Life Writer

interactive installation

© 2006, Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer

commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA)
Collection of ITAU Cultural, Brasil
Collection of the ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany


Life Writer Concept

Life Writer consits of an old-style type writer that evokes the area of analogue text processing. In addition a normal piece of paper is used as projection screen and the position of the projection is always matched with the position of the type writer roll. When users type text into the keys of the type writer, the resulting letters appear as projected characters on the normal paper. When users then push the carriage return, the letters on screen transform into small black and white artificial life creatures that appear to float on the paper of the type writer itself. The creatures are based on genetic algorithms where text is used as the genetic code that determines the behaviour and movements of the creatures. The algorithms were developed for one of our previpus works called Life Spacies [2] and here the text functions as genetic code for the creation of artifical life creatures.

As in the Life Spacies system the artificial creatures created by the act of typing can be faster or slower depending on their genetic code and body shape. All of the artificial life creatures also need to eat text in order to stay alive and when users type a new text the creatures will quickly try to snap up these characters from the paper in order to get energy. Once creatures have eaten enough text they can also reproduce and have off-spring so eventuelly the screen can become very full when creatures a fed well.

The user can also push the creatures around when using the scroll of the typing machines cylinder. She can for example push the creatures back into the machine which will crush them or scroll the creatures off the screen alltogether, making new place for new creatures.

By connecting the act of typing to the act of creation of life, Life Writer deals with the idea of creating an open-ended artwork where user-creature and creature-creature interaction become essential to the creation of digital life and where an emergent systems of life-like art emerges on the boundaries between analog and digital worlds.


my images

Life Writer Exhibitions

2024 The Artwork as a Living System at the Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao (February 7th until  May 26th, 2024)
exhibition Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Curators: Karin Ohlenschläger
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee"
Co-production in collaboration with the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE) and the OÖ Landes-Kultur, Linz (AT)
- Bilbao, Spain

2023 The Artwork as a Living System at iMAL Brussels (from April 14th to Sept 24th 2023)
Retrospective exhibition Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Curators: Karin Ohlenschläger
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee"
Co-production in collaboration with the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE) and the OÖ Landes-Kultur, Linz (AT)
- Brussels, Belgium

2022 OK Zentrum Linz "The Artwork as a Living System" (2nd Sept 2022 - 26th Feb 2023)
Retrospective exhibition
Curators: Alfred Weidinger and Genoveva Rückert-Sommerauer
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Anthroposcope", "Antopolis", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Linz, Austria

2022 ZKM Retrospective "The Artwork as a Living System" (07.May.2022 – 31.July.2022)
(video trailer) (STIR World article)
Retrospective exhibition
Curated by Peter Weibel (Cuator), Jessica Menger (Co-Curator), Philipp Ziegler (Co-Curator). Nina Liechti (Curatorial Assistance)
The interactive installations in the exhibition tell the story of almost 30 years of artistic work by the Austrian-French artist duo Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.
Based on an idea of Karin Ohlenschläger.
The exhibition is a co-production of ZKM | Karlsruhe, OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH, Linz and iMal, Brussels. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication in English edited by Karin Ohlenschläger, Peter Weibel and Alfred Weidinger in the Leonardo Book Series in collaboration with MIT Press.
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Karlsruhe, Germany


2019 - 2022 ZKM
Exhibition: "Writing the History of the Future"
Opening: 19 July 2019 - 09 January 2022
Curated by Peter Weibel and Margit Rosen
Featuring "Life Writer" from the ZKM collection
- Karlsruhe, Germany

2019 Solo Show at BEALL Art Center
Feb. 8, 2019 - May 2019
Curator: David Familian
We show: Fly Simulator, Neuro Mirror, Portrait in the Fly, Interactive Plant Growing, Noise and Smoke, Fly Portraits (of Jeffrey Shaw, Peter Weibel, Christiane Paul, Lynn Hershman, Erkki Huhtamo, David Familian, Roy Ascott and ChristaLaurent Self Portrait)
- Irvine, CA, USA

