Diary and notes from APRIL 2021 to September 2022
Participation in the artistic research project Unstable compounds which was initiated, produced and curated by Posthuman Studies Lab
This project began in the spring of 2021 with an open call and description by the founders of the platform Posthumans Studies Lab, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology and the 'Sreda Obuchenia' Higher School one of the most interesting program for the whole summer: lectures, a workshop in a scientific laboratory, a residence in Vyksa. The final stage of the project was designated as participation in the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz in 2022.

On April 20, 2021, I saw a letter with an open call from PostHumanStudies Lab and wrote an application the same day:
"Good afternoon. I have three educations: a systems engineer, an advertising specialist and an artist (I obtained my diploma in the 'Sreda Obuchenia' Higher School in August 2020). While working on my graduation project, I discovered for myself quite interesting connections between scientific and philosophical thought of the early twentieth century and post-humanistic modern theory, now I am working with these topics in the field of artistic expressions.

I often visit the Crimea, and when I saw information about the laboratory, I quickly found a plant that interested me. The pileus or pile cone was included in the industrial crops of the Crimea from 1922-1953 and now used for decorative purposes. In the USSR, the prickly cones of this plant were inserted into drums and used to process fabrics (velvet, flannel, woolen drape). It seemed to me that these plants can set a certain program code - and be included in the general installation of the communist green Internet.

It would be especially interesting to find a place for the human body in this Internet network. I am interested in the relationship between the body of plants and human bodies, the possibility of their mutual inclusion in each other's networks."

April 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
May 2021
On May 25, at 19:00, a set-up meeting was held on the Unstable Compounds project, where it was possible to define the idea and timeline of the project, ask questions before submitting an application. My application had already been submitted, so I just had to wait for the results.

May 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
June 2021

On 10 of June I got a letter:
"We are pleased to announce that you have been selected for the Unstable Compounds summer school. We received about 100 interesting applications, and our choice was not easy. In total, we selected 20 people. We tried to form a diverse working team to conduct research and create the final installation.
The kick-off meeting with all participants will take place on June 14 at 12.00 (Moscow time).
At this meeting, we will discuss a schedule acceptable for everyone, topics of the meetings and technical issues; answer questions.

PosthumanStudies Lab team"

I was lucky that my application was among the successful ones. Work has begun.
At that time, my practice as an artist was not related to science art, deep research projects, and I roughly imagined that a new stage has begun and it would be difficult.

The kick-off meeting was held on June 14 Moscow time at 12:00.

June 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
Concept, Production, Curating, ULTB-1: Posthuman Studies Lab (Nikita Sazonov, Ekaterina Nikitina, Ippolit Markelov, Masha Molokova)
Computer architecture: Dmitriy Lobanov, Andrew Adamatzky, Sergey Pavlov
Design: Sofa Karavaeva
Front-end: Alexandra Yashina
Exhibition architecture: Yulia Filatova
3D: Roman Solodkov
Cinematography: Nikita Sazonov, Irina Petrova, Vera Vishnevaya
Science supervision and support: Natalia Alatortseva, Mike Petrov, Andrew Adamatzky
Hubs: Daria Okhrimenko, Roman Solodkov, Daria Trubarova, Alina Brovina, Evgenia Bezginova, Ksenia Ruban, Evgeniy Khlopotov, Irina Gulyakina, Anton Kraftsky, Maria Alexandrova, Natalia Alatortseva, Natalia Kuzmina, Tim Nosov, Altyn Mustafina
Collaborators: EMCPS Lab, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology; Faculty of Contemporary Art, the "Sreda Obuchenia" Higher School
Technical supervision: Boris Shershenkov
Special thanks: SDVIG Studio, Vita Shakhnovich, Dmitrii Olgin
Creative Europe Project 616712 Roots & Seeds consortium: University of Barcelona, Quo Artis, Ars Electronica, Leonardo/OLATS.
Roots & Seeds XXI. Biodiversity Crisis and Plant Resistance is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Each participant of the Hub team is looking for a location for collecting plants where soil contamination with vanadium is possible - this location, preferably, should be associated with the industrial past of the USSR, have some personal interest.
To help , a set of links from Natasha Alatortseva: Google Earth pro, ...

