Mike Thompson & Susana Cámara Leret

Mike Thompson and Susana Cámara Leret are Amsterdam-based artists and fellows of Waag Society. During their fellowship they will developing The Rythm of Life. This project is produced with media artist Dave Young, in collaboration with scientists from the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre at Leiden University, and TNO Quality of Life.

Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson thinks of design as a tool for challenging and reframing society's preconceptions. Generating valuable scenarios and concepts, his work questions society's common codes of conduct, providing us with new tools for possible futures. In doing so his work has reflected upon themes such as sustainability, biotechnology, health care and psychology.

Developing multidisciplinary collaborations with experts ranging from the life to computer sciences, and cross-pollination with institutes such as the Waag Society and The Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, his work explores the potential implications and meanings of new research and technologies, to generate fresh relationships between function and behaviour. To do this, he bridges both scientific and creative thinking via the use of design as a cultural probe, developing innovative ways to approach, discuss and create with materials and technology. Mike's work has been widely publicised and exhibited worldwide including at the Science Gallery Dublin, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 2011, Mike was awarded the Designers and Artists for Genomics Award for the project proposal Aqua Vita, a collaboration with designer Susana Cámara Leret and the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre. Whilst much of Mike's work is self-initiated he also applies his design approach to industry sponsored research and commercial projects. From May 2011 to April 2012 Mike was [the first] Research Associate on the CRISP programme at Design Academy Eindhoven. The GRIP project, of which Mike was a team member, was a collaboration between Design Academy Eindhoven, the Technical Universities Eindhoven and Delft, and Philips Design, working on the development of a flexible Product-Service System for Work-Related Stress.

Mike currently works from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he is Fellow at the Waag Society, while he also tutors in ‘Design Research’ in the Kompass Department at Design Academy Eindhoven, the New Frontiers Minor at Willem de Kooning Academie and coaches in the Next Nature Programme in the Department of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Susana Cámara Leret
Susana Cámara Leret (Madrid, 1982) currently lives and works from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her work explores the boundaries between technology and human experience, through an experimental and transdisciplinary practise. The narratives she creates span across different media, oscillating at the intersections between art, design, science, fiction and reality, to confront scientific truth with the anecdotal or absurd. Her interests lie in cross-species exchanges, in an on-going search for alternate ways of living, materialised in the form of speculative products, systems or services. These explorations often entail multidisciplinary collaborations with experts from the life to the computer sciences, alongside institutes such as the Netherland's Metabolomics Centre or The Waag Society: Institute for Art Science and Technology (NL), where she is currently Fellow.

Susana studied Fine Arts at Complutense University of Madrid, later obtaining a MA in Conceptual Design in Context (IM) from Design Academy Eindhoven. She worked at Philips Design Probes shortly after graduating and has recently concluded a Research Associateship on the Creative Industry Scientific Programme (CRISP) at Design Academy Eindhoven, focused on the role of design fictions in the clinical setting.

The Rythm of Life
“Rhythm is something you either have or don’t have, but when you have it, you have it all over.” (Elvis Presley).

What if we were able to listen in on the electro-chemical messages sent by our bodies?

Biophotons, or light emitted during biological processes, is used in cell to cell communication in plants, bacteria and animals. Invisible to the naked eye, these particles of light belong to the electromagnetic spectrum and are detectable with instruments such as a Photomultiplier Tube. In recent studies, scientists from the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre (NMC) monitored the emission of photons from the body using this technology. Placing both hands into the machine, participants are recorded hundreds of times per second over a five minute time period, revealing the constant photon emissions and fluctuations of the human body – the so-called Rhythm of Life.

Translating these light frequencies into sound, the Rhythm of Life transforms the human body into a synthesiser, allowing participants to experience for the first time the invisible patterns unique to each individual. Open to all, such an experience brings to question, how might people react when offered the opportunity to experience their body in a new light, in exchange for donating their personal data to science?