First place VIDA 7.0 Madrid Spain

Spore 1.1 is a self-sustaining ecosystem for a rubber tree plant that was purchased at The Home Depot. In this work, The Home Depot is responsible for the plant in two ways: First, the store’s one-year unconditional guarantee to replace any plant that they sell; and second, an implied cybernetic contract that is enforced when the plant is placed within the Spore 1.1 ecosystem.

The latter responsibility ties the economic health of The Home Depot to the physical health of the rubber tree through a mechanism programmed to control the amount of water that the plant receives. Spore 1.1 uses an on-board computer with a Wi-Fi connection to monitor The Home Depot’s stock price at the end of each week, keeping a database of week-to-week stock fluctuations. As The Home Depot’s stock value grows, so too does the plant. If the company suffers losses, the plant does not get watered. If the plant should perish due to poor stock performance, it is returned to The Home Depot and replaced with another at no additional cost—a burden that represents a real, if marginal, recourse against poor corporate management.

Part of the HUMAN+ exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, supported by Wellcome Trust, Trinity School of Medicine and the Trinity Long Room Hub