FoAM Newsletter Winter 02012

Winter greetings from FoAM, amidst virtual snow and the sudden electric bloom of Christmas lights. As the year draws to its close we look back over some intense months of production amidst gardens of (un)earthly delight, the titanic florescence and demise of superpower plants, picaresque peregrinations on foot, pedal, and unmanned aerial vehicle, not to mention ever-expanding spheres, spaces and spaceship imaginaries of future pre-enactments… while also looking forward ...

Concealed tangential architrave (Ship's log 12/12/12)


After a few hours the majority of the crew seems to be arriving (mind lag) The first casualty happened, although not too serious. Boo has been violated by rats. The doctor keeps him sedated while the agave wound heals. In the mean time, the craftsmen are building Boo-sized rat traps that he's wearing while hibernating (sun has disappeared, so his energy levels are low. The flotilla needs a kitchen ...

Dougald Hine, Journeyman: an interview on transiency and cultural resilience

Dougald started a transiency at foam in July 2012, exploring the role of the Journeyman and what this could mean to the Resilients Guild. His travels took him to interesting places and conversations across Europe, reflecting on cultural resilience, travelling and the absurdity of foresight. This interview was taken while reflecting in Rab, Croatia in July 2012 in the middle of his transiency.

Verken je stadsgroen

Borrowed Scenery - Transitiefestival - Verken je stadsgroen

Urban ecologist Geert Heyneman takes us on a path to understanding the richness and diversity of (edible) plants in the city and the possibilities of urban farming on the small scale.

Plant stories walk

Vanessa guided us through Gent with compiled anecdotes full of botanical, homeopathic, architectural and humorous information about Gent's trees. An interview with this chatty lady about her passion for trees and her city for the curious souls…



With a big dose of energy and imagination, we reflected and improvised on the idea of "hanging" with several aspiring and ambitious young patabotanists, exploring new concepts and practices where movement, play, art and the unexpected came together. The stages of the workshop were to

  1. create hanging plants
  2. hang our plants in trees
  3. observe them carefully and in turn try to hang like plants ourselves - mimicking their movements and state ...

Seeker [DV1]

Angelo Vermeulen recently won the prestigious Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award. For the exhibition Angelo created a community art project with engineers, artists and enthousiasts from Deventer called ‘Seeker’: an evolvable spaceship sculpture which operates as a nomadic framework enabling communities to reflect on the future of human survival and habitation.

Biomodd [NYC4]

The next-gen Biomodd: bigger, better, mutated, hacked, entangled, fully edible.

Biomodd is a shifting global collective of artists, scientists, thinkers, and makers. Biomodd aims to build art installations that reimagine the relationship between nature and digital technology, and seeks to create symbiotic relationships between plant-based ecosystems and computers. The most recent iteration of the project, Biomodd [NYC4], takes advantage of a three-tiered international community. It does so by capitalizing on ...

Interview with Christian Thornton


Christian Thornton is a glass artist and the artistic director of Studio Xaquixe in Oaxaca. For the Fiesta de Maguey y Maiz, he has been working with Bartaku (FoAM) to create Nube del Oro, a glass sculpture that will entwine with a maguey (or agave) plant in Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden. Shelbatra Jashari interviewed Christian during his visit to Brussels as one of the EITC’s artists in transience.

Doris: Lobster mapping

Doris is a new project that has emerged from the development of Borrowed Scenery's Zizim app, repurposed into a scientific research tool in collaboration with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at Exeter University and Helsinki University. Doris – named after the sea nymph in Greek mythology – will be used for mapping lobster catches on fishing boats so researchers working at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow ...

Rough Sloterdijk

Rough Sloterdijk

After two years one of the Guerrilla Grafts in the FoAM Amsterdam garden has sprouted some extraordinary fruits. These rough-looking apples were grafted from a wild seedling near Sloterdijk station and their taste is so remarkable that we think they deserve to be grown as a distinct variety and be given a name. FoAM's first fruit species has been named: Rough Sloterdijk.

Legal Identity for Trees workshop

Our starting point: we are dependent on trees for our survival, even as the ongoing global process of rapid extinction continues apace. What does it mean to integrate trees as legal entities in our social systems, and how can we proceed with this?

Field Trip: New Mexico

Hat Shop

Hat shop in Albuquerque.

New Mexico is quite an odd place, as its associated symbols show: indians, cacti, aliens, gambling, balloons, missile tests and the atom bomb… After ISEA we take some time to investigate this machine wilderness further. Some key observations: a) In a landscape this vast, national politics are a distant abstraction. b) Geological processes can be very tangible. c) Deserts are amazingly biodiverse. d) Hamburgers can be ...

Stevie Wishart performs in the Vatican

FoAM was prominently represented in the Vatican last Sunday, XXVII Sunday of Ordinary Time, when composer and performer Stevie Wishart, accompanied by her ensemble, Sinfonye, were invited to perform at Holy Mass in St Peter’s Square whilst His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI presided over the solemn concelebration of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation.

Aniziz and Zizim

The online component of the Borrowed Scenery project is an experiment in geotagging plants and plant-related locations via a website/app called Zizim (the Compass), combined with a multiplayer online game called Aniziz (the Soil) where you can interact with the plants people have found. Having spent the last couple of months developing them, they are now ready for a more open beta-testing phase.

ISEA 2012: Wild Edible Plants Walk


During the 'Block Party' which is the outdoor part of the ISEA 2012 festival, we host an expedition looking for edible urban plants. From the moment we arrive it's clear we overestimated the amount of plant life in the American desert. This is cactus country, folks!

Rocket Boat Day: the winning boat and its float towards victory


As it was lowered into the water, chants of ‘Courgette! Courgette!’ went up amongst the crowd. I was quite excited, but was also praying that it would float. The first fuse burnt out, so it had to be replaced and lit again (so much tension!). When it finally took off it actually went forward then curved around to the right (courtesy of a bent rudder)… BUT it went ...

Buratinas Taxi Service


Sailing down the canal in the silence of a solar-powered boat wasn’t something to shout about, I thought, preparing for a quiet day at Festival Kanal and trusting that the ever-so-slow rhythm of the ride would inadvertently impose a state of “still-being” on our hopefully receptive passengers.