Urban Data Forest reimagines the city as a site of data storage in plants and trees.

Urban Data Forest reimagines the city as a site of data storage in plants and trees. It explores the possibility of how DNA data storage technology could transform urban spaces, bringing nature and data back to the city. 

The project investigates how synthetic biology can help establish regenerative green data infrastructure; a universal biological cloud capable of capturing carbon dioxide and storing digital data. Two types of Urban Data Forest are proposed: ‘The Breathing Museum’ which serves to archive public and cultural data, and ‘Living Archives’ which are forests primarily dedicated to citizens as facilities in which they can store their personal data. 

About Grow Your Own Cloud

Grow Your Own Cloud is an art-science collective initiated by Cyrus Clarke (FR) and Monika Seyfried (PL). Since 2017, they research the possibilities and applications of DNA data storage, exploring the materiality of data and links to climate change, while seeking to demonstrate alternative visions for the future which enrich the user experience. Their hybrid practice involves an ethics-led process to work with genetic engineering and DNA data storage, in order to develop responsible innovations with potential for real world applications. As such, Grow Your Own Cloud collaborates in a multidisciplinary team encompassing designers, artists, architects and scientists. Monika Seyfried is an Interaction Designer whose practice unfolds at the intersection of emerging technologies, ethics, digital media and the natural environment, creating sensory-rich, interactive spaces. Recently, her work has focused on how the creation of immersive artworks engaging with biotechnology, living systems and the natural world can help us to establish new perspectives on the future of technology and ecosystems. Cyrus Clarke is a designer, artist and futurist with a background in economics and digital technologies, whose work ranges from film, mixed-media installations, fictions, live experiences and genetic software. His practice emerges from a fascination with data as a material, working with nature as a technology to re-frame human relationships with organic and constructed systems, and initiate discussion on the ethical, environmental, political and socioeconomic implications of technology.

Urban Data Forest was created as part of Repairing the Present, an EU S+T+ARTS Residency. The project was developed in collaboration with engineering firm Witteveen+Bos supporting research into an environmental vision for the city of The Hague (NL) in 2050.

The project was developed in collaboration with Connor Dolan, Municipality of The Hague, TU Delft Botanical Gardens, University of Washington, Aleksander Znosko Studio, and Design Academy Eindhoven.