An Antidote to Loneliness

 

An Antidote to Loneliness

An Antidote to Loneliness presents four proposals for the technologies of the electrical grid, each one weaving existing technologies into healthy relationships with the ecologies around them. The project rejects the treatment of these technologies as mere “utilities,” suggesting that design interventions be executed for the sake of enabling our technologies to more fully participate in the act of living. Expressed through a series of publications titled Practices for Technological Friendship, the project lays out interventions that the ordinary citizen -- the user of the technology -- can enact.

Below are excerpts from Practices for Technological Friendship Volume 3: The Substation. This volume proposes the enabling of a relationship between magnetic field-philic plants and electrical substations through strategic soil exposure and pesticide application. An irreducible behavior of the substation (producing a strong magnetic field) is used as the basis for affiliation and generosity between the machinery of the substation and plants that thrive in abnornally high magnetic field conditions.

See full project.

 
 
An Antidote to Loneliness 1
 
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…a process of becoming ever-more attached to, and intimate with, a panoply of nonhuman natures.

-Bruno Latour, Love Your Monsters

 

Type _ Speculative design

Time _  2016

Location _ The electrical grid

Advisor _ Sergio Lopez-Pineiro, Holes of Matter

 
 
Speculation on geomagnetic field reversal and angiosperm evolution  Source: Maffei, Mossimo E. “Magnetic Field Effects on Plant Growth, Development, and Evolution.” Fromtiers in Plant Science 5 (2014): 445. PMC. Web. 13 December 2015.

Speculation on geomagnetic field reversal and angiosperm evolution

Source: Maffei, Mossimo E. “Magnetic Field Effects on Plant Growth, Development, and Evolution.” Fromtiers in Plant Science 5 (2014): 445. PMC. Web. 13 December 2015.

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Fragaria vesca (Wild strawberry): Increased fruit yield

Zea mays (Corn): Promotion of germination

Beta vulgaris (Beet): Increased root and leaf yield

 
 
Currently, engineering best practices recommend that vegetation is kept out of the substation area through the use of gravel and pesticides. Maintenance workers stepping on exposed soil are at greater risk of receiving an electrical charge, as the soil of the substation is used as a grounding system to close electrical circuits.

Currently, engineering best practices recommend that vegetation is kept out of the substation area through the use of gravel and pesticides. Maintenance workers stepping on exposed soil are at greater risk of receiving an electrical charge, as the soil of the substation is used as a grounding system to close electrical circuits.

 
Magnetic and electric field values vary throughout the substation, but are generally higher than ambient conditions. Mapping the magnetic field in X,Y and Z axes is the first step to identifying optimal areas for plant growth based on magnetic field values.

Magnetic and electric field values vary throughout the substation, but are generally higher than ambient conditions. Mapping the magnetic field in X,Y and Z axes is the first step to identifying optimal areas for plant growth based on magnetic field values.

 
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Once optimal plant growth areas have been identified, gravel should be removed in order to expose the soil. Gravel removal should stay within a constraint of preserving a minimum maintenance zone around the equipment to allow for worker access, and should preserve an unbroken path throughout the substation. The soil of a substation is typically formulated to retain moisture and resist compaction, making it more conducive to plant growth.

Once optimal plant growth areas have been identified, gravel should be removed in order to expose the soil. Gravel removal should stay within a constraint of preserving a minimum maintenance zone around the equipment to allow for worker access, and should preserve an unbroken path throughout the substation. The soil of a substation is typically formulated to retain moisture and resist compaction, making it more conducive to plant growth.

 
In order to allow vegetation to either voluntarily begin growth, or to be planted for cultivation, areas of exposed soil should no longer be sprayed with herbicide. Non-herbicide areas are easily designated through the use of brightly colored stakes.

In order to allow vegetation to either voluntarily begin growth, or to be planted for cultivation, areas of exposed soil should no longer be sprayed with herbicide. Non-herbicide areas are easily designated through the use of brightly colored stakes.

 
 
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In time, plant growth will begin to occur throughout the designated high magnetic field areas.

In time, plant growth will begin to occur throughout the designated high magnetic field areas.

 
 
 
The diagram above depicts the interplay between maintenance areas around equipment and areas designated for plant growth. Also shown are the varying treatments of the ground.

The diagram above depicts the interplay between maintenance areas around equipment and areas designated for plant growth. Also shown are the varying treatments of the ground.

 
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