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Parasitic / Symbiotic – Nature and Technology

Created by Ann-Katrin Krenz for her Master Thesis (2016) / Advanced New Media Studio Class at the University of the Arts Berlin, Parasitic / Symbiotic project explores the artificiality of nature, and whether a moderate and thoughtful technical interventions in nature can create a symbiosis that is aesthetically valuable and permanent.

The project is comprised of a Arduino based milling machine which moves along a tree to carve encoded text into it.  For the content of the carving Ann-Katrin chose a poem „Abschied.“ von Joseph von Eichendorff, which expresses the natural thoughts of unity and oneness and depicts the relation of nature and culture. 
The question she asks is whether this act of carving can be considered as natural or artificial and where we as humans are situated, is posed with this action.

The relationship of humans and nature seems to be out of balance. The human, as a being defined by technology, is harming its environment and the very nature on which its existence depends. The focus on advancing technology seems to be contrary to a sustainable, responsible relationship to nature. 
But what kind of role does the human being occupy in this area of tension between nature and technology? 
The human being does not see itself as part of nature, but at the same time has the desire to be close to nature and to become part of the natural persistence. In the project “Parasitic / Symbiotic” this area of tension between nature and technology is addressed.

The project describes a partly parasitic symbiosis between the technical act and the natural tree. Even if the procedure is invasive, the damage remains low and it never comes to a fatal disturbance of the natural system; the tree lives on unrestricted and will grow together and merge with the artificial carving and so the artwork becomes one with nature.

Project PageAnn-Katrin Krenz

Supervised by:  Prof. Joachim Sauter, Prof. Jussi Ängeslevä & Eckhard Fürlus



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