Instructions from Ippolit Markelov on location search and plant selection:
"Location of interest:
1. Sludge abandoned (or active) Thermal power plants (being carbonic now or in the past)
2. Astrakhan oil refinery sludge (there is evidence that it is enriched with vanadium compounds)
3. Remains of metallurgical production of non-ferrous metals, especially titanium magnetite ores (large object - Nizhny Tagil)
4. Production facilities where steel was alloyed with vanadium (99% of vanadium useage in the world)
5. Plants for production of catalysts with vanadium
6. Sulfuric acid production - usage of catalysts with vanadium
7. Ammonia production - disposal of used catalysts, vanadium waste
Sampling methodology:
1. Choose a plant:
Attention is paid to agricultural plants, especially those that have become feral, mass-introduced (including weeds): cereals, legumes, rosaceae, cruciferous.
Cereals - red fescue (vanadium content is higher in the underground part than above ground);
mustard sarepta or other cruciferous siderates (aboveground biomass), reynutria; jerusalem artichoke; ivan tea; raspberry; dry hogweed.
2. Choose how we take samples:
2.1) Only the above the ground part of the plant,
2.2) Cut off above the ground part of the plant from the soil directly at the ground level (with garden scissors / pruning shears), then dig out the underground part and wash it from the soil
3. Take at least 0.5 kg of a sample of each plant in wet form,
4. Dry the samples and grind them if possible.
5. Store in paper (kraft paper) or canvas bags."

Ippolit Markelov shares a brochure on herbarization techniques.
Katya Nikitina shares cool projects with weeds for inspiration.
I am in the steppe Crimea, Dzhankoy town. I came here to my mother-in-law with a secret hope to determine the location for collecting plants, from the very beginning I'd like to connect the industrial past of the USSR with the past of my family. In my small homeland – in the Kaluga region - the research did not bring quick results. So... I looked for with other side. My husband was born and grew up in Dzhankoy, his mother and other relatives live here, so we decided to combine a family trip with work on the artistic project. My husband's father worked at the Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant and was cut from this job at the end of the 90s, at the same time the plant closed like many in the post-Soviet space. The story gets overgrown with details pretty quickly…
From the conversation in the Telegram chat "Unstable compounds"

Irina Gulyakina, [20 Jun 2021, 10:31:55]:
Of the industrial enterprises here, only the Dzhankoy Machine-building Plant, closed in the 2000s, I'm exploring its territory at the end of June, I think.
Natalia, tell me ... what and how to assemble there?
While the agrarian praeries' strategic plants: cereals, sunflower, chickpeas.
I want to find a lint 'cotton' (one of the strategic plants of the Crimea of the 1920s-1950s ... but so far I have confused it with a thistle, I continue to search)

Natalia Alatorceva, [20 Jun 2021, 14:17:12]:
Hello everybody! First, how to assemble the materials. Only the above the ground biomass, or cut above the groun, directly at the soil (it's good with sheep scissors, but in general - what is there), then dig up the underground, wash it from the soil, and then dry it. Secondly, what to collect and where: this will be discussed in more detail tomorrow, but there are already questions, so briefly - here. I would pay attention to agricultural plants, especially those that have gone wild and become mass-introduced (including weeds). Maybe you'll find ambrosia there

With lint is a good idea! In general, this family (villiaceae) is infrequently cultivated, there may be little comparable unique example.

You can go from both sides at the same time - both from specific species or families and from abandoned territories, if something is found there in volume - find out what it is. Human-introduced (culture or weed) is more interesting than local species in the context of this project

An important link about abandonments from Ksyusha Ruban
Historical background:
Dzhankoy Machine-building Plant
Address: Crimea, Dzhankoy, Promyshlennaya str., 7

"In 1909, the landlord Vagrashak Sergeevich Kharasanov sold his lands in Kurman (Krasnogvardeysky district) and built a cast iron foundry in Dzhankoy, on the territory of former agricultural machinery, now the enterprise "Agropromservice" (Lenin Street), which was called Kharasanovsky.

The main products of the plant were mowers and horse threshing machines. The plant carried out repairs of mills and mill equipment. Tombstones and fences were partially made. In 1910, it had 5 workshops: mechanical, foundry, carpentry and painting, forging, assembly. The factory employed 180 people, the workshops were small and dark. They worked up to 12 hours a day.

In 1914, the 1st World War began. The plant received a large and profitable order for the manufacture of military-style bricks for the tsars' army. In addition to the military order, the plant carried out repairs of agricultural equipment (plows, seeders, windbreakers, threshers, mowers). In 1917, the plant was nationalized.

In 1925, due to the lack of funds and materials, all the equipment was transported to Simferopol and transferred to the State Farm, and the premises of the plant were transferred (allocated) to the American organization "Agrojoint" for 10 years. New equipment, machines, and materials were delivered to the plant. He began to produce lathes "TP-24" ("Tarzik"), served drilling detachments that were engaged in drilling wells and wells to provide the collective farms of the Crimea with water. More than 200 people worked.

