foam

Activities > Machine Wilderness

Machine Wilderness

The challenges associated with the anthropocene make evident that the Earth’s systems do not exist separate to human activities. Natural processes flow unstoppably into human infrastructures and whatever human culture produces is embedded within natural systems. The emerging climate crisis and environmental damage show that our design processes underestimate the level of exposure of our landscapes to human activity. Our infrastructures, technologies and machines are not temporary visitors to our landscapes, they are permanent inhabitants.

Machine Wilderness explores what our technologies could look like if they are native to our landscapes, part of material flows, foodchains and layers of communication. In particular it looks at environmental robotics, designing ‘pseudo-organisms’ that relate to specific habitats. This program starts from the viewpoint of an organism as an expression of it’s habitat and works within a longterm view of interacting populations surfing collectively on the geological and meteorological currents that carry them.

The words machine and robot are not used here in the sense of devices aimed at efficiently performing a rudimentary utilitarian task, but rather as subtle man-made nodes that act according to flows and processes. At what level of subtlety and sympathy does a machine cease to be a machine in it’s classic sense? How can our technology relate to the subtleties and grace exhibited by biological organisms and the timeframes of natural cycles? To explore these questions Machine Wilderness explores experimental design methods that aim to include diverse ways of knowing. In collaboration with artists, ecologists, engineers, choreographers, designers, environmental philosophers, farmers and many others from diverse backgrounds we aim to trace out new contours and map new domains for ecological robotics based on specific landscapes, ecosystems, habitats and locations.

Program: includes a symposium, workshop-series and expeditions aimed at in-situ prototyping.

more info: http://machinewilderness.net/

sign up for the newsletter, with updates and open calls: newsletter

note: Machine Wilderness was the theme given by curator Andrea Polli to the wonderful ISEA 2012 symposium, and originates from writings by cultural geographer Ron Horvath in the 1960s. It is used here with full respect for that context.

Periscopedune

The islands of the Wadden are situated in an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea called ...

Artificial Ecologies Venice

Independent curator Roland Fischer and Artistic Director Paolo Rosso of MicroClima invited Theun Karelse, Alice Smith and Ivan Henriques for ...

FoAM digest - Spring 02017

The budding energy of early spring enticed us to bring out some vital news from across the FoAM network. The ...

Machine Wilderness at Transmediale

A write up of our workshop at Transmediale looking at the potential of animal behaviour for designing technology that is ...

Machine Wilderness at V&A museum

In a yearly festival called the Digital Design Weekend, the Victoria and Albert museum opens its doors to the public ...

Machine Wilderness at Pixelache

Interfaces for Empathy is the brilliant theme of this year’s Pixelache festival. In many ways it also describes what ...

Ars Bioarctica

A Machine Wilderness session at Kilpisjarvi biological research station some 300 km into the polar circle in northern Finland. As ...

Symbiotic Systems workshop

Prototyping symbiotic sytems based on specific landscapes in Amstelpark. April 29-30, 2016 A two day workshop in the Machine Wilderness ...

Cornwall prototype #2

The 13th and 14th of November 2015 the first FieldRobotics workshop was held in Falmouth, in Cornwall in collaboration with ...

Cornwall prototype #1

The 13th and 14th of November 2015 the first FieldRobotics workshop was held in Falmouth, in Cornwall in collaboration with ...

Machine Wilderness Workshop

The Kernow and Amsterdam studios of FoAM hosted a collaborative 2 day workshop in Falmouth bringing together 25 participants from ...

Wild Food Foraging Thursday

In preparation for our Machine Wilderness workshop coming up in November, we spent a morning discovering edible plants around Penryn ...