(C) 2014 Adrijan Karavdic and Matilde Igual Capdevila


Models and Realities: Versions of Sustainability

Download Biosphere n+1 catalogue as a PDF

Transdisciplinary Play in 3 Acts: Monday 23 June 2014, 10:00–18:00

Exhibition: 24 – 27 June 2014, 07:00-21:00

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU),

Foyer of Franz Schwackhöfer Haus, Peter Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Vienna

Envisioning a sustainable future of our planet leads to many attempts to integrate scientific disciplines and respective research methods. Biosphere 2 was a living model world with the aim to study the interactions between humans, farming and technology. The ecological experiment was implemented in the 1990s in the Arizona desert and tried to build a closed, independent system that resembled the most important factors of Earth’s ecosystem. Compared to today’s fine-tuned computational models, which are used to understand, simulate and control real-world systems and tackle transformation towards sustainability, the project of Biosphere 2 can serve as a model for an experimental and performative mode of living that dreams of new ways of doing the natural and the social. The cooperation between students of the Art & Science master’s programme and the Doctoral School of Sustainable Development uses Biosphere 2 as a starting point to develop a transdisciplinary play that enacts “biospherian” versions of sustainability.


Check-in / 09:00–10:00

Introduction / 10:00–10:45

Act 1 / 11:00–12:30

Act 2 / 13:45–15:15

Act 3 / 15:30–17:00

Wrap-up / 17:15–18:00


Choice of modules for act 1–3:

Metaphysics of Opportunity Costs – Shaping Spaces of Sustainability

Making decisions is a complex process. Not only does it require the individual to take into account various factors like opportunity costs, estimated consequences of a decision and the workload involved, it almost always involves communication and collaboration with others as well. The importance of a factor has to be considered and discussed. More often than not it turns out, that what seems sustainable to one actor is considered beside the point and not taken as seriously by another.

By asking you to cooperate in small groups to construct a sustainable landscape and attach specific properties to the materials involved, you are confronted with a (playful) decision making process. The outcome will be transferred to a model and assessed. The collaborative creative action reflects the qualities of apparently mainly rational scientific and less rational artistic decision making and gives an idea how those different approaches can cross-fertilize. The resulting patchwork landscape-sculptures will be displayed in the foyer.

Meat the Action! Arena

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes: Play the role of a stakeholder discussing and deciding on the issue of artificial meat. Followed by an analysis of the discussion.

The Green Storm

The future of our planet is in your hands. A participatory performance and cross-media installation on environmentalism, power, scientific models, fiction and decision-making.

maNature – The Missing Gap

IPCC-reports that agriculture contributes to a large extent to the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. In a referendum the public asked the government to enhance climate protection in agriculture.

Now, you as the government get a certain budget to develop strategies and to support and fund solutions and present them in a press conference.

Publication Quota

Emissions trading is a well-established market-based approach to achieve reductions in CO2 emissions. In this module you will apply this principle to two sectors where exponential growth is taking place: scientific publishing and artwork production. To limit the ever-growing output each scientist/artist will be allocated a certain quota that he/she is allowed to produce per year. You will explore the consequences of such a system for various stakeholder groups.

Taste the Abstract

The transformation of scientific theses into edible taste experiences.

Biosphere 2 and Performative Research - Lecture by Ralo Mayer

From 1991–93 eight people lived inside a closed ecological system in the Arizona desert. The miniature world under glass included its own ocean, rainforest and farm, its crew explored both future life in space and our planetary biosphere. Ralo Mayer’s artistic research investigates Biosphere 2 in the context of socio-political and technological global changes of the past decades.



Christian Baumgartner (Naturfreunde International), Konrad Domig (Institute of Food Science, BOKU), Josef Glössl (Vice Rector for Research, BOKU), Katharina Gugerell (University of Groningen), Karl Hogl (Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, BOKU), Bernd Kräftner (Art & Science, Angewandte), Rodrigo Lozano (Corporate Sustainability, University Utrecht), Ralo Mayer (Artist), Andreas Muhar (Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, BOKU), Christian Mu?nchner (ReThink), Marianne Penker (Sustainable Economic Development, BOKU), Kumela Nedessa (BOKU), Christian Pohl (Transdisciplinarity, ETH Zurich), Michael Proschek-Hauptmann (Umweltdachverband), Martin Reinhart (Artist), Werner Schneider (BOKU), Martin Schönhart (BOKU), Patricia Stokowski (Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont), Virgil Widrich (Art & Science, Angewandte), Christoph Winckler (Sustainable Agriculture Systems, BOKU)
Michael Braito, Kerstin Böck, Margit Busch, Ana Daldon, Benedict Endler, Andrea Hermann, Matilde Igual Capdevila, Adrijan Karavdic, Mathias Kirchner, Martina Lang, Tamara Mitrofanenko, Hermine Mitter, Gerardo Montes de Oca Valadez, Kiengkay Ounmany, Anna-Sophie Santner, Katharina Schodl, Peter Walder

Art & Science

University of Applied Arts Vienna

+43 (0) 1 71133 2250


Doctoral School of Sustainable Development

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)

+43 (0) 1 47654 7281





Fact Box

June 23, 2014, 10:00h
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Foyer of Franz Schwackhöfer Haus, Peter Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Vienna