Angelo Vermeulen is a contemporary ecologist and artist who developed what is called the BIOMODD movement. I had to fortunate opportunity to attend his lecture with Katherine Moriwaki, where they discussed their discoveries with their previous workshops “Build your Bioreactor” and “Scrapyard Challenge.”
I was able to come a little early to their lecture and see what was in store for the workshop. I honestly had no idea what a bioreactor was, what it looked like, or what purpose it served. The tubes, fishtanks, and bottles of water did little to clarify these questions. However, once the lecture began, Angelo discussed some of the work he had done in the past for his open source project, BIOMODD.
I found it extremely fascinating that he had not begun his academic career in the arts, but in fact, studying microorganisms that occupy different types of water. I think these type of interdisciplinary artists tend to bring a unique type of work into the art world, which brings a whole new set of perspectives in.
I think I enjoyed his discussion of his [LBA2] Biomodd most of all, where he talked about his source of inspiration, Mount Makiling, a mountain in the Philippines that forms the shape of a woman’s silhouette in recline. I think the work that came out of this inspiration was truly beautiful, as it tied the ideas of environmentalism, technology, and art together in harmony.During his lecture Angelo explained the process of cooling computers through the flower of algae water, which in turn creates energy for the algae to grow. While I felt that more could be perhaps invested in the actual conservation of computer energy in general, I thought this was a very inspired idea. By this I mean simply that his project concentrates on the capitalization of unused energy, but does little to reduce the actual use of energy overall. While this is something I wish the project would further explore, I think this is one of many steps towards adopting amore ecological mindset, and ultimately understanding the capabilities of ecology, technology, and art.
1. “Mount Makiling Philippine Camping Destination.” http://www.ichatcamping.com/philippine-campgrounds/816/mount-makiling-philippine-camping-destination
2. “Life on Mars: Fellows Friday with Angelo Vermeulen.” http://blog.ted.com/2012/05/11/life-on-mars-fellows-friday-with-angelo-vermeulen/