In 1938, the plant was renamed the Automotive Repair Plant of the People's Commissariat of the USSR. Up to 100 people worked. There were mechanical, foundry, blacksmithing, woodworking shops. He produced TP-24, TN-7 lathes, repaired tractor motors, сombines harvesters, motor vehicles and agricultural machinery. In one of the workshops small-bore bombs' parts were manufactured. By the resolution of the Crimean Council of People's Commissars, the plant resumed operation on July 8, 1944, it is renamed machine-tractor workshops. By order of the People's Commissariat of the Crimea, the Dzhankoy MTM was organized on the basis of a former tractor repair plant. 150-200 people worked. The main products were vertical drilling machines of type 21/35.

In 1961, there were about 700 people.

In 1962, the production of a trailer dump truck PTS-10, PTS-40m for the transportation of coarse feed: straw and hay were mastered. Annual output increased from 1.093 million rubles in 1958 to 9.6 million rubles per year in 1962.

In 1963, the production of PP — 2,5 fumigators was mastered. In 1965, a 50-thousand-ton dump trailer came off the assembly line. In 1966, the release of 2PTS-4A.

In 1967, the average daily output of trailers was 62.5 units, in 1972 — 130.8 trailers, and 5 years later in 1977, the rate of output increased to 185 units.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the workshops are on conservation, almost empty, some workshops are in a ruined state."


Yesterday I made my first trip to the Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant. It was very exciting. Two hours by car to the place, then for half an hour I was looking for where I could sneak through unnoticed.

I found a place where the fence is not too high and is in the bushes, not very visible from the road. Looks like I'm not the only one using this hack. On the other side of the fence, a tree trunk was carefully leaned to make it easier to descend. I did not really want to meet these caring comrades. In about two and a half hours I walked around the vast territory of the plant - almost all the workshops are mothballed, but in many the doors rotted, walls and glass crumbled, so that some could be penetrated, others simply filmed through the cracks from the outside. Laboratories and administrative buildings are open, in some places I see that the homeless live, and very neat ones - everything is cleaned, personal belongings are piled up. It was hot and sometimes scary to travel alone through an abandoned factory. Photographed all plants of interest. One in particular was found in large numbers...

Remembering the instructions on the technique of herbarization of plants, I collected a small collection in this way - immediately placing it between two cardboard sheets, signed it and fixed it with paper clips, some plants were simply collected in a craft bag.

The guard at the checkpoint appeared only at 10:00. I will plan another visit, already aiming to pick plants in the specific places. I left the same way. In the car I changed clothes - everything was wet and dirty.

I visited two Dzhankoy libraries, there were very little information about fomer Plant. But I photographed something from local history books. Interviewed librarians and local residents. Of course, everyone is somehow connected with this plant - they worked themselves or one of their relatives. By collecting these stories, it is possible to make a separate research project.

I remember story of one of the technologists of the plant - he made a rationalizational proposal in 1970-71, "which gave an economic effect of 45 thousand rubles." With this money, the plant built a house for the workers of the plant. This house and this story are known to the locals, and E.I. Dorogun is a hero and a celebrity here....

Text about Rational Offer of the technologist E.I.Dorogun in the Djankoy local history book
July 2021
Listening to lectures: Andrew Adamatzky "Unconventional computing", Natalia Alatortseva "Strategic plant raw materials", Benjamin Peters "Is the Soil Reasonable", Mikhail Petrov "Vanadium is the new blood of world Energy". While I'm listening, I realize that life will not be the same anymore, the research rage is so exciting.

Nikita Sazonov adds messages to the Telegram chat about OGAS - an economic and cybernetic network that was planned to be deployed in the USSR in the 1960s. The re-enaction of the foundations of this network will be our final task of the Unstable Compounds project.

From Nikita Sazonov: "The general idea:
1. technical part: The agricultural Internet OGAS type, where each hub in it is a separate economic unit that exists within the general vanadium economy. Hubs are tied to a location, can be combined into agglomerates if there are several participants per location (Yaroslavl, Crimea, Moscow, St. Petersburg, etc.). Each hub has its own "labor" formula, according to which it converts the efforts into a common resource of our network - vanadium. The formula can be derived based on your work on the collection of plants, experimental data, biochemical processes of phytomining.

2. visual part: this is not an installation in a field, but an installation-field, the field here is a cocreator of the artistic process. Each hub somehow mimics the field, fitting into both the landscape and its plant communities. The visual appearance of the hub may be associated with an individual artifact that you find (and/or) receive during your research at a particular location.

