When Ideas Migrate: A Postcolonial Perspective on Biomodd [LBA2]


Session Title:

  • Bio-Art

Presentation Title:

  • When Ideas Migrate: A Postcolonial Perspective on Biomodd [LBA2]



  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Postcolonial computing, installation art, collaboration, ICT4D, HCI4D, digital games, e-waste, recycling, gaming, ecology, biological art.

    Biomodd is a global series of art installations in which computer technology and ecology converge. Computer networks built from upcycled computer components are provided with living internal ecosystems. In a symbiotic exchange, plants and algae live alongside electronics and use the latter’s waste heat to thrive. Sensors and robotics provide additional interaction possibilities with the organisms. The first version of the project was completed in the US, while the second version was built in the Philippines. Using a postcolonial stance, we reflect on the challenges involved in translating the project from one context to another. We focus on issues related to heat recycling in the tropics; authenticity and hybridity; obsolescence and the convertibility of capital; cultural sampling, remixing, and appropriation; and structures for social organization. We advance Biomodd as a significant contribution to art-science collaborative initiatives in the global South.

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