Out of the lab

We've been sharing these new imaginaries from the begining through objects, fictions, discussions, workshops and exhibitions 


Everything started with a semi-living pen

At the very beginning (2012) we had the idea of a semi-living pen. A pen containing bacteria that could turn their food (sugar) into ink so that you can directly feed your pen with sugar to get more ink. With such an infinite process, you would suddenly take care of all these billions of bacteria that you can’t see, creating an emotional relationship with your pen because of those living beings that never stops bringing you ink.

At PILI, we develop the process, and the pen is the original fiction that embodies the technology and helps thinking about the new relationships we can create with micro-organisms!


A KIT to grow your ink

The process we were experiencing in the lab was so magic that we wanted to share it so everyone could experience it. We created a KIT inspired by the beautiful astrophysics tools of the the past centuries. Everything was made to highlight the beauty of the process rather than being as efficient as it would be in the lab. You could see the bacteria grow, the color rising and changing, you could extract the pigment, purify it and then use it to draw.


Workshops "Grow Your Ink"


Workshops for kids "Pousse ton encre"

We extended the idea of making ink by your own to the idea of making it together.

We created workshops to gather people around a table, just like for diner but the recipe was here to guide them through the marvelous process of growing ink and extracting it. Just like in a family diner, the discussions were passionnated and we could discuss all the related subjects and learn from each other. In the end, everyone could draw with the ink they produced.

It was so exciting that we wanted to share this with children. We created a specific workshop with an introduction to bring them in this microscopic world, discussing how bacteria live, reproduce, communicate, our relation to them... In the end, they had to draw a scenario discribing the super-power of a bacteria, wether discovered or created with synthetic biology. Their imagination blew our minds!

// Places
We gave workshops in many contexts: Grow Your Own... (Science Gallery, Dublin), Genespace (NewYork), Le Monde Festival (Opéra Bastille, Paris), Capitaine Futur (Gaïté Lyrique, Paris), Fête de la Science (La Paillasse, Paris)

// Team
These workshops were created by Marie-Sarah Adenis who invited other designers to join her to create and animate these events : Hélène Gaulier, Gwenolé Gasnier, Annelise Légaré and Raphaël Pluvinage


How do they grow? How do they draw?

We also wanted to show the inner life of bacteria which not only happen to create different colors but also different patterns when growing directly on the fabrics. For each bacteria we collaborated with, we created this kind of ID.

Bacteria had a name, they now have a map, a signature, their own design if we can say!


The Fabric of the living • Centre Pompidou •

PILI was exhibiting at The Centre Pompidou in La Fabrique du Vivant from 20.02.19 to 15.04.19  


"The exhibition questions the mutations of the concept of nature, in the light of the recent technological production. It traces an archeology of life and artificial life. Mostly prospective, the exhibition also presents some significant creations and innovations in the field of art, design and architecture through the works of fifty creators."

// Set up Marie-Sarah Adenis & Piotr Widelka
// Curators 
Marie-Ange Brayer & Olivier Zeitoun



PILI Pigment Meteor Shower is on display in the entrance hall

you can watch the full Pigment Meteor Shower 


👇 teaser of the exhibition (PILI inside!) 👇


Broken Nature • XXII Triennale di Milano •

PILI was exhibiting at Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival 
in the French Section From Thought to Visible. Design as a large Ring from 01.03.19 to 01.09.19 


Stills from PILI video on display

Text excerpts of PILI from the exhibition book

General view of the exhibition

The XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival” curated by Paola Antonelli, focuses on “creative practices in surveying our species bonds with the complex systems in the world, and designing reparations when necessary, through objects, concepts, and new systems.” PILI is exhibiting in the French section “De la pensée au visible. Design As A Large Ring”. The idea was to underline the conceptual and yet contemplative aspects of the projects: «France, with its applied arts legacy, now has the asset of thought and humanities. In the French section, the large model-surface, surface-landscape, surface-projection has added a bookcase filled with several hundred copies of the same publication. It contains design projects. Readable, these books belong to the surface, they support it. They are the project archive.»

// Texts Marie-Sarah Adenis
// Translation
Una Dimitrijevic
// Video
Marie-Sarah Adenis & Paul Bonlarron
// Curators Catherine Geel and a young reasearcher commission

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