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Living Capsules, 2022 -2023 

In co-creating these prototypes we took inspirations from the broad conceptualization of Living Machines and from technological developments/imaginaries in the field. After engaging with a sample of capsules, through our senses, we will share some of our aims, narrate how we have been working together, and locate our approach within (sensory) ethnography.

Techniques studied: Multisensory experience and performance, sonification of chromatograph and frequency data, landscape of sound, microscopic image, voice recording, AI images.

Biohybrid Buzz: an activation through tasting frequencies

‘Biohybrid Buzz’ is an immersion consisting of a sound and taste experience that explores the relationship between biohybrid bodies, human senses and living machines. The public will be invited to savor a capsule made with a special Brazilian flower (also known as Electric Daisy or Buzz Buttons) and sense a surround audio with low frequencies. The experience will activate mouth and skin receptors simultaneously.


This distinguished and unique experience will also share other four prototypes created in our cross-disciplinary investigation between an artist (Burd) and a sociologist (Barker). These pieces were co-created based on the question of How might we come to live with Living Machines? The present investigation was also a catalyst that led to the birth of a sonification of the plant, microscope imaging and an explanatory video with Brazilian recipes of food and drinks of the Amazon area. In this installation the audience will be confronted with the concept of Living Machines and speculative ideas about how our futures with them might feel.   

We are willing to transform new data for the laboratories we visited and sonify it together with moving images of real biohybrid plants. Some of the blended practices when prototyping Living Capsules that we would like to highlight were: composing low frequency sound sculpture over sensory (ethnography) fieldnotes, sonification of samples of plants, microscoping imaging, surround audio tests and creation of haptic and taste pieces. We are motivated by imagining, inventing, and shaping worlds to come, in the idea of unsettling Living/non-Living Boundaries in dialog with other thinkers and creators.


Leverhulme Trust, Santander Investigación and European Social Fund, from 'AGAUR' Agency for Management of University and Research Grants, Department of Business and Knowledge of Catalunya, Spain.

Other collaborators:

Carey Jewitt (researcher advisor)
Dr Han Hu (Chromatography advisor)
Dr Tchern Lenn (Microscopy and Imaging Technician) Ellie Doney (art and materials advisor)
Franccyne Kuser Fegalo (Food Technologist)
Louise Carpenedo (video recording and editing) Nikolas Gomes (sound consultant)
Ramandeep Shergill (photographer)

Currently being developed at  Knowledge Lab, UCL, London. 

artist Joana Burd together with PI Ned Barker

Project Biohybrid Bodies: a sociological framework for living with Living Machines 

Knowledge Lab - ​IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society​ @BiohybridB

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