Merging interactive media art with open-ended artworks, Christa Sommerer’s & Laurent Mignonneau’s ‘The Artworks as a Living System’ captures the fluid essence of living systems through evolving art. Through user participation, visitors immerse themselves in transformative experiences, bridging real and artificial nature. Drawing from biological processes, Christa Sommerer’s & Mignonneau’s creations encourage appreciation for our environment, nurturing affection and awareness for plants, insects, and their interwoven existence.

Which wall does your research break?

Through interactive art and user participation we involve visitors in the creation of open-ended media artworks which constantly change, evolve, grow and develop; we see these artworks similar to living systems: they are never fixed, they are in constant flux and development. We want to make people aware of the intricate beauty and fragility of our natural environment and show how we all have a strong impact on these natural processes. Visitors at our exhibitions often told us that through these interactive artworks, they have experienced real and artificial nature in a new way.

What inspired or motivated you to work on your current research or project?

We are inspired by biological processes and nature; fascinated by plants and insects and their behaviour and interactions. We want to study and understand these natural processes and recreate and transform them through artistic methods in interactive media art.

In what ways does society benefit from your research?

We would like to use a quote from our recent MIT Press book: “Sommerer’s and Mignonneau’s unique, consistently newly emerging virtual landscapes and ecosystems unfurl their impact in the tension of order and chaos, programmed and unpredictable happening. They are comprised of open and performative weaves of relations of plants, insects, people, and machines, or in other words, they are interactive systems of silicon and carbon agents. At the same time, in each case, this network turns out to be a fraction of what we would define as living.”(K. Ohlenschläger: “The Artwork as a Living System”, In: K. Ohlenschläger, A. Weidinger, P. Weibel (Eds.) Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau The Artwork as a Living System 1992-2022, The MIT Press, Leonardo Book Series, p.34 (2023)

Looking ahead, what are your hopes or aspirations for the future based on your research or project?

We hope that through our artworks titled ‘The Artworks as a Living System,’ we can help people to appreciate our natural environment, including plants and insects, to love them and to protect them.

Further Information

The Artwork as a Living System at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (DE)


Video documentation:

The Artwork as a Living System at OK Center Linz (AT) 02.09.22–26.02.23

Video documentation: Retrospective_1992-2022/videos/Retrospective-OKCenterLinz-Mignonneau_Sommerer.mp4

The Artwork as a Living System at iMAL Art Centre for Digital Cultures and Technology, Brussels (BE)


MIT Press Book:

Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau

The Artwork as a Living System 1992–2022

Edited by: Karin Ohlenschläger, Peter Weibel and Alfred Weidinger

Publisher: The MIT Press

Further Activities to have a look at