his project uses a compost system as incubator—a compostcubator—to provide the necessary heat to maintain a small flask of dissembodied mouse cells.
An incubator simulates a body. It acts as a homeostatic surrogate for life out of context, out of place, and out of agency. This project complicates this apparatus by making it into a living system—a messy ‘biological device’ that is an assemblage of different species. The work plays with and critiques notions of control, optimisation, kinship, interdependence and multispecies ecologies.
Built from a metal frame, wire mesh, five tonnes of locally sourced mulch, horse manure and beer barley waste, the compost generates heat as bacteria decompose the biological waste in the centre of the pile. Inside the compost a 100 metre coil of plastic tubing contains water. This water is heated by the process of microbial decomposition and pumped to a custom-designed incubator made of clear acrylic and copper, which sits on top of the compost. Inside the incubator rests a small flask of mouse muscle cells.