Exchange Instruments (2022)

2 photobioreactors from laboratory glass, stainless steel structure, Chlorella vulgaris, water and air pumping system, led lights

400 × 400 × 1800 mm, 2x

Water is a medium of exchange, creation, and transmission of information. The current period of climatic and geopolitical change should compel and inspire us to examine and better understand the environment in which we live. Until recently, we have taken the natural rhythms and seasonal changes as the regular parts of our lives, but in times of infinite ecosystem violation, these changes have become unpredictable. The medium of water became an important commodity, which must be treated with care and processed with detailed observation. Water is the fundamental base of all fluids carrying information through various infrastructures and scales: from hydrosphere, and aquatic ecosystems containing communities of organisms, to fluids circulating in all living bodies and microscopic vessels. How can we affect this medium to thrive with us? How can we collaborate?

The Exchange Instruments use their parts – living, inert, human, non-human – to collaborate as one system. Here, the water acts as the primary medium for information exchange – water is the base element for microalgae cultivation, and photosynthetic activity occurs here. Light, movement, carbon dioxide, and micronutrients supplement microalgal culture in the spiral vessels that circulate from and to the reservoirs located underneath the spirals - from there, the oxygen is released to the outer environment. One of the two vertical assemblies contains about 20l of fluid, which amounts to the same intracellular fluid volume of a 60 kilogram human body: “inhaling” carbon dioxide, “exhaling” oxygen, and continuously bioremediating its space. They stand and function independently, yet when forming clusters, their activity multiplies in time. Strong and fragile simultaneously; the glass vessels with the stainless steel structure support each other, providing a safe environment for its inhabitants. The Exchange Instruments are not a simulation of the natural habitat but a reflection on the collaborative potential of natural and artificial ecosystems to create unique formations within the urban landscape. Not looking back, yet admitting the need to further explore scientific data and natural phenomena, moving forward together.

The project was a part of the group exhibition “Coexist, coact, collaborate” in Gallery UM (2022).

Partners: Czech Academy of Sciences - Microbiological Institute, University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava - Faculty of Natural Sciences, Kavalier Glass, LT Industry, ITB Development, Foundation Tatra Banka