Biosphere 2

Bill Wetmore

Joined January 2010

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Artist's Description

The futuristic Biosphere 2 complex in Oracle, Arizona, US, was the home to 1990’s experiments to see if mankind could recreate a living biosphere within a closed system. The experiments failed, but it was discovered that the science was badly flawed. Regardless, much was learned from the exercise, both about sustainability and about human nature. The facility is now used for small experiments by the University of Arizona.

Within the large greenhouse space on the left of this image you can see the interior rainforest… yes, that’s a rainforest in the Arizona desert! The part that looks like a moonbase in the center is the “crew” quarters, and to the right you can see on the domed “lungs” which house a massive rubber membrane that flexes to make up for differences in atmospheric pressure between the sealed facility and the outside world (note: Biosphere 2 is no longer sealed, however the greenhouses behind the crew quarters are about to be re-sealed for a contained experiment).

This is a unique set of buildings, and one of the largest greenhouse structures in the world. I didn’t just capture this image because it’s unusual, however… I get a feeling from this place that is both hopeful and tragic. The Biosphere project represents hope for humanity’s future… perhaps we can recreate our biosphere in a mechanical shell! It’s tragic because it also represents a certain fatalism… perhaps we will have to live in manmade spaces some day because we have no choice.

(HDR: 3 exposure, photomatix, Canon 5D)

Artwork Comments

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