currently on display

Werk - H.O.R.T.U.S.
Artist / Artist group
Material / Technique
aluminum, Acryl, PVC, chlorella
Dimensions / Duration
336 x 657 x 375 cm
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

»We know gardens are fabricated landscapes, and we know that they interact playfully with the environment, but they convey a dream, and thus have a social agenda.«[1]

H.O.R.T.U.S. (Latin for 'garden') is a large-scale installation working at the intersection of architecture, art, and science. The array of thin PCV tubes first recalls a green, shimmering, artificial tree, and indeed, living chlorella algae cultures are carried through this organic closed-loop system. The algae liquid is pumped through the tubes along the trunk into the 'tree’s crown', which acts as a photobioreactor. Oxygen and energy from daylight lamps catalyze a photosynthetic process which allows the algae to grow. And visitors themselves can get involved as »cyber-gardeners«: By blowing into the hanging hose ends, they supply the system with additional oxygen, thus accelerating the process.

In this way, an interplay of light energy, technology, and matter fuses to form a biodigital garden experiment—one that engages with renewable resource production and urban self-sufficiency.

[1] Gilles Clément, »Jardins, Paysage et Génie Naturel« (Paris: Collége de France, 2013). Cited here from: Translated from the French.

Author: Julia Ihls