Guy Ben-Ary's stem cells control his keyboard
Flynn Massey

15:24 17th December 2015

An Australian-based artist has made music from a synthesiser built from his own stem cells. Guy Ben-Ary aka Steminem, has been involved with the cellF project since 2012.

The synthesiser plays music that is directly controlled by a network of Ben-Ary's own neural stem cells, which were collected from his own skin.

The project, which was a collaboration between Ben-Ary, Darren Moore, Nathan Thompson and Andrew Fitch, was premiered at the Masonic Hall in Perth earlier this year In October. On the artist's website, Ben-Ary talked about the inspiration behind this unique idea.

"I was inspired by an ultimately narcissistic desire to re-embody myself. Over the last 15 years I have been engaged in the process of developing robotic bodies whose aesthetics and function are informed by the specificity of each bio-engineered “brain”, I have also been playing around with the idea of exploring new and novel robotic self-embodiment strategies."

The project itself was based on a childhood dream of being a rock star. Now via his "external brain" and "sound-producing 'body' comprised of an array of analogue modular synthesisers", Ben-Ary has now found a way to "perform live, reflexive and improvised sound pieces or 'jam sessions' that are not entirely human".

"Essentially cellF can be seen as a cybernetic musician/composer," Ben-Ary added. "The artwork is performative, where human musicians are invited to play with cellF in special one-off shows. The human-made music is fed to the neurons as stimulation, and the neurons respond by controlling the analogue synthesizers, and together they perform live, reflexive and improvised sound pieces or “jam sessions” that are not entirely human."

To have an idea of what this sounds like, check out the video below and see it for yourself.

Watch Ben-Ary perform CellF

Photo: YouTube