Ecology, and Permaculture

Ecology

“ecology, [is] the branch of biology that examines how organisms interact with each other and with their physical environment.” https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/ecology/intro-to-ecology/a/what-is-ecology

Permaculture

“Permaculture (the word, coined by Bill Mollison, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.” https://permaculturenews.org/what-is-permaculture/

Media for the isolation of organisms

LB medium (e. coli medium)

  • tryptone - 1.25 g
  • yeast extract - 0.625 g
  • NaCl - 1.25 g
  • Distilled water - 100 ml

Acetobacter medium

  • Glucose – 2 g
  • Peptone – 0.5 g
  • Yeast extract – 0.5 g
  • Disodium phosphate – 0.27 g
  • Citric acid – 0.15 g
  • Agar – 1.5 g
  • Distilled water – 100 ml

Related Organisms

C. elegans

“C. elegans is a nematode … The roundworms and threadworms, a phylum of smooth-skinned, unsegmented worms with a long cylindrical body shape tapered at the ends; includes free-living and parasitic forms both aquatic and terrestrial … C. elegans is a non-hazardous, non-infectious, non-pathogenic, non-parasitic organism. It is small, growing to about 1 mm in length, and lives in the soil—especially rotting vegetation—in many parts of the world, where it survives by feeding on microbes such as bacteria.” https://cbs.umn.edu/cgc/what-c-elegans

E. coli

“Escherichia coli (E.coli) are very common bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and part of the normal bacterial flora. However, some E.coli strains are able to produce a toxin that could produce serious infection. The main reservoir of such E.coli strains is grass-feeding animals, cattle in particular. Their meat might become contaminated by faecal matter due to poor processing methods during slaughter, and their faeces might end up contaminating other foods (e.g. milk, vegetables) and water.” http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/escherichia-coli-ecoli/facts

Acetobacter

"The genus Acetobacter belongs to the group of acetic acid bacteria that oxidize alcohols or sugars incompletely, leading to the accumulation of acetic acid. Acetic acid bacteria are of great industrial interest because of their use to produce vinegar from spirits, wine, beer, and cider" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738439/

Related projects

Mel Chin

Revival Field, 1991-ongoing, http://melchin.org/oeuvre/revival-field/

Mel Chin in conjunction with Dr. Rufus Chaney, senior research agronomist, USDA. 1991-1993 Mel Chin puts his artwork in following words: “Revival Field began as a conceptual artwork with the intent to sculpt a site’s ecology. .. The initial experiment, located at Pig’s Eye Landfill, a State Superfund site in St. Paul, Minnesota, was a replicated field test using special hyperaccumulator plants to extract heavy metals from contaminated soil. Scientific analysis of biomass samples from this field confirmed the potential of “Green Remediation” as an on-site, low-tech alternative to current costly and unsatisfactory remediation methods. Despite soil conditions adverse to metal uptake, a variety of Thlaspi, the test plant with the highest capacity for hyperaccumulation, was found to have significant concentration of cadmium in its leaves and stems.”7

Barbara Matilsky (1992) wrote, “The contaminated earth was fenced in with chain link and subdivided by intersecting paths that form an X. The project's boundaries are circumscribed by a square. Chin conceives of these overlays as a target, a metaphorical reference to the works pin-point cleanup. The divisions are also functional, separating different varieties of plants from each other for study. In the circular field the intersecting paths create four fields where six types of plants and two pH and two fertilizer tests can occur in each quadrant. The land area between the square and circle functions as a control plot where plants will be seeded with local grasses. The design for revival field facilitates the chemical analysis of each section. (p. 109-110)”8

Rasa and Raitis Smits

Biotricity - Bacteria Battery, 2014-2015, http://smitesmits.com/BacteriaBattery5.html

In the description of the work, the artists write, “Biotricity sonifies the process of generating electricity from bacteria living in pond and lake, or in common, everyday waste water. The microbial fuel cells is the next-generation bio-technology that converts chemical energy to electrical energy by using microorganisms – bacteria found in the dirty water. Someday, this technology could be used to upgrade waste treatment facilities into power plants producing renewable energy.”

Art Science Bangalore

Synthetic/Post-Natural Ecologies, https://2010.igem.org/Team:ArtScienceBangalore/Project

"we have decided to investigate the consequences of a synthetic ecology, an ecology in which organisms created in a techno-scientific environment interact with organisms in the wild. ... Genetically modified E.coli can be fed to C.elegans which can then express any double stranded RNA of interest. ... On a utilitarian level, our project investigates the use of C.elegans as a visual marker for changes in environmental conditions and on a more critical level, we are using C.elegans to study the consequences of interactions between engineered organisms and the 'natural' world."

Mindaugas Gapševičius

My collaboration with bacteria for paper production, 2016-2019, http://triple-double-u.com/introduction-to-posthuman-aesthetics/my-collaboration-with-bacteria-for-paper-production/

“The project provides tools that invite the user to explore their own relationships with organisms and to grasp invisible creatures surrounded by the outer world. By using SCOBY as a metaphor for the complex organization of microorganisms, the experimentation reflects on the role of a single organism in relation to its environment.”

Other projects

Toland, A., Noller, J. S., Wessolek, G. (2018). Field to Palette: Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene, Boca Raton: CRC Press / Taylor and Francis. ISBN 1138297453