Artificial systems can adapt and acquire knowledge by means of algorithms. What is the experience and expression of such systems?

Three developers and designers - Andreas Steiner, Gabriel le Roux and Roland Widmer - explore this question at the intersection of technology and nature, art and science.

technology and nature


nuru seli [Swahili: light in the cells]

Local interactions, complex patterns

at  Schatzalp Hotel Switzerland | 2021

at  What the lab Offspace Art Basel | 2022

at  Dock18 Art'n'Tech Show Rote Fabrik | 2023

RTX 3080 Ti | Tensorflow | OpenGL | NES Controllers | Pixels on Plaster

One million cells are projected as individual pixels. The behaviors of the cells are manipulated by controllers, open for participants to play with particles and waves. Even though every cell influences only its immediate neighbors, complexity quickly emerges.

Local patterns slowly evolve and the global structure gives way, preserving the appearance, but parsing its parts. seli’s interactive cells make for a mesmerizing experience in biomimicry.

original publication
Seli initialized from a picture of a silicon computer chip, slowly transitioning to dunes of silicon dioxide.
Project nuru seli Project nuru seli
Seli colonies mapped onto historical plastering ceiling structures in Schatzalp.


nuru shimoni [Swahili: light in the hole]

Human Motion and Machine Emotion

at  Rhizom  &  Kosmos  | 2019-present

6 Channel Sound System | Neopixels | Kinect | Sonar | PIR | Ableton Live

Shimoni reacts to humans. Humans react to Shimoni. Sensory data becomes emotive input, which is expressed through a decentralized network of optic and sonic signals.

The dynamic interaction that emerges is akin to communication, immediately turning spectators into participants. Emotion and expression enmesh as human and machine interact in an organic feedback pattern, quickly blurring the lines between artificial and real.

nuru shimoni interacting nuru shimoni interacting
Intimate encounter with Shimoni in a dark room.
Wrapping of Shimoni for a rare sighting in Kosmos.


Andreas Peter Steiner

MSc D-ITET, Dr. med Google Brain | Swiss TPH | ETHZ | UNIL

Andreas has been working on a bi-directional interface of neural cells with a microchip, computer assisted diagnosis of Tuberculosis, 3D LED visualizations for concerts, and assigning artificial flowers to voice phenotypes. He is currently working at Google Brain, experimenting with neural networks for computer vision.

Andreas holds a double major in medicine and electrical engineering and his curious mind led him to explore projects across different fields, from improving Tuberculosis diagnosis in Tanzanian prisons to designing neuromorphic chips with the department of electrical engineering at ETHZ. Andreas is also a guest lecturer in deep learning, an expert for Schweizer "Jugend forscht", and a member of the Swiss society for mechatronic arts.

Gabriel Antoine le Roux

MSc Computational Eng Science Meta | Zuse Institut Berlin | TU Berlin | UCT

Gabriel is currently working with AR/VR Prototypes. Previously he was involved in the development of the Camera Facialis 3D Portrait Studio, where he developed stereographic camera systems and dynamic 3D facial models for facial expression analysis.

His robotics achievements and installations: The Mimik Explorer , an interactive psychological research tool, showcased at the Martin-Gropius-Bau (Berlin), the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum (Dresden), and the Vögele Kulturzentrum (Pfäffikon). He won the first Amazon Picking Challenge with team RBO in 2015. The Hauptbahnhof at Afrikaburn in 2017. The Mother Plant at Waking Life in 2018.

Roland Guido Widmer

Sound Designer, Musician, DJ, Music Editor Zentralton | Openbroadcast Radio

Roland has been leading his own sound creation company Zentralton GmbH for over 20 years. He works as a Sound Designer and Musician for Cinema and TV Productions. He is also part of an electronic live act called "Die Galoppierende Zuversicht" since 2002.

He's also frequently collaborating with Pipilotti Rist, creating sound and music for her art installations such as the Pixel Forest at Kunsthaus Zürich, the National Museum of Qatar(Doha), New Museum (New York), and a music piece for the AROS Museum Arhus (Denmark). He won the "Werkjahr" Price of the city of Zürich in 2006 and "Best Swiss Live Act" in 2009 for the project "Die Galoppierende Zuversicht".