We split into a technical and visual group. 7, 10, 13, 17, 21, 25, 27 July - 8 meetings for each group"

From my notebook in these time:

July 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
07/01/2021 (approximately 7:00 a.m.)
Again - the former territory of the Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant. I entered the territory the same way as 3 days ago - along the trunk leaning against the fence. I photographed a lot, collected the necessary plants. (Together with Natalya Alatortseva, we decided that these would be grindelia (Grindelia squarrosa) - as an imported plant with an interesting history in these territories, and curly dock (Rumex crispus) - as an excellent accumulator of all kinds of metals.)
When approaching the especially ruined workshops, I heard the dogs barking quite close and the voices of people. Perhaps the guards were making their rounds, today they arrived much earlier.
I had to make my way back to the hole. It was a pity to leave without collecting plants in the heavily destroyed territories, and I already had an intuition that it was necessary to take the stones of the destroyed workshops with me - they attracted my attention.
Having changed in the car, I decided to drive up to the checkpoint and meet the security guard.
It turned out that the CEO had arrived - the former plant is now being transferred to new founders , which planned to open a new industrial park here. My story about artistic research, vanadium and plants greatly amused both the guards and the administration official. Finally, I found out where the cast iron alloying workshop was located, and then there was a sludge dump in the same place for a long time. It turned out to be exactly the place from which I had to leave because of the barking dogs. When asked to take a walk around the plant and see if the plants I needed grow here, they answered positively - but accompanied me this time. Once again I walked around the territory, agreed to come on July 4 and collect the plants I needed from the territory of the casting / alloying workshop and the place where sludge and scrap metal were dumped.

07/04/2021 (approximately 9:00 a.m.)
I came with my son to the former plant. We uprooted a lot of grindelia and curly dock from the ruins of the destroyed workshop. The weather was already very hot. We saw a huge hare jumping out from somewhere from under the rubble. First we carried bags of plants. Then we returned for stones - we had to walk twice. The administrator and the guards were already confused, but as a result, we had a rather nice talk and said goodbye. Enlisted support if the resulting installation suddenly needs to be brought and installed on the territory of the plant in September.
I study the plants that we have chosen with Natasha Alatortseva. Grindelia was probably introduced with American horse food during the 2WW. Velcro traveler. This is very curious, given that the plant belonged to the American company agro-joint from 1925 up to 1938, it is possible that Grindelia got to these places even earlier. Natasha advised the resource
Grindelia squarrosa
The birthplace of grindelia is North America, where it grows on the black earth prairies, sagebrush velds, on forest podzolic soils. Grindelia lived there "settled" until the development of these lands by settlers began; and it was then that the "thrust" of the grindels for travel was discovered. More annoying than burdock, it stuck to everything - animal hair, people's shoes, carts and wagons, etc. the number of all vehicles, the plant eventually reached, surpassed the level of the Appalachian Mission Mountains and directed to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In the 30s of the twentieth century, the grindelia, using this sea transport emerged in Europe; in particular, the nearby seaports of Nikolaev and Berdyansk. During the Great Patriotic War, grindelia, has already been observed in different regions of Russia and Ukraine: its seeds, most likely, were brought from the USA as fodder or grain.
In the 60s of the twentieth century, scientists were interested in this unfamiliar plant and began to grow it in a Kharkov nursery. The plant developed so quickly that it banished the local flora to the edges of the city.
It strengthens the worked-out earth from quarries and mines, crumbling mobile sands, various embankments, etc. In folk medicine, grindelia is used as a general tonic that stimulates appetite. It has been established that the plant contains many biologically active substances, resins, bitterness, essential oils, acids, etc.

Rumex crispus
Curly dock is a long-lived perennial weed in the buckwheat family. It grows at sites full of sunlight, moist to dry conditions, and tolerates most soil types. It withstands drought, temporary flooding, and occasional mowing. The seeds of this plant can remain viable for up to 50 years.
In Armenia and Azerbaijan, dishes made from curly dock leaves are very popular. Not fresh leaves are used, but dried ones - during drying, fermentation occurs, and they acquire a pleasant taste, and the characteristic bitterness disappears.
In Uzbekistan, young leaves and petioles are eaten. In the past, in lean years, ground stems and fruits were added to flour when baking bread. Leaves and fruits are good food for pigs, geese, chickens, rabbits.
The extract from the roots and rhizomes gives a yellow dye; when etched with iron sulphate, it becomes black. Leaves and stems give green dye[5]. The roots can be used for tanning leather. In veterinary medicine, the roots are used for intestinal and skin diseases. Promising for introduction into culture.
The roots are used in the tanning industry and as a dye.
Nutrition and medicinal raw materials.

