Biomodd is a multifaceted socially engaged art installation that finds meaningful relationships between biology, computers and people. Biomodd creates symbiotic relationships between plants and computers, and ignites conversations among the community around them. Algae are used to cool computer processors so they can run faster, while the heat that is generated by the computer electronics is used to create ideal growing conditions for a plant-based ecosystem. This dynamic is the catalyst for collaboration between the core team members – including artists, biologists, computer scientists, game designers, gardeners and members of the local community where the project takes place. The Biomodd [NYC4] team has decided to focus on growing food in the closed museum environment as a model for creating a self-sustaining systems. Biomodd is an international project. Multiple versions have been built both by the people that originally came up with the idea, and by other communities throughout the world. This open source project was conceived of by Belgian biologist turned artist Angelo Vermeulen and he has brought the project to a wide diversity of cultures throughout the world. The first version started in Athens, Ohio in 2007, and has since traveled to the Philippines, Slovenia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, and now New York. This rendition of Biomodd will take advantage of a three-tiered international community. It does so by capitalizing on the experience of past members from around the world while forming a team of New York based collaborators, as well as reaching out to the local community in Queens near the New York Hall of Science. The Biomodd version that is conceived for New York explicitly embraces the city’s complex and layered nature, and taps into specific features of its socio-cultural fabric. The project mirrors NYC’s social complexity by bringing together people with different backgrounds and creating an interdisciplinary, multicultural and multigenerational team. The goal is to compile a team of volunteering co-creators coming from different local neighborhoods, art and science institutions, and advocacy initiatives. It’s precisely the interaction between different viewpoints and the complementary nature of different skill sets that are crucial to each Biomodd version.
Biomodd is a shifting global collective of artists, scientists, thinkers, and makers. Biomodd aims to build art installations that reimagine the relationship between nature and digital technology. Members are currently spread across the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, UK, Slovenia, Belgium, and the Netherlands – countries where Biomodd installations and workshops have been set up. Biomodd seeks to create symbiotic relationships between plant-based ecosystems and computers, and ignites conversations among the community where the collective is operating. Biomodd was initiated by Belgian biologist-turned-artist Angelo Vermeulen during a residency at the Aesthetic Technologies Lab in Athens, Ohio in 2007. You can learn more about the collective members behind Biomodd [NYC4] at www.biomodd.net/biomoddnyc4.