suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
O + R (rafael ORTIZ MARTINEZ de CARNERO, architect, and fernando ORTIZ MARTINEZ de CARNERO, biologist): COLONIES is a biological installation project that proposes a DIRECT ENCOUNTER between human beings and microorganisms within an exhibition setting. In which the visitors can experience the sensation of being part of an organism that is both alive and evolving.
Encounters of this type are usually conceived in a negative way, but is itself a DAILY ENCOUNTER. The microorganisms are part of our lives daily inhabiting the air and surfaces around us. In this way, the installation aims to create a desire to explore the unknown. Microorganisms are infinitely small compared with human beings and generate processes of evolution and development barely imaginable in our time scale.
This SUPERORGANISM is composed of Colonies of microscopic ecosystems placed on columns arranged at different heights. Each column is the structure and skin of an ecosystem that is alive and evolves. In this way what is ORGANIC become part of the SPACE, occupying it.
The use of microorganisms and their inherent mechanisms in a spatial context initially lead us to create specific control-systems for the growth and evolution of each colony. Moreover, the interest is also generated in the opposite direction, the emergence of uncontrolled processes and the logic of organization without a previous planning system.
The experiments produced during the process generate development and evolution guidelines for the colonies, but each column is an ecosystem itself, that grows spontaneously establishing specific diversity and promoting the emergence of different microscopic societies that have a common basis. Thus we observe that a generic system with the same composition evolves very differently depending on environmental conditions.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
O + R: Theory of symbiotic relationships driving evolution by Lynn Margulis finding out symbiotic relationships between species in an continuous evolution. Akira, the movie by Ōtomo Katsuhiro, and the idea of uncontrolled multiplicity and evolution of hybrid natures between natural, artificial and metaphysical systems. Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical concept of Rhizome in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and the idea of multiplicity without unity.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
O + R: Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Leucocyte Album 2008, specially Leucocyte I: Ab Initio and Leucocyte IV: Ad Infinitum—we were very influenced by their music’s atmospheres. The following books: Subnatures: Architecture’s Other Environments, by David Glissen, the Sanford Kwinter essay “Wildness in the New Urbanism” from the book Far From Equilibrium. Richard Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable and The Super-Organism by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
O + R: Always a lot of people, basically we are interested in all the expressions of art, cinema, dance, theater, music, literature and architecture that try to generate alive and uncontrolled systems. But lately interested on Sachiko Kodama, “Breathing Chaos” installation works, Bill Viola ” Tempest ” and ” Ocean without a shore ” video – installations; and Francis Bitonti Studio “Combustion Pavilion” project.
Site: ECAT. Espacio Contemporáneo Archivo de Toledo. Toledo, Spain