2019 - 3D Animation / Digital Prints


Bio-issues, eco-art, ecologies, environments, living systems, food hacking, speculative creations, multi-species ontologies, practice as research.

One of the major questions of our day is how the array of existing world species will be transformed by rapidly changing conditions as humans continue to alter ecologies and to design new life-forms through artificial life, synthetic biology, and genetic engineering. Whether officially regulated, or unregulated –as with the push by biohacker groups to democratize regulation– complex human-made systems of technology and economics often cross safety lines, moral lines, and ethical lines in order to produce bioproducts used in different fields like environmental remediation, healthcare, and agriculture. These human-made systems have a nature of their own – they combine and evolve with biology, catalyzing debates on emerging biotechnologies and the consequences of their fabrications. Correspondingly, the march of biological discovery and the reshaping of ecosystems have spawned new debates about the origin of life and the levels at which knowledge or consciousness exists; about what is regarded as distinct ‘species’; and about the understanding of ‘evolution’. In this context, the definition of 'life' and its unfolding is seen as dynamic – crisscrossing the erstwhile divide between the living and non-living, the organic and inorganic, the human and nonhuman, growth and decay, life and death. The need to analyze this rapid development in sciences and technologies and the ways in which they are reconfiguring modes of socialization and subjectivation, provide opportunities for experimental artistic approaches that reveal, speculate and expand upon the issues involved in current mutations.
"Bichicuchitu" (above) - "Bichicuchitoo" (below). Excerpts from two 3D computer animations 03:00 duration each, looped (no sound).
Credits: © Pat Badani (Concept, Artistic Direction, Visuals). Muyeol Choe (Assistant 3D animator).
Incu-Bichicuchitos (below) - Bio forms that grow in an incubator. Selection of photographs of live sculptures: vegetables and fruits with mold and fungi. © Pat Badani.


Project Statement
"Bichicuchitu" is an installation composed of two 3D computer animations and other media. Hypothetical organisms are offered for examination and contemplation as in scientific testing. The photographs and the uncanny photorealistic 3D renderings are intended to amplify cognitive dissonance in the viewer by suggesting provisional boundaries between entities, organisms, and species. The animations make visible and believable what has not yet been accounted for and draw attention to life-functions presumed to take place through their entwinement with science and technology. Inspired by factual/fictional narratives about sentient species and the rarity of life, "Bichicuchitu" underscores processes associated with living and dying, composition and disintegration, growth and decay, and adaptability and resilience.

The imaginary 3D rendered 'specimens' are informed by the artist's ongoing series of DIY bio forms that grow in an incubator and enable her to study natural processes that, through time, create entities that defy categorization. A bio-based symbiotic interaction unfolds as mold grows and takes over decaying vegetables and fruits that become necessary nutrients to keep microorganisms alive, creating transspecies assemblages. Like in an alchemist kitchen where substances continually act with one another to shape new things, these works are in transition and they unfold through different states of transformation. Living and dying, growth and decay, overlap in the space and volume of the contaminated foods. Although the decaying vegetables and fruits are rendered inedible for humans, the death of the organic tissue is accompanied by the thriving growth of the infecting bacteria, mold and fungi, suggesting that different bodies, organisms, and species are in the process of becoming with each other through ongoing negotiations. With the aim of reinterpreting subjectivities and positions about who/what has the right to exist and thrive, the organic sculptures underscore interconnections among three actors: disintegrating vegetable matter (the sculpture’s material), thriving recycled matter (bacteria, mold and fungi), and human ecological facilitator (the artist). Indeed, the works suggest mutual dependence between different organisms and species, raising questions about whose wellbeing is actually being met.

Drawing connections between living organisms, sculpture, photography, and 3D computer modelling, the artistic process happens in layers through observation, translation and re-creation. The organic foodstuffs and microorganisms are photographed at evolving stages of composition and decomposition. While the bio forms are dynamic sculptures of live matter, the photographs enter the domain of image-making. Next, both live sculptures and still photography provide a framework for 3D computer simulations that further reconfigure the relationship between material and immaterial processes. The time-based animations crafted with 3D computer modelling software, extend image-making in a complex durational procedure that results from a creative collaboration with technology. The passage from one media to the other in the constellation –live sculpture, photography, and 3D computer animation– reveal differentiated yet interconnected aspects of artistic creation. They involve evolution of new forms that, through transition and transposition, unfold expressive intensity that intermingles their boundaries and highlight the role of technology in fathoming emotion in new forms of visual fictions. In this regard, art is seen as a tool for mediation that makes possible reflexivity concerning complex phenomena in times of uncertainty about the future triggered by climate change and ecological crisis.