ARTIST: OdescO (Ocean Design Collaborative): Michael Fox, Juintow Lin, Andrew Todd
(OdescO) in collaboration with Axel Kilian
TITLE: Nano-City
MATERIALS: Magnetic Ferrofluid, robotics, magnets, software
DATE: 2005

The concept behind Nano-City "is that technological advance and ecological responsibility are not necessarily a contradiction in terms. (Please read the STORYLINE below). This project lives in the world as "science-fact" and not "science-fiction" and conceptually demonstrates that although many of our ecological equilibrium disparities are a result of our misuse and misunderstanding of technological advance, many of them can be brought back into balance with appropriate technological focus. Our aim is to make the point that technological development from within the fields of design and architecture can be focused to transcend ecological equilibrium; to have positive embodied energy assessments, material reductions and even change living pattern trends.

The head of the city resembles a massive mechanical cathedral but would fool anyone who examined it for too long. For all of its apparent symmetrically flaunting oppressiveness, it is nonexistent. Indeed at any instant it does exist but it is ever changing, morphing, melding, destroying and creating. Itself. For the city itself is in fact one and the same with the landscape that it ploughs through. The city moves across the planet without regard for the forests, the seas, the deserts and the glaciers. For any and all landscapes is fuel for its growth. The city is a momentary composition of tiny machines, so tiny that they operate at the atomic and molecular level. The machines are just as invisible as the atoms they are composed of. Essentially the entire city is composed of nano-sized robots. There are gatherers, sorters, transporters, assemblers and dis-assemblers. The assemblers work endlessly immersed in a bath of parts or molecules that have been gathered from the landscape, sorted and transported, along a nano-conveyor belt system to the point where they can be reassembled and bonded to the new molecular structure of a part of the city. A tree in the forest is disassembled to the molecular level and transported to the other end of the city and reassembled into the city. On and on it goes, tearing up everything in its path and creating paths where there are none for the sake of creating the city. The city rolls out from the back of the head like a perfectly geometric beaver's tail: houses and parks and playgrounds and streetlights and furniture and food and even toys. The people of the city find homes but they never grow terribly attached to them because everyone understands the temporal frailty of the city. There is no money and no one seems to care what others have because the city is constantly churning out new designs for the urban fabric. Everyone simply migrates towards the head of the city because that is where the newest of everything is to be found. Of course they also must constantly move towards the head because the rear of the city is always disintegrating literally from beneath the citizens' feet. It is not so drastic as that, and a house may take upwards of three years to completely disintegrate but it does indeed keep the people moving. On the macro scale then, as a result of the nano-scale, the city operates as a conveyor as well. The disintegrating city is reconstructed into the forest, or sea, or desert or glaciers. Where once was a mountain a new one was built in its place.

Everything stays in balance; natural resources can replenish themselves as fuel for the next time the city rolls by and the citizens never tire of the scenery.

*This story is based on the original story: Seventh City: Continuous Production Conveyer Belt City, by the Italian Group "Superstudio" written in 1961. We have substituted optimism for pessimism.

Venice, CA
mafox AT odesco.net