“L’Erbario Tecnologico” pubblicato in lingua inglese / “The Technological Herbarium”

3 Giugno 2010

Image“L’Erbario Tecnologico” pubblicato in lingua inglese / “The Technological Herbarium”

L’Erbario Tecnologico, di Gianna Maria Gatti, è stato tradotto in lingua inglese ed è uscito per i tipi di Avinus Verlag: The Technological Herbarium, Berlin, Avinus Press, 2010.

Gianna Maria Gatti’s L’Erbario Tecnologico,has been translated into English by the German publisher Avinus Verlag: The Technological Herbarium, Berlin, Avinus Press, 2010.

Dal sito / From the website:

” Gianna Maria Gatti’s book The Technological Herbarium (subtitled: “Vegetable Nature and New Technologies in Art Between the Second and Third Millennia”) is a study of ‘interdisciplinary’ works of art that exemplify the increasing importance of science and technology in artistic creation. Her analysis, however, goes beyond that of a journalistic or curatorial survey of artworks. Her work embodies the invention of a strong philosophical concept that enables the glimpsing – in the coming together of nature and new technologies in the domain of art – of a new real.

The hybrid of art and technoscience is the carrier of a new worldview, a new era for cyberspace, new cognitive thought and cybernetic epistemology, and the emergence of authentic post-metaphysical thinking as pointed to by twentieth-century philosophers like Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gregory Bateson.

Gatti engages in a wide-ranging reflection on non-human life-forms. What is the identity of living beings which are Other than human? In pursuing this question, her two principal objects of inquiry are the vegetable kingdom and Artificial Life. She contemplates in a single conceptual framework the two extremes of the most ancient eons-old life-forms produced by Nature and the newest forms of life produced by our most advanced contemporary Technology. On the one side: trees, plants, and flowers. On the other side: the erupting vitality of informatic, virtual, and software objects-creatures. And the genesis of SOMETHING BIG that is coming into view on the horizon thanks to their Close Encounter. Gatti’s research is a profound reflection not only on art’s brush with computer technologies, but also on biology, deep ecology, the existent, the living organism, life itself. It is an Enlightened meditation on and recognition of the mutually beneficial potential relationship between the Natural and the Artificial, a significant departure from the critical thinking that defends the ‘authenticity’ of the former against the ‘imposture’ of the latter.

The twenty-five or so artworks investigated by Gatti are in dialogue with every field of scientific knowledge. The artists whose creations are brought together in her Herbarium have confronted the theme of vegetable nature while at the same time working with new technologies and new media. In their installations, they make use of computers, electronics, video, Internet (net.art), telerobotics, telematic networks, remote telepresence, mechanical engineering, bionics, and transgenics. Hardware, software, and wetware. The virtual, the digital, and the informatic. Interactive participatory works and environments invite the user to discover her ‘polysensoriality’. The perceptual-motoric-tactile dimension of embodiment is restored to equal standing with the symbolic-rational dimension emphasized by traditional art. The artist who utilizes information technologies designs “a semi-living entity, a work which in fact is ‘open’, since its outcome is not predefined by the artist, but is rather realized through the interventions and actions of the user.” (Gianna Maria Gatti) The ‘experience of metamorphosis’ of virtual reality sensitizes us to, and enhances our awareness of, the real.”



