Biomodd [NYC4]

Posted Dec. 5, 2012 by Shelbatra Jashari

Biomodd is a shifting global collective of artists, scientists, thinkers, and makers. Biomodd aims to build art installations that reimagine the relationship between nature and digital technology. Members are currently spread across the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, UK, Slovenia, Belgium, and the Netherlands – countries where Biomodd installations and workshops have been set up. Biomodd seeks to create symbiotic relationships between plant-based ecosystems and computers, and ignites conversations in the communities where the collective is operating. Biomodd was initiated by Belgian biologist-turned-artist Angelo Vermeulen during a residency at the Aesthetic Technologies Lab in Athens, Ohio in 2007.

This rendition of Biomodd takes advantage of a three-tiered international community. It does so by capitalizing on the experience of past members from around the world while forming a team of New York-based collaborators, as well as reaching out to the local community in Queens near the New York Hall of Science.

The Biomodd version that is conceived for New York explicitly embraces the city’s complex and layered nature, and taps into specific features of its socio-cultural fabric. Firstly, the project mirrors NYC’s social complexity by bringing together people with different backgrounds and creating an interdisciplinary, multicultural and multigenerational team. The goal is to compile a team of volunteering co-creators coming from different local neighbourhoods, art and science institutions, and advocacy initiatives. It’s precisely the interaction between different viewpoints and the complementary nature of different skill sets that are crucial to each Biomodd version. 

The institutional complexity that was already indicated here is actually the second major characteristic of the Biomodd [NYC4]. The goal is to build not just a network of creative individuals around the project, but also an extensive network of supporting organizations. ‘Support’ is envisioned very broadly, and not just in terms of financial help. Expertise, resources, networking, and outreach are all valuable in creating a localized Biomodd version. The New York Hall of Science is proving to be an inspiring place for Biomodd to live. The exhibition space is a 60s example of nuclear fallout shelter architecture. With this in mind, the team has decided to let this influence the project by focusing on growing food in this closed environment as a model for creating a self-sustaining system.

The third crucial characteristic is technological complexity. By tapping into potential resources from places like Parsons, Eyebeam and Maker Faire, the project aims to evolve the Biomodd concept further in technical terms. This objective draws upon current fast-paced technological progress and its impact on our relationships with social and ecological realities.

More information about Biomodd NYC can be found here: