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Algorithmic Gardening

This multimedia installation follows the hardy soybean on its journey from garden to dinner plate, escorted by robots.

Food cultivation is fundamental to human society and technological development. This multimedia installation looks at the possible next steps. Can a robot distinguish between weeds and nutritional plants? And how do you go about coding an algorithm that gives each plant what it needs?

Algorithmic Gardening presents a trio of experiments involving the soybean. Soy is a big subject in discussions about our food chain: there’s controversy about genetic modification, but soy could also contribute to solving the worsening problem of food scarcity. Algorithmic gardeners play a part in every step on the journey from bean to garden to plate. The beans grow in “soybots,” mobile mini-gardens that maneuver their way around the space in search of a perfectly sunny spot to grow. Weeds are meticulously removed by a Taurus robot, whose algorithm-driven robot arms were first developed to defuse bombs. The resulting soy snacks literally roll off the conveyor belt. Is this our culinary future?

Project details

Year of development :2018
Created by:Shannon McMullen, Fabian Winkler

Available formats