Thu 7 Dec 2017 8:04PM

Experiencing Sustainability Issues

DMC Digital Maker Collective Bot Public Seen by 453

Are you interested in this question/provocation? If so how & why? Please post updates below:
- Photos of meet-up activities
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Nicola Rae Fri 8 Dec 2017 11:20AM

Hi team and future team members,
This is a recap of of some of the issues that we have been discussing in our Art & Science group, which has now become the 'How can technology solve sustainability issues?' group!

First Meeting: Wednesday 15th Nov in Chelsea Makerspace
Through brainstorming sessions and internet searches, Mariana and myself came across the recent scientific research by Orb Media that 83% of the world's tap water contains plastic fibres. Below is a link to a Guardian article that details some of the contamination sources (do all read this as it is another article with more scientific information)

We decided to investigate further and make a participative, interactive installation that engaged the public with these issues. We also discussed the possibility of being loaned a digital microscope so that magnified film of tap water could be projected. Would another organisation with a microscope collaborate with us and help us explore this issue scientifically?

Second Meeting: Wednesday 6th Dec in Chelsea Makerspace
Catherine and Sueko joined Mariana and myself and we discussed the problem further and possible solutions.We talked about requesting samples of tap water from different parts of the world to be sent in small glass bottles so that we could test it and include it in our installation, as well as sample contributions from visitors to the Tate. We also talked about filtration. Grzesiek then joined us and contributed his knowledge about water filtration: ceramic filters are fairly good but the process of reverse osmosis goes too far as water from this process starts leaching minerals out of living bodies. He then told us that water testing kits were available on Ebay. We discussed the possibilities of deconstructing these and using them with Arduinos or Rasberry Pi in our installation. Might it be easier to request that worldwide contacts bought cheap testing kits and tested the water themselves and emailed us the data? But as G said, the cheap water testers will not register plastic particles.
What level of digital microscope equipment would we need to see and test plastic fibres in tap water?
If the filtration level needed to stop plastic fibres passing into our drinking water is 10 microns across (see Guardian article), what material will filter this best while not leaching too many minerals out of living bodies?


Digital Maker Collective Bot Sun 10 Dec 2017 12:04PM

Seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem = http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42264788


Nicola Rae Fri 8 Dec 2017 3:18PM

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 13th Dec at 1.00 pm in Chelsea Makerspace. Hope that you will be able to come to this. Our ideas, questions and collaborations are still being developed and so your contributions will be valued. Some will have gone home to other countries by Wednesday but we will try to make our conversations visible on Loomio so that all can contribute ideas.


lee Wed 20 Dec 2017 9:01PM

Hi, Thought this maybe of interest from our conversations last Wednesday, http://www.julianmelchiorri.com/Bionic-Chandelier


Nicola Rae Fri 22 Dec 2017 6:55PM

Thanks, Lee. This looks really interesting. Below is a photo of the bottles of spirulina that a few of us saw growing on 12th Dec at GreenLab ( http://www.greenlab.org/ ). As discussed at the meeting, it could be interesting to grow spirulina in narrow tanks or tubes in front of the windows at Tate Exchange. This blue-green superfood needs 34 degrees heat to multiply well and so if double tanked maybe we could generate the heat needed through some group cycling: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Build-A-Bicycle-Generator/ Experimenting with a DIY Arduino/Rasberry Pi connected ecosystem could be interesting...


Digital Maker Collective Bot Mon 8 Jan 2018 9:56AM

Please send me any meet -up dates you have planned asap today so I can add to the list and share with the collective - http://digitalmakercollective.org/node/242


Nicola Rae Mon 15 Jan 2018 12:31AM

Great to catch up with everyone last week and continue developing ideas on Wednesday morning (with Mariana, Catherine and Grzesiek), and on Thursday morning (with Pascale, Mariana, Stephanie, Rosie, Veronica and later Lee). It may be useful to summarise both meetings as well as include links to websites that we looked at, as we sometimes circle back to elements of previous ideas.

