Stephen Surlin

Audio, BioArt, Film, MaxMSP

MicroCompositions: A BioArt Work at the Ontario Science Centre

MicroCompositions: A BioArt Work at the Ontario Science Centre


MicroCompositions is a collaborative composition with the micro organisms of Windsors complex and rare ecosystems. This work is a collaboration with University of Windsor and Professor Jennifer Willet’s Incubator Lab for an exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre titled, BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences, exhibited during the Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche.

The Ontario Science Centre wrote a description of the event:

“Science, Art and Ecology intersect in the Ontario Science Centre’s !dea Gallery from October 5, 2013 to February 2, 2014 during an innovative exhibition showcasing the work of thirteen Bioart students from the University of Windsor’s INCUBATOR Lab. Founded by Dr. Jennifer Willet in 2009, INCUBATOR is a hybrid laboratory where students research and explore ideas and practices in the leading-edge field of bioart. An art installation in its own right, the exhibition will form a panoramic view of the laboratory as the background for the art works of the students.

The work selected is challenging, thought provoking and presents a diversity of conceptual positions. The exhibition encompasses photography, sculpture, installation, painting and drawing as well as more unconventional art forms. The biological component that, overt or subtle, is contained within each work is similarly wide ranging, from bacteria and fungus encased in resin to plants that will continue to grow during the course of the exhibition.”


MicroCompositions was created using Max/MSP, Computer Vision, Ableton Live and Reason. Together these programs interpreted the video recorded through the microscope into musical data and turned into a composition dictated by the paramecium tardigrade and other organisms found within the water collected around University of Windsor.