Cyrus Clarke & Monika Seyfried


Designers / Grow Your Own Cloud

Monika Seyfried (PL) and Cyrus Clarke (UK) are designers exploring the intersection of emerging technologies, audiovisual media and the natural environment. They develop experiences to initiate discussion on the ethical, environmental, political and socio-economic implications of the technology filled worlds we are rushing to create, and allow citizens to step into near-future scenarios, blending art, science and technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, mixed reality and biotechnology.

Monika is currently a researcher at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). Cyrus is an independent designer and researcher, and founder of What The Block. They are both graduates of the CIID Interaction Design Program.

Grow Your Own Cloud

Today, global data centres use more energy than the entire UK, and by 2025 they will use more than 20% of our Global Energy.   

In a post-industrial age of information, data is the new oil, and companies that deal in data are the largest in the world. Just like oil before it, our demand for data has a serious impact on the environment. The greenhouse gases emitted by data consumption already rival the aviation industry, and look set to grow exponentially.  

We’re locked into a new consumption cycle, driving us towards an inevitable future of ‘data warming.’ Our ecological awareness might be rising, yet our behaviours and technologies seem to lead us towards the same outcomes. How can we intervene and draw attention to something as seemingly abstract and immaterial as data consumption, before it’s too late, again.   

Grow Your Own Cloud is a a new biotech venture storing data nature’s way, in the DNA of plants. This new type of cloud has the potential to store all of the world's data in just 1 kg of DNA. It works with organisms that create their own energy. It stores data in a format that never grows obsolete and emits life giving oxygen instead of CO2.   

Grow Your Own Cloud creates a new materiality around data, beyond the silicon and rare earth metals that are extracted incessantly. It looks beyond perceived reality by embedding one of our most highly valued commodities, data, within nature to not only prevent further destruction, but present new opportunities for the expansion of natural habitats and the regeneration of the environment.   

To bring this into reality, we transformed a local flower-shop in Copenhagen, Denmark, into a decentralised data-centre. Set within this environment, we explored plants and their unique data storage characteristics with each visitor, introduced them to scientific concepts and new possibilities to unlock deeper curiosity and provoke ethical considerations.