IMRC Fall 2017 Researchers in Residence: Amy Youngs & Ken Rinaldo

We are excited to announce our IMRC Fall 2017 Researchers in Residence, Ken Rinaldo & Amy Youngs from the Art & Technology program at the Ohio State University.  Ken & Amy will be arriving the third week of November and will provide opportunities for students from the Intermedia MFA, New Media and Art dept. to assist in producing a new project for the Stewart Commons lobby, titled “Machine Garden”.  You can view initial 3D design models of the project below.  They will also be giving a presentation of their work on Wednesday, Nov. 15th at 1pm in the IMRC APPE 1 space.  Students interested in participating in the project should contact Professor Gene Felice for more details.

Machine Garden is a new collaborative project in which plants, constructed and sewn grow bags, worms, fungi, and machines will coexist in a state of symbiotic intertwining. The work is a collaborative project between Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs.

The work a commission of the University of Maine, will be located in the lobby of Stewart Commons. The building houses the Innovative Media, Research and Commercialization Center and the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center, at the University of Maine.

This integrated system of plants, worms, and machines will allow plant roots of various varieties to reach forward and allow fungi to communicate. Connected highways constructed of tubes will allow worms to travel from plant to plant enriching soil as they travel.

Water will come from a worm bin in the shape of an abstracted worm (right side) and be pumped up to the sewn bags with drip irrigation via micro peristaltic pumps.

Food scraps will come from the local cafe in the building and will nourish both worms and plants. The plants in the space will absorb carbon dioxide from the occupants of the buildings and will provide fresh oxygen to humans working within.

The plants will add moisture to the air provide areas of warmth and visual focus to relax viewers as they enter and exit the building.


The worm bin will allow leachate from the worms eating to add natural fertilizer to the indoor plants within the garden.

The garden will have ferns, epiphytes, lipstick plants, dieffenbachia, ivy and other indoor varieties that will add color and shape integrating with the custom sculptural bags.

A variety of materials will be explored to allow the bags to remain moist and cool in the hot summers and to keep all the living worms and plants happy.

Interior of the space where the Machine Garden will integrate itself with the artificial and natural lungs of the building.