Michiko and Michael’s work is never without surprise. Whether they entrust opera singers to produce food in a future world where algae have become the world’s dominant food source or explore the possibility of a city that would be isolated from the wider environment and where food, energy, and even medicine, are derived from human origin and man-made biological systems.
Suzanne Lee is the Founder of BIOCOUTURE, the first ‘living materials’ design consultancy. The last time i met Suzanne, she was cultivating bacteria into green tea and harvesting layers of cellulose which, once dried looked like leather that she then used to make garments.
Suzanne’s work has now taken an even more ambitious dimension as she is building an open innovation resource to enable collaboration within the global biological materials community
In the face of impending climate crises, environmentalists are standing with the Bio-Conservatives or with the Techno-Progressives.
However, a number of emerging factors suggest possible alternatives for the relationship between environmentalism and science. Among these are the DIYBIO or Biopunk movements and the campaign for open access to science, as well as headless and cell-based networks of activists such as Anonymous
Sitting somewhere between criminality, deceit and disruption, each scheme seeks to exploit the unique infrastructure, ecology, potential for dispute, and legal ambiguity of the Arctic region to provide devious financial rewards
A discussion with Rasa Smite about “Biotricity No.5”, a project that experiments with “green energy” technologies and sonifies the process of generating electricity from bacteria living in water
HeHe took the invitation to turn FACT (the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool) inside out literally. Their new piece used the exhibition space to extract gas from the ground underneath the gallery and suggest that in the future we might want to bypass big energy companies and extract our own fossil fuels ourselves in our back garden
Oil City takes audiences into the underbelly of London’s oil economy, looking at UK finance for Canadian tar sands projects. By eavesdropping on business people and seeking out secret documents hidden in dead-drops, you will help piece together a puzzle that interweaves government files with financial deals
La Cosa Radiactiva is a “research on transparency and nuclear secrets. A performance to demystify radiation while building awareness of its risks. An imagination exercise to reflect on how it would be like to live with radiation and above all this, a call about the importance of citizens having their own tools to be able to verify public health data provided by governmental authorities.”
Today is the last day to witness the week-long performance from Liberate Tate at the Tate Modern gallery. Filming devices strapped on to their bodies, performers are reading aloud sections of the transcripts of the trial which started in February in New Orleans and sees BP stand accused of gross negligence over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry
Michail Vanis’s project suggests that our romantic ideas and ideals regarding nature – a nature that has to be preserved exactly as it is- are holding us back from finding new ways to interact with the world surrounding us. Vanis’ Neo-nature project invites us to reconsider our relationship to nature and adopt a more rational approach to ecological thinking and to conservation
Today i’m stuck in Turin, it’s been snowing all day long and i’m not complaining but i don’t feel like going out to see exhibitions. I’m thus going to point you to an online exhibition over at dARTboard, a digital art space that the Vilcek Foundation created to ‘celebrate the accomplishments of foreign-born artists living in the United States and working in the realm of digital art.’ This year’s featured artist is Marc Böhlen who’s showing two works that investigate the relationship between people and automated systems
I’ve interviewed Lisa about her farmification project for the blog last year but this time, we’ll be hearing about the fate of the joystick factory workers one year on (clue: it doesn’t involve many game controllers), obsolete technologies and eating pigeon wings as a contraceptive measure
Often both playful and critical, Benjamin Gaulon’s projects involve printing messages on walls using a PaintBall Gun, collecting video streams from wireless surveillance cameras, turning your videos into animated GIFs, developing radio controlled cars that physically react to messages sent on Twitter, giving an architectural dimension to the 1970s game PONG, circuit-bending, hacking, deconstructing and re-purposing “obsolete” electronic devices
Where i eat soup containing vegetable “grown on Ruskin’s grave”, meet Welsh farmers worried about the inadequate prices paid to them by supermarkets for their milk and finally find some ‘socially-conscious’ satisfaction at the art fair
After Agri is a collaborative investigation between Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton. Their collaboration looks at the future evolutions of our food systems, asking What new cultural revolution will replace agriculture? How will our species and civilisation be transformed?
