Menagerie of Microbes, currently on show at the Laboratory Gallery, Summerhall, Edinburgh, curated by Heather Barnett and James Howie (ASCUS Lab), explores the extraordinary world of microorganisms and some of the thought-provoking possibilities they present for design, ecology, and health.
On show until May 13th 2016, Menagerie of Microbes features works by Heather Barnett, Anna Dumitriu, ecoLogicStudio, Patrick Hickey, Simon Park, Sarah Roberts, Urban Morphogenesis Lab, and the ASCUS Lab. Part of the official programme of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, I much recommend taking the time to visit if you can.
“As we go about our daily business we are surrounded by vast colonies of microorganisms, thriving communities existing largely out of sight. They may be small, yet in terms of impact and numbers, they represent the predominate form of life on earth.
Combining works from different disciplinary perspectives, the exhibition also reveals different modes of creative inquiry - how we observe and interact with the natural world, and how we work with biological materials and systems in order to create, question or communicate.”
For more information visit:
Arthur's Seat b.I/O.power station (above).
"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 Arthurs's Seat are now once again transformed, this time by human technology in the new age of the Anthropocene.
While solar and wind energy still sweep across the surface of the mountain and marine mist incessantly moist its bio-diverse organic cover, the Urbansphere 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 beautiful 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 is 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 Underground Movement by Patrick Hickey (above)
A display of "living artworks of vibrant colour, texture and form, using naturally occurring moulds and bacteria. Techniques involve ‘bio-lithography’ - the printing of text and images using pigmented / bioluminescent bacteria - where the canvas is agar growth medium and the paint is living microbial colonies. Laboratory equipment and glassware provide housings for a series of microcosms and illuminated objects containing natural fluorescent proteins. Of particular interest is the cellular communication within microbial colonies, and the ability to transmit information through living cellular networks and potentially store data."
Melissa Sterry, PhD, chartered design scientist, systems theorist, biofuturist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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