Four-and-a-half liters of blood, slowly collected over eight months into a unique type of battery, powers this sound installation from Russian-based artist ::vtol::, a.k.a., Dmitry Morozov. The piece, called Until I Die, was on show at the Kapelica gallery, Ljubljana in December 2016, with documentation recently released online.
The artwork uses Morozov’s blood to generate electricity, using electrolyte liquid and metals (copper and aluminum) with varying oxidation rates as power sources. This powers an electronic synth module, creating generative sound compositions which play from a speaker.
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The installation features five “blood” batteries which are made up of 11 containers of the artist’s blood diluted with distilled water—and preservatives added—to make seven liters in total.
On his website ::vtol:: notes that the installation, both in visual aesthetics and its methodology, nods to the electrochemical experiments of the 18th and 19th century, particularly scientists Luigi Galvani, discoverer of animal electricity, and Alessandro Volta, inventor of the electrical battery.
“Two mutually reinforcing concepts form the central premise of the project. The first one is my desire to create a technobiological hybrid device after several years of fruitful but exhausting work. This device would be something that is in all but name me, that uses my vitality to create electronic sounds,” explains Morozov on his website. He continues: “Another crucial component of the installation is the generation of electricity: this is the cornerstone of my creative work. The fact that my body’s most important fluid can animate a device designed as an extension of myself beyond my body is also very significant.”