Wednesday 10th Jan at the Wimbledon Digital Maker Space:
Our discussion was initiated by looking at Midi Sprout and the possibility of using plants as sonic sensors and filters of our environment:
Catherine then suggested that we look at Akousmaflore and her use of interactivity with plants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hae2Fwrqn8
We re-framed our question as: How can we use technology to learn about our ecosystem through plants? Through discussion with Grzesiek we wondered whether this plant sensor project might have too many similarities to Cyril's ISD project last year that recorded pollution in trees, as well as Akousmaflore.

Thursday morning 11th Jan at the Chelsea Digital Maker Space:
We discussed this idea with Rosie who suggested MPR121 touch sensors as being able to activate plants to become sensors: https://flubit.com/shop/p/FLMRJDJQ9?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=Lab%20%20%7C%20Shopping%20%7C%20No%20Negatives&gclid=Cj0KCQiAnOzSBRDGARIsAL-mUB3WGRSkUkEvIS4Aqu2OcGlCPKtBa8qSEb_0MF2AM4I5GVNKHXeQ9z8aAiDwEALw_wcB

Makey Makey was also suggested: https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/adafruit-12-x-capacitive-touch-shield-for-arduino-mpr121

We then talked about reconsidering the idea of investigating plastics in tap water and in the ocean in an installation. Pascale told us about cellulose fungus that Imperial College was working on to filter plastic fibres from water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uN-oMyAZFs
We discussed the possibility of suggesting a collaboration with Imperial College and P's son to make an interactive installation at Tate Exchange to engage the public with this possibility. Pascale also mentioned a talk on plastic producing bacteria: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/westminster-talks-a-bugs-life-how-plastic-producing-bacteria-could-save-your-life-tickets-36890661963
Lee also suggested looking at some links (to be posted soon)


Pascale Tue 16 Jan 2018 6:09PM

Imperial College team are already pursuing commercially to see improved water filters with the bacterial cellulose normally found in a fermented green tea drink called kombucha tea. http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_27-5-2016-14-46-16


Pascale Tue 16 Jan 2018 6:54PM


Pascale Tue 16 Jan 2018 7:02PM

Tomorrow there's an event which may be of interest at Imperial College: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imperial-fringe-intelligence-redesigned-tickets-40104508665


Digital Maker Collective Bot Wed 17 Jan 2018 1:01PM

Precious Plastic is a global community of hundreds of people working towards a solution to plastic pollution. Knowledge, tools and techniques are shared online, for free. So everyone can start (yes, you too!). https://preciousplastic.com


Nicola Rae Sun 21 Jan 2018 5:09PM

This looks really interesting!


