GEA, an interactive installation able to visually illustrate the stages of the process of food cultivation and transformation, from farmland to consumer.
Milan Design Week, April 2017
The installation draws inspiration from the principles of the Marble Machine, a machine that features a circuit in which marbles go through a series of gears triggering always new actions. Dotdotdot wished to create a metaphor for the relation between Earth and produce, nature and man, cause and effect. GEA represents Alce Nero against a unique backdrop scenario, communicating its values, its philosophy and the food agricultural and transformation systems.
A highly sartorial approach has been achieved through the use of digital fabrication technologies and numerical control. All have been designed ad hoc by Dotdotdot and manufactured in OpenDot’s Fab Lab.
GEA is a metaphor for a natural cycle, a complex system of relations that primarily affects man. And it is the consumer who animates the landscape through a marble; a metaphor for a seed from which everything begins and from which all is created.
The seed gathers the values of Alce Nero through illustrations and key words engraved on Plexiglas. It then rolls into a beehive, runs around the Earth, goes through tracks, spirals, devices and mechanisms all printed in 3D, reaching the horizontal surface on which a lime wood block represents the Earth.
Dug by a 5-axis milling machine for over 35 hours, the portrayed natural landscape includes tomato, sugar cane, rice, wheat, olive trees plantations and cattle farming. Every food production is animated by the passage of the marble through infrared proximity sensors, steppers and Arduino connected servo motors, which activates movements that generate the amazement of the audience.
At the end of the circuit the marble sends a different message every time. This is conveyed by social networks through tweets and physically delivered to visitors by a thermal printer integrated in the installation.
The messages of Alce Nero’s farmers raise consumers’ awareness about the adoption of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle based on organic produce to benefit themselves as well as the Earth.
Jordi Garreta Duarte
Laura Fantacuzzi e Maxime Galati Fourcade
Opendot for its invaluable assistance with the initiative