Nutrient Cycling

Artist: Emily Simek

Medium: Multi-channel video artwork

Description: Nutrient Cycling is a multi-channel video artwork of food waste that has decomposed in a compost system and via digital processes. Vegetable discards from the artist’s kitchen have been 3D scanned in varying states of decay. These renders have digitally decomposed via processes in data disruption to form a cybernated humus. Simultaneously, a digital microscope has been used to reveal worms as they ingest the vegetable remains. The work investigates the ways in which digital technologies might intra-act within nutrient cycles at the site of the compost heap, partaking in the movement and exchange of organic and inorganic matter back into the production of matter.

View Nutrient Cycling at from 5-15th August 2021. Presented as part of Mudfest, University of Melbourne Student Union Arts Festival.

Emily Simek uses an expanded practice in digital art, sculpture and installation to explore what constitutes a material lifespan and the conditions that sustain ecologies of matter. Her current research centres on a worm farm compost system which operates in tandem with a growing collective of digital compost that is accumulated using a 3D rendering program. The work forms a process-based investigation into the extension of closed loop principles in permaculture design to art making practices.

A worm farm at Siteworks, Brunswick. Detritus and food waste are spread haphazardly amongst a mesh of tangled worms. Pale orange rind and egg shells lay in stark relief to the brown, earthy organic matter the worms are entangled in.

Image: Worm farm at Siteworks, Brunswick, 2021

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live, work, and learn. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present, and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded. This always was and always will be, Aboriginal land.