Russian artist Vtol is no stranger to making sounds with unusual technology, but one of his latest projects might top them all. He recently created Until I Die, an electronic sound installation powered by himself — namely, his blood. His creation uses vital fluid as an electrolyte that, when combined with metals like aluminum and copper, results in direct current batteries. The project isn’t about to compete with the battery in your phone (five batteries manage a capacity of just 1,000mAh), but that’s enough to power a synth module and speaker for roughly 8 hours.
The effort involved in collecting the blood was as much a science experiment as the art itself. Vtol extracted just under 1.2 gallons of blood over the course of 18 months, and had to fill all but the very last sample with preservatives to prevent the fluid from going bad.
As to why the artist would go to all this trouble? He describes it as a “symbolic act” where his life-giving fluid can power a device that’s a figurative “extension of myself.” It also parallels decades-old Russian philosophy and scientific concepts, where blood transfusion was seen as a metaphysical act — you’re literally sharing yourself with others. While it’s safe to say that you won’t be seeing any blood-powered electronics on store shelves, the installation is a clear (if slightly grotesque) reminder that your body really is full of energy.