TED Fellows » TED Fellows Network » Angelo Vermeulen

Angelo Vermeulen


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Angelo Vermeulen

Professional Role

Current Titles:

Artist, Space Systems Researcher, Community Organizer

Current Organizations:

SEAD (Space Ecologies Art and Design), HI-SEAS, Participatory Systems Initiative, FoAM


Uploaded Photos

Flickr Photostream


Angelo Vermeulen -- Biomodd: A Living Computer

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Seeker - an art collaboration on grassroots space exploration: Angelo Vermeulen at TEDxNovaGorica

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Creating with communities: Angelo Vermeulen at TEDxSantiago

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Co-creation and cross-cultural communication: Angelo Vermeulen at TEDxUHasseltSalon

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BIOMODD [ATH1]: A Living Game Computer as Social Sculpture — Excerpts

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Biomodd [LBA2] Introduction

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09/01/2007 – present
Biomodd is a series of socially engaged art installations that find new and meaningful relationships between people, biology and computers. On the most basic level, Biomodd installations are co-created networks of recycled computers with internal living ecosystems. Symbiotic relationships between plants and computers are at the core of the project. Project versions have been created in Ohio, New York, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, the Philippines, and New Zealand. A new Biomodd version is currently being developed in London.
Article on The Creators Project »
Project Website »

07/01/2012 – present
Seeker is a worldwide series of co-created starship sculptures that evolve over time. At its core, it's a community art project that invites people to fundamentally rethink the future of human habitation and survival. This is achieved by radically interconnecting technology, ecology and people, while at the same time tapping into local traditions. Project versions have been created in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Slovenia. New versions are currently being prepared in Kosovo, India, Chile and Puerto Rico.
Article on Discover »
Project Website »

GrAB (Growing as Building)
10/01/2013 – present
GrAB takes growth patterns and dynamics from nature and applies them to architecture with the goal of creating a new living architecture. The aim of the project GrAB is to develop architectural concepts for growing structures. Three main directions will be investigated: transfer of abstracted growth principles from nature to architecture, integration of biology into material systems and intervention of biological organisms and concepts with existing architecture. Key issues of investigation will be mechanisms of genetically-controlled and environmentally-informed, self-organized growth in organisms and the differentiation of tissues and materials.
GrAB team »
Project Website »

HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation )
06/01/2012 – present
The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a new Mars analog program studying food supply/preparation options, team function and performance, and life support resource requirements. The habitat site, in the saddle area of Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai'i, is both visually and geologically similar to Mars, enabling crew members to conduct high-fidelity exploration EVAs and test space suit components and rovers in a challenging environment. An 11-meter diameter geodesic dome structure enclosing two stories of living, working, and laboratory space serves as a habitat for a crew of six. It is powered by a combination of diesel and solar power and is instrumented to provide real-time monitoring of water and power use and control of internal temperature and CO2 level. Communication delays built into the habitat’s internet connection mimic those anticipated for a real Mars mission. The initial HI-SEAS mission, April 16 - August 13, 2013, was funded by NASA’s Human Research Program primarily to test differences between crew-cooked and pre-prepared food systems. Related studies on power, water, and labor requirements for food preparation and cleanup accompanied the food study, along with a complement of crew-directed and "opportunistic" research projects related to team dynamics, crew sleep, antimicrobial garments, robotics, habitat thermographics, and hydroponics. A team of 30 volunteers from around the world served as mission support staff. During the next three years, NASA will fund three more HI-SEAS missions of 4, 18, and 12 month duration, focusing on studies of crew autonomy, performance and training. The opportunistic studies planned for these future missions may include testing of EVA equipment, water recycling, waste management, medical telemetry and telemedical simulations.
Article in Astrobiology Magazine »
Article on Mashable.com »
Project Website »


Angelo Vermeulen is an artist, biologist, space systems researcher, and community organizer. In his work he ties together technological, ecological, and social systems through group engagement and collaboration. Biomodd is one of his most well-known art projects and consists of a worldwide series of interactive art installations in which computers and ecosystems coexist. In 2009 he launched Space Ecologies Art and Design (SEAD), a platform for artistic research on architectures and ethics of space colonization. Seeker is one of the resulting projects involving co-created starship sculptures that evolve over time. Since 2011 he is member of the European Space Agency Topical Team Arts & Science (ETTAS), and in 2013 he was crew commander of the NASA-funded HI-SEAS Mars mission simulation in Hawai'i. His space-related work led him to start a new PhD at Delft University of Technology, developing paradigm-shifting concepts for evolvable starships. He co-authored the book 'Baudelaire in Cyberspace: Dialogues on Art, Science and Digital Culture' with philosopher Antoon Van den Braembussche, and gives talks about his work around the world. In 2012 he was a Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design Fellow at Parsons in New York. Currently, Vermeulen is a 2013-2014 TED Senior Fellow, and holds positions at LUCA School of Visual Arts in Ghent, Belgium, and Die Angewandte in Vienna, Austria.

Fun facts

Favorite meal:
Mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and blood sausage with onion. Grandma's recipe.

A funny story about me:
Not sure if it's actually "funny", but back when I was 12 I started my own science magazine KNOW. I created it with an old typewriter, quite a bit of Tipp-Ex and Scotch tape. I photocopied it and then sold the magazine at my hometown high school. Almost all the articles were either about biology or space exploration. Currently I'm doing a PhD on how to implement biological principles in starship design. Looks like I never really grew up.

Vital Stats

Fellows Class
2013 TED Senior Fellow
Living in
Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Working in
Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Born in
Sint-Niklaas, Belgium



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