Nicola Rae Sun 21 Jan 2018 7:46PM

UPDATE from Art & Science Meeting last week, further chats and more research
Attending meeting on 17-01-18:
Pascale + Nur, Veronica, Catherine, Mariana, Lee and Nicola
We discussed the move from STEM to STEAM in schools/universities and the inclusion of Art and Design as of collaborative importance to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, particularly in engaging the public in scientific discoveries. Pascale had written to Imperial College suggesting a collaboration in relation to visualizing their research into filters made from bacterial cellulose. She received a detailed response from Dr Tom Ellis (Department of Bioengineering), who unfortunately will be on sabbatical for a year in the US. The Imperial students that worked on filters made from Skoby have now formed a Start Up called CUSTOMEM LTD based in Brighton: https://www.customem.com/ We discussed making contact with them and suggesting a collaboration. SKOBY is a byproduct of the process of making Kombucha tea, as relayed by Mariana, who attended the GreenLab workshop. Scoby in its dried form could be used to filter the plastic fibres out of water and used within our installation.
We decided to focus our Tate Exchange project on filtering and testing London tap water with skoby filters and record this on a map. We then discussed ways of visualising the process of water filtration in ways that could be participative and interactive.
Veronica suggested using the skoby filters as visualisations within themselves, as dyes within the water might show up the plastic fibres. She had brought in a book on natural Dyes from Plants, which all agreed was a good idea to colour the water with.
Catherine spoke about seeing bacterias in VR at the V&A Digital Design Weekend. Was this Seven Seconds Ago by Anna Dumitriu et al?: https://issuu.com/creativeeconomybritishcouncil/docs/v_a_digital_weekend_book_210x269_up .
Pascale mentioned the interesting aesthetic solution of exhibiting water in tied up plastic bags in nets, as seen in Asia, as well as acknowledging that the water would be harder to access for testing/filtration.
Mariana discussed looking at the micro plastics through microscopes and using Kilner Mason jars so that water could be easily accessed. The cheapest 8 litre version on Ebay is: https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Kilner-8L-Glass-Drinks-Dispenser-Storage-with-Tap-Beer-Cocktail-Wine/1125197768 . We considered whether using recycled glass jars might be cheaper and more in keeping with the spirit of the project.
Nor suggested the possibility of working with the fact that water is a conductor and plastic is a resistor. This might mean that the plastic fibres would resist a current (9 volts tickles) and so become more visible.
Nicola (me) discussed using the sounds of collecting the tap water, which could be recorded on phones or recorders. Each jar could be linked to sensors that played the sound of their specific collection each time they were tested.
We then co-wrote our PROPOSAL TO TATE EXCHANGE together:

Our proposal is to test London's tap water for plastic microfibres in ways that are interactive and participative. We would like to explore two methods:
1. In collaboration with a group of students/graduates from Imperial College, we will visually explore and test their discovery of cellulose fibre, which when dried forms a filter that can prevent plastic fibres from passing through. The cellulose fibre is made from skoby, which is a byproduct of making kombucha tea. Ways of visualising this process will be explored through the use of microscopes connected to projectors and using dyes from plants in the water so the filters themselves become a visualisation. We will project the microscopic images onto larger pieces of skoby or tracing paper as well as maps showing the water's collection sites.
2. We will also explore the sonic possibilities of testing water. Using an interactive touch board and copper wire, we will activate the water samples to play the acoustic environment of their collection event every time that they are touched through the use of sensors. The plastic fibres will also be explored electro-actively through using the qualities of water acting as a conductor and micro plastic fibres as a resistor.
All processes will be interactive and participative.

On Thursday morning 18th Jan, Lee and I had a further discussion about this project and discussed the possibilities of using Ultra Violet Light on the water coloured with food dyes. Lee also suggested using underwater fans to move the water around, which we thought could be triggered by ultrasonic motion sensors. The interactive touchboards (Bare Conductive) can be unreliable to use with crocodile clips and copper wire in my experience, but ring terminals attached to wire form much more stable connections. Below are some links in relation to the UV Light possibility:

Foods that glow in ultraviolet light

400W Ultraviolet Black Light bulb and UV Cannon:


Next meeting: Wednesday 24th Jan 2.00 pm in Chelsea Makerspace


Digital Maker Collective Bot Mon 22 Jan 2018 3:52PM

Please send your 'work in progress' Images for Tate Lates promotional use!

Could you all please either add your best pictures taken over the past month/s of your work/groups in progress, any snapshots taken with a phone, and pictures of the final product.

Either email to c.follows@arts.ac.uk or add the images to the O365 shared folder link below (need to be using your ual login).

All images should be sent no later than Wednesday morning as we plan to do some social media promotions asap.

We will also be using these images to post of Instagram take over of Camberwell, Wimbledon and Chelsea account before (to show what we have been doing) During (showcase the evening) After (to promote the Tate March events).

Camberwell student Maria Than is taking the lead on this but can others please contact Maria to help support this social media push? mariathuyhienthan@gmail.com

We will try and compile all the images in this O365 shared folder https://artslondon-my.sharepoint.com/personal/c_follows_arts_ac_uk/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?folderid=17b33ffedf2a04a79a44699eed003c7ce&authkey=AV6K4FvDChGugeLn47fbrtA&e=OAMEPx

Thank you very much !

