Jannis Hülsen and Stefan Schwabe’s Xylinum Cones use living bacteria cellulose to grow geometric objects. Comissioned by Science Gallery Dublin, this project is part of the current exhibition Grow Your Own.../Life After Nature. The approach is part of a larger investigation looking at the general perception of new biotechnology materials.
Aiming for a pure, strong, and mouldable variant of cellulose normally found in vegetable fibers like cotton, Hülsen and Schwabe developed a production process based on micro organisms.
Within a growth peroid of three weeks cellulose cones ripen in suspended moulds, they are dried and can be added to a sculptural assembly. The moulds pre-determined shapes and subsequent combinations are inspired by natural reptile scale or flower seed patterns. These arrangements are clearly analogous with architectural roof tiles or clapboards.
With Xylinum Cones, Hülsen and Schwabe show that organically grown objects can be reproduced while finding the balance between geometric precision and natural diversity. They question whether or not the same systems and norms we employ in traditional manufacturing can be applied to new bio based methods. How much freedom is needed for natural growth to thrive? The aim of this project is to establish a transparent production cycle that visualises the moment of creation while still turning out tangible objects.
Photos courtesy of Jannis Hülsen and Stefan Schwabe