Kick of at The Future Perfect during NYCxDesign
We kick off Expedition Æqualis at The Future Perfect, a leading contemporary design gallery in NYC. Here we present the first 18 digital probes by five designers: Ada Sokół, Edhv, Ausblau (Christoph Dichmann), Delphine Lejeune, and Dae Uk Kim. They have played with nature’s principles to learn from them and preserve them.
We start with an exploration in a new world, a digital encyclopedia and laboratory where technology is used to restore our understanding of nature. The digital realm can offer us a safe playground for our first steps to reacquaint ourselves with nature by interacting with a complex evolving world of organic forms and shapes that are very different from our urban contexts. We hope that these can deepen our understanding and sense of awe, and recover our natural ways of relating to, navigating and interacting with evolving ecosystems.
By offering the digital probes as NFTs on OpenSea (Polygon blockchain), we will build a global community that sustains the expedition: owners become the ambassadors of our mission. Find the collection here. Right now the work is exclusively sold by The Future Perfect, this includes a physical screen+work and the official digital NFT file. Contact us for more information or to purchase one of the works.
Dae Uk Kim
Dae Uk Kim’s modified daisy originates from his research into mutated nature, starting from the belief that we are all mutant.
Kim draws inspiration from the many naturally occurring mutations in plant species, such as the four-leaf clover. The clover typically only has three leaves, but when one becomes damaged, its will to live pushes it to create a fourth leaf. The fourth leaf has consequently become a symbol of good luck, happiness and prosperity in many cultures.
‘Don’t get too frustrated if you look a little different from others, you too will be able to open your own fourth leaf.’
David represents the natural phenomenon of fasciation, also known as cresting, a relatively rare condition of abnormal growth in vascular plants. This variation pushes the apical meristem (growing tip) to grow perpendicularly to the original direction of growth, thus producing an elongated, ribbon-like form.
This phenomenon occurs for many reasons, including hormonal, genetic, bacterial, fungal, viral and environmental disturbances. The results are often beautifully elaborate contorted tissue, and the species which can develop fasciation are specifically grown and prized for their aesthetic value.
Kim’s work celebrates the beautiful mutations that take place in nature, pushing us to embrace and appreciate our diversities. What can we learn from the way we look at mutated nature?
Delphine Lejeune’s work displays different variations of the Delphinium flower, a human-manipulated species.
The Delphinium is the result of 26 years of transformation in the hands of the plant breeder Edward Steichen, who specifically crafted it to finally bloom in its state of perfection and reveal its hundreds of flowers.
‘The Delphinium represents the search for natural perfection.’
Created in a range of light blue to deep dark purple, the Delphinium was the first fully human-made flower. Reaching a height of almost two meters, the species became a symbol of the transcendence of the relation between humans and nature.
Once relieved of any human control and inserted into the wild, the Delphinium kept mutating to survive the hazards of its environment and continued generating new variations of its own species, in a perpetual process of transformation.
The series Delphinium 001, 002, 003 was digitally crafted by Delphine Lejeune in collaboration with 3D artist Guillaume Roux. They are part of the research project Full Bloom – or The boundary between Nature and Artifice.
Christoph Dichmann’s (Ausblau) project Anemochory reflects on the impact of rising global temperatures on plants’ ability to reproduce and spread seeds to survive.
With increasing global warming, climate zones are forecast to shift around the globe at a speed of 33km per year. For species to survive these circumstances, migratory capabilities may be one of the critical abilities.
‘Plants act intergenerationally, like slowly moving beings made up of multiple entities, seeking longevity in multiple directions.’
London’s climate ‘will resemble Barcelona’s by 2050,’ a climate change study by the Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich has pointed out. Plants that blossom once a year will rely on their seeds to travel extensively before settling to grow in the correct climate.
The term Anemochory refers to wind dispersal of seeds. While many seeds travel by air, species such as dandelions have evolved seedheads which create a vortex of air when carried by the wind, enabling them to travel up to 100km. Christoph Dichmann’s work speculates on the evolutionary transformations that other seeds may need to undergo to reach similar distances.
Ada Sokół’s Flora Fusion 1 represents an oneiric plant species from the distant planet of Protopia, part of a newly discovered Orchidaceae galaxy.
On this planet, the plant is believed to have miraculous powers, and has become the subject of many legends and fables. It is said that a potion made from a labellum from this unique plant will instantly make you feel an overwhelming sensation of joy and fill you to the brim with creative passion.
‘Can we grow the entire ecosystem in our collective imagination? How can natural protopia be shaped?’
The stripes on this part of the flower resemble patterns seen on wild animals living on this rocky planet. Some believe that they are the reason for this plant’s unbelievable properties. It is a rare specimen, so only a few explorers were lucky enough to see it bloom. If you ever stumble across this delicate flower, you should pay your respects and it will reward you with granting one of your chosen desires.
Flora Fusion 1 was created in 2022 by Ada Sokół, a 3D artist and designer. Sokół’s works generate ultra-sensory experiences based on oneiric scenes that resemble visions from the far future.
As we venture deeper and deeper into the digital world, we seem to lose touch with reality more and more.
We are reaching a point where we can hardly distinguish reality from the virtual alternative. Did the digital realm arrive at a point where it provides us a better alternative to physical reality? Or have we been alienated from true nature for too long by creating a physical world that has disconnected us from our relationship with nature, leaving us lost between two worlds.
‘Exploring ways to use mined data to become the elements for growing digital gems’
By exploring data and algorithms, we can better understand nature and all its complexities. With Data Gems Edhv aims to unravel the ‘code of nature’.
Data Gems was created in 2022 by Edhv, a design studio that explores the fringes of identity. Edhv runs a design lab for experimental and speculative design projects, using a broad mix of techniques and materials.