Text by CLOT Magazine
A new exhibition is opening at STATE Studio Berlin, Living Canvas, by Fara Peluso, a Berlin based designer and artist. The exhibition consists of the installation Living Canvas and the workshop Algature and it will be presented as part of Transmediale Vorspiel on Friday, 25 January.
Algae are one of the most important carbon dioxide fixers and producers of oxygen in waters and the atmosphere. A lot of effort is been put by scientists and designers in employing these capabilities for improving our environmental issues, using it to produce environmentally friendly materials or to fight air pollution.
In Living Canvas– a project realised in cooperation with Solaga, a Berlin-based startup specializing in using algae for clean air, energy and a range of sustainable design systems based on algae biofilm and supported by Innogy Foundation – the artist fuses an energy-generating algae biofilm with cutting-edge technology into a wall-mounted installation growing in real-time.
The artist states that the project is a design prototype reflecting a new social consciousness based on principles of sustainability and speculative design: As part of a new design movement that has the power to influence society, I approach topics such as industry, nature and the environment with speculative design. I choose to practice speculative design because our ways of living in a possible future already tell us what kind of future we want.
Throughout the duration of the installation, the algae biofilm is in porous interaction with the environment of the exhibition space and natural light and temperature cycles influencing the chlorophyll photosynthesis of the organisms. The speculative and organic process of Living Canvas produces a spectrum of aesthetical effects regarding size, colour, pigmentation and other sensible qualities of the metabolically active algae beyond its natural qualities.
Biofilms are complex communities of microorganisms that grow on solid surfaces enclosed in a matrix of polymeric substances. The term “algal biofilms” refers to microalgae-dominated biofilm communities that colonize illuminated surfaces in the presence of moisture and nutrients. Algal biofilms have been a research focus for wastewater treatment.
The piece is supposedly aimed to make us reflect on current environmental issues, and previously unused regenerative potentials in our societies and, with the workshop, have maybe more hands-on experience with the role and potential of biotechnology.