Fat Between 2 Worlds

Juan M. Castro (JA)
Installation, 2013

Membranes are probably the oldest and most primitive microhabitats. This work explores the spontaneous transformation of fat into organic microstructures. It presents a collection of artificial membranes with unique morphologies grown in vitro using lipids and selfassembly processes. Depending on their composition and aqueous environment, these lipid mixtures can generate rich and diverse microstructures, such as filamentous morphologies, highly interconnected networks or biogeometrical groupings.

The discrimination between inside and outside, relevant to membranous compartments, is the first structural prerequisite for the living cell. Carbon based life, as we know it today, could not have developed without them. Growing artificial membranes is also central to the idea of constructing microsystems that aim to achieve cellular functions. As novel technoscientific artifacts, they compel us not only to evaluate the consequences of protocell technology, but also to confront our views about the living and the synthesis of new forms of life.

About the artist: 

Juan M. Castro is a Colombian artist and researcher based in Japan. He has been involved in interdisciplinary practices between the fields of media art, microbiology and chemistry. Juan Manuel has a B.A. degree in Visual Communication from Javeriana University in Colombia; M.A. in Information Design from Tama Art University in Japan; and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Tama Art University in Japan. In 2008, he founded Biodynamic geometries, a research unit for experimental creative projects and scientific exploration. Since its inception, he has been presenting his projects internationally in museums, and at art and science festivals, scientific meetings and academic conferences.