Russian artist Vtol used his own blood as a power source for his latest electric sound exhibit. Vtol draws his blood onstage to help power his creation (photograph via Vtol)
Blood is a life source and important for our daily functions, but did you ever think it could power other things aside from our bodies? Russian artist Vtol (Dmitry Morozoy) showed just how powerful blood is with one of his latest projects. Titled “Until I Die,” Vtol built an electronic sound installation he powers himself with eleven “blood batteries.” The piece uses his blood as an electrolyte resulting in direct current batteries when mixed with metals like aluminum and copper. The blood powers an electronic synth module, which creates sound compositions and plays via a speaker.
To make this creation come to life, Vtol extracted and store under 1.2 gallons of blood over 18 months. Generally, it’s not good practice to store blood that long, so various manipulations had to be done to keep the blood’s color, chemical composition, homogeneity, and sterility intact. In the end, he gathered about 4.5 liters of blood, which was then diluted to produce 7 liters, which is how much the installation needs to run properly. For an even more dramatic effect, the last bit of blood needed for the installation was drawn from Vtol’s arm during the performance. And you thought getting blood drawn at the doctor’s office was bad.
So why go through the trouble? Just for the sake of art? Not exactly. Vtol explains that the performance is a “symbolic act.” Since he can power this device with his blood, he sees it as an extension of himself. There is literally a part of him in this creation, and that’s what he wanted. And what better way to show just how powerful and vital blood is? Here is an installation showing you how exactly blood works as an energy source. It’s something to think about the next time you hear about a local blood drive.
If you’re hoping to see this wild performance for yourself, you’re out of luck. The initial performance took place at the Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana in December 2016. Luckily, documentation of the event recently surfaced online. You can watch the mind blowing performance here. Chances are you won’t be seeing phones and tablets powered by blood in the future. But the fact that someone powered this device with such a vital fluid makes you change the way you think about blood.
Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com