LIFORM: Water-Sensitive Device
04.07 - 12.09.2021 Museum of Artificial History Exhibition
The State Darwin Museum, Moscow, Russia
The LIFORM project is an ongoing investigation on 'interspecies collaboration’ for the generation of soft megastructures, or how the collaboration between humans and bio-organisms can change the world we live in. LIFORM is a series of curated experiments with the ambition to grow new types of complex morphologies and weaving techniques where mycelium starts performing in a new way. Designed ecosystems are the starting point for living megastructures. The goal of the current experiment is to create an ecosystem, a living harmony, by generating a suitable growth environment inside an incubator. The object of art is the incubator itself, the ecosystem inside it and the process of structure formation
In this case, the installation is a self-forming biological device based on mycelium, which builds a single water-sensitive structure during the exhibition. The weaved structure is a suggested growing direction with required nutrients for the mycelium organism to follow. This experiment focuses on the organism’s ability to adapt to given conditions and create a functional system in the process.
Mycelium is the root-like fibrous material of fungus. The mycelium network is a membrane that can transport a water molecule through itself. It forms unique three-dimensional connections to get water from the air and surfaces. By distributing water through the system and pumping it up, it gets the opportunity to grow vertically.
Mycelium have proteins called aquaporins in their cell membranes. Aquaporins act like gates to allow water in or out of the cell. This gives it the ability to transfer water through the system to share it with plants when it is in the natural environment. It lets mycelium create a unique infrastructure that is worth studying and experimenting with.
As a result of the experiment, a multilayer device is being created that will work as long as there is a sufficient amount of nutrition and moisture for the mycelium to grow. Perhaps in the future, such biological device systems can be implemented and functionally useful for humans.
The shift between the Anthropocene and Biocentrism, from hard to soft powers, requires introducing flexibility to improve the balance in our world and create new possibilities for more harmonious interaction between humans and nature to let its intelligence fully unfold.