Production: Ultramono, 2019 - work in progress
MetaGarden2 Fountain, Installation (3D printed objects, steel, water, glassware, atmospheric pressure plasma generating device)
Production: Ultramono, 2019-work in progress
Arijana Filipić, Department of Biotechnology and Systems Biology, National Institute of Biology
Dr Gregor Primc, Department of Surface Engineering and Optoelectronics, Jozef Stefan Institute
Dr Zoran Lj. Petrović, Institute of Physics, University of Belgrade
Plasma module is produced by the Department of Surface Engineering and Optoelectronics, Jozef Stefan Institute
Inside gardens and parks, fountains are usually placed as central features due to their symbolism, echoing the historical and cosmological role of water as a substance crucial to life on Earth.
How are we going to overcome the consequences of growing environmental pollution? What novel ways can we invent to clean or recycle water already used in industrial production of goods?
Sometimes referred to as the fourth state of matter, plasma is an ionized gas electrically charged to act as a tiny lightning bolt. In scientific research, plasma is used for various purposes. Among some promising features is its ability to destroy harmful microbes in different environments including water. UV radiation, charged particles, and reactive oxygen or nitrogen species are plasma’s constituents that have great antimicrobial properties –these reactive species are believed to be the most important in terms of microbial destruction. Plasma might also be the future technology for cleansing the leftover traces of manmade chemical contaminants in water, from toxic dyes to drugs. Research has also indicated that crops or seeds treated with plasma‑treated water are more resistant to diseases and can germinate faster, thus producing a higher yield crop. This type of water management might be a potential future technology that will reduce the use of unnecessary chemicals in water cleansing, not only for industrial and agricultural use but also for safe human consumption.
As a potential technology that might be widely used, the treatment of water with plasma is implemented in the installation – plasma-treated water is both the actual agent of change and the symbol of growth and purity.
Bansode, A. S., More, S. E., Siddiqui, E. A., Satpute, S., Ahmad, A., Bhoraskar, S. V., & Mathe, V. L. (2017). Effective degradation of organic water pollutants by atmospheric non-thermal plasma torch and analysis of degradation process. Chemosphere, 167, 396–405. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.09.089
Liao, X., Liu, D., Xiang, Q., Ahn, J., Chen, S., Ye, X., & Ding, T. (2016). Inactivation mechanisms of non-thermal plasma on microbes: A review. Food Control, 75, 83–91. doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2016.12.021
Magureanu, M., Mandache, N. B., & Parvulescu, V. I. (2015). Degradation of pharmaceutical compounds in water by non-thermal plasma treatment. Water Research, 81, 124–136. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2015.05.037
Panngom, K., Lee, S. H., Park, D. H., Sim, G. B., Kim, Y. H., Uhm, H. S., et al. (2014). Non-thermal plasma treatment diminishes fungal viability and up-regulates resistance genes in a plant host. PLoS ONE, 9(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099300
Randeniya, L. K., & De Groot, G. J. J. B. (2015). Non-Thermal Plasma Treatment of Agricultural Seeds for Stimulation of Germination, Removal of Surface Contamination and Other Benefits: A Review. Plasma Processes and Polymers, 12, 608–623. doi:10.1002/ppap.201500042
Thirumdas, R., Kothakota, A., Annapure, U., Siliveru, K., Blundell, R., Gatt, R., & Valdramidis, V. P. (2018). Plasma activated water (PAW): Chemistry, physico-chemical properties, applications in food and agriculture. Trends in Food Science and Technology (Vol. 77). Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2018.05.007
MetaGarden2 EXOMEDICA is a series of speculative futuristic instruments.
EXOMEDICA are envisioned as devices that take care of our health and health of our environments.
Placed within the MetaGarden, these devices arise from ideas about renewable energy resources, clean industrial development of goods, and vision of the world without pollution. Although a multitude of alternative ecological solutions are being developed nowadays, we are yet to see if any of them will be used on a wider scale. Until then, we might think along the lines of these semi-imaginary devices that are operating synergistically with their surroundings. Focused on recreation, these eco-conscious devices help us maintain our health and health of our environments. Since the very beginnings of civilisation on Earth, humans have turned to plants for food, shelter, and medication. Recreation in nature has always been advised in the form of walks, meditation, observation of plants, breathing of the healing air in the woods, and tuning in into the countless signals and chemical communication channels of the surroundings. The shapes (and function) of objects are generated by replicating organic algorithms of human internal organs and shapes of ancient plants from the Earth’s distant past.
