Through a series of early morning urban foraging excursions, biological material from three of Rome’s most iconic historical sites was gathered, organized, and identified. Each site yielded a unique palette of biotypes ranging from trees, shrubs, weeds, moss, mold, and fungi. We discovered that the living ecologies from these places tell interesting stories that reflect a co-existence with their respective sites within a specific moment in space and time-subject to various environmental and social processes that exist within the contemporary city. Commonstudio designed an interactive installation that displayed and processed the range of collected plant material by means of steam distillation to extract and interpret each site as a unique scent. The installation consisted of a series of steam distillation systems, collected earth and plants from each site, and cast papercrete forms that hosted living ecologies while diverting and capturing the liquified essential oils as an intimate olfactory experience.
All images are courtesy of Daniel Phillips