Process


Overview

The research that led to Futile Labor began in 2012 and was conducted across multiple continents. The primary conceptual, theoretical and biological research was conducted at SymbioticA in the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia. Additional biological research was influenced by the Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Nanophysics MacDonald Hall at the University of Ottawa and Biofilia—Base for Biological Arts in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. The sound and lighting research was conducted at the The Hexagram-Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies at Concordia University.

Growing Muscles

The biological research for Futile Labor relied on recent laboratory techniques which enable the growth of 3D muscles in vitro. The protocol for growing these muscle was developed at the Pelling Lab and slightly altered for the development of this artwork.

Bioreactor [0.1.0]

The biological research for Futile Labor relied on recent laboratory techniques which enable the growth of 3D muscles in vitro. The protocol for growing these muscle was developed at the Pelling Lab and slightly altered for the development of this artwork.

Mechanical Actuator [0.0.3]

Designed by Juha Haaja from Synoste Oy Ltd., the third prototype is a mechanical actuator which uses Nitinol wires.  

The actuator is designed to stretch the membrane with parallel motion on a regular basis. At the size and time parameters can be affected. The purpose is to grow mouse muscle cells on the surface of the membrane and to monitor the impact upon their growth and characteristics.  

Movement is thought to affect cell growth, maturation and ability to form movement. Twitching is often unpredictable and inconsistent in vitro conditions. The actuator is designed to create an external stimulus, which is used to control or influence the movement of the cell.

Mechanical Actuator [0.0.2]

The second prototype is a mechanical actuator for tissue-engineered skeletal muscles. This actuactor was designed and constructed in collaboration with Tao Wang, Orthopaedic Research Unit in The School of Surgery at The University of Western Australia.

Bioreactor [0.0.1]

The first prototype is a semi-portable bioreactor for skeletal muscle tissue culture and real time determination of mechanical properties (micro tensometer). The design and construction for this bioreactor was conducted by Sean M. Pepper under supervision by Prof. Nathan Scott and Dr. Ionat Zurr.