Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The HEK Net Works series features a net-based project produced specifically for our online spaces, website and social networks. This month we present LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM by DISNOVATION.ORG.

Our general view of the world that surrounds us as humans is determined by an economic understanding of our environment. As far as natural resources are concerned, we calculate our need for consumption and evaluate them according to their economic benefit to us. The importance of the work of the biosphere and all the ecosystems within it - that enable the growth of life - is mostly absent from dominant economic understanding. For this month's edition of HEK Net Works, DISNOVATION.ORG livestream their indoor farm LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM on the HEK website, which allows us to recognize the dimensions of the work of the biosphere.

DISNOVATION.ORG visualise our relationship with our natural environment by artificially growing wheat on a precisely measured area of one square metre. All necessary inputs such as hydration, light, heat and nutrients are systematically calculated and displayed to the public. The LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM with an area of one square metre has the capacity to generate every four months the amount of calories an adult human needs in one day. To supply a human being with sufficient nutrients for a year would require 100 units running simultaneously. Considering that wheat has accounted for most of the caloric intake of humans in Europe throughout history, this project highlights the immense dimensions of the resources needed to meet human nutritional needs with the support of the natural biosphere, which we normally take for granted and expect to be able to use for free. Without the work of the biosphere - which is to say without sunlight, rain, wind and many other factors - the economic cost of artificially grown wheat is €200-400 per kilogram. This figure seems impressive when compared to the 30 cents per kilogram we currently pay for conventionally grown wheat. Exploiting the lands and requiring radical changes, conventional agriculture consistently interferes with the natural biosphere. However, as we can see in the indoor-farm-experiment, hydroponic systems are not yet an alternative for supplying humanity with staple food due to the high material and energy costs.

LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM makes us aware of the dimensions of the work we trust our ecosystems to do for free. The underestimated and constantly overextended work we leave to the natural biosphere is thus made visible. Our economic system would be worthless without the primary value that ecosystems provide, which should help us to re-examine the value we attribute to our natural surroundings.

DISNOVATION.ORG is a research collective set up in Paris in 2012, whose core members include Maria Roszkowska (PL), Nicolas Maigret (FR), and Baruch Gottlieb (CA). They work at the interface between co@ntemporary art, research, and hacking, and compose tailor-made teams for each investigation together with academics, activists, engineers, and designers. More specifically their recent artistic provocations seek to empower Post Growth imaginaries and practices by challenging the widespread faith that ‘economic growth’ and ‘technological fixes’ will solve the ecosystemic disruptions they produced in the first place. They recently co-edited A Bestiary of the Anthropocene with Nicolas Nova, an atlas of anthropic hybrid creatures, and The Pirate Book, an anthology on media piracy. DISNOVATION.ORG’s works have been exhibited, performed, published, and reviewed worldwide, for example at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), transmediale (Berlin), the Museum of Art and Design (New York) and China Museum of Digital Arts (Beijing).