General description of the project
A garden “is never a garden of merely private concerns into which one escapes from the real; it is that plot of soil on the earth, within the self, or amid the social collective, where the cultural, ethical, and civic virtues that save reality from its own worst impulses are cultivated. Those virtues are always ours."
Robert Pogue Harrison
What will our future gardens, the gardens of the third millennium, look like?
Will they be made of objects, machines, and living beings that synergistically maintain their flexible systems and communicate with their surroundings?
MetaGarden is an ongoing project that reflects upon a complex relationship of humanity and its technologically fortified environment of nature-culture, and focuses on a particular issue within each installation.
Through MetaGarden2, I am trying to examine not only what exists within our lives, but also what multiple possibilities and changes might emerge in biopolitical, social, and environmental issues.
Throughout history, garden as a sheltered environment has been re-emerging as a special location for human contact with nature, recreation, and rethinking of mythologies, social relations, and allegories.
Gardens have never had unitary functions and forms. Filled with idealised flora and fauna or devised as minimalistic environments, gardens would sometimes induce ecstatic feelings or provoke meditative immersions and reflections. Ancient Epicurean school promoted understanding of the world through tending of gardens and, instead of overcoming, it was all about transfiguring nature and self-cultivation. Epicure viewed gardens as places in which reality could be reconceived and reimagined.
Michel Foucault thought of gardens as the perfect heterotopias – the other places, detached from ordinary life. Within gardens, we get into the relationships with living and non-living objects or non-human agents, and seek in them the forms of transitional, comfort objects. Gardens infuse us with molecules and affect our senses, but we also infuse gardens with our states of mind and impose forms onto nature. Gardens echo our lost contact with nature caused by the rapid development of industry and technology. They are associated with regeneration of human beings, our reconnection with nature, and the notion of care and cultivation of both ourselves and our nature-culture environments. Gardens might be seen as networks of engineered man-made and natural elements that promote the flow among non-human and human agents.
Jean Luc Nancy's concept of synaestetic touch that underlines the necessity to pay special attention to senses other than vision, like touching and smelling, might pave the way for cultivating a novel attitude towards nature in the post-digital world.
Gardens might also be microcosms that temporarily separate a person from the rest of the world and include one into their special texture. As Michel Foucault would say, “the garden is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the totality of the world.”
What might our future habitats look like? Are we going to seal off from the atmosphere due to pollution and live in chambers that look like Apple park building or Amazon Spheres? If so, who will be able to afford that type of hi-tech water, air purification, and maintenance of plant growth inside the future farming facilities? Such future chambers may enable us to experience the world of “wilderness” to its fullest in a tamed form, devoid of any danger, disorientation, darkness, and of anything uncontrolled. Aquaponic gardens for industrial production of plants operated fully by robotic agents offer a glimpse into a potential future scenario that seems rather bleak with its alienating order of plants and machines.
Occasionally, there were utopian ideas of an idyllic garden spreading around the whole Earth, like the one envisioned by futurist Jacques Fresco with his Venus project. We might be very far from anything like that, but at least we could work towards curbing the environmental pollution and providing everybody with access to clean natural environments. A potential way towards the MetaGardens of the future is the co-creation with nature and the engineering of upcoming civilisation informed by bionics and biomimicry. Biomimicry, the term coined by Janine Benyus in 1990s, is the outlook that strives not to extract from nature and domesticate it, but to create solutions learned from the ideas that appear everywhere in the natural world. As Benyus writes, some of the core principles of nature are that it runs on sunlight, uses only the energy it needs, fits form to function, recycles everything, and rewards cooperation. These principles, i.e. functions of nature, should be embedded in materials of future design – from apparatuses to buildings and infrastructure.
Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces.” Diacritics, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Sense of the World. University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
Lowenhaupt Tsing, Anna. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press, 2015.
Pogue Harrison, Robert. Gardens, An Essay on the Human Condition. The University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Ponting, Klajv. Ekološka Istorija Sveta Životna Sredina i Propast Velikih Civilizacija. Odiseja, 2009.
Leslie, Esther. Synthetic Worlds Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry. Reaktion Books, 2005.
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, 2016.
Benyus, Janine M. Biomimicry Innovation Inspired by Nature. HarperCollins, 1997.