The jacket with a vegetable patch in it

Posted on 05 November 2020.

What if we could grow our food on our back? Posthuman Habitats is a project designed as the first personal food system to wear. Explanation.

Cabbage, arugula, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, strawberries, aromatic plants, etc., forty different micro-vegetables provide 9 kg of crops in a few weeks

The first vegetable patch that you can wear: this is the crazy project of Aroussiak Gabrielian, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Southern California, who created a prototype of clothing on which you can grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, using fertilisers supplied by your own human waste.
Made from moisture-retaining felt in which seeds are planted, this garment accommodates an entire vegetable patch: cabbage, arugula, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, strawberries, aromatic plants, etc., forty different micro-vegetables provide 9 kg of crops in just a few weeks and contain up to forty times more nutrients than their ‘macro’ counterparts.

The vest also incorporates a system that uses the wearer's sweat and urine (filtered by osmosis), as well as waste from occupying insects, as sources of nutrients.
Presented at ‘Human (un)limited’, a hybrid art and technology exhibition in Beijing at the end of 2019, this speculative design project called ‘PostHuman Habitats’ stages a dystopian vision of the future in which our soils are uncultivable and where we have had to return to a migratory way of life to escape floods and other climatic scourges.

 

At a personal level

PostHuman Habitats thus intends to raise awareness of the circular economy and the importance of ecosystems for our food. It addresses the subject of food security for humans as well as life where we cooperate with micro-organisms, predators, and pollinators, which all participate in biodiversity and ecosystems.

In the words of Aroussiak Gabrielian, the weight of the vest and its humidity concretely put the wearer ‘into very haptic (tactile) contact with [the] live matter of landscape’. For the artist, it is a way of establishing the environmental crisis at a personal level, because if we are carrying the weight of our food production directly on our backs, climate change is no longer a broad and vague notion ... and we will take the issue more personally.