Julie Freeman

Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) 2.0

"Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) 2.0" by Julie Freeman. A transparent sphere contains rectangular bars with a light in the center. The sphere is in front of a large screen.
Julie Freeman
Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) 2.0
Medium / Material / Technic
Mixed media installation powered by microbial fuel cells; web-based interactive animation of artificial life, soundscape.

»ALICE« by British artist Julie Freeman, with scientist Ioannis Ieropoulos and experimental architect Rachel Armstrong, uses microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology to harness the energy of microbes as they metabolise liquid waste such as urine and organic sludge. The work is a living installation and active experiment, which tests an energy generating alternative to fossil fuel combustion.

Twelve modular microbial fuel cell systems drive a biological-digital interface and power LED lighting. Energy generation performance data from the cells is collected and transformed into a real-time animation and electro-acoustic composition. The movements of animated mobes mimic that of the microbes, bringing into view the world of hidden life within the installation.

On a small scale, »ALICE« realizes a vision for future large-scale infrastructures with smart sanitation and resource autonomy in harmony with natural energy flows. The spherical shape hints at this future scenario: the potential to transform energy and water systems globally.

Team: Julie Freeman, Prof. Yannis Ieropoulos (Chair in Environmental Engineering, WEEG Group, CMEE Department, University of Southampton), Prof. Rachel Armstrong (Regenerative Architecture, DECA research group, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven).
Team: Prof. Rolf Hughes (Epistemic Practices, Architecture & Design, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven), Dr Pierangelo Marco Scravaglieri (Experimental Architect, School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University), Dr Jiseon You (Lecturer in Engineering/Project Management, School of Engineering, College of Arts, Technology and Environment, UWE Bristol), Arjuna Mendis (Engineer, Robotics Innovation Facility, Bristol Robotics Lab), Stephen Wolff (Creative Technology Developer, Translating Nature).
Supported by the Department of Architecture | Faculty of Architecture, Campus Sint-Lucas, Brussels/Ghent KU Leuven