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colmena
Kinetic Installation

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A swarm of one hundred creatures settles in the trees of the Mediterranean park upon the hills of Palma where Joan Miró used to live and find his inspiration. At the break of dawn the silent population becomes a vivid collective that assimilates sunlight into organic and chaotic sounds and movements. The electronic-life-forms installation ‘colmena’ by Pascal Glissmann and Martina Höfflin is the winner of the Pilar Juncosa and Sotheby’s Award in 2009. It is commissioned by and installed at the Miró Foundation Museum Palma, Spain

Collaboration with Martina Hoefflin. More images and information on electronic-life-forms.com

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The hanging creatures have a solid skin made of hand-knitted isolated wire to protect their simple analogue electronic organs. These are connected to tentacles that wind up the trees to collect as much sunlight as possible. Fed by light each corpus releases a repetitive monotonous movement accompanied by a a rather technical sound. Gathered as a swarm the individual output is merged into an organic soundscape and a united motion that feels natural and merges with the environment. The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation is located in the lush gardens that surround the studios in which Joan Miró worked from 1956 until his death in 1983. This enchanting and peaceful atmosphere might have been the inspiration for the artist to envision his sculptures to become living creatures during the night or the absence of human beings.

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This influenced the idea of creating a swarm that has an autarkic nature. While the behaviour of the collective is mainly related to the sculptural work of the artist, the appearance of the individual creatures is a reference to his graphic language. The corpuses combine the basic concept of geometric shapes with a very organic and variegated handcrafting. Like Miro‘s forms occupy the canvas, the small beings inhabit the nature around Miro‘s ateliers and workshops. All ‘electronic-life-forms’ installations investigate the relation between nature, human beings and technology by creating unpredictable behaviour and revealing technology in uncommon places. The work ‘colmena’ uses isolated wire – a basic industrial electronic component that is condensed by handcrafting – to create a new kind of living sphere in between the concepts of nature and technology. As all these cysts are knitted by hand in shiftin situations by different people they have an irregular structure that reflects the individual process. Functional electronic parts are combined and assembled in a revealing way to allow the merging with the environments.

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