Presented at the 2018 Daejon Biennale, Radiant Soil was an immersive environmental installation consisting of columnar forms made from a structure of transparent polymer filaments, housing helical chains of LED lights and glass protocell flasks. The stalactite-like central cluster of suspended columns was encircled by spiraling clouds composed of lace-like interlinking skeletons.
Radiant Soil formed interlinking clouds of biomimetic components of polymer, metal and glass, arranged in suspended filter layers containing a near-living carbon-capture metabolism. Frond-clusters fitted with shape-memory alloy mechanisms reacted to viewers as they approached, flexing and setting off bursts of light that stimulated the protocells and triggered chains of motion that ripple throughout the environment. Scent-emitting glands attracted viewers and encouraged interaction with the system, providing stimulus that increased air circulation and protocell formation. Embedded protocells, “breathing pores”, and micro motion-tracking and touch sensors reacted to movement with a series of motions, further creating the impression of an architecture that was sentient and empathic.
The word ‘soil’ might speak quietly of secure mass, compression and resource for framing human territory, but this contemporary soil seethes with a myriad of seeded viscera, miniscule fragments gathering and efflorescing, redolent with chorusing oceans of growth to come. Like the soil we have come to know, Radiant Soil covers and consumes space, erasing and absorbing daily circumstances within an unspeakably silent, primal fertility.