Carboflora is a digital video work released as part of the Metagarden collection by Tanja Vujinović.
This virtual environment is populated by plants that echo the Earth’s flora from hundreds of millions of years ago, specifically, the plants of the Carboniferous period that now constitute coal fields. Forests of the Carboniferous age consisted of many relatives of contemporary plants – conifers, horsetail, and ferns. Some of the plants, like the early relatives of ferns, could grow to forty meters high. Lepidodendron trees had bark that resembles scales. Fossils of this plant sparked the imagination of our ancestors and might even be responsible for the imaginary construction of dragons.
The Carboflora environment is connected to tracking the quantities of harmful particles in the atmosphere. Its levels are reflected in the way plants inhabit the virtual system. Properties of virtual plants are connected to a database that tracks air quality in almost real time. More than 10,000 stations throughout the world constantly send data about various pollutants like PM2.5, PM10 (small and big particulate matter), O3 (Ozone), NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide), SO2 (Sulphur dioxide) and CO (Carbon monoxide), as well as the AQI (air quality index). Upon opening, the application chooses the closest physical location and maintains the various properties of plants according to the numbers being sent from the database. Plants are timeless ur-forms which echo the past and possible future and within which we might curb our polluting emissions.
Carboflora was developed as an installation and generative digital environment by Tanja Vujinović, who has released video works from the project on Sedition. 3D objects and generative modelling are by Tanja Vujinović; Unity3D programming is by Tanja Vujinovic, Gaja Boc, Sara Bertoncelj Čadež; 3D objects of carboniferous plants are by Dariusz Andrulonis. Consulting contributors to the project were Dr. Vid Podpečan of the Department of Knowledge Technologies, Institute Jozef Stefan, and Jan Kušej. Production by Ultramono and SciArtLab, Department of Knowledge Technologies, Institute Jozef Stefan, 2019.