uring my short stay in Amsterdam, i enthusiastically entered the exhibition
Yasusuke Ota: The Abandoned Animals of Fukushima. What had i imagined that i’d see? Birds flying over beautiful urban ruins? Pets sauntering gaily on car roofs and pigs fooling around empty supermarkets? I couldn’t have been more mistaken
Five Thousand Generations of Birds was an exhibition located in the archipelago of Fitjar, on the West coast of Norway, – a landscape consisting of 381 islands, isles and reefs.
Curators Silje Linge Haaland and Andrea Bakketun assigned an island to each participating artist with the mission to produce a temporary and site specific work
The Cold Coast Archive project investigates and explores human beings’ efforts to preserve civilization and defy the inevitability of its demise. We look at the vault as a whole: its practical, political, historical and symbolic structure, its arctic location, as well as its infrastructure and cultural nuances, with all the research concentrated at this site, as a backdrop to explore the human relationship to time between now and eternity
KULTIVATOR was founded in 2005 by 3 artists and 2 organic farmers in the village Dyestad, on the Swedish island of Öland. This cooperation of farming and visual art practice involves an organic farm with where pigs are raised, cows are milked, potatoes are harvested and linseed oil is pressed. But Kutltivator is also a space for artist residencies, exhibitions, performances, installations and screenings. And in between are activities that draw in both the artist and the farming community. The result looks both experimental and remarkably productive
With HORTUS, the architects from ecoLogicStudio are inviting the public to become cyber-gardeners and “invent new protocols of urban biogardening.”
There’s a bright green carpet on the floor and hundreds of intravenous-style bags are suspended above our heads. The bags are in fact photo-bioreactors and they form a ‘greenhouse’ that hosts nine different species of algae, from chlorella to algae found in London’s canals. Visitors can blow into flexible plastic tubes, fostering the growth of the algae with their carbon dioxide and activating the oxygen production
The culture of green tech is a timely publication. 2009 saw plethora of festivals, exhibitions and conferences dedicated to sustainability, ‘greener planet’ and ecology. I attended so many of them i ended up turning into a cynical eco-phobic. The following year, culture moved to other issues but the relevance of an artistic reflection on green tech is as high as ever. The magzine proposes an intelligent, critical view that goes beyond the monolithic ‘green is beautiful’ moto and looks into the dilemma and contradictions of green tech
The exhibition at Somerset House shows 28 projects shortlisted for a competition that invited architects, engineers, students and designers to submit proposals that reclaim overlooked spaces across Greater London. Inspired by success stories such as New York’s High Line, the competition aims to demonstrate how alternative way of thinking about urban space can inject new life and energy into some of London’s most neglected corners.