Chris & Maria


Digital Maker Collective Bot Thu 1 Feb 2018 11:08PM

Harnessing the digital revolution to tackle air pollution https://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/air-quality-data-challenge


Digital Maker Collective Bot Thu 1 Feb 2018 11:09PM

We have a new member of knowledge exchange staff who can help us write bids for funding


Nicola Rae Fri 2 Feb 2018 3:14PM



Nicola Rae Tue 6 Feb 2018 1:55PM

Next Art & Science Group meeting at 12.30 on Wednesday 7th Feb in Chelsea Maker space. Also meeting up at 10.00 am 8th Feb to design, make and discuss the Growing Space.


Nicola Rae Tue 13 Feb 2018 8:02PM

Next 'Experiencing Sustainability Issues' meeting at 11.00 am on Wednesday 14th Feb in Chelsea Makerspace. Most of us will also attend the Growing Space meeting at 10.00 am as it is connected.


khyrham@gmail.com Sun 18 Feb 2018 10:01AM

Helpful link with information to growing Dioflaginates I shared at meeting on 15th Feb.


Nicola Rae Tue 20 Feb 2018 7:37PM

Some photos from last week's meeting


Nicola Rae Tue 20 Feb 2018 8:05PM

My bioluminescent algae have started to glow and the bacterial algae were sent off for on Saturday. The plankton with plastic fibre put through image to sound analysis is below:


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:57PM

@nicolarae Would you try again to attach, or forward somehow? Perhaps as a link? I think it is really interesting.


Nicola Rae Tue 20 Feb 2018 8:11PM

However when doing some wider searches for using surface speakers to make the algae bioluminesce P came across the following project: The Artistry of Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence that even includes work by a CSM student!


Nicola Rae Tue 20 Feb 2018 8:13PM

The film of the image to sound has not uploaded properly and so I will bring it in tomorrow. Really want to make our project different to any other working with bioluminescence.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:17PM

I have received most of my equipment for my zooplankton. Am currently testing the marine solution and ideal environment for their habitat.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:21PM

I will collect samples for viewing under the microscopes tomorrow whilst out on the Thames. Will attempt to geo-locate each sample for labelling in order to offer audience a better understanding of the differences of the various samples collected in London.


Poll Created Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:28PM

Thames Samples Closed Sun 25 Feb 2018 12:03PM

As we are looking at micro-plastics water pollution, I'll collect a range of Thames water samples tomorrow. Should the samples include low tide sediment only, or sediment floating naturally within the Thames water itself?


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 100.0% 2 NR P
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

2 of 96 people have voted (2%)


Sat 24 Feb 2018 5:02PM

Perhaps sampling both, so as to have variety might be best way to go


Nicola Rae
Sat 24 Feb 2018 7:55PM

Which do you think would be more polluted? Could you collect both?


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:34PM


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:36PM

The cultivated Bioplastic from bacteria in it's raw state, prior to processing into environmental and marine degradable plastic!


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:41PM

This 3D printer prints with live cells for Biomedical applications, but can also use the Bioplastics created in laboratory for any experimental designs the researcher wish to apply to this innovative technology.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 4:51PM

@nur16 @pascale29 and myself, being given the full tour of the environmentally friendly bioplastics laboratory from Professor Ipsita Roy herself at Westminster University. Really grateful for to her for offering her time, knowledge and expertise. Inspiring work!


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 5:13PM

Creating an interactive wall of fish netting. Collecting a variety of clean, single use plastic over the weekend... if others can do the same? Would be great for audience participation throughout the week to add to the ghost fish nets in the installation.


Nicola Rae Sat 24 Feb 2018 8:29PM

This sounds much more engaging for the public and more open to collaborative possibilities. I will collect some single use plastic tomorrow as we are beside the Thames on the Greenwich Peninsula. Although do you mean plastic from the Thames or from our plastic recycling rubbish?


