Dorotea Dolinšek (SI)

Curatorial Context

Inspired by space research, Dorotea Dolinšek has constructed a circular food production machine that enables automated soil enrichment. Though the device is eventually destined for Mars, it has the potential to impact life on Earth right now. Soybeans are planted in regolith (fine stony deposits) and can be observed as they slowly grow. By using her entire body to contribute to soil fertility, the artist adds a decisively feminist perspective. The machine is fully functioning; however, this iteration has been adapted to incorporate coloured liquids that simulate the process.

Artwork Statement

Advances in space technology stem from our understanding of both interstellar Space and life on Earth. Inspired by the latest efforts in astrobiology and prototypes for terraforming planets envisaged for future human settlement, the artist has developed a machine for automated amelioration of the fine stony deposits on the surface of Mars (“Martian regolith”). Soybeans (Glycine max) are planted in the regolith and nourished with an organic mix of processed human urine, dried menstrual blood and chopped hair. As the regolith travels on the conveyor belt, organic and mineral substances gradually decompose, transforming it into a substrate capable of sustaining microorganisms and plant life.

TerraPort is the first in a series of projects representing the artist's dedication to addressing the fragility of life on Earth in the face of the current ecological crisis. Through her work, the artist utilises her own body to contribute to the fertility of future interplanetary civilizations.

Artist Bio

Dorotea Dolinšek (SI) is a Ljubljana-based new media artist. She trained as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and is currently working on her Master’s thesis at the Department for Video and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. Through her artistic investigations with a focus on life in the extreme conditions found in outer space, Dorotea draws parallels to surviving the deep ecological crisis on Earth.

Artwork Credits & Acknowledgement

  • Construction: Jože Zajc | Glass processing: Zvonko Drobnič | Expert advice: Kristijan Tkalec | Light design and technical support: Jure Sajovic, Simon Gmajner | Programming and 3D modeling: Jakob Grčman | Acknowledgments: Robert Černelč, Sašo Sedlaček (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, UL), dr. Marko Flajšman (Faculty of Biotechnology – Department of Agronomy, UL) | Photo: Katja Goliat
  • Production: Zavod Kersnikova / Galerija Kapelica | Support: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City Municipality of Ljubljana – Department of Culture