The selected entries range from underground climbing tunnels to Atlantic salmons in the Thames, firepits in Crystal Palace, bee keeping, rooftops of tower blocks turned into social hubs and artist studios nested inside church spires
Summer is back in London and dozens of bees have now settled in the middle of Spitalfields. Real bees passersby don’t try to wave away. They are dead and hang on fishing lines as if they were caught in mid-flight inside a giant glass case, surrounded on all sides by office blocks
To enter garden installation EXOTE, part of Kris Verdonck – EXHIBITION #1, visitors have to wear protecting clothes. They can then walks on the bark soil between plants and parrots, just like a nature explorer. The terrestrial plants, crustraceans, insects, fish, amphibians, birds and other organisms they encounter are all “Invasive Alien Species”, they thrive outside their natural distribution area and threaten biological diversity
This week, i’m having a chat with Lieven Standaert, the designer behind Aeromodeller2, a project which explores the possibility to build a 90-meter, zero-emission, airship that will never need to land to get its fuel, creating hydrogen from the elements it encounters and anchoring when it needs to replenish its energy in a renewable way. Aeromodeller2 might not be the most efficient nor the fastest airship but it leaves more space to imagination, dream and aspiration than anything Boeing can come up with
Shaped like flying saucers, the Nanodrizas are floating autonomous robots which measure, in real time, the environmental conditions of polluted water surfaces. The data collected is then transmitted for interpretation and analysis. Once the level and nature of pollution has been identified, the nanodrizas directly intervene by emitting synthesized sound and releasing bacterial and enzymatic remedies in the eco-system that, ultimately, should regulate the quality of the water
The project is based on two opposing inspirations; research trips to learn about intentional communities like the Amish, who carefully select technologies for their community, and an extrapolation of current scientific research which embraces technological alteration of nature. The outcome of the project is a fantastical caravan, a nomadic module of illusionary freedom, which explores our belief in technological progress
Cost is still a major limiting factor for low-carbon energy technologies. The Energy Pilots research program develops hypothetical business models by borrowing proven techniques from other sectors, and adapts them to fit the financial difficulties of specific low-carbon technologies
Back to Berlin where a few weeks ago i was visiting the DMY design festival. As i explained the other day, the most exciting part of the exhibition was the MakerLab where visitors could discover, discuss and handle new technologies, materials, tools, open-source ideas and concepts. In the middle of this happy creative feast, a group of young smiling girls were introducing visitors to the joys of mushroom cultivation. All ‘in the comfort of their own home’
Bartaku aka Bart Vandeput was at Berlin’s design festival to lead Temporary photoElectric Digestopians (Fusing Cooking and Solar Tech with Design), a lab where participants were invited to discover the relation between light, food, body and electric energy and then work with edible materials to create ‘e-tapas’ that were to be ta(e)sted on the heliotropic tongue
The aquatic fern azolla is one of the world’s fastest growing plants and a rich source of nutrients, yet it is virtually unexplored as food. In Super Meal I experiment with azolla-food together with farmers, chefs and scientists and try to get some insight into how we produce our food today and could be producing it in the future
Following in the footsteps of a Marco Polo-esque spice trade, an expedition led by artist Jon Cohrs traveled by canoe past massive cargo ships and factories in search of the numerous artificial flavoring factories of New Jersey, the flavoring capital of the U.S.
Interview with Arne Hendriks about The Incredible Shrinking Man, a speculative design research about the consequences of downsizing the human species to 50 centimeters. It has been a long established trend for people to grow taller. As a direct result we need more energy, more food and more space. But what if we decided to turn this trend around? What if we use our knowledge to shrink mankind?
The accelerating crisis in climate change and the realization that humans are the primary cause of this change has raised questions about ownership and responsibility. Who “owns” the climate change crisis and who is responsible for mitigating and reversing it if possible? One overwhelming response by governments on an international level has been to propose a market solution, in essence, to sell the atmosphere. Is the commercial marketplace the only answer? How can art, technology and media offer alternative cultural practices and open new forms of understanding the air?
Rapidly growing mega-cities and shrinking cities call for new ideas and models for dealing with urban nature. Artists and landscape architects present concepts for the alternative use of vacant city lots and old industrial areas, design parasitical gardens in the middle of the city, or utopian visions for a future symbiotic networking of culture and nature
The exhibition looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this
Raketenbaum is a performance and a diptych showing how Michael Sailstorfer had a fruit tree catapulted into the air by compressed-air cylinders attached to its root balls
Designer Maurizio Montalti is teaming up with the Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation in The Netherlands to work on an alternative to fossil fuels. He aims to build a transparent bioreactor in which one fungus breaks down plastic and the other fungus makes bio-ethanol out of it
Jean-Baptiste Labrune’s presentation at The Council meeting gave a provocative (and much welcome) twist to the discussion about ‘the internet of things.’ Labrune’s talk revolved around the idea of developing organic circuits and, more broadly, about an internet of thing which might one day be made of material that grow, evolve, decay and die just like us
What new needs will arise as the climate of the Earth changes? This project examines a household of the future and ways these needs might be met through symbiotic relationships with modified insects