A long, long time ago, in the valley of the river Rhine, a young woman by the name of Hildegard von Bingen had a vision. She named it Viriditas. In one of her elated raptures, she experienced the power of a greening force, able to give life, offer solace and regenerate the world. Viriditas is a botanical, vegetative agency present in every being as the 'green side of the mind'. It enables deep connections between individual entities and the living environments around them. Viriditas binds all Earth-bound habitats into a single living system (aka Gaia), whose integral parts are the processes and structures of all beings in the Earth's biosphere.

In the 21st century, the age of climate chaos, wasteful consumerism and unstable political systems, Viriditas could become a guiding ethic for transforming and adapting our individual behaviours, social and economic structures. At FoAM, we began greening our minds by attempting to understand the complex relationships of robust and dynamic eco-systems. We look at morphology and evolution, collaboration and selection, and simulate them in digital eco-systems populated by artificial life-forms. We work with the physical materials and try to mimic the responsiveness of living tissues of plants and animals. Increasing in spatial scale, we began designing eco-systems in gardens on abandoned and unused urban sites. Inspired by holistic design systems such as permaculture and natural farming, we see these sites not only as places for cultivation of plants, but also of human beings.

Moving beyond biomimicry towards 'biokinesis', an activation of Viriditas, we are looking at ways in which human systems and societies could adopt some characteristics of plants - valuing diversity and collaboration over monocultures of competition; approaching problem-solving through whole systems thinking; redesigning industry and economics to adopt more cyclical, regenerative processes. Without forgetting that we live in a technological society, we are seeking to integrate the collectively imagined, organically grown and technologically assembled systems so that they could support, rather than threaten each other. In the process, increasing their robustness, as well as resilience. Oscillating between fiction and experimentation, speculation and actualisation, under the guiding viridian glow of Viriditas, we are slowly clearing the path towards a world that we call 'Luminous Green'. Hoping to end this story as a fairy tale - 'and they all lived happily ever after'.

related activities


The groWorld initiative brings together three ‘forces’ capable of transforming the world on human and ecological scales: culture, gardening and technology. These three strands of inquiry inform and support each other, aiming to forge new symbiotic relationships between the post-industrial human societies and the rest of the Earth.

groworld / bio

The 'bio' strand of groworld is about gardening. About revegetation of urban environments, growing your own food, reconnecting rural and urban situations in ways that replenish, rather than deplete their environments.

bio projects: seedballing workshops, urban permaculture, the institute for augmented ecology

groworld /sys

'sys' stands for systems in groworld. In this strand, we focus on the role of that technology can play in developing the greener side of our cultures. sys aims to move away from making complicated machines towards growing complex systems.

sys projects: metabolicity

Luminous Green

Reflecting on the role of the arts, design and technology in an environment of turbulence

related events

An Excursion into the Rainforest

2006-03-02 20:00 GMT
2006-03-02 23:00 GMT

Biologists, artists and Sanctuary supporters are among the participants in the Spiegelaer event at Foamlab. They are hurtled head-first into the rain-forest canopy during this research report by Theun Karelse on a fieldtrip to the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary. A incomplete but detailed introduction of the workings of the rain-forest, plants and parts of plants is paralleled by the hypnogotic vision of the forest in the work of cineast Werner Herzog and his work with a navigable balloon in South America.

wonder der bloemen

2005-12-01 10:00 GMT

Filmmaker Jan Cornelis Mol (1891-1954) was a pioneer of time-lapse photography, using it to record the tiny lives of micro-organisms. He wanted to show in film what otherwise would be visible only to the most tenacious gaze through a microscope. In this way the public was plunged into the life inside a droplet of water or sucked-up into the bloodstream of a frog. A highlight in his work are the images of crystallisation. Using common photographic chemicals his recordings under great magnification of the crystallisation processes revealed wonderful abstract patterns.

uit het woud

2005-05-08 00:00 GMT

This first show at Foamlab is probably a world premiere. From the collection of the Dutch artist Jan Dietvorst a group of six mask costumes known as Jipae and Doroe are shown together. In any anthropological collection shown world wide in museums you might see one or two of these Asmat artifacts, but a group of six is unheard of. A group like this would come together in an ‘Adoption feast’ where the relationships in family life are restored after the death of a family member.

Luminous Green Open Lab 2007

2007-05-05 17:00 Europe/Brussels
2007-05-05 23:59 Europe/Brussels

On Saturday the 5th of May 2007, at 5PM, we opened the doors of our lab to everyone who wanted to have a final taste of the first Luminous Green series.

PhoEf – Photons and the electric kiss

2008-05-30 13:30 Canada/Central
2008-05-30 17:30 Canada/Central

PhoEf is a research project led by Bart Vandeput, exploring the essence, use and abuse of the photovoltaic effect - the conversion of light into electrical energy - within the realms of science, industry, technology and the arts.

