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HORTUS Astana: Fibrous Structures / algae / architecture / cyber-Gardens / waterJune 10, 2017

The etymology of the word garden comes from the German Garten, whose original meaning is enclosed or bounded space, in Latin hortus conclusus.  In the current age of the Anthoropocene the biospheric notion of garden acquires a new technological dimension as the global reach of human infrastructures coalesces into an Urbanshpere; the emergent relationship between the natural Biosphere and the artificial Urbansphere is largely unknown and unexplored but its articulation is crucial to our future.

H.O.R.T.U.S. engages this relationship by reloading the notion of biospheric garden as Hydro Organisms Responsive To Urban Stimuli.  

It all starts with a three-dimensional distribution of wide spectrum light sources, our own artificial stars. The flows of energy emitted as wide spectrum radiation are digitally mapped in space to visualize their intensive field.

Cyanobacteria are then introduced, as in a new kind of bio-digital primordial soup, their metabolic machines deployed to convert latent radiation into actual processes of photosynthesis, oxygenation and energy. Their articulation in space is digitally mediated to arrange the photosynthetic organisms along iso-surfaces of optimal incoming radiation; vectors sample the fields at discrete locations establishing a cloud of extensive structural points.

A network of connecting paths is also computed, bringing nutrients and CO2 to the photosynthetic nodes hosting living cyanobacteria (actualized into PVC pipes wrapping the substratum). Visitors are active part of the system, feeding it of CO2 with their exhale and adsorbing the released oxygen as it spreads in the surrounding atmosphere.

As matter, information and energy exchanges among systems the boundaries of the natural and the artificial blur, as in our enmeshed Biopshere and Urbanshpere. An in-human apparatus emerges, exploring hybrid mechanisms of self-regulation and novel forms of self-organisation.



HORTUS_Astana is an art work produced specifically for the bio-tech hut exhibition on the 4th floor of the main pavilion of Astana EXPO 2017. ecoLogicStudio designed, manufactured, assembled and installed the artwork based on the specifications of the piece named HORTUS ZKM and now part of the permanent collection of the ZKM museum in Karlsruhe; this piece was specifically re-designed to fit the oxygenating room in the Home Hut.

The artwork is hanging from the ceiling of the 4th floor and has the form of a cloud, with different degrees of convolutedness depending on the physical light. HORTUS is divided in 4 clusters which operate as an integral unit. Each part is made of a core structure of laser cut aluminium sections, acrylic holders and PVC pipes creating the surface of the cloud. It also integrates wide spectrum lights and a glass container for the microalgae and a little pump for fluid circulation.

Visitors are to move freely around and below the installation, integrate themselves within it and viewing the internal landscapes and algae flows, and feed CO2 to the cyanobacteria thus liberating the oxygen produced during the loop. The immersive effect gives an experiential account of the bio-mass energy of the future.


Project Credits:

A project by ecoLogicStudio: Marco Poletto and Claudia Pasquero (London, UK)

Design Team: Marco Poletto, Claudia Pasquero, Konstantinos Alexopoulos, Apostolos Marios Mouzakopoulos, Matteo Pendenza

Photography: NAARO

Commissioned for Future Energy Astana EXPO2017

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