While I am preparing grindelia and curly dock for a laboratory experiment at the EMCPS laboratory, Mendeleev University of Chemistry and Technology, I remember our conversation with Masha Molokova to manufacture paper from plants, and a few ideas to make my own hub from such paper .. or just a diary written on paper which would be made manually. I put the pans for 6 hours, the process begins. In the manufacturing process of paper, the main thing is the proportions (balance of the ingredients), accuracy of the recipe and great patience, patience is the most important).
An example recipe tested on the Unstable Compounds project:
1) chop the plant, but not much ... it depends on the desired structure at the end
2) boil 6-7 hours, ask for help close relatives and friends
3) add water, and grind with a blender to the state of a gruel
4) make a rectangular shape from planks, A5 size is enough to start. Tighten it up with a mosquito net
5) spread the gruel on the prepared structure: a bed sheet or other well-absorbing fabric, which has been folded and laid out on a flat surface in several layers. Push the gruel with a dishwashing sponge, lift the mold. Leave the resulting rectangular form to dry overnight, iron it in the morning and put it under the press. The paper is ready. )
In parallel with the paper boiling, I think about my stones, taken out from Dzhankoy. These ruins must come alive somehow. As shown, the ruins are both the end of a large industrial era and the beginning of... a new life, a shelter for plants, and a new data center in the future. I remember the story with the blue light at the button of the system unit on my very first computer, which I independently disassembled and assembled while studying in Baumanka. This may be a legend, but the rapid blinking of a LED (green or blue) on the Power display on early computers was synchronized with a person's tact breathing.
I also need blue light LEDs and their blinking in tactile breath. Breathing ruins. In addition, a beautiful blue color is characteristic of one of the oxides of vanadium.
Instruction and inspiration from Mikhail Petrov in front of the workshop in the Laboratory.
Mikhail Petrov
Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia · Laboratory of electroactive materials & chemical power sources, PhD
"Workshop in the EMCPS Laboratory. 29, 30 of July 2021
The general goal of our manipulations with matter is as follows: to find plants that accumulate significant amounts of vanadium, learn from there to isolate vanadium in any form (of course, this will not be a pure metal, but its chemical compounds - oxides and more complicated things), turn these vanadium compounds into vanadium electrolytes (= fuel for flow batteries; these are solutions of vanadium compounds in the desired oxidation state in sulfuric or other acids of a certain concentration), supply this electrolyte with a flow battery that provides electricity to a network of hubs
I must say right away that no one in the world has yet passed this path from the beginning till the end, although each stage in general terms is understandable. So our project here is a research - it's a long and interesting path, and if you go through it, then this is a very cool result for such fundamental hard science and for industrial science (if this process can be done efficiently and not very expensive, then who knows - maybe this is a good way to produce vanadium electrolytes)..."
Burn sample of the plants.
August 2021

Stones from ruined workshop of the former Plant and plants have been traveling from Dzankoy to Moscow and then to Vyksa - the place of the residency of the Unstable Compounds 1-7 of August.

August 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
I am at home in Moscow. Seven days of residence in Vyksa are over. I met cool artists and researchers, we will keep in touch. I need to take a rest and reflect on this experience. Working so hard and with full concentration won't be possible in ordinary living circumstances, I can say that the residence is an effective way to put half a year of practice into a week.
About the summer school from the website of the 'Sreda Obuchenia' Higher School
The starting point of the study, conducted jointly with the D. I. Mendeleev Russian Chemical Technical University, was the assumption that plants , which have been growing in places of former production can accumulate a whole range of rare elements. And the species used in agriculture continue to "work" in the territories left by people, acting as non-human economic agents. The participants used the results of this work to create an economic system in which real and virtual vanadium circulates - on the one hand, being a resource of a flow battery that powers the entire system, on the other hand, a cryptocurrency circulating through digital protocols. The network included 15 elements integrated through art objects and real plants - from grindelia collected within the territory of the Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant to sowing parsnip collected by the place 'Omsk CHPP-5'. The network is located at the intersection of the Vyksa Metallurgical Plant, the Zheleznitsa River and Lake Quarry
K.R.A.P.I.V.A.: "The current state of affairs refers us to a sunflower that grew in a landfill among the roots of cars"
Colta: "Posthum(ous): about what's after"
Hub#3 'Breathing ruins' in Vyksa
After the summer school, nobody left the Unstable Compounds telegram chat. Usually, at our zoom meetings there is a serious, business like: atmosphere of 'pathological workaholics', but not this time )))
We began to throw ideas for an intermediate exhibition in the Cube, Moscow contemporary art space, Sreda Gallery. The funniest idea was to fill the gallery with the smoke of burnt grass)

Oktober 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
Screenshot of the Zoom-meeting
Work and research on the topic continues. Ippolit Markelov shared a recording of a radio program about the history and context of the digitalization of the Soviet economy.
"There are a lot of interesting nuances about Glushkov and OGAS, the fight against the State Planning Commission. In general, intrigues, denunciations and parallel projects for the development of Cybernetics, everything we love! The beginning of the piece about digitalization from 25 min."
Mikhail Petrov shared resources about the Australian phyto mining researcher Dr Antony van der Ent ( )), who and his colleagues came up with a scanner for analyzing plant samples to detect the presence of metals within the samples right away We definitely lacked this when we were collecting plants. A documentary with the participation of the researcher can be viewed on YouTube .
An interesting resource from Nikita Sazonov to search for research visualization for example