Luminous Green Workshop 2007

2007-05-01 14:00 Europe/Brussels
2007-05-05 17:00 Europe/Brussels

In a time when energy use and electronic waste production should be rapidly decreasing, can media artists comfortably use arsenals of computers and their peripherals in the name of art?

Hands-on Change

2007-07-08 20:00 Europe/Amsterdam
2007-07-08 23:00 Europe/Amsterdam

Hands-on Change. An evening of discussions and presentations by Suprabha Seshan, Maja Kuzmanovic, Maria Blaisse and Cocky Eek. Hosted by Shibumi Friends International.

Deep in the forest beside a muddy little path stands a colorful sign which says 'Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary'.

Dialogue on Arts, Culture and Climate Change

2008-10-09 09:00 GMT+6
2008-10-12 20:00 GMT+6

The Dialogue on Art, Culture & Climate Change is an investigation into the role of culture and the arts in the cross-cultural dialogue on climate change between and in Asia and Europe. The project gathers 50 Asian and European artists, designers, architects, cultural practitioners, environmentalists and scientists.

Maggie Buxton will be representing FoAM as one of the event's facilitators.

More information:

LG - Time's Up

2008-10-23 09:00 GMT+2
2008-10-25 23:00 GMT+2

A Luminous Green satellite event, organised by Time's Up and the Guild for Reality Integrators and Generators:

Dates: 23rd | 24th | 25th October 2008

Luminous Green is an attempt to become more aware of our own ecological and human responsibilities. A moment’s pause, deceleration and self-reflection are a common core.

groworld workshop at sommercamp+workstation

2009-08-10 05:06 Europe/Berlin
2009-08-16 05:06 Europe/Berlin

The simulation-led workshop cluster presents constructive approaches to measurement, description and modelling of real world systems ranging across urban and ecological interventions. The world can be described by way of maps, diagrams, fiction, circuits and software. Desciptions, or representations, take on their own life as autopoetic systems, creating complex ecologies; describing becomes constructing (growing your own world).

Launch of Culture|Futures

2009-12-07 13:00 Europe/Copenhagen
2009-12-07 19:30 Europe/Copenhagen

"Culture|Futures creates an enabling environment for those cultural actors who are moved to express their perspectives about creating an Ecological Age, by recognising, encouraging and supporting them.

The Culture|Futures expanding spiral of engagement begins its journey at the launch symposium on 7th December. Participants are invited to explore the Culture|Futures proposition and to grow the spiral of engagement supporting the COP climate change negotiations.

Metabolicity workshop

2009-02-26 00:00 Europe/Brussels
2009-02-28 00:00 Europe/Brussels

Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl of conduct an exploratory workshop on lightweight structures and hydroponic techniques for vertical gardening.

Tipping Point

2010-01-25 09:00 Europe/Brussels
2010-01-26 20:00 Europe/Brussels

FoAM will take part in the TippingPoint event held at the EESC.

"TippingPoint aims to ‘harness the power of the imagination to help stabilise the climate’. We offer a range of activities centred on exposing creative artists to the enormous challenges of climate change; at the heart of this lies a series of meetings involving very high quality, intense dialogue between artists, scientists and others close to the heart of the issue. These encounters provide a chance to explore the broader cultural challenges precipitated by climate change."

Farming the City

2010-09-11 00:00 GMT+2
2010-09-19 00:00 GMT+2

CITIES Foundation together with the Municipality of Amsterdam, is co-organizing an exhibition/workshop about Urban Agriculture. This event will take place during the Week of Sustainability, a 9 days program made by the city of Amsterdam to support and promote sustainable projects in the city.

CITIES, a platform for urban research based in Amsterdam, is currently researching and promoting alternative approaches for the development of temporary urban agriculture practice. The exhibition is part of the 'Farming the City' project.

Autumn Harvest Dinner

2010-10-15 15:00 Europe/Brussels
2010-10-15 22:00 Europe/Brussels

As autumn ripens, nature and its resources are slowly turning inwards, preparing for the seasonal rest.

This is a good time for various works in the city gardens - preparing plants and soil for the winter, harvesting the yield of the year and planning next steps for the coming spring.

Middle Kingdom of Weeds festival

2011-05-08 10:30 GMT+2
2011-05-08 12:00 GMT+2

Be part of mapping the energetic value of the Dutch urban landscape; how much energy does it take for semi-skilled contemporary foragers to gather wild foods and what energetic value is contained in nearby urban environments? On May 8th the Middle Kingdom of Weeds festival features a forage psychogeographic expedition that will starts at 10.30 from Station Sloterdijk, Amsterdam. Using .walk algorithms this foraging expedition will map and explore the caloric potential of the area.

Team members include:
- a geographer, who maps the edibles on Boskoi

Pop up Park

2011-05-28 11:00 GMT+2
2011-06-12 17:00 GMT+2

Pop-up Park,

design your own park.

