“Living Artefacts” is a project by Stefan Schwabe, a student of Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art. Stefan is exploring the subject of “natural” and “artificial” by using bacterial cellulose to harvest artefacts.
It is during these times that myth may become reality. The creation of composite beings no longer remains a chimerical matter of our ancient tales. As a result of modern scientific advances, the combining of different life forms has become routine. Where might this lead us? Are we indeed able to extend our minds, not only into material culture, but also into living >artefacts?
“The Kernels of Chimaera” is an chamber constructed by Stefan which maintains the growth of a living material and performs an automated production of these hybrid living artefacts. Each day, the machine automatically harvests a layer of bacterial cellulose that has grown in one of the nine reactor jars. The cellulose is then picked up by a vacuum arm and placed within a small wooden clamp to be inflated by a syringe. Finally, once the inflated cellulose has dried, it is carried upwards by a flow of air flow of air and begins to levitate.
From the Kew Website:
The seed collections in the Millennium Seed Bank constitute the largest and most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world. The great majority of this collection has been collected by the associated global network, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP), which is active in over 80 countries and is the largest ex situ plant conservation programme in the world.
The purpose-built facility at Wakehurst Place is based around a vast vault for the long-term storage of seeds for research and conservation. Following collection in-country, seeds are prepared and dried (to around 4–6% moisture content, fresh-weight basis), before storage in deep-freeze chambers (-18 to -20°C) within the vault; following international standards.
At present there are more than 80,000 seed collections in the bank; representing over 37,600 species, from almost 5,800 genera and more than 330 families. That is, at least one collection each of around 12.5% of those seed-bearing species estimated to have orthodox, bankable seeds.