Sheep’s Clothing: crypsis for urban sensing

Sheep’s Clothing was commissioned in 2010 by the 01SJ Biennial in San Jose, CA as part of the growBot Garden Project (which included Municipal Systems for Autonomous Agricultural Production in Co-Opted and Non-Compliant Spaces).

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Sheep’s clothing is a design project that explores how visual aesthetics inform agricultural practices by examining the determinate nature of designed objects. With the growth of alternative agricultures (especially those ascribing to methods of urban foraging, illicit farming, and public cultivation), agriculturalists require new objects that aid in food production. Specifically looking at sensor technologies as applied to mushroom foraging, the project is founded on the hypothesis that the aesthetics of agricultural technology directly impacts cultivation through their perceived use, and designers are positioned to change farming techniques by rethinking aesthetics. Here technology is therefore approached visually. By employing modes of crypsis (a zoological term meaning an organisms ability to blend in with its environment), visual forms reify these new uses, and can change how and where agriculture takes place. The end product is a series of participatory design workshops in which sensor housings will be created to promote monitoring of urban mushroom growth.

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