2018 ZKM Karlsruhe
Art in Motion. 100 Masterpieces with and through Media - An Operative Canon Sommerer and Mignonneau show their pioneering interactive art work "Interactive Plant Growing" (c) 1992 from the ZKM Collection and their popular "Life Writer" installation (c) 2006 - Karlsruhe, Germany

2015 Art Bahrain
13.-16. October 2015 represented by Galerie Peithner-Lichtenfels, Vienna
- Manama, Bahrain

2015 Parallel Art Fair
23.-27. September 2015
represented by Galerie Peithner-Lichtenfels, Vienna
- Vienna, Austria

2014 Genoteerd ! (Noted)
from 27.2.-2.03.2014
Festival in the Concertgebouw
featuring "Life Writer"
- Brugge, Belgium

2014 Solo show at the Galerie Charlot
(8th January til 22nd February)
featuring "Life Writer", "Eau de Jardin" and "Phototropy"

- Paris, France

2013 - Arte Cibernetica
at MEPE - Museum of the State of Pernambuco
Itau Cultural's collection,
- Recife, Brasil

2012 Art Bodensee 2012 (13.-15. July 2012)
Solo presentation in "The View Contemporary Art Space"
Curator: Anna Emmerling
- Dornbirn, Austria

2012 - Arte Cibernetica
at Estacao Cabo Branco
Itau Cultural's collection,
- Joao Pessoa , Brasil

2012 Laznia Centre for Contemporary (Art, 14. May .2012 - 24. June.2012)
Solo Exhibition "Wonderful Life, Art& Science Meeting"
Curator: Ryszard Kluszinsky
Artists: Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer
Gdansk, Poland

2012 MUSEUM VILLA ROT (25.March.2012 until 17.June.2012)
Exhibition: "Jäger und Gejagdte,"
Curator: Stefanie Dathe
Artists: Jennifer Angus, Jana Eske, Jan Fabre, Tessa Farmer, Lili Fischer, Kirsten Geisler, Douglas Gordon, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Sanna Kannisto, Susanne Kutter, Cyrill Lachauer, Polonca Lovs(in, Joanna Maxellon, Katharina Meldner, Lucy Powell, Bärbel Rothhaar, Günther & Loredana Selichar, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Eva Teppe, Mark Thompson, Evgenija Wassil
Burgfrieden, Germany

2012 Art Karlsruhe THE VIEW Contemporary Art Space, (08 March 3.2012 until 11. March .2012)
Karlsruhe, Germany

2011 Albury LibraryMuseum ( 3 Dec, 2011 - 29 Jan, 2012.)
Experimenta Utopia Now
- Kiewa Street, Albury, Australia

2011 Wood Street Galleries"Parallel Universe" September 30th - December 31st, 2011
Lawrence Malstaf, Arnold Dreyblatt, Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer
- Pittsburgh, USA

2011 Fourth Moscow Biennale starting September 22nd until October 30th 2011
complete list of artists
- Moscow, Russia

2011 Ars Electronica Berlin
" What Machines Dream Of " - Ars Electronica at VW Berlin. 201
(7th of July 2011– 28th of August 2011)
-Berlin, Germany

2011 Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Experimenta Utopia Now, International Biennial of Media Art (EUN)
from 5th of August til 3rd of October, 2011.
- Hobart, Tasmania

2011 - Arte Cibernetica
at the "Usina do Gasometro"
Itau Cultural's collection
- Porto Alegre, Brasil

2011 Hans Arp Museun "BIOMORPH!" (27th May - 22nd January 2012)
Hans Arp, Angelika Arendt -Jackie Brookner, Bonnie Collura, Tony Cragg, Jachym Fleig, Julie Hayward, Bodo Korsig, Gerhard Mantz, Maix Mayer, Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer, Wilhelm Mundt, Ernesto Neto, Thomas Rentmeister, venske & spanle, Luis Vidal, Birgitta Weimer
Rolandseck, Germany

