Futurecrafting in Cornwall with FoAM Earth

The future is in short supply at the moment, particularly in the UK with so many things changing - it is a constant surprise that there are so few ideas about where we could be headed. At the smaller scales too, at FoAM Kernow, in common with many organisations there is a feeling we tend to be so fixated on the current problems (do we need to invoice for that project ...

Accesslab Pilot 2 Notes

Recently we ran the second trial of our AccessLab project. We are iteratively developing a workshop format that works across a wide range of audiences, helping people to access and use scientific information. This post covers some of the changes we made to the format, what worked and what didn’t, the feedback received, and what we’d like to change next time.

Viruscraft prototyping

How do viruses evolve and switch to new hosts? Using virus structure as our basis we're designing a new tangible interface to explore the evolution of viruses, together with a game world full of host species that are affected by how you shape your virus. This post outlines the prototyping to date.

How to design a tangible programming language – Pattern Matrix at Algomech (part 2)

Once we acknowledge that weaving and programming are part of the same technological timeline, we can begin to look at the history of weaving as a eight thousand year long tale of human relationship with digital technologies - and use this long view to research new approaches to software engineering, a field with a much less developed history and many interesting problems to solve.

Pattern Matrix at Algomech (part 1)

I'm writing this on the train with a slightly sleep deprived brain fizzing and popping from thoughts, ideas and conversations from this year's Algomech festival in Sheffield. The Penelope project took a significant role in the festival, with the group's participation in the Unmaking Symposium, the exhibition and also testing our latest weavecoding technology at the Algorave. I'll be writing more on the algorave in a subsequent post.


The islands of the Wadden are situated in an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea called Waddensea. The island of Terschelling is the setting for IMRAMA, an investigation initiated by Jan de Graaf and Jeroen van Westen into the nature of this UNESCO world heritage site. The fieldwork of IMRAMA sets out to "look at - looking at the Waddensea". Theun of FoAM Amsterdam has been ivited ...

In anticipation of things already present.

FoAM published a new article by Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney, In anticipation of things already present. The article is now available on Medium, adapted from FoAM's closing keynote of Anticipation 2017.

Artificial Ecologies Venice

Independent curator Roland Fischer and Artistic Director Paolo Rosso of MicroClima invited Theun Karelse, Alice Smith and Ivan Henriques for a presentation of their work, to explore the possibility of collaboration and the potential of the Venetian Lagoon for Machine Wilderness field-work.

MicroClima is situated in a large greenhouse near the Biennial grounds in Venice.

Spectres in change. Fieldnotes #1

Seili, a tiny island in the Archipelago Sea. The island is a geologically young and interconnected ecosystem, historically laden with accounts of illness, death and isolation. It seems serene and benign yet harbours hidden disturbances, spectral hostilities. Plagues of ticks and microplastics overlaid with psychic memories of the oppressed and abandoned. Ecological monsters and anomalies hover on the edges of human perception, cunningly invasive even to a casual visitor.

Pattern Matrix V2 report

We've been busy making a new tangible interface – the Pattern Matrix is part of the ERC Penelope project, which explores mathematical proofs embedded in (weaving) pattern, and how technology defines our relationship with the world. The new interface allows the user to play with weaving pattern quickly, and crucially allows mistakes – meaning we can start to understand the mathematics embedded in the patterns. As Margaret Wertheim says in ...

FoAM has left the building...

Just shy of midday on the 1st of August 2017 we closed the door of the FoAM studio on Koolmijnenkaai in Brussels, one last time. In light of the changing nature of our activities we decided that we no longer needed such a large space, and that we would move out of the Koolmijnenkaai studio, no matter how beautiful and unique it may be. We remain grateful to have been ...

Viruscraft: Genetic model connected to a tree visualisation

The genetic model we were working on previously has now been ported into a browser compatible form and connected to a new tree visualisation that displays the species that emerge as the host population adapts to a virus infection. It's still a prototype with rough edges, but have a play with it here, some example pics:

Getting a feel for tangible interfaces

We have two projects where we’re building tangible interfaces – Penelope and Viruscraft. This blog is an exploration of tangible interfaces, harvesting thoughts from the worlds of neuroscience, choreograhy, cognitive science and education to see what we can learn to guide our research and design directions.

Technology after Collapse

The philosophy underlying contemporary 'seamless' technology production seems to be one of endless energy, bountiful resources and waste being someone else's problem. Naive working assumptions of some form are a requirement when designing for the future, but do we believe in these enough now to make them useful? Flashy 'aspirational' tech videos of ever thinning devices disappearing into the 'cloud' seem to be less common than they once were, so ...

Pattern Matrix PCBs arrived & first tests

After triple checking the schematics and design files and ordering 80 PCBs (50 sensors and 30 i2c boards) there was an anxious wait for them to arrive and do some initial tests to find out if there were any mistakes. We now have enough boards to make two new pattern matrix devices, one 4X4 and one 5X5 - the plan is to evaluate the design and refine it for future builds.


On Thursday june 29 a kick-off meeting was held at the Iona Stichting in Amsterdam to bring together Dutch initiatives that are active in restoration ecology, environmental agriculture and finance. Theun joined the meeting entitled Terra2.

The discussions explored two main topics:

dilemmas - what are the main obstacles you encounter in your work to restore natural processes and landscapes?

opportunities - what would be needed to up-scale current practices?

Viruscraft: building a ‘reasonably accurate’ genetic game world simulation

The concept for the viruscraft game is to have a realtime genetic model or simulation of the host evolution which is adapting to the properties of a virus you are building (either on screen or via a tangible interface as part of an exhibit). This model needs to be realistic, but only up to a point - it can be more of a caricature of biology than a research model would ...

Dust and shadow. Fieldnotes #1

We had arrived in the Sonoran desert. A place of desiccated time, layered time, geological, vegetal, human time. Time kneads the Earth's crust into deep folds, cracks and canyons. Plants lay dormant through cycles of drought or grow slowly for centuries, bursting into blossom after the first rains. Humans come and go. Blown through the ages like tumbleweeds. Things don't really decay here. They shrivel, dry up or slowly rust ...

Accesslab Pilot 1 Notes

We launched the accesslab project last week with two pilot workshops. This is a write-up of how the workshops were run and why, together with some of the feedback and modifications we will make in future.