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 9:14PM

We thought it would be best for any single use plastics to be clean, perhaps washed, or surplus from shops and supermarkets, in order to make sure no visitor to the Tate is contaminated, or any plastics so small as to pose choking hazard to children. I have been setting aside the plastic packaging from bags of fruit, and shopping bags and all those straws and cutlery we throw away from fast food chains. Anything that normally doesn't really get recycled. As the 'What comes around' group will focus quite a bit on plastic bottles, I thought to incorporate all the other plastics that pollute our water, from plastic toys, bubble wrap, toothbrushes, combs, wrappers, those awful six-pack rings, etc... so if it isn't getting recycled and isn't biodegradable, it's a growing problem that isn't going away. Would be great way to really visualise the problem


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 6:34PM

@khyrham @nur16 and myself attended an event at the Royal Geography Society. Excellent guest speakers and many introductions as a result.


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 6:38PM

Phenomenal panel of speakers


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 6:39PM


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 6:41PM


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 6:50PM

@khyrham @nur16 and myself attended UCL Conservation Group launching it's anti waste campaign with an engaging and insightful set of short talks around plastic pollution.
1. A Rubbish Thames Study – Paul Clarke (NHM) & David Morritt (Royal Holloway University of London)
2. Plastic Ingestion by Estuarine Fish – Alex McGoran (Royal Holloway University of London)
3. A Microplastic History of a London Lake - Simon Turner (UCL)
4. Turning the Tide: How we talk about plastic pollution - Jo Atherton (Artist)
5. A plastic-free UCL- Kesella Scott-Somme (UCL Conservation Group)


Nicola Rae Sat 24 Feb 2018 8:01PM

This looks amazing and really useful. Stephanie just forwarded details of an event at GreenLab called: #makerculture: Creating New Products from Algae : https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/makerculture-creating-new-products-from-algae-tickets-43350513553?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=order_confirmation_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemailordconf . It is free and is next Wednesday evening 28th Feb. I have booked a place. Anyone else want to go to this?


Pascale Sat 24 Feb 2018 8:40PM

I registered a few tickets, as @khyrham is currently culturing zooplankton, so I believe this could be very informative!


Nicola Rae Sat 24 Feb 2018 9:00PM



Nicola Rae Sat 24 Feb 2018 8:06PM

My bioluminescent bacteria have not arrived yet but the 90 mm petri dishes with agar have as well as a wonderful glass petri dish and lid that is 200 mm.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 9:39PM

We now have our 2m x 2m Installation frame to attach the ghost netting and other visuals. Today I received 1.25kg of Marine Sea Salt and have been in the process of transforming purified Reverse Osmosis tap water into Marine water in preparation of receiving my zooplankton.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 9:44PM

Suitable small and quiet aquarium air pump for habitat, as my aquarium had filter pump that would filter the delicate zooplankton.


khyrham@gmail.com Sat 24 Feb 2018 9:52PM

@nicolarae how much White 'black-out' material did you order? Quite a bit? If in limited quantity, could you post link where more could be ordered please? May be useful to block unwanted light from certain angles


Nicola Rae Sun 25 Feb 2018 10:03AM

Hi Khryam, I have not ordered any white 'black-out'material but just mentioned this as an option at the meeting on Wednesday. This is the material that we discussed . https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackout-Thermal-Curtain-Pandoras-Upholstery/dp/B01H2SY1UM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519552396&sr=8-1&keywords=blackout+material . Yesterday I took approx 30 x 1.5 - 1 metre length cardboard tube lengths (recycled from Carpetright), sheet cardboard and seeds to Chelsea. The Growing Space have a large quantity of longer cardboard tubes in the back and so we could make structures that are potentially light resistant.


Nicola Rae Sun 25 Feb 2018 12:04PM

Have spent approx £250 so far on the Art & Science project and have to slow down so that income will last. Sustainable options for viewing structures is a positive way forward.