2011 Experimenta "Utopia Now" from the 12 May - 19 June, 2011
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (MPRG)
Melbourne, Australia

2011 Techfest, 7.-9.1.2011 We are part of the "Ars Electronica"
Featuring "Magic Eye-Dissolving Borders" and "Life Writer":
- Mumbai, India

2010 Kunsthaus Graz
October 10th 2010 - January 9th 2011
curator: Peter Pakesch
- Graz, Austria

2010 Redland Art Gallery
"Experiementa Utopia Now - International Biennale of Media Art"
June 6th – July 11th 2010
artists: Peter Alwast (Poland) // Patrick Bernatchez (Canada) // Michael Burton (UK) // Penelope Cain (Australia) // Cao Fei (China) // Leon Cmielewski & Josephine Starrs (Australia) // Christopher Fulham (Australia) // Susan Jacobs (Australia) Christian Jankowski (Germany) // Jimmy McGilchrist (Australia) //Rowan McNaught (Australia) // Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer (France/Austria) // Van Sowerwine & Isobel Knowles (Australia) // Dorota Mytych (Poland) // Stuart Ringholt (Australia) // Kuang-Yu Tsui (Taiwan) // Kit Wise (Australia)
- Queensland, Australia

2010 FMX - Festival de México
Centro Cultural de Espana
March 18th – 28th 12010
curators: Karla Jasso, Manuela Pfaffenbichler, Gerfried Stocker

- Mexico City, Mexico

2010 The Arts Center Melbourne
"Experimenta-Art for the 21st Century"
Feb 12th-March14th 2010
artists: Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, William Kentridge, Shilpa Gupta, Kit Wise, at al.
- Melbourne, Australia

2010 Tinguely Museum
June 9th - September 12th 2010
in collaboration with Kunsthaus Graz
curator: Peter Pakesch
Artists: Yan Duyvendak, Jessica Field, Ed Kienholz, Richard Kriesche, Nam June Paik, Walter Pichler, Christa Sommerer und Laurent Mignonneau and Stelarc
- Basel, Switzerland

2010 Museum Stift Admont
“Play Admont” an exhibition as part of the Regionale 2010
June 3rd - November 7th 2010
curators: Michael Braunsteiner & Christine Peters
artists: Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Thomas Baumann, Johannes   Deutsch, Julius Deutschbauer, Tim Etchells, William Forsythe, Armin Linke & Peter Hanappe, Reactable – Martin Kaltenbrunner/Sergi Jorda/Günter Geiger/Marcos Alonso, Hubert Machnik, Hans Polhammer, Werner Reiterer, Robotlab - Matthias Gommel/Martina Haitz/Jan Zappe, Constanze Ruhm, Richard Siegal/The Bakery, Martin Walde, Hans Winkler, Erwin Wurm
- Admont, Austria

2010 MOT Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (Feb. 2 | Mar. 22 2010)
"Technoclasm Cyber Arts Japan /Ars Electronica 30 years for Art and Media Technology"
curator: Tomoe Moriyama
artists: Isao Tomita, Ryuichi Sakamoto & Toshio Iwai, Maywa Denki, Sommerer&Mignonneau, et al.
-Tokyo, Japan

2009 "Cultures of Change - Changing Cultures" (December 11th 2009 - Feburay 28th 2010)
ArtsSantaMonica in Barcelona, Spain
Curator: Josep Perello & Pau Alsina
Artists: Sommerer & Mignonneau, Usman Hague, Luc Steels, James Crutchfield, et al.
- Barcelona, Spain

2009 KINOKINO media art exhibition
from 11.09.2009 until 31.10.2009
- Sandnes, Norway

2009 Ars Electronica 2009 - 30 years Ars Electronica exhibition
from 03.09.2009 - 08.09.2009
- Linz, Austria

2009 - Arte Cibernetica
at the Inima de Paula Museum
Collection of Itau Cultural
- Belo Horizonte , Brasil

