Protozoa Games

After having read about Computer games for humans and animals, Myriel sent me a link to Protozoa Games. Reflecting on animal experimentation and the relationships between species, both installations allows humans and live protozoa to compete in a pinball-like environment mediated by digital microscope and motion tracking technologies.


Scientists usually get lower forms to follow their bidding – for example, rats running a maze. In Follow-Me, the human in front of the Protozoa is invited to try to duplicate the motions of the protozoa. A virtual rectangle on the floor mimics the relative positions on the screen rectangle of the microscope. Using a split screen the installation offers live video of human and protozoa and rewards the human’s tracking the movements with a pinball-like environment of bells ringing, lights flashing, electronic sounds, and score increments.

In Control-Me, targets are superimposed on the microscope video of the protozoa. The humans are invited to try to influence the protozoa to move toward one of the targets, adopting strategies that range from domination to friendly appeal. If more than one human is present, there can be a competition to control the protozoa. They can exert influence by singing/yelling/speaking into microphones on oppositie sides of the protozoa culture petri dish under the microscope or by controlling lights placed on opposite sides of the petri dish.

Video documentation.

By Stephen Wilson. Interview of the artist in