Life Support Systems: Vanda


Mateusz Herczka




Netherlands /Poland


Bio-Cultural Sphere

Life Support Systems: Vanda explores the possibilities to upload signals from a Vanda Hybrida orchid into a Microsoft Xbox, as a kind of longevity through computing. This work is an ongoing project which reshapes itself in parallel to scientific developments, exhibition contexts, and other changing parameters. The goal is to create a virtual organism from this orchid which can exist indefinitely, kept alive inside computer media in the form of a data structure based on current A.I. technologies such as neural networks and hidden markov models. After the live individual is disconnected, its virtual counterpart will continue to generate signals which mimic the patterns of the original.

The installation is put together through a process of evolution - it has changed to accommodate various exhibition contexts, broken items have been replaced with others, technology has been discarded and upgraded, different sponsors have donated materials to the project. It has converged into an undesigned lab with a mix of cheap and expensive materials based on what works. In the end, the container for the new entity turned out to be a Microsoft Xbox, which is hacked to act as a ftp server with a hard drive. Finally, this lab raises questions about the nature of this new data structure/entity. The captured data structure is visualized and auralized using two standard methods - a self organizing network in 3d space, and a sound constructed by sending sinetones through this network.

The work received a distinction award at Ars Electronica 2005.


Mateusz Herczka (1970, Poland) studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and in 2005 received his Master Summa Cum Laude at the Royal Conservatory of Music & Royal Academy of Art in Den Hague. He creates conceptual audiovisual pieces as a software artist and performer. Mateusz Herczka has a diverse project history, the common denominator being an interest in bioscience and artificial intelligence research, exploring ways to connect those with realities of human existence and perception. It dislocates perception by applying logical or illogical operations to common everyday objects.
His projects evolve into labs or proposals around parameters from science, human mind space, and the “real life”, recombining and reshaping these into art concepts.
His works appear internationally in art spaces and museums as well as new media contexts. He also collaborates in dance projects with some of Sweden’s main choreographers, designing and exploring new systems for generating movement.