Russian artist Dmitry Morozov, also known as ::vtol:: recently released a video of his “Until I Die” sound installation. What makes it uniquely and rather macabrely interesting is that it was powered by his own blood.
Until I Die
Dmitry’s blood was used a liquid electrolyte within large glass batteries. Metals with difference oxidation rates, such as copper and aluminium, were used as the anode and cathode. There are enough minerals in the blood to create a direct current. The installation consists of 5 batteries formed of 11 storage vats and just about generates a total of 3V. To fill the vats Dimitry started taking blood 18 months ago. The blood had to go through various treatments to conserve its chemical composition, colour and homogeneity. He produced 4.5 litres which was diluted to 7 litres for the installation. To complete his awe-inspiring commitment to the project the last 200ml of blood was drawn during the performance presentation. The batteries lasted for about 8 hours.
He built the sound engine around an Axoloti open-source synthesizer module. It contained voltage converters, buffer capacitors, a small booster with speakers and a display which showed the voltage after conversion. The sound is generated algorithmically, powered by the current from the blood batteries. Sadly no other details about the sound generation are available.
The video and website go into a lot of detail about the thinking and process behind the installation. It makes for very interesting reading. Suffice to say that his desire was to create electronic sounds using his own vitality. He becomes an observer of his own performance that exists outside of his body.
The fact that my body’s most important fluid can animate a device designed as an extension of myself byond my body is also very significant.
The generation of electricity is the cornerstone of his creative work. He talks about blood and electricity in fascinating terms, mixing science with mysticism and the metaphysical.
It’s an extraordinary thing to have done and a beautiful if somewhat terrifying installation that you just can’t help be drawn to. It does raise the question of how much of yourself you are prepared to put into your creative output. To which my answer would probably be – not that much!
First experimental public concept presentation took place on 25.11.2016 in The Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art (Gdansk, PL), as part of Die and Become exhibition project. You’ll find all the details on ::vtol:: website.