Project by: Thora H Arnardottir & Jessica Dias (concept, experimentation, delivery), Nikos Argyros (computation, fabrication)
Glass artist: Agustina Ros
Collaborators: Pierluca D'Amato (theoretical framework), Sandro Arabyan (photography), Lili Tayefi (model)
Special thanks to: Theresa Schubert
ature inspired human technics since its beginning. To find shelter and enhance their physical limitations, humans have imitated animal dens,
3rd Place in the Wearables section of RESHAPE18
designed artificial claws and produced clothes to offset the lack of fur. Today, advanced technologies and design solutions are allowing to use biomimicry not only to provide humans with an empowering yet all-consuming Promethean flame, but to foster a new, responsible ‘return to nature’, inspiring practices of construction and of energy harnessing that are compatible with the limitedness of natural resources and have a gentler impact on the environment. The possibility of this renewed relation to nature entails a change of rhythm, from the careless hyperspeed of capital-driven production to a slower pace, that tends to synchronise human activities with natural cycles, a new tempo allowing for reflection and the production of relations of care.
Exteriorisation of its memory.
Slime moulds have the ability to solve spatial problems by developing an optimal network of protoplasmic tubular vein-like structures that dynamically change and rearrange, leaving behind a trail that the plasmodium is able to sense and avoid.
Surrounded by digital portable devices that affect our everyday life below the threshold of our attention, we propose an alternative analogical wearables with the aim to produce a change of perspective regarding attention, the sensing and observation of nature and the purposes of design. As the revolution of portability changed the course of the development of digital technologies, substituting the pilgrimage to the desktop computer with a nomadism alongside digital devices, we propose a new paradigm shift grounded on the re-shaping of the petri dish. By unflattening of the laboratory glass we aim to challenge the relation of observation, to substitute the pilgrimage to nature through the lab desk, with a wandering alongside nature, fostering persistent attention and promoting practices of care towards living beings.
Our unfolded petri dishes, digitally redesigned as a ring and a necklace, are in fact inhabited by specimens of Physarum polycephalum, an protist observable by the
naked eye that is highly sensitive to its environment. This bright yellow slime mould in constant search for nutrients exhibits exceptional problem solving capacities carried out through a sort of exteriorisation of its memory, literally building its future direction from and with past experiences. We have designed a ring with the aim to put its wearer in the position of looking at the world through the pulsating rhythm of the life of the creature that contains, discouraging the practice of interfacing with life in a relation of pure externality between observer and observed, and promoting a new equilibrium between the hand, the eye and the world. If the Bio-Ver ring is therefore conceived as a device to see through, the Bio-Ver necklace is a device to be seen through. The necklace embodies in fact the other side of the relation between man and nature, a nature that grows upon us like musk on trees, surrounding us, providing a warm and pulsating shelter against the asepticity of modern technology and the emptiness of life-deprived areas: it is a device to put man in perspective.
The workable kit
The kit delivers the necessary instruments to care for the organism and maintain the glass apparatus. It includes nutrients, disinfectant and tools for preparation and cultivation. A notable feature of the kit is the designated workspace, which is indicated as a 10cm radius around the spirit lamp that sets the limits of a sterile environment
Although difficult to achieve laboratory standards of sterility from the comfort of your home, the objective of working in a sterile environment is still important when cultivating microorganisms, thus we propose both a wearable apparatus and a starter kit - providing everything the user needs to successfully cultivate and sustain the organism.
The scale of the plasmodium of this creature trains to respect the invisible that surrounds its wearer and, assuming the function of a magnifier, the petri dish does not work as an enhancement of the eye, but as a means to develop symbiotic relations, to foster practices of interaction and therefore of care. With Bio-Ver, we are proposing a new meaning for functionality in the age of the Anthropocene: what is functional is not what serves an immediate purpose, but what changes a perspective, shaping a relation of care: it is not immediately practical, but immediately attractive and therefore practical. With its glass, and the life it contains, Bio-Ver does not aim to alter the spectrum of human sight, but human perspective, that we believe is more important.
Similarly to a biologist preparing an agar plate, the user in this case, transfers agar to the glass apparatus through the larger openings with the pipette provided - lining it with a thin layer of agar. Sterilized oats can then be strategically arranged inside the glass to manipulate the growth therefore ‘designing’ the slimes trajectory.