Angelo Vermeulen projects are a true synthesis of science, art and technology, and questions many of the ideas and problems that are emerging in the 21st century. The Biomodd project (http://www.biomodd.net/) combines computer technology and biology to create hybrid environments in which computer systems and biological systems not only co-exist but form symbiotic relationships. By recycling old computers and other E-waste and placing them together with hydroponic ‘gardens’ the Biomodd project creates a functioning system in which the electronics create heat while the plants are part of cooling systems.
Important to these environments are the use of open source software and communal activities - the computers support multi-user gaming, and the production of the BioModd structures is a collaborative effort
Biomodd ATH1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcGa1mDuJ-c)
The First Version Biomodd ATH1 (http://www.biomodd.net/ath1) was created at Ohio University in 2007-8. Further versions were produced in Philippines (see my next posting) and in Slovenia (http://www.biomodd.net/biomodd-workshops/maribor).
An excellent description of the creative process of the Biomodd project can be found at http://vimeo.com/12519873.
Vermeulen has also been working on SEAD, a set of projects for Space Ecologies Art and Design (https://sites.google.com/site/spaceecologies/) which explore the problematics of space travel and biological life in space.
One of the projects is A First Room for MELISSA “[…] a poetic preview of Space Ecologies (working title), the artistic research project initiated by Angelo Vermeulen and Tine Holvoet dealing with habitat and space exploration. This multi-layered installation revolves around the urge for survival and procreation, confinement, design, personal affection, and the archetypal human fear of annihilation. For this exhibition, Vermeulen and Holvoet design conceptual narratives linked to the European Space Agency’s MELiSSA project. Based on the concept of an artificial ecosystem, MELiSSA, short for Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative, is the European model for a regenerative life support system for astronauts. MELiSSA allows the production of oxygen, water and food, and the recycling of organic wastes and carbon dioxide. Such regenerative life support systems will enable future long-term manned space missions such as a lunar base or a mission to Mars by ensuring crew survival.
“An architectural integration with hibernation sculptures, dropped ceilings, text and graphics, and two sole green plants refers to space-based ecosystems, and to a general human and personal desire to live and work in space for extended periods longer than 14 months – the longest period any astronaut has spent in space until this date.” (source: https://sites.google.com/site/spaceecologies/art-projects/first-room-for-melissa)