That plant beings are able to communicate with each other should now be a commonly understood concept. In the scientific field it is more than established and for several years now we have been trying to bring this type of principles outside the scientific elite to raise awareness as much as possible on environmental issues also through art. A very successful combination is certainly that of the Dutch eco-artist and interactive designer Thijs Biersteker and the Italian botanist, academic and essayist Stefano Mancuso. With their first installation in 2019 "Symbiosia", commissioned by the Fondation Cartier pour dell'arte contemporain, they were already tracing a fertile path of research on the symbiotic communication of trees, then returning to tread the scene in 2020 with the work "Econtinuum". The latter presents itself to the viewer as an enormous reproduction of two arboreal root systems, which do nothing but simulate what normally happens underground, highlighting the continuous exchange of information, nutrients, etc., communicating with each other and with the surrounding context. The roots are made of recycled transparent plastic, thanks to a 3D printer, and everything is staged thanks to the use of sensors, able to measure the humidity and the quality of the surrounding air, the levels of C02 and the compounds organic volatile, and artificial intelligence, which ensure that the roots perceive the visitor's presence and react to it, interacting with it, making him participate in radical conversations. The goal is precisely to make the visitor aware, active and participatory of a symbiotic continuum with nature, reminding us all to be an integral part of the ecosystem in which we live. The installation can be visited until May 2021 at the Nxt Museum in Amsterdam. (Silvia Marchese)
Econtinuum, Thijs Biersteker in collaboration with Stefano Mancuso, NXT Museum, Amsterdam, 2020.