the World in a Shell – polliniferous project

The World in a Shell – polliniferous project (WiaS) is a vehicle for intercultural exchange and intellectual cross-pollination underpinned by social and ethical concerns.

Artist Hans Kalliwoda researches and explores the essentials that enable an autarkic and mobile lifestyle, potentially desirable for the twenty first century world citizens. Point of departure is on the one hand the issues arising from a technology perspective and on the other the richness of tacit knowledge of indigenous cultures with a nomadic past. Most interesting is in how far these two very different fields can cross-pollinate each other.

As a high-tech multi-purpose installation, WiaS is based on the dimensions of a standard sea container, yet folds out to be seven-fold of its original size. With a self-sufficient and energy-independent infrastructure, WiaS can function in any climate or geographical environment. It is powered by renewable energy (wind and solar) with an immense energy storage capacity and digital interface. In technical terms it is the world’s most powerful micro-grid technology for its size running on renewable energy. WiaS also utilises technologies that can be used without degrading either the environment or the values and lifestyles of the peoples it visits.

WiaS has been developed across a period of four years at the Delft University for Technology through an intervention process of practically engaging a wide variety of faculties, received grants, and sponsorship through 75 institutions (and other sponsors). UNESCO Paris also honoured WiaS to receive the patronage for this phase. To date, about 50 years of labour from both highly intelligent individuals and engineering companies have been invested in WiaS. The ideas and technology used to develop WiaS are clearly more than 20 years ahead of their time.

Technology advancement for its own sake was not the goal; by contrast, the aim was to develop a vessel that facilitates personal interaction, the sharing of knowledge, and to suggest broad solutions regarding autonomy and decentralisation.

WiaS functions as an artist laboratory in order to both tell and collect stories. On invitation from the San (Bushmen) of a tiny village in the Kalahari Desert, the artist plans to install a “coming of age” interdisciplinary-media project – essentially staged in a swap-shop situation with local people. WiaS will be remodelled into a cinema, a stage for theatre, and a workshop for film- making. Its aesthetics and interior acoustics are designed to maximise inspiration. The title of these activities is WHILE THE GODS ARE ABSENT. The Inuit Mayor of Ilulissat in Greenland has also invited WiaS. The installation will be set up in villages to work together with the locals on pressing contemporary issues.

WiaS is an interdisciplinary project operating within the liminal spaces between art, science and education – with references to environmental/green living and humanitarian issues (specifically disaster management and rural challenges).

Significantly, on the 29.10.2012, WiaS – the polliniferous project received the patronage for Botswana by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO in Paris.

The board of advisors includes Charles Esche, director Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Jan Pronk, previous Minister Foreign Affairs and Housing, prof. International Development ISS, The Hague, Paolo Bianchi, independent curator and art critic, Baden/Switzerland and Rob Docter, previous director of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The practice-based artistic research conducted with WiaS has been chosen for hosting by the Australian organisation ‘Project Anywhere’ within their international peer validation program for 2013.

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