designate all the elastic forces acting on the skeleton of cells.

For more information, download the presentation file


Production and principles

The lm material is the result of scientific research methods, which, to investigate the reproducibility and the spatial organization of cells, use geometric shapes engraved on a pattern to study their evolution.

The principle is to draw a pattern with a short-pulse laser on a glass slide that can accommodate 1, 10 or 100 cells
Live human cells are then placed on each engraved slide.these cells can then only attach themselves to the elements that have been drawn by laser.they are therefore forced to adapt their form to the shape of the drawing.the patterns are coated with fluorescent adherence proteins on to which the cells can attach themselves, thanks to the cables that constitute their skeleton.
The cells are then visualised and filmed through a microscope equipped with sensitive cameras. their internal skeleton is dynamic and in a perpetual reconfiguration. The cables change their size and place according to the points on which the cells adhere.
Certain films lasting a few minutes are reprojected onto the façade of the building with at their original speed; others, filmed over periods of dozens of hours, are accelerate.

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Past events

Conception team


Art Director


Sponsors : CEA (Commissariat à l’Energie atomique), CYTOO, INSERM
Support : Nuit Blanche Paris

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