November 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
From the conversation in the Telegram chat "Unstable compounds"

Katya Nikitina, [28 Nov 2021, 11:03:51]:
Decided that:
1. the exposition should focus on immersion / atmosphere, and not on information
2. we are working with an artistic understanding of the phytoremediation experiment as a story about the interweaving of plants and technologies, not with archival work / summer school memories
3. you can offer different solutions, which, in your opinion, seem to be the best
4. by Wednesday, everyone who has the opportunity will share models of the real space of the cube and how and what can be exhibited in it (it would be great to consider object sizes in advance). models of the exhibition space here can be made by you in any form: in the rear, freehand sketch, stick in Photoshop, and so on.
5. we must take into account the size of the space: it is small, and a large number of elements is unlikely to look good, so it is better to make 1-2 accents
Drafting sketches of the space. Collective work of the participants. 3D modelling by Roman Solodkov.

December 2021
Diary and notes
of an artist
From the conversation in the Telegram chat "Unstable compounds"

Mikhail Petrov, [8 Dec 2021, 19:54:49]:
Experiment plan for growing plants in soil with vanadium in CUBE
Object of study: Red fescue (Festuca rubra). Materials: - Container for growing (link volume 5 l, size 45x21 cm, surface area 945 cm2) - 20 pcs; - Soil for growing lawn (link) -100 l; - Red fescue (Festuca rubra) (seeds link) - 2 kg...

Mikhail Petrov, [8 Dec 2021, 19:54:49]:
Prepared instructions on how to do an experiment with growing plants
there are two questions left:

1) The question of lighting - how to replace summer natural lighting in a winter cube?

2) We need to understand what mass concentration of vanadium we want and in which containers. In summer experiments, there were three containers without vanadium, three containers with a concentration of 0.05 mass percent, 3 cont. with conc. 0.1 and three containers with a concentration of 0.25. We can use any other division, but we have to decide which one. In all summer containers, the grass sprouted and grew well, so I strongly vote that at least in some containers the concentration of vanadium be increased to 0.5 or better than 1.0 mass percent (this is already a characteristic content of vanadium in polluted soil like sludge from thermal power plants)

Ippolit Markelov, [13 Dec 2021, 12:15:34]:
I support the idea of expanding the range of concentrations studied to 1% by mass. Then it turns out:
3 containers - control
3 containers - 0.1%
3 containers - 0.25%
3 containers - 0.5%
3 containers - 0.75%
3 containers - 1%

Our colleagues who have experience in growing cereals in winter said, that two light sources are necessary
1) 150w/120w per sqm for growing and colleagues' recommendations - we need lamps on quantum dots.
2) exhibition lighting

Katya Nikitina, [16 Dec 2021, 19:39:06]:
Short report:
1. On Mon or Tue (corrected by Misha above), 3 people are needed at the RCTU to help us mix the earth with vanadium.Preliminary, it is me, Nikita and Ippolit, but write, if you can, too, a replacement is possible here.
2. After Monday, the soil will be ready, we will pre-package it into the containers, sow it with fescue - and then we will have to pick it up. Haven't figured out yet how best to proceed. If anyone other than Ippolit can drive, reach out to me, please, to deliver the pots - it's super important and you will help us a lot.
3. Above, we asked to decide on who is ready to grow fescue, I see now 6 apartments ready to do it, we ideally need 12))) so we will have to look for someone else.
4. We also agreed that Altyn would sow oats, this is in addition to fescue; its gaining of green mass is potentially faster.
5. We need a call on Friday to finalize how our installation looks like. It is better to do it this week, so that we already understand exactly what the installers and the Cube have to be prepared for before the holidays, as well as what expenses will definitely take place, and we consider them relevant. For example, renting 3 projectors will cost us 75 thousand. If we have a cool three-channel installation from you, then we are more likely to spend this money) If there is no such confidence, then tiles and pictures, boxing like in Soviet museums - maybe a way to solve it.
6. Important: in addition to living plants, we also take dried ones, so please, collect the same cow parsnip or tall dried grass. Write who will do it exactly so that we know the approximate volume.
7. We also have to choose a day and go by car to pick up the forms at the abandoned place that Roma was talking about. It is important to do this before the holidays too)
8. And again, an update from the Cube on the dates. Everything was moved again, now back. The exact dates are: January 22-26 installation; opening on January 27 and 28.
9. We will discuss all these issues on Friday in detail! Preliminarily at 20:00 Moscow time. Get ready)) And everyone who will participate in the exhibition, please, join the meeting, it would be greatly appreciated !
12/21/21 Mixing soil with different concentrations of vanadium. Planting plants. (Video by Masha Molokova, photos by Katya Nikitina)
Plants are sprouting. Photos by Nikita Sazonov with different concentrations of vanadium.