This festival is aimed at designing a public garden or park with local residents under guidance of 4 experts. The garden in question is located behind the Meester coupeur opleiding on one side and the Jan Evertsenstraat on the other side. (It is located at the same square as FoAM's edible garden.)

Rainforest Etiquette

2011-10-16 00:00 GMT+2

FoAM is organising and hosting a lecture by Suprabha Seshan. She is the spokesperson of the Gurukula Botanic Sanctuary in Kerala India. At the rainforest sanctuary local tribal women are trained to become parataxonomists and ecosystem gardeners. Through their work over 20 years Suprabha and the team have seen human pressure, demands and damage on the rainforest increase. She will speak on several topics including the failure of environmental education. The forest needs a particular type of support if it is to survive at all.

related publications

Cursory Speculations on HPI

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


ISEA 2008, Singapore (2008)


related articles

Previous Public Events 2007

Current Events | calendar

200711 research gathering with Boo Chapple on Rat's Tales and Bodies of Water. 30 November 2007, 12:00 - 18:00, FoAM Lab, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, B-1080 Brussels, Belgium.

Previous Pulic Events 2006

Current Events | calendar

None of the above. Open Lab, research gathering, performances, screenings, presentations, business as usual. 09-16 December 2006, Recyclart, Brussels, Belgium

Previous Pulic Events 2005

Current Events | calendar

Alive or dead?, bite size lectures by biologically inspired artists Angelo Vermeulen and Catherine Watling. 01 December 2005, 20:00, FoAM Lab, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, B-1080 Brussels, Belgium

software: realtime animation, Master class and open lab lead by Dave Griffiths and Nik Gaffney. 13-17 December 2005, FoAM Lab, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, B-1080 Brussels, Belgium

Previous Pulic Events 2004

Current Events | calendar

lunch-time lectures: choice, Danica Kuzmanovic on Psychological needs, behaviours and communicative co-existence, 17 December 2004, FoAM Lab, Brussels, Belgium

TRG open lab 02, presenting the latest developments in the TRG media systems and the results of the responsive environments workshop, November-December 2004, FoAM Lab, Brussels, Belgium

Previous Pulic Events 2003

Current Events | calendar

evolve: Minutiae, exhibition of Catherine Walting on evolution of micro organisms on microscopic and holographic media, 18-21 December 2003, /foam/tmp/ on Kanaal 20, Brussels, Belgium

f0amfr0th04: KREV de-auguration of the Temporary Embassy 13 December 2003, /foam/tmp/ on Kanaal 20, Brussels, Belgium

Previous Pulic Events 2002

Current Events | calendar

WEAR ME, txOom presentation, Future Physical Network Exchange, 05 - 08 December 2002, Norwich, UK

txOom, responsive environment, 30 November - 08 December 2002, Great Yarmouth, UK

txOom public education project, txOom audience research, 25-29 November 2002, Great Yarmouth, UK

Previous Pulic Events 2001

Current Events | calendar

Creative Research @ FoAM , RADICAL Conference, December 2001, Paris, France

Le corps et son autre, CIVA, November 2001, Brussels, Belgium

FoAM , Ways of Working Study Day, November 2001, London, UK

Previous Pulic Events 2000

Current Events | calendar

Transforma[c]tion, FOAM presentation at the Starlab Event, December 2000, Brussels, Belgium

Future Moves - Time Tracking workshop, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, November 2000, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

T-Garden, Medi@terra Art Gallery, November 2000, Athens, Greece

Bartaku: PhoEf

PhoEf is a research project exploring the essence, use and abuse of the photovoltaic effect - the conversion of light in electrical energy - in the realms of science, industry, technology and the arts. PhoEf emerged from a personal, transversal flight through the interconnected worlds behind and around photovoltaics; a technology based on A.E. Becquerel's 1839 observation of the photovoltaic effect. PhoEf is embedded in a rich, multidisciplinary, historical context.

In progress:

related pages

The Libarynth

The ever-growing Libarynth is exactly what its name implies – a hybrid between a library and a labyrinth, a maze of pages in various stages of completion. FoAM's collaborators and friends use the Libarynth as their research diary, sketch-book, or activity log. Some pages are valuable references, on a variety of topics; from visual programming, to inflatables and even vegetarian-friendly restaurants around the world. Others are fully-fledged research reports, or concept documents.

Groworld Games

During 2008 and 2009 a small group of groworlders including members of FoAM and invited participants Tale of Tales and Six to Start worked on designs and prototypes for games that would strengthen the connection between plants and people.


Resilients are people of all ages preparing for uncertain futures, by experimenting with resilient forms living & working as a form of artistic practice. The Resilients project collects, creates, shares & supports these emergent practices, while grounding them in historic cultural roots.