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
Should you be interested in accommodating a small volcano in your living room, designer Nelly Ben Hayoun has one ready to cover your interior with dust and erupt gloop on your carpet. While the first prototype is still a fairly modest and manageable size, The Other Volcano aims to build a series of semi-domesticated volcanoes that would almost reach the ceiling and provide you with all the discomfort you can expect from this new breed of geological pet
Architect Tetsuo Kondo has teamed up with German climate engineering firm Transsolar to fill a closed space inside the Corderie with clouds. Visitors can experience the cloud from below, within, and above as they climb up 4.3 meter high helical ramp erected in the center of the room
The nuclear renaissance offers a clean, near limitless energy solution that could allow us to meet CO2 emission targets (without going short as consumers).
What if we ask for protective barrage balloons, establish concrete emergency services and resign ourselves to the perceived ‘hazards’? What if we embrace pet polar bears and pineapple ice cream along with other benefits that nuclear energy could bring? And what if not; are we prepared for blackouts instead?
Meet two activists from Mexico. The first is hackarchitect Ehécatl Cabrera who believes that since architecture is not able to answer the many issues that the city has to face, we should raise and ‘make the city ourselves’. The second is Tijuana-based Raúl Cárdenas from Torolab who was in Mexico to present his Institute of Waste
In this series of photos and installations in public space, Mitch Epstein explores and questions the ‘power’ that lays at the core of the United States. ‘Power’ in this case stands for both strength and energy. Over the course of 5 years he traveled through 25 states to photograph nuclear reactors, oil refineries, mines, rigs, abandoned gas pumps, wind parks, pipelines as well as their environs
Herbologies/Foraging Networks is a series of workshops, seminars and expeditions that explores the connection between traditional knowledge of herbs, edible and medicinal plants and media networked culture. The result of the Helsinki chapter of H/FN is a surprising fusion of hydroponic technologies, vodka-making workshop, fermentation sermon, DNA isolation experiments and lecture on subjects as diverse as biopiracy and honey beekeeping in Brussels
Vegetation and microorganisms live symbiotically inside the body of this robot. The robot draws water from a contaminated river, decomposes its elements, helps to create energy to feed its brain circuits and the surplus is then used to create life, enabling plants to fulfill their own life cycle
Interviews, reviews and articles. Everything in the latest issue of Neural is green
The 2009 edition of the @rt Outsiders Festival presents works that explore the meaning of living in extreme environments, in the imaginary realm as well as in the physical one, in the political, social and environmental fields as well as in the poetic ones
What logic lies behind major technological pushes of the past and how could it apply to future projects and what could we learn from the visions of an American past that never happened?
This volume includes a monumental stash of documentary photographs, ephemera, documents, transcripts and original writings on all things related to the oil crisis–from Jimmy Carter to underground utopias. Reproductions cover everything from impossible traffic jams leading up to empty gas stations to board games with names like Energy Quest and Petrol
Oron Catts, Director of SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at The University of Western Australia, presented the project he and his team are currently working on. Adaptation is radically different from what you would expect. No victimless leather jacket, no banquet of frog steak. This one invites us to take a peak into the broader issue of ecology and life itself
The second edition of Biorama was a workshop and symposium (set inside a cave) that explored the biology of the underground through the notion of umwelt developed by biologist Jakob von Uexküll and its influence on the development of biosemiotics by Thomas Sebeok.
As part of the exhibition Radical Nature, an urban mill designed by architects EXYZT and the re-staging of Agnes Denes’ 1982 Wheatfield form a temporary functional ensemble in the North-East London district of Dalston .
A dark and intelligent exhibition that attempts to address the overall ecological problem not only in environmental terms but also with respect to its philosophical, psychological, economic and social implications
When/if fully developed, My Sunshine will reflect the sunlight and provide extra hours of lights in urban areas around the Arctic Circle, a region that receives no sunlight in Winter time due to the rotation of the Earth’s axis
In the Winter of 2001/02, Michele Dantini traveled to Cameroon to photograph and document what is still the biggest private sector investment in sub-Sahara Africa: the construction of the controversial Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline
A speedy glimpse of the exhibition Green Platform which is running until July 19 at the Strozzina cultural center in Florence so that you know what to do if you’re in Tuscany this week
Radical Nature draws on ideas that have emerged out of Land Art, environmental activism, experimental architecture and utopianism. The exhibition is designed as one fantastical landscape, with each piece introducing into the gallery space a dramatic portion of nature
Danish artist and environmentalist Tue Greenfort’s photo series, Daimlerstrasse 38 lured foxes living in the industrial area in eastern Frankfurt with frankfurter sausages towards a hidden camera