January 2022
Diary and notes
of an artist
01/04/22 Video from Ippolit Markelov
From the conversation in the Telegram chat "Unstable compounds"

Nikita Sazonov, [10 Jan 2022, 09:48:13]:
Hi all! We suggest to have a call tonight about the exhibition, somewhere around 9pm. Then we will discuss the full action plan, what remains to be done before the installation begins. It is necessary to approve the list of participants and distribute who does what.
As for the final draft of the installation, we agreed on the following points:
1. White tiles on the walls, which represent the geobotanical map of our research;
2. Islands of plants on the floor and four shelves above them with all stages of experiments
3. Dry plants (Anton's hogweeds) are questionable, their placement in space, materials from the territories of factories (concrete, etc.), video on a tablet inside one of the plant islands are also questionable.

Natalia Alatorceva, [10 Jan 2022, 17:58:34]:
A small text summary of the meeting about walls and tiles: above is the version with blue tiles - there are 102 of them, size 12.5x12.5, to calculate the approximate area. We will translate into pieces of real size when the source of the tiles is clear, but the order of order of actions is clear. Even above there are sketches – dots and their coordinates on the tile, drawings of plants and, possibly, samples of plant materials (this is a debatable issue, perhaps it will become clearer during the final installation). Attaching tiles to the wall – is a question for the Cube – how would be more convenient or how would be possible to go about it: directly attach to the wall, or on drywall, which is attached to the wall with self-tapping screws? The contours of the map on the wall - Russia and the former USSR, do not do it inside the contours of the regions, the projection of the map may still be slightly changed. Technology of drawing on the wall - a felt-tip pen, without or with the use of a temporary projection of a graphic file on the wall. It is possible to paint over the felt-tip pen with paint, as in Alina's example, to slightly blur these contours. Drawing technique on tiles - signatures with felt-tip pens, drawings with felt-tip pens or transferring drawings with acetone, see technique above. What else needs to be done now: ask the Cube about tile installation options. Pick your own tiles. Rotate map projections. I'll make a list of plants according to the table), pick up drawings from someone who has something ready, make out the missing ones. In Siberia and the Far East, to reconsider the places of the tiles, picking up points with the coordinates of production and mining with potential vanadium.
Sketsh by Masha Alexandrova
01/12/22 Link from Ippolit Markelov: A digital archive with sketches of the root systems of plants, shrubs and trees has appeared on the Wageningen University & Research website. In total, the collection includes 1180 drawings. This is the result of 40 years of research work by Austrian scientists.

With the "tile" group - Natalia Alatortseva, Maria Alexandrova, Daria Trubarova, Alina Brovina, and me - Irina Gulyakina, we are preparing illustrations of plants.
01/17/22-01/26/22 Montage of the exhibition 'Vanadium Bloom' in the Cube.Moscow, Gallery Sreda
Curatorial text for the exhibition 'Vanadium Bloom'

The territories of abandoned factories are not only the remains of former industries, but also places of growth of various plants, capturing spaces previously occupied by men. Previously used in agriculture, rheinutria and Sosnovsky's cow parsnip "escaped" from cultivation into wildness - to landfills, abandoned territories, roadside wastelands. Sorrel, white gauze, quinoa, bindweed mountaineer, yarrow - species of local flora that accompanied agriculture, because they required open soils - and now inhabit areas left without cultivation or production.

Growing on polluted soils, some plants accumulate various metals in concentrations that are hundreds or even thousands of times higher than their content in the environment. This feature is used to clean up contaminated areas. Also today experimental plant farms are being opened for the extraction - phytomining - of some metals for reuse.

Of particular interest is the possibility of phytomining vanadium, which is used to create flow batteries, a relatively new technology in which electricity is stored in the form of chemical energy in liquid substances. Vanadium is almost never found in nature in its pure form, however, it is present in low concentrations in a variety of sources, including living organisms. In compounds, vanadium can exist in four different oxidation states, each of which has its own characteristic and color. The flow battery has two tanks of fuel, in one the vanadium compounds turn from yellow to blue, in the other from purple to green. Depending on the compounds that are additionally present in the electrolyte solution, vanadium can also change its color to red, gray, orange, emerald. Colored in different shades, vanadium blooms - like a living plant.

Together with researchers from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology, artists are conducting an experiment on phytomining of vanadium. In the space of the gallery there are experimental samples of some plant species - red fescue, common oats and creeping clover. These herbs can be used to re-vegetate contaminated soils.

