Modern hydroponic techniques were pioneered at the University of California Berkeley by William Frederick Gericke in the 1930s and continue to be used heavily in California both in industrial agriculture, as well as the legal gray zone of marijuana production. Hydroponic stores have multiplied across the California landscape in the past ten years selling scalable systems for both home gardeners and larger industrial productions. These systems served as a point of departure for the Hydroloops project, a series of hydroponics mechanisms that illustrate three typical forms of hydroponic cultivation. These hydro-mechanisms function as drawing machines, a type of automata originally described by André Masson and the Surrealists. Each hydro-mechanism has a simple drawing program associated with it, written in the Processing programming language and connected to the computer via an Arduino interface. The development of the plants and the operation of the hydro-mechanisms allow these drawing programs to run creating informal metrics of plants growth.
Paul Schuette is an architect and writer working in California.