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B.I/O. power: BioCities / architecture / bio-computation / energy / landscapeMarch 25, 2016

A project by ecoLogicStudio [Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto]. Part of a design research in Urban Biotechnology conducted at the Urban Morphogenesis Lab, UCL London and the Aarhus School of Architecture, Aarhus, Denmark. 

Formed by the mighty power of a volcanic explosion in the Carboniferous age, then remodelled by the relentless action of glaciers in the Quaternary period, the peaks of Arthus's seat are now once again transformed, this time by human technology in the new age of the Antropocene.

While solar and wind energy still sweep across the surface of the mountain and marine mist incessantly moist its bio-diverse organic cover, the Urbanshpere of Edinburgh has expanded its bio-digital branches around and across it. Carving a dense web of redundant energy paths, these new power lines meet in a multiplicity of emergent nodes where the flows of information, matter and energy are at the highest level. 

These networks function like distributed autonomous brains, embedded in the landscape that they help reshaping, always seeking to optimize their ability to absorb and metabolize the renewable energy that wind, sun and water tirelessly deliver to the most iconic mountain of Edinburgh. 

As these autonomous creatures learn to inhabit it a new bio-digital stratum forms and thickens, hosting an ever larger amount of bioactive and photosynthetic species. As the amount of renewable resources and biomass increase so does the complexity and robustness of the bio-energy network; ultimately its complexity reaches a critical mass when it is capable of sustaining more complex and demanding forms of life such as the ones characteristics of urban systems. 

A new kind of urban powering station is born, no longer separated from the city and its pulsating centre, no longer segregated from its natural substratum, rather capable of re-synthesizing both in a new form of bio-technological life, inhabiting the emergent global Urbansphere.
The apparatus presented in this exhibition embody this narrative by integrating a living Slime Mold onto 3D printed nylon substrata; the Slime Mold here is deployed as a model of how the energy infrastructure of the future may be conceived and designed; the colour nutrients represent renewable resources available in the environment in the form of wind, sun, biomass and waste. The Slime Mold describes optimized networks for the absorption and delivery of these resources, always seeking the best solution in a fast changing context. As time passes the Slime Mold leaves traces in the substratum visible as shades of colour, thus altering its appearance as well as developing an embedded memory. The Slime Mold and the 3d printed substratum become inseparable parts of a bio-digital whole, that exhibits developing degrees of intelligence and robustness; we envision this model to describe the integration of future renewable energy infrastructures and urban landscape ecology.
Dimensions and Materials:
Model1: 60x55x23
CNC milled Aluminum, laser cut acrylic, SLA Nylon 3D printed substratum, ultrasound misters, Slime Mold, Agar, Water, Color.
Model2: 60x65x21
CNC milled Aluminum, laser cut acrylic, SLA Nylon 3D printed substratum, ultrasound misters, Slime Mold, Agar, Water, Color.

Design Team: Marco Poletto, Claudia Pasquero, Terezia Greskova, Vlad Daraban

Exhibition: Menagerie of Microbes celebrates the microbial world, bringing together the work of artists, designers and scientists who share a passion for microorganisms, which exist in and around us. Menagerie of Microbes presents work by Heather Barnett, Anna Dumitriu, ecoLogicStudio, Patrick Hickey, Simon Park, Sarah Roberts, Urban Morphogenesis Lab and the ASCUS Lab, and is part of Bio and Beyond, the visual art exhibition at Summerhall for the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016.

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