In the space of the gallery, fescue, oats, and clover grow in soil with varying concentrations of a vanadium compound, ammonium metavanadate (NH4VO3). At the end of the exhibition, the plants will be harvested and dried, then ashed, and the resulting vanadium compounds will be used to create a vanadium electrolyte, followed by its placement in a flow battery.
01/27/22 The opening day! And the exhibition 'Vanadium Bloom' was able for visitors until 28/03/22
We return to the project, although in connection with what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, enthusiasm is close to zero.
We have struggled ourselves, we need to finish our cool work! The result will be show in Austria, Linz in the amazing festival - Ars Electronica 2022.

Appeal from Nikita Sazonov
" Hi all!
Again we send signals to everyone in connection with the continuation of the project) We have about 3 months left before the release in Linz, and we have now entered the development stage, when we need to connect and connect our hubs. The main aspect is the re-inclusion of those hubs that you took with you around the locations into our economy. We have a new assembly ready, taking into account the improved economic model and remote connection of hubs by location.

There are several questions here:
-how and what data your hub processes;
-how data results contribute to the vanadium generation formula.
- visual representation of hubs in the network: here we can allocate a separate interface for some kind of visual representation of your hubs: through broadcasts, some kind of generative forms, etc.
Plus, there are questions with archival materials. Here, too, you need to check everything and think about what else we have not completed.
We offer a general big call on all issues, in order to disperse, then do it and return again with the results. We offer on Saturday at 12:00 Moscow time"

Link from Katya Nikitina for inspiration:

June 2022
Diary and notes
of an artist
06/18/22 Link from Ippolit Markelov "What OGAS could have been, but did not become"
Investigated the parameters that affect the fall of concrete structures.
For digital data, I decided to do this
"Rose of ruins"
8 factors (axes) affecting the ruining of structures at the Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant, 10 divisions on each axis - an index data system.
2 times a day - 12:00 am and 00:00 midnight I enter the activity index for each of the axes from 0 to 10, including decimals, that is, it can be 1.8 for example.
This value is a parameter of real data from the range we need, translated into a universal and agreed form for the chart.

Axes of the graph "Rose of Ruins"
1. Temperature (15-35 degrees)
2. Wind strength, gusts (0-10 m/s)
3. CO2 concentration (410-430 ppmv)
4. Soil vibration: speculative index - based on the situation in the region, human activities, plants, animals, and also including seismic activity data within theterritory - (0-10)
5. Solar activity, UV index (0-10)
6. Humidity (10-90%)
7. Atmospheric pressure (750-760 mm Hg)
8. Geomagnetic situation, index (0-6)

How it will approximately look like:

August 2022
Diary and notes
of an artist
From the conversation in the Telegram chat "Unstable compounds"

Nikita Sazonov, [Jun 21, 2022, 11:56:04 AM]:
Hi all! We discussed everything once again related to design, we suggest meeting on Sunday 8pm to discuss at in detail this task in order to define each hub and how and what to do. Sofa Karavaeva will also send references to help you in the near future, plus in general, for the visual part of all hubs, we still have the following structure on 3 screens:
Ant counting, weather, pollution, etc., manual data entry. Farms keep statistics on the favorableness of the data, they provide vanadium generation schemes, we visualize these findings
—MAP on
There may be drawings of hubs, research data and more
Visual appearances of hubs — 3D models, broadcasts, neural networks, etc.

Then we will analyze these three components for each hub and build a specific plan, who is preparing what and when. Please, collect all thoughts and ideas as much as possible for the meeting.
05/08/2022 2022 I went to the warehouse, found stones, some of the stones remained in the workshop. Found a hub. Something had to be soldered. The installation is assembled. I decided to soak curly dock seeds collected at the former Dzhankoy Machine-Building Plant and plant them on stones.

08/21/22 Filmed a video broadcast within 1.5 days. During this time, the curly dock sprouts have grown noticeably.
7.09/22-11.09.22 Ars Electronica. Austria. Linz
There will be documentation from the festival and my notes. The network will be in a form of a performance. All participants (the team of hubs) will constantly perform different actions for the circulation of vanadium in the plant network.
"From September 7 to 11, 2022, Linz will once again host a "Festival for Art, Technology and Society" where participants from science, business, the creative and art scenes from the local region and around the world will share their perspectives.
The theme of the festival this year:
Welcome to Planet B – A different life is possible! But How? A festival takes on the challenging search for answers to the contradictions of our time."

Web-page about project on web-site of the Ars Electronica 2022: Feral Automated System: ULTB-1
"The Faculty of Contemporary Art, the 'Sreda Obuchenia' High School, together with the research platform Posthuman Studies Lab, carried out a project in June 2021 devoted to the study of the relationship between plant and computing systems in the context of ecology and various future scenarios in the Anthropocene era. The participants not only studied the history of the interaction between the agrarian complex and cybernetics, but also got acquainted with alternative paradigms of computing and building hybrid networks. The result of the school project will be a collective art installation in the Ars Electronica 2022, Linz, that embodies the idea of the plant Internet."
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