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ALTIPLANO CYBORG

Esculturas generativas interconectadas y expandidas - [2023]

PROYECTO EN PROCESO

Altiplano Cyborg es un organismo vivo que surge como creación colectiva, comunitaria e interespecies, cuestionando las relaciones coloniales, violentas y extractivistas contra los territorios y la vida. A partir de la información genética de los microorganismos presentes en los suelos se crean las esculturas generativas usando arcilla de elaboración propia mezclada con una muestra del suelo del que se secuenció el ADN. Esculturas generadas y constituidas material y poéticamente por el microbioma de cada territorio. Las esculturas a su vez se interconectan a través de internet para generar, en realidad aumentada, otros posibles microbiomas al intercambiar los suyos. 

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Altiplano Cyborg is rooted in Mutante’s previous collaborative research exploring relations between humans and other organisms that allow new ways of understanding, critically engaging with and co-creating other social and biocentric structures. Investigating in complexity sciences as life sciences (Maldonado, 2021) becomes a plausible way of enabling life in the current historical moment. These relations have been explored in collaboration with the microbiology and biotechnology laboratory CorpoGen through: a communitarian process in Bogotá, Other tiny forms of life; the fabulation of digital communication infrastructure for non-human life forms, Interconnected nature - Internet for bacteria; and the close observation of bacterial behavior to imagine other ways of resistance for humans under oppressive systems, Bi0film.net. Altiplano Cyborg finds inspiration in concepts like biocentrism and speculative fabulation (Haraway, 2016), and in artists like Vanouse (Labor, 2019), and Sommerer and Mignonneau (Art as a Living System, ZKM, 2022).

Our project fabulates on a possible digital connection among four ecosystems within the territory of Bogotá, violently transformed by ecocide politics, colonial extractivism, military and patriarchal organizations, and capitalist development. It co-creates another internet where these microbial communities digitally interconnect for the emergence of the cyborg territory, the altiplano cyborg. This symbiotic superorganism is composed of four clay sculptures of microbial Bogotá landscapes digitally generated by the actual genomics of the soil’s microbiome from a metagenetics database sequenced by us, and four glass bacteriophages acting as the mediating device for the interconnection, that transmit the information via IoT. A visual simulation of the transfer of the specific data via the internet is presented through AR. Symbiotic technologies for an ongoing co-constitution of worlds with other living entities that embrace non-binary, multi formal, mestizo possibilities, thereby eliminating identity as individual, but existing as part of a symbiotic superorganism.

 

Altiplano Cyborg seeks for non-extractivists forms of collaborative processes with bacteria and fungi species, confronting utilitarian forms of exploiting or appropriating living organisms. With the poetic/speculative approach of modeling and simulating of living systems we want to contribute to new/other tales for non-human-controlled based relations. The artwork becomes a relata (Barad), existing thanks to the relation between other organisms and humans, challenging the contemporary extractivist production of technology, knowledge and even bio-art, through a more inclusive, caring and life-centered bio-aesthetical (Maldonado) process which involves all the intra-actors that pass through or experience the artwork in any sense.

Four 3D printed sculptures of self-made clay with territories’ soil. Four glass bacteriophages. IoT circuits. AR. Simulation of living systems/artificial life. DNA sequencing metabarcoding.

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Altiplano Cyborg is a living organism that emerges as a collective, communitarian, and inter-species creation, questioning the colonial, violent, and extractivist relations against territories and life. Situated in Bogotá, Colombia, we propose an approach developed as several communitarian projects, meaning projects with self-organized communities, in some of the ecosystems of the city. The high-Andean forest or pre-páramo, which configures the mountainous borders of the city and that has been destroyed mainly for timber extraction, dating back to the conquest and colony. The wetland, which once extended the length of the city and has been crossed and intersected by buildings and streets. And finally, the urban forests, which arise from the city’s configuration, thereby reducing nature as a landscape.

 

While the expansion of human technologies over the territory takes place, microorganisms in the soil find means to adapt and survive in the environment that humans have developed. Through previous research together with the microbiology laboratory CorpoGen, in the “Other tiny forms of life” creation groups, among other microbiology and molecular biology processes, we have used the metabarcoding technique to sequence the DNA of the organisms that inhabit the soils of the mentioned territories and got to know their diversity through metagenomics. In their DNA our history is written, and the remains and traces of a world prior to colonialism and the presence of the first humans in this territory.

 

From that genomic information, the sculptures are created. Generative construction out of self-made clay mixed with a sample of the soil of which the DNA was sequenced. Sculptures that are materially and poetically generated and constituted by the microbiome of each territory.

 

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On a global scale, in turn, in the current tales, the living is reduced to a useful or bio sustainable tool. The question arises about the possibilities for other relations beyond utilities, markets and progress: would it be possible for our technologies to be part of other organisms? What would happen in possible encounters where humans do not intervene?

 

Our previous project Internet for bacteria proposes the creation of near-impossible mediating devices for the hyperconnected bacteria, a symbiosis among bacteria and the internet, to emerge as a queer form of life. An idea that extends in this project, where the territory, the highlands, becomes the hybrid organism.

 

Interconnected through the internet, the four ecosystems digitally interact and share information to co-evolve. This is the fabulation we can witness through our digital simulations and the multiplicity of layers offered by the AR. A tale that allows us to co-create new ways of inhabiting and being, of existing, in the territories.

 

With a biocentric approach, Altiplano Cyborg emerges as a hybrid superorganism that through human-created communication technologies connects old and new ties among the living, for mutual aid. A symbiosis among soil microorganisms, humans and the technologies of the living opens possibilities for a common existence, beyond the species and the territories' frontiers, with the poetics of a symbiotic hyperconnected biosphere.

Creado por: Juan Diego Rivera, Natalia Rivera, daniela brill estrada. 

Renders de esculturas generativas por Carlos Acosta

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