My first day back at the Biomodd Lab with Margarita Pantaleon and Roy San Buenaventura. Vanni and Jeryl were in the lab. The prototype is larger than I imagined, and surprising. The potential (and problems) of the installation are clearer to me now. Vanni and Kent have done fantastic work keeping the ball rolling. Jeryl looks super committed to doing the game. Margarita and Roy are two very bright students, so they're quick to pick up on things.
Victor Sison came into the lab later, and his ideas were invigorating. He manages a small farm which he's converting into a sustainable outfit, so he's done lots of research and practical work into sustainable technologies. He has completely re-inspired me to return to issues of food production. He showed us Farm Fountain, which is stunning in its simplicity, elegance, and utility, plus the artists are encouraging other people to create version of the farm fountain. So between Vanni, Roy, Victor, and me, we came up with a new ideas for the hardware and biological components (there's also the wood carving and the gaming components) of Biomodd.
In a nutshell, we can adapt many of the ideas in Farm Fountain to deal with what has been a pressing problem so far, i.e., what to do with the excess heat from the computers in a way that creates symbiotic relationships all around.
We can still populate the sculpture with a simulated tropical rainforest, but that can become as an adjunct (maybe even secondary) to creating a working aquaponic system. In fact, maybe all we need to do is preserve the central "tree" (really a wooden post that is used to support vines and other creeping plants). What I like about focusing on aquaponics more than on simulating a tropical rainforest is how the theme of food security (a theme that would resonate deeply with a Filipino audience) is aestheticized and moved to the forefront. It also elegantly solves the problem of excess heat.
The idea of compartmentalization (again, an old idea from back in the Biomodd brainstorming days) also came up today, but without necessarily dividing the interior of the sculpture. Instead, the side of the hexagonal frame could highlight a different view into the thematic components of the sculpture: hardware, hydroponics, aquaculture, forest ecosystem, computer monitors. I was worried that this then visually negates the symbiotic nature of the sculpture, when Vanni suggested that there could be some visual overlap between the components.
Tomorrow, we'll start drawing these ideas. We also should figure out specific information like how much water we'd need given how many fish for a certain number of computer components. We already know that 1 liter of water can sustain 13 lbs (grams?) worth of tilapia. Thoughts, team?
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