Ken Rinaldo (US), Amy M. Youngs (US) Farm Fountain

video and workshop, 2007 - 2008

Farm Fountain is a system for growing edible and ornamental fish and plants in a constructed, indoor ecosystem. Based on the concept of aquaphonics, this hanging garden fountain uses a simple pond pump along with gravity, to flow the nutrients from fish waste through the plant roots. The plants and bacteria in the system serve to cleanse and purify the water for the fish.

This project is an experiment in local, sustainable agriculture and recycling. It utilizes 2-liter plastic soda bottles as planters and continuously recycles the water in the system to create a symbiotic relationship between edible plants, fish and humans. The work creates an indoor healthy environment that also provides oxygen and light to the humans working and moving through the space. The sound of water trickling through the plant containers creates a peaceful, relaxing waterfall. The fish that are part of this project, Koi and Tilapia, also provide a focus for relaxed viewing.

The plants we are currently growing include lettuces, cilantro, mint, basil, tomatoes,
chives, parsley, mizuna, watercress and tatsoi. The Tilapia fish in this work are also edible and are a variety that has been farmed for thousands of years in the Nile delta.

Farm Fountain is a collaborative project by artists Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs. We hope you will be inspired to create one yourself. Please visit our illustrated “How-To” pages to see how we made our home version and join our free online forum to share your ideas.

Ken Rinaldo (US)

Ken Rinaldo is an artist and theorist who creates interactive multimedia installations that blur the boundaries between the organic and inorganic. He has been working at the intersection of art and biology for over two decades working in the categories of interactive robotics, biological art, artificial life, interspecies communication, rapid prototyping and digital imaging. His works have been commissioned and displayed nationally and internationally at museums, galleries and festivals such as: The Biennale of Electronic Arts (Perth), Exit Festival (Paris), Transmediale (Berlin), ARCO Arts Festival (Madrid), Ars Electronica (Linz), The Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Home Show (Seoul), V2 Dutch Electronica Arts Festival (Rotterdam), Image Du Future (Montreal), Siggraph (Los Angeles), The Exploratorium (San Francisco), etc. He is the recipient of numerous international art awards and grants. Rinaldo teaches at The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio where he also directs the Art and Technology program in the Department of Art.

Amy M. Youngs (US)

Amy M. Youngs creates biological art, interactive sculptures and digital media works that explore the complex relationship between technology and our changing concept of nature and self. She has exhibited her works nationally and internationally at venues such as the Biennale of Electronic Arts (Perth), Te Papa Museum (Wellington), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan), the Tweed Museum (Duluth), Circulo de Bellas Artes (Madrid), the Visual Arts Museum, Pace Digital Gallery (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago's Betty Rymer Gallery, Vedanta Gallery, Northern Illinois University Art Gallery (Chicago), Blasthaus (San Francisco) and Works (San Jose). She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. Youngs is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University. She was born in 1968 in Chico, California.