living systems

Research Gathering "Nube de Oro"
17 Sep 2012
Research Gathering "Nube de Oro"

With 'Nube de Oro' Christian Thornton and Bartaku investigate the subtle energetic and communicative properties of the agave power plant. This project brings glass and natural dye-based solar technology into relationship with the agave's living system. The agave has had a long and fragile relationship with humans, who have used almost all parts of the plant in some form - for textiles, paper, shelter, sowing, cooking and, most famously, for drinking (mezcal/'tequila') - and more recently as a biofuel. A distinctive feature of agaves is the dramatic way they end their lives. Depending on the species, they can live for anywhere between six and fifty years, and sometimes more. As agaves near the end of their lifespans, they sprout large stalks that grow from the core of the plant up to eight meters high. Powered by energy stored throughout their lives, adorned with flowers and seeds, this dramatic flowering can sometimes spark the same process in neighbouring agaves as well. After having transformed the landscape in this epic outburst of virility, the stalks collapse onto the now-shrunken and depleted leaves.

In the research gathering at FoAM Brussels, the ongoing explorations are presented together with first results of the marriage of glass work and photovoltaic cells. In a further step, the energetic sculpture will meet an agave at the plant garden in Meise, Belgium.

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