Bio Sculpture

Hiroya Tanaka Lab + METACITY

Bio Sculpture, 2021

"Bio Sculpture" is an art project by the Hiroya Tanaka Lab at Keio University SFC and METACITY, themed around the exploration of "Technology for Multi-species" in the Anthropocene. It aims to reforge the relationship between humans and nature by opening up advanced scientific technologies and social systems to the natural world. The project draws significant inspiration from the devastating Australian wildfires of 2019, which are estimated to have resulted in the loss of over a billion lives, including mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Unlike traditional sculptures made from copper or stone, sculptures using ecosystems as a substrate prompt city dwellers to adopt a macroscopic perspective on nature, emphasizing its significance. As time progresses and latent ecosystems become manifest, the widespread adoption of the "Technology for Multi-species" philosophy will mark the true completion of this project.
The installation utilizes a unique 3D printer capable of expanding up to 30m x 30m, injecting soil and adding internal ridged structures based on coral growth algorithms to create an "environmental metamaterial." This material combines four natural substances: red soil, black soil, akadama (red ball earth), and rice husks. The added ridged structures maximize surface area and water retention, creating complex micro-environments of shade and sunlight on the surface. This surface is cohabited by nine types of moss, arranged to autonomously regulate temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and air pollution. Furthermore, fragments of the forest floor have been transplanted inside, visualizing their potential in a new environment while sensors monitor microbial communities, various ecological parameters, and soil composition over time. Even after the art festival in Kitakyushu City, the work remains installed near the venue where it was previously exhibited.
《Bio Sculpture》は、人新世における「Technology for Multi-species」の探求をテーマとする慶応義塾大学SFC田中浩也研究室とMETACITYによるアートプロジェクト。人類が発展させてきた科学技術や社会システムを自然へと開くことで、人と自然との関係性を再構築することを目的とする。本プロジェクトは、2019年に発生し哺乳類、鳥類、爬虫類など10億以上の生命が失われたと言われるオーストラリアの森林火災の影響を強く受けた。
銅や石などで出来た彫刻とは異なり、生態系の苗床を用いた彫刻は、自然の重要性を見失いがちな都市の中に、人々に巨視的な視点で自然を見守ることを促す。時を経て潜在的な生態系が顕在化し、「Technology for Multi-species」の理念が一般化することで、このプロジェクトは真に完成となる。
Internal structure of Bio Sculpture
Internal structure of Bio Sculpture
Simulation of moss distribution according to the amount of sunlight
Simulation of moss distribution according to the amount of sunlight


Hiroya Tanaka Lab + METACITY, Bio Sculpture, 2021
Soil injection type 3D printer capable of 30m extension “NIWA”, 3D-printed soil (mixed with red clay, black clay, akadama, and rice husks), Aluminum boards, Sensors
Dimensions variable


Social Impact Award (Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award) at the Art Division of the 25th Japan Media Arts Festival (Japan, 2022)
Finalist and Public Award of the WIRED Creative Hack Award 2021 (Japan, 2021)


Producer / Director: Ryuta Aoki
Concept Designer: Ryuta Aoki
Research Director: Hiroya Tanaka
Design Research: Hiroya Tanaka Lab. (Yasuo Nagura, Shin Aoyama, Moriyasu Chinen, Nanaka Matsuki, Mayuki Omura, Megu Kawai)
Production: Hiroya Tanaka Lab., METACITY

Past Exhibitions

Apr. 29 – May 09, 2021: Kitakyushu Art Festival "Art for SDGs"
Jul. 24 – Aug. 08, 2021: The Exhibition of Jack into the Noösphere

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