MOSS: Cyber Canopy
Interactive Kinetic Sculpture
This project is an interactive/living installation with its morphology derived from an architectural canopy. It is at the same time a responsive living organism, an air-purifying system of moss, a kinetic origami structure, a growing landscape, and an architectural canopy made of living biological substances that is constantly in the motion of exchanging information and matters. Besides serving as an urban air purifier, it is also an interactive artwork that evokes reflections about the relationship between artificial and natural environments, raising the awareness of environmental protection as well as enhancing the urban experience.
The bio-architecture hybrid is designed to experiment with novel materials, kinetic origami structure and spatial narratives. It provides an innovative perspective on a possible future, where kinetic installation, architecture, urban agriculture, biology and cyberspace unite as one organic system.
Oct - Nov 2020
Tool: Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Rhino 7, Enscape, Arduino
Keyword: Kinetic Sculpture, Moss, Origami, Cyberspace, Air Pollution & Purification, Ecosystem
In this modern era, people’s daily lives are constantly influenced by urban, cyber and natural ecologies which co-exist in an interactional yet often conflicting way. Their inharmonious relationship can cause countless problems, and some crucial ones include irreversible environmental damage, the collapse of the ecosystem, deteriorated urban experience and unsustainable human-nature relationship.
91% of the world’s population
live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits
4.2 million deaths every year
occur as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution
There are 4.33 billion
active internet users worldwide
There are 3.9 billion
unique mobile internet users worldwide
70% of the total digital media time
is spent on smartphones
WHAT WOULD WE LIKE TO CREATE?
How might we improve urban air quality without inducing excessive equipments or energy consumption?
How might we build positive collective memories of urban, natural, and cyber ecologies in the modern context?
How might we evoke people’s awareness of environmental protection and enhance their urban life experience?
Traditional outdoor air purifiers consume excessive energy, not truly eco-friendly
Traditional 2D signs are lifeless and motionless, ineffective in catching people’s attention
Ceilings and canopies have the most holistic impact on our visual perception
Failed to draw people’s attention from their phones? Then don’t! Put the contents on their phones instead
Urban people want more greeneries, not just in the physical world, but also in cyberspace and their smartphones!
A foldable canopy structure that impacts strongly on people’s visual memory
A more sustainable urban air purifier
Interacting with people not only physically but also virtually using the internet and smartphones
Give urban area more vitality with living greenery
Moss has the capabilities of monitoring air quality and filtering air pollutants such as PM0.3 (harmful particulate matter), PM5 (bacteria, mold spores), PM10 (pollen, allergens) and various volatile organic compounds. Besides considering the practical functions, a specific type of luminescent moss [Schistostega pennata] is chosen to be cultivated on the canopy of MOSS to create an artistic atmosphere by gently glowing up the space; and along with the elegant movement of the structure, the audiences are presented with a twinkling galaxy of green.
Inspired by origami (Hoffman Waterbomb), the kinetic structure is designed in a way that allows the canopy to expand and contract, functioning as a “breathing” mechanism that enhances the efficiency of air-purification. By integrating bass wood board into origami structure, it can also serve as the base to grow the luminescent moss.
Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. The word “aeroponic” is derived from the Greek meanings of aer (air) and ponos (labor). Adopting aeroponics’ misting technology, the cultivation system of MOSS uses less water with minimal energy consumption, thus is cost-effective and eco-friendly.
The ARDUINO microcontroller, PIR (Passive Infrared) motion-sensing technologies and cyber data monitoring system are deployed to facilitate online and offline interactions. Visitors are invited to interact with MOSS both physically or virtually, that their participation will accelerate the air purifying process by triggering the aeroponic misting system as well as the “breathing” process of the kinetic structure. Even by purely existing at the exhibition space, the visitors are contributing to the installation as their exhalations provide carbon dioxide that is crucial for the moss to grow.
MOSS: Cyber Canopy is an installation consists of four layers of system: 1. a living canopy of luminescent moss [Schistostega pennata] that is fitted with the ambient light; 2. a kinetic origami structure, integrated with basswood boards, that acts as the base to cultivate moss and also the mechanism that enables synthetic “breathing” – expands and folds rhythmically; 3. an aeroponic misting system that provides the moss its necessary moisture to survive and grow; 4. and an interactive system using PIR motion sensing and cyber data monitoring technologies for online and offline interactions. As an interactive greenery nurtured by both physical and virtual ecologies, this installation enriched direct material experiences with cyber engagement. Visitors are turned into urban “cyber-gardener” and “cyber-environmentalist”, thus evolves a new form of collective memory of urban, cyber, and natural ecologies.
ENGAGEMENT SKETCH & CONCEPT DIAGRAM
COMPONENTS & ORIGAMI PATTERN
MECHANISMS & STRUCTURE
1. When PIR sensors detect physical presences and movements of the visitors, the canopy’s mechanisms - the kinetic structure and the aeroponic misting system - will be triggered. More visitors and movements detected results in a higher operating rate and greater amplitude of the structural movements and misting.
2. Visitors’ cyber involvement in the social media campaign will also facilitate the “breathing” process. The ARDUINO will collect online data and adjust the mechanisms’ operating rate based on how active the campaign is on the internet. In other words, the canopy functions according to the data flow driven by virtual interaction that is accessible to anyone from anywhere via smart devices.
3. As an innovative garden, MOSS is nurtured by both physical interaction and also the flow of social media posts and website clicks by local and global visitors. That is, a complex flux around the installation is generated; it includes photosynthesis process, bioluminescence, physical movement, cyber engagement, novel visual effects, air purification, as well as immersive online and offline interactions.
As a result, fluxes of energies (light radiation), matters (biomass, air pollutants, carbon dioxide, oxygen), and information (images, social media posts, live streaming) flow during the growing, purifying and “breathing” process of MOSS, forming a hybrid ecology that evolves through reactive feedbacks and self-organization. This canopy proposes an experimental approach on large-scale urban planning or architectural landscape design that engages the everyone within the system.