Kuai Shen was born in 1978 in Guayaquil, Ecuador and now lives and work in Cologne, Germany. Shen is fascinated by insect behaviour and has conducted his own experiments with ant colonies. In his own project Oh!m1gas, 2011 at Manifesta 9, Shen created an audio-visual installation with an ant colony to explore the relationship between human technology and the sociality of ants.
In this particular installation, two turntables responded to movements within the ant colony, affecting the movement of a needle on a vinyl record.
In February 2011, Kuai Shen took part in the Laboratory Life workshop & exhibition which was held at both The Lighthouse in Brighton and at The Arts Catalyst building in London. Kuai Shen collaborated with Andy Gracie on his project “The Quest for Drosophila Titanus”, an experimental breeding programme for fruit flies. This project explores how, through genetic modification, fruit flies could be bred to survive on Saturn’s moon, Titan.
In August 2011, a description of Kuai Shen’s work was published in Vol 44 of Leonardo Magazine as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. The publication stated;
“Oh!m1gas: biomimetic stridulation environment is an installation-based exploration of a socially responsible art form, drawing on sustainable organic materials (in this case, a live ant colony) and stimulating interspecific interactions. As artist Kuai Shen Auson first observed at home in Ecuador, ants represent a natural superorganism which stands out due to its emergent social structure and self-organization. They generate bottom-up structures in order to solve problems by means of a complex network of local interactions. Kuai Shen explores the social similarities and differences between humans and ants through four key areas: cybernetics, autopoiesis, self-organization, and emergence. Kuai Shen believes we can learn from the way the ants construct their miniature ecosystems. Like them, we can apply an experimental design approach based on organic architecture, where sounds and physical interaction, instead of divided living spaces, promote and consolidate the interaction of life.”