A Diverse MonoCulture, ambiguous robot predators


“Playing God” is a classic artist strategy which can be used to mask the rising sense of frustration for our current ecological crisis. Conceiving and implementing functional systems that reconfigure how nature works, instantly show the precariousness of our interventions, even if it seems to be working perfectly. Jip van Leeuwenstein’s “A Diverse MonoCulture” is part of this scenario. He built a predator robot, scientifically named “Dionaea Mechanica Muscipula”, which attracts, with light, moths of the oak processionary, currently a sensitive plague. The moths are trapped and then ‘digested’ by the robot, feeding through chemical reactions to the Micro Fuel Cells which are meant to keep it alive. Part of Machine Wilderness at Zone2Source, this work shows, in the word of the author our “ambiguous relationship with nature”. Will the robot be able to re-balance the oak eco-system using this method, and what will be its fate once he’s be run out of moths? Playing God leaves open questions…