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Published by: api-26131759 on Mar 18, 2010
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PLSS is a system designed to support a set of experiments with life support systems forplants in hostile environments[1]. The experiments engage with questions of the relation-ship between man and environment which arise across a number of disciplines. Inspiredby Guattari, we aim to act interdisciplinarily, tracing these questions transverselythrough various problem domains with various approaches. Concretely, PLSS consists of three modular ‘plant boxes’ and supporting infrastructure, each of which will be de-signed to support an indoor urban gardening experiment. The experiments will be car-ried out in the Topological Media Lab, a studio-lab in a building with a highly con-trolled and somewhat arid climate. We would, however, like to enlarge our design scopebeyond the concrete elements, considering the entire assemblage as such: not just tech-nical systems embedded in organic systems, but our collective relations with the systemand each other, intellectual work produced along with the project, our relationship withlocal and global communities, and the system as a whole as alaboratory “of thoughtand experimentation for future forms of subjectivation”[2].PLSS is a group project with di
erent members handling di
erent aspects of the pro- ject. I’ll list the most obvious ones:
Physical Infrastructure
Three plant boxes have been built from wood, each able to support a small garden.They are overbuilt to last at least 10 years. A cistern will be installed near the boxeswith a series of tubes that deliver water to the boxes. We anticipate building passive(mirror-based) and active (LED) lighting systems and terrariums in the longterm.
Technical Infrastructure
Mechatronic systems will be constructed to participate in the ‘organic’ plant-soil-water-microorganism-etc. system. At
rst we will focus on facilitating HPI (human plant inter-face) and an automated water delivery system. We will experiment with the idea of technical systems considered as part of a machinic assemblage, rather than external tothe organic systems, an approach that gives rise to con
icts of interest. We will workbiomimetically, exploring mechatronic techniques that exploit ‘intrinsic functionality’(fabric sensors,
ber optics) as opposed to a ‘component’ (box and wires) approach.
Philosophical Work
We will be preparing a paper on environmental ethics using PLSS as an experimentalbase for the work. The philosophical work will draw from ‘deep ecology’ pace Naess andSpinoza, however rejecting the dichotomy between ‘instrumental’ and ‘intrinsic’ value

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