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Inhuman Garden: Fibrous Structures / MetaFollies / algae / cyber-GardensOctober 30, 2015

‘The exhibition focuses on the artistic use of new technologies and opens up views into the future, in various modules. It shows us our new reality, which is shaped by 3-D printers and robots, cyborgs and chimeras, molecules and gene pools, wearable technologies and medical miracles, synthetic life forms, bionic suits and silicon retinas, artificial tissue and repair tech­niques, and new discoveries in space research, molecular biology, neurology, genetics, and quantum information science. It shows us visions and solutions for twentieth-century problems, such as separating oxygen out of CO2 to combat the climate crisis.’ 
“If we look at the earth as a territory devoted to life it would appear as an enclosed space, delimited by the boundaries of living systems [the biosphere]. In other words it would appear as a garden”Clement, Gilles 
The etymology of the word garden comes from the German Garten, whose original meaning is enclosed or bounded space, in Latin “HORTUS conclusus” 1 
.H.O.R.T.U.S. Karlsruhe engages the notion of Urbansphere2 as an augmented biosphere; the synthesis of renewable energy and nutrients for human consumption is reconsidered as an urban practice enabled by a novel bio-digital gardening prototype; the architectural apparatus transforms the archetype of the column into an high-density photo-bioreactor able to connect in space and time human metabolism to the proliferation of life within micro-algal ecologies such as cianobacteria cultures. 

 

 

Flows of Energy [light radiation], Matter[proteins, CO2] and Information [data-feeds] are pro­cessed and fed back in real-time, stimulating the emergence of multiple mechanisms of self-reg­ulation and evolving novel forms of hybrid self-organisation.Visitors turned cyber-gardeners are invited to engage directly with H.O.R.T.U.S enriching their material experience of bio-digital micro-ecologies and embodying future urban cyber-gardening practices.
META-Folly is a digitally crafted interactive pavilion, commissioned by the FRAC Centre and now part of their permanent collection. The pavilion revisits the tradition of the architectural “folly” as a synthetic organism. 
META-Folly draws the line of a future convergence of cybernetics and environmental psychol­ogy, digital computational design and parametricism, digital craftsmanship and DIY interaction design, radical ecologic thinking and material activism. 
The outcome is perhaps an improbable assemblages of ‘urban trash’ (recycled polypropylene, hacked sound kits, steel rods, chameleonic nano-flakes) but within it we find a new aesthetic, spatial and material milieu, a new form of engineered ecology. 
A field of digitally materialized sensitivity agitates a proliferation of 300 piezo-buzzer analogi­cally modulated in 4 different tones; programmed to operate like a swarm of crickets they react to the speed of visitors’ movements around the folly, developing ripples of sound that bounce back and forth until dissolution, synchronisation or complete interference; the convolut­edness of the geometry produces the emergence of unique sonic niches to be decoded by the human ears inside the folly. This form of spatial and material sound emerges as a conversation between the machinic pavilion and the visitor. 
The pavilion was entirely modelled, engineered, fabricated and programmed by ecoLogicS­tudio and its team of collaborators. The structure is made of 700 steel rods, bent with robotic precision in 3D and then bundled via laser cut polypropylene connectors. 
The skin is made of 1300 laser cut and then folded recycled polypropylene sheets painted with camaleontic nanoflakes pigments. 300 petals contain custom designed sound sources, digital crickets, made with piezoelectric discs and acrylic pipes. The system is computed in real time by 6 Arduino microprocessors and sensed by 12 position sensors. The system can be programmed via custom designed android applet. 

The whole project was delivered with a budget comparable to the one for the structure subject to this call.
notes: 

 
1. Clement makes this claim in his book “Il giardino planetario”; for him looking at the biosphere as a garden entails clearer responsibilities towards its stewardship; to the authors this claim also fits a new theory for the “antropocene”. As a garden the biosphere too is artificial and deeply influenced in its evolution by human agency. 

2.The authors suggest to abandon the obsolete notion of biosphere to engage with its augmented alter-ego that we name the Urbansphere; cities we claim, far from being anti-natural, now extend in global networks of matter, informa­tion and energy that constitute the fundamental living habitat of our current urban civilisation; rather than seeking a return to nature we shall therefore aim at a complete biotechnological overhaul of urban infrastructures and architec­tural material systems to achieve a new and higher degree of efficacy in the combined living potential of biology and technology; this implies a renewed scope for the artist who is now engaged in the expansion of the field of applica­tion of both science and technology to achieve higher levels of applicability, from gadget to urban infrastructure to Urbansphere.

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