2009 ZKM Media Museum (from 01.05.2009 - 30.08.2009)
YOU_ser 2.0: celebration of the consumer
curated by Peter Weibel
with works by: Peter Campus, Jeffrey Shaw, Jim Cambell, Kurst Hofstetter, Informationlab, Mark Lee,
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jonas Mekas, reactTable, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau,, Peter Weibel, Martin Walde et al.
- ZKM Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany

2009 Uncharted - User Frames in Media Arts (21.03.09-20.09.2009)
YOU_ser: The Century of the Consumer
Sanstral Instanbul & ZKM Media Museum Karlsruhe
- Instanbul, Turkey

2009 ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (7.2. – 26.4.2009)
Enter Action – Digital Art Now
artists: Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen, aka, Knowbotic Research, Erik Olofsen, Alexei Shulgin, Aristarkh Chernyshev, Manu Luksch, Mari Velonaki, Mogens Jacobsen, Marnix de Nijs, Kaffe Matthews, Ludic Society
curator: Giite Orskou
- Aarhus, Denmark

2009 ZKM Media Museum
YOU[ser] The Century of the Consumer
curator: Peter Weibel
- Karlsruhe, Germany

2008 KOSMOPOLIS 2008 International Festival of the Literature (22nd – 26th October 2008)
CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
curator: Anna Guarro
- Barcelona, Spain

2008 Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo
curators: Peter Weibel, Wonil Rhee and Marie-Ange Brayer
- Sevilla, Spain

2008 Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2008
Curator: Nora Ng
- Hong Kong

2008 Media_City Seoul 2008
Seoul International Media Art Biennale (Sept 12th – Nov 12th 2008)
Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art
Curator: Joo-yun Lee
- Seoul, South Korea

2008 Net.Culture.Space at Museumsquartier 21 (March 18th – May 6th 2008)
sponsored by Ars Electronica and Telecom Austria
- Vienna, Austria

2008 Zentrum Paul Klee (26 January 2008 – 27 April 2008)
"Genesis – The Art of Creation"
exhibiting artists: Jean Arp, Aziz & Cucher, Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Ross Bleckner, Christine Borland, Jaq Chartier, Douglass Crockwell, Agnes Denes, Mark Dion, Charles & Ray Eames, Mark Francis, Herbert W. Franke, David Fried, Fritz Glarner, Antony Gormley, Thomas Grünfeld, Mona Hatoum, Georg Herold, Floris Kaayk, Eduardo Kac, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee , Thomas Kovachevich, Sol LeWitt, Aaron Marcus, Larry Miller, Vera Molnar, Piet Mondrian, Frieder Nake, Bruce Nauman, Georg Nees, Michel Paysant, Marc Quinn, Kathleen Rogers, Dieter Roth, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Tomas Schmit, Lillian Schwartz, Karl Sims, Rudolf Steiner, Koen Vanmechelen, Woody & Steina Vasulka
Curator: Fabienne Eggelhöfer
- Bern, Switzerland

2007 LABoral Centro de Arte y Creacion Industrial
“Feedback – Art Responsive to Instructions, Input, or its Environment”
(March 30 – June 30)
with works by Antonio Muntadas, Hans Haake, Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Jean Tinguely, Nam June Paik, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Paul Sermon, David Rokeby, et al.
curated by Christiane Paul (Whitney New York), Jemima Rellie (Tate Modern, London), Charlie Gere
- Gijon, Spain

2006 "the gen(h)ome project exhibition"
at "the Schindler's House"
MAK Center for the Arts
- West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA

2006 "simposio - exhibition interface cibernetica" (August)
"emocao art.ficial 3.0"
at the Itau Cultural Center

2006 MOCA Museum of Modern Art Cleveland
Life Writer has been exhibited and commissioned by the MOCA Cleveland
- Cleveland USA