Libby Barbee
Synthetic Symbiosis (detail)
2012
Interactive kinetic sculpture
96"h x 150"w x 150"d
Inspired by the increasing number of man-made natural spaces, Synthetic Symbiosis is an interactive sculpture installation that explores ideas of sustainability and the increasing reliance of many “natural” systems on human intervention to maintain balance. Upon entering the gallery space, the viewer is confronted with a 7’h x 5’w x 5’d “closed box” consisting of four walls of full-length window blinds. Four crank generators are placed around the piece- one on each side. Once a crank is turned, the blinds on the corresponding wall are opened to reveal a system of “mini-ecosystems,” lights, water pumps, and fans. In addition to opening the blinds to reveal what is contained within the sculpture, each generator is responsible for operating a number of functions within the piece including turning on lights, pumps, and fans. The survival of the ecosystems contained in the sculpture is reliant on the physical work of the viewer, who, through turning the crank on the generator, provides necessary light, water, and nutrients. This piece was installed in the spring of 2012 at Platte Forum in Denver, CO.
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