advisor| kathy velikov
Jury: Jim Bassett, Robert Adams, Maria Arquero, Mitch McEwen.
This novel infrastructure acts as a catalyst for reinvigorating a network of obsolete mines. Open pit mines, among other typological models of this class, formerly generated economic stability for workers and the cities which operated around them. The Synthetic Machines project is situated in Michigan at the Empire Mine, but it is the testing ground for new design possibilities at a global scale.
Once a mine has been exhausted by the human it follows in the traditional model of a wasteland or unoccupiable land mass. As the Empire Mine closes its iron ore chapter, Synthetic Machines intercepts the mine in its entropic state to germinate it with new organisms. The environment of the mine is a harsh one, leaving humans to do what is usually done with things seen to no longer be of use, and discard them. This limited view provided the lens by which this project found an adaptive response, a microscopic lens, where careful investigation found the kinds of organisms which thrive in such ruination. Currently, climatic changes in our environment have cultivated micro-organisms that have found ways of surviving in non-traditional ecosystems. These organisms, ‘extremophiles’, have adapted to their extreme environments and give us a glimpse of future modes of living.
The Synthetic Machines construct utilizes biomining processes and reimagines current biomining technology into innovative machines of cultivation. The project is specked with synthetic machines, each containing organisms thriving in rich iron content. The machines are speculative designs of hyperobjects, as they relate to micro-architectural embodiments of the biomining process. These test subjects allow us to expand on constructed landscapes of experience, process and interplanetary thought.