Machine Wilderness Symposium

Project outline.
Locations: FoAM's MidWest_Experimental_Station and Zone2Source in Amstelpark.
Partners: FoAM Ams, Zone2Source, ARTIS zoo

Keywords: ecological robotics, restoration ecology, artificial organisms, artscience, complexity, foodwebs, trophic cascades, biodiversity, groworld.

Outline: Machine Wilderness programme
Pioneers like al Jazari already made programmable automata around 1200AD. Complex machines have therefore been part of our environment for many centuries. Human infrastructures came to really dominate the planet since the Industrial Revolution. The word that comes to mind is brutality. Edward O. Wilson described our current age of mass extinction as the ‘Age of Loneliness’ and in many ways our technologies in these shared and biodiverse environments have been technologies of loneliness that violate natural processes, disturb habitats and crush biodiversity.

Human technologies and infrastructures populate a planet still teaming with a bewildering array of life. But we design for the needs and wants of just one of those species, ad tedium. In a world full of creatures we've only been talking to ourselves. What would it be like to work for a much broader audience? What if we include the other 99,99% of life?

The often heared ambition to 'reconnect to nature', implies accepting ourselves as nature. Including all our artifacts, infrastructures and machines. If we see them - our extended technological body - as nature, we can nolonger design them as if they are not. Then the other 99.99% of life becomes part of the frame of reference in which human technologies are developed.

Machine Wilderness aims to take a radical turn towards the great wealth of non-human life. What could an ecologically inclusive practice look like? How do you engage with the levels of complexity, subtlety and grace of life? What could technology look like if our technologies related to landscapes in the way organisms do; participating in local material flows, food-chains and layers of communication?

Can our tools help us rejoin the Great Conversation with life?

Artists / designers:



Open Source:




Blogs, groups, etc:




Agriculture bots:
Harvesting and Tractors:
Tractors do two things: provide guidance to the devices they are towing, and pulling power. Current tractors are huge and if they break down, the entire operation comes to a halt. Autonomous machines don't need operators and can operate around the clock. Thus tight operational windows can be achieved for seeding and other time-sensitive activities.

Planting, Pruning, Potting, Grafting and Nursery Operations:

Thinning and Weeding:

more listed here: Unibots

Machine Wilderness was the title of ISEA2012, we adopt it in this programme as a working title.

  • machine_ecology.txt
  • Last modified: 2020-01-19 08:49
  • by nik