The Shredder was originally devised as part of the Geekosystem project developed by Julian Priest, David Merritt and Adam Hyde. The core idea was that by shredding proprietary computer manuals and mixing the paper with coffee grounds the two staple components of a geek’s day can be turned into a useful growing medium.
During time on an artists residency with SCANZ in New Zealand, I met Julian Priest and had a conversation with him about the Shredder project. By this stage in my research and practice it was becoming apparent that a number of artists were initiating open source projects and taking the role of project leader/gatekeeper, this had also been my experience of the RIE project. There were very few artists who were contributing in small parts to the development of open source projects that were devised by others. This became an area for further exploration and the Shredder project was an ideal starting point. I asked Priest if I could produce an iteration of the project upon my return to the UK. Having a background in developing open source projects he agreed to our iteration and passed on a simple set of instructions.
Shredder 0.2 AV10
The first version of the Shredder 0.2 was presented as part of Kate Rich’s Feral Trade Café at AV10. It soon became apparent that there was not enough time for the coffee and paper mix to compost down. So I devised an alternate approach, forking the idea. I worked with Micologist John Robinson to devlop a system which used the coffee and software manual mix to grow mushrooms.
Shredder 0.2 at AV10
Shredder CCA Glasgow
The next Iteration of the Shredder was in response to an invited to exhibit in 2010 as part of the show This Land Is Your Land at the CCA Glasgow. I developed Shredder 0.3 which was essentialy and install pack, following a software development model. The packs consisted of basic starting materials. The packs themselves were large boxes with a descriptive label and the boxes contained:
- 1 cloche
- 1 base
- 1 bag of pearlite
- 1 syringe containing oyster mushroom cultures
- 5 filter patch bags
These packs were constructed to be cost effective and portable, meaning that once a person or group decided to take a Shredder package they needed the following things in order to complete the project:
- A shredder
- A glass tumbler
- A collection of old software manuals
- A small aquarium air pump, air stone and tubing
The starter kits also drew comparisons with software development and distribution techniques by providing a tidy package of the classes. This simplified the initial stages of engagement and made the decision to collaborate more inviting.
Shredder 0.3 at CCA Glasgow
Both the Install kits and and documentation from the growing process were exhibited at a solo speed show at the Reg Vardy Gallery in Sunderland.
Shredder 0.2 legacy at Furtherfield London
I revisited the Shredder 0.2 process 2012 as part of a group show World Wild Web at Furtherfield Pavillion – London.
The Shredder in process at Furtherfield – Images courtesy of Alessandra Scapin.
This is a project that is still in development, I am currently researching the possibility of a larger scale production involving bio-luminescent material.