Chapter 1


1.1    Nature, man and art

1.2    Nature and second nature

1.3    New technologies and science in the artistic creation

1.4    The technologies of the living and the nature

Chapter 2


2.1    Dressage d’un cône  by Piotr Kowalski

2.2    Jardin bio-acoustique by Nissim Merkado

2.3    The technological ecosystems by  Érik Samakh

2.3.1    The bamboos

2.4    Plants grow up in the web: Tele-Garden and Teleporting an Unknown State

2.4.1    Tele-Garden by  Ken Goldberg

2.4.2    Teleporting an Unknown State by  Eduardo Kac

2.5      Naturale che piove: fare il bello ed il cattivo tempo by  Nicola Toffolini

2.6    Il mondo ridotto a minimi termini by Alessandro Quaranta

Chapter 3


3.1    The gardens of Pietro Mussini and Katsuhiro Yamaguchi

3.1.1    Giardino Cablato by  Pietro Mussini

3.1.2    The gardens of the future by  Katsuhiro Yamaguchi

3.2    Je sème à tout vent by  Edmond Couchot, Michel Bret, Marie-Hélène Tramus

3.3    From the forest to the shade of the tree: Tamás Waliczky, Bill Viola and Alain

3.3.1    The Forest by Tamás Waliczky

3.3.2    The Tree of Knowledge by Bill Viola

3.3.3    Arbre by Alain Josseau

3.4    Osmose by Char Davies

Chapter 4


4.1    The trees by Piero Gilardi

4.2    Interactive Plant Growing and Trans Plant by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau

4.3    Nerve Garden by Bruce Damer

4.4    The bamboos of Jean-Louis Boissier

4.5    Vegetables genetically modified

4.5.1    Considerations on transgenic and biothecnological art

4.5.2    The hybrids by George Gessert

4.5.3    Rearming the Spineless Opuntia by Amy Youngs

4.5.4    Plant Anima by Aniko Meszaros

4.5.5    Natural Reality SuperWeed Kit 1.0 by Heath Bunting

4.5.6    OneTrees by Natalie Jeremijenko

Index of the books and the multimedia documents

Index of the names

Gianna Maria Gatti, The technological herbarium. The vegetable nature and the new technologies in the art between the second and the third millennium


[Book + CD-ROM with the artists’ works]
[Go to the online CD-ROM with the artists’ works]

The technological herbarium: an herbarium that gathers and shows artworks deriving from the junction of electronical and informatic devices with vegetable nature. At the end of XX century, some artists of different nationalities and mostly belonging to the 60s generation, created this original union, focusing their reflection on two elements apparently in contrast, like vegetable kingdom and the ‘forth kingdom’ of the intelligent objects that, in different years, deeply affected the existence and the imagination of mankind, from the Neolithic revolution to the Informatics revolution.Vegetable first won the bet for life, colonizing the Earth since the very beginning and allowing every single living being to survive and to evolve, nevertheless, they were closed into a diversity created by silence and idleness that separated them from the remaining living beings, and put them into the condition of lesser organisms.
Informatic technologies, more and more widespread and necessaries, minimized the handling and the conception of information and communication but, being too much limited to the practical function of instruments, are neglected in all the peculiarities and languages that can enable them to be autonomous entities.

Linked into a unique interactive artwork, vegetables and technologies get in touch in a mutually advantageous exchange: beyond being revalued for their respective contributions, they acquire an aesthetic meaning, highlighting some of their qualities. It is the user, directly involved in the interactive process, the most important witness of such unusual web, so that such work can be considered as the original meeting of three different living ways: the user, human being, the plant, vegetable being and the computer, informatics being. Their necessary interaction guarantees the success of the work and gives the user a new knowledge: it does exist an alternative to living beings.

pp.208, ISBN 88-491-2375-2, € 18,00

Buy it following this link

The first chapter, where nature and new technologies are conceptually framed and the purpose is to explain the contribution of new technologies in the art, is followed by three sections of Herbarium: the first collects all the works that, placed side by side to new technologies and real vegetables with solutions that shows the integrated technologies into natural environments such as gardens, woods, forests or the location of vegetables such as grass, flowers, plants into equipment prepared on that purpose. The interaction and the mutual influence of the components are subject to the biological process of the living beings: it is its own life, it is the respect of the time necessary to grow up that affect the course of the work.

The second chapter is dedicated to the technological languages, since it is through them that the formal properties and the external characteristics of the vegetables can be recreated under the form of digital synthesis, video or virtual realities. Provided that those are representations, re-elaborations obtained thanks to the large possibilities offered by informatics, the artist enjoys more freedom of expression in terms of interpretation of the qualities of the natural model and the same artist can shift the same model by giving it different attributes not present in the nature, deriving from his own fantasy.

The biological paradigm is present in the third chapter with two different compositions: in some works the informatics technologies acquire it in its fundamental codes of life and transfer it into digital beings that reflect into evolution process and in the growing mechanisms like living beings. The result is a simulated vegetation that sums up the peculiarities of natural with the potentiality of technological mean but can be distinguished because it is a living being itself.

In other works, it is possible to go beyond the simulation of a model and act directly on the living being by hybridation actions, in order to act in the genetics of the natural vegetable, modifying its composition or cloning it: in any case living flowers or real plants are generated but genetically modified. With the general view that the technological herbarium proposes, it is easy to understand how art, more and more linked with sciences, is decisive in giving an unusual vision of the vegetable kingdom and of the new technologies, thanks to the intuition of linking them in a combination significantly unusual and functionally effective

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