Evolution of a departure

Project carried out in Interactivos-16 Programm at  Medialab-Prado of Madrid, with the collaboration of Le Pije, Hamilton Mestizo, Fran Quero, Leo Nuñez, Chris Sugrue y Marc Dusseiller.

Evolution of a departure is about fading of life, weakness and the constant transformation of us as bodies of nature. It is an ephemeral installation in which there is a ruins machine created through electronic and biological devices that replace the natural time through the development of fungal and bacterial activity, which is responsible for creating different and random patterns. The project is about running the cycle of matter in a contemporary way. On one hand, it is to create together with nature, but on the other hand, it is to deconstruct what was created by man.

The artwork is ephemeral. It develops and dies in a specific moment, as life. Each machine/device is an organic matrix of pixels alive made of quadrates of tree leaves. The sum of all , reproduces a pattern generated  according to an orange decaying, being the matrix, a magnified image of it.


The box has different kind of sensors and electronic devices that control and speed up the natural process of disintegration of leaves as degradable matter through the growth of bacteria, fungus, and microorganisms in its surface, regulated through digital data. This fact, promotes a new design in each matrix, as well as the return of the leaves as mineral substrate restarting the cycle of life again.


This mechanic installation has degenerative aims and will allow visualizing the process of death, genesis and reconstitution that occur in the matter cycle from dialogues and adaptive behaviors in artificial environments created for the development of micro worlds.


Technical description


The installation has two different parts: the input and the output. First of all, the process starts in a little box where is possible to see an orange inside with a webcam that records the colour changes that are produced in the
fruit. Through programming in Processing, every 5 minutes the camera sensor extracts a photograph of the rotten area of the fruit and compares it with the previous one, to differentiate how many colour changes have occurred. Theprogram makes a pixel-by-pixel mapping, which will be the digital data to be processed to switch on different actuators (motors, humidifiers, heaters and coolers) in a second box with the organic matter. This first box is called the input one, and its activity can be seen in a monitor.

The second box, the output one, is made of organic pixels (leaves quadrates in different oxidation states) reproducing chromatically, a portion of the initial image of the chosen fruit. Moreover, this matrix has a biodegradable layer of bioplastic on the leaves that contribute to ease the fungal development in the organic screen. This box is made of methacrylate and has electronic devices which react to the data that is sent from the first box, through Arduino. These devices symbolize the main eroding elements of nature: wind (the cooler), water (the humidifier) and heat (the heater).

To sum-up, in the output box there are some sensors to monitor the system conditions and to know how the communication between both boxes is. The final device is constituted as a hybrid machine with the ability to create
complex realities when the “organic ruin” appears: new ecosystems and communities of microorganisms born and at the same moment that the time, the memory of the initial object and the remote end, become visible.
The causal agency of nature will show its victory over the anthropocentric one, leaving traces of the relationship process.

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© 2017 by Ana Laura Cantera.