Feral Automated System

Posthuman Studies Lab, Feral Automated System "ULTB-1” (2022)

Posthuman Studies Lab is a collective who investigates post-soviet ecologies and cosmologies through hybridisation of theoretical, scientific and artistic research models. In the context of generational memory and traumatic experience, their work reopens the post-soviet as the current ecological condition, and treats it as something that has feral status. As such, their work addressed “ferations” (from ‘feral’) which can be understood as a complex of self-organised ecosystems within abandoned industrial spaces across the former Soviet Union.


ULTB-1 is the awarded project by Posthuman Studies Lab, which outlines the interconnections between vegetal and computing systems in a vein of current ecological crises and discourses about alternative futures. As a living research, it excavates soviet narrations on the building of the common world, embracing the human, nonhuman, plant and machine. It engages with the legacy of the agrobiological experiments created in soviet laboratories and communal households, focusing on the Heracleum, a species of plant which after the USSR collapsed started accumulating toxic resources on the edge of abandoned industries. Investigating the intersection between the development of communist agricultural systems and the active use of plants as ‘green proletariats’, and the so-called “Soviet internet”, UTLB-1 is a network composed of plant-based computing architectures, rethinking the idea of communism through the more-than-human, and elaborating an alternative scenario where plants and machines actively participate in a joint creation of common networks.

Sociality of greenery is based on the principle of radical openness to the Other: it is how plants create hybrids and interspecies alliances, increasing biodiversity. Plants use adaptive networking with interchangeable agents and dynamic mechanisms such as roots, seeds, tendrils, fluent sexuality, etc.—all this forms a feedback system. Using this knowledge, the collective creates a network composed both from vegetal and digital parts, including chips and internet protocols along with phytomining technology and plant-based computing architectures.

The project outlines the interconnections between vegetal and computing systems in a vein of current ecological crises and diverse narrations about possible futures in the age of the anthropocene. In the early 1940s the construction of the common body was committed to plants and machines, resulting in two parallel projects of networking. Excavating the soviet narrations on building of the common world, which embraces not only humans, but primarily animals, plants and machines, they rethink the idea of communism in terms of “more than the human”. Ultimately, their Feral Automated System elaborates an alternative scenario where plants and machines actively participate in a joint creation of the common.


Find more information about ULTB-1 HERE

Images by Florian Voggeneder and Posthuman Studies Lab

Project credits

Concept: Nikita Sazonov, Ekaterina Nikitina, Ippolit Markelov, Masha Molokova 

Computer architecture: Dmitriy Lobanov, Andrew Adamatzky, Sergey Pavlov

Design: Sofa Karavaeva

Front-end: Artem Masoshin

Exhibition architecture: Yulia Filatova

3D: Roman Solodkov

Cinematography: Nikita Sazonov, Irina Petrova, Vera Vishnevaya

Science supervision and support: Natalia Alatortseva, Mike Petrov, Andrew Adamatzky

Network: Daria Okhrimenko, Roman Solodkov, Daria Trubarova, Alina Brovina, Evgenia Bezginova, Ksenia Ruban, Evgeniy Khlopotov, Irina Gulyakina, Anton Kraftsky, Maria Alexandrova, Natalia Alatortseva, Natalia Kuzmina, Tim Nosov, Altyn Mustafina

Collaborators: EMCPS Lab, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology; Faculty of Contemporary Art, the “Sreda Obuchenia” Higher School

Technical supervision: Boris Shershenkov

Special thanks: SDVIG Studio, Vita Shakhnovich, Dmitrii Olgin

Creative Europe Project 616712 Roots & Seeds consortium: University of Barcelona, Quo Artis, Ars Electronica, Leonardo/OLATS.