Prpl Vlvt

“Prpl Vlvt”: The interplay between Aronia m. Babe (berryapple), its bacteria and fungi, light, electrical energy, J.M.William Turner and the human observer.

“Prpl Vlvt” is an artscience project that challenges the borders between art, humanities and sciences with a radical transdisciplinary and inter-species approach. Through this process we ultimately want to provoke new views on the interacting web of life and to reveal yet-to-emerge questions.

In the core of the project is the tangible artscience work, in which artist Bartaku (Be/Fin) and a group of natural scientists create a biosolar panel based on natural dyes. The panel mimics the painting “Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth” (exhibited 1842) by J.M. William Turner.
The colorants originate from Bartaku´s companion plant Aronia m. Babe and its endophytic bacteria. They absorb sunlight that is transformed into electrical energy, used to highlight the original painting in the presence of public.
The biosolar painting is the point of departure for an experimental artscience process that generates various artistic, scientific and artscience works. These make tangible the societal and ethical implications of involving biological entities in art and technology. Also, relating other life forms with a human art master enables us to express the common vital basis we share in molecular, physical and aesthetic energy and time.
The concrete artscience work serves not only as a physical manifestation of transdisciplinary work, but also as a creativity-stimulating challenge that ties our disciplines together: interdependencies between biology, technology and culture that form research questions of their own. It forms a concrete, fertile “playground” enabling unconventional interactions to appear and new questions to arise.

“That sounds an unusual and interesting project…
The painting (´Snow Storm´) is in good condition, and
not suffered f
rom mould growth or biological attack
of any kind. Some of Turner’s paintings have a preparatory
layer with an egg white medium, and therefore are prone
mould growth in damp conditions, but this one has oil medium
and oil-based paint throughout.”

– Joyce H. Townsend. Senior Conservationist, Tate Britain
March 9, 2018

Principal scientific researchers involved:

Janne Halme & Pyry Mäkinen (research assistant) – Aalto University, School of Science, Department of Applied Physics, New Energy Technologies,

Paulo Pinho – Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, Lighting Unit.

Merja Pentillä – Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.