Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds

Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds project is an innovative and comprehensive program in the field of art/science & education bringing together practitioners of these fields and their various institutions.

Inspired by plant network strategies, “the Wood Wide Web”, this interdisciplinary project aims at opening closed academic structures, increasing communication and exchange of knowledge and experiences in aid of the pursuit of curiosity, critical thinking and taking responsibility for our future. 

Interdisciplinary workshops, lectures, seminars, symposia and exhibitions are organised to raise ecological awareness and propose new cultural and social narratives.

The core of the project is scientific research in the field of natural sciences. Artistic activities take this further, acting as drivers of network development in multiple directions and creating collaborative “rhizomes” between communities. The arts facilitate the communication of scientific knowledge to social groups ranging from children to adults and spanning the societal spectrum.

Built on a collaboration between the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research at the  University of Arts in Poznan and the Faculty of Biology at  Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan with the support of Art & Science Node,  Rhizosphere is rapidly expanding its interdisciplinary and international network. 



The structure of the project is modelled on underground biological root networks , rhizomes, and fungi: the rhizosphere. It is a place where resources such as water, minerals, and products of photosynthesis are exchanged and where warning signals against herbivores, bacteria, and viruses are sent out. These networks, based on symbiotic associations, diversity, and interdependence, allow plants to grow, spread, and survive in adverse conditions.

The rhizosphere’s operating system is based on the model of the network of small worlds. Its effectiveness, measured by its existence for thousands of years, inspires the search for organizational solutions and strategies fostering sustainable development and more efficient distribution of resources, information, and knowledge. It encourages actions that could open up areas of specialization, combine experiences of various disciplines (such as the arts, sciences, design, and engineering) and develop projects in which these disciplines meet. This holistic approach not only stimulates cognitive processes but also fosters the development of entrepreneurial, creative, and critical thinking. Rhizosphere strategies become particularly important in light of the ongoing sweeping changes currently taking place in the social, cultural, economic, and environmental spheres: the crisis of the Anthropocene and the growing responsibility that humans assume in influencing not only their own future but also the future of the entire planet. We have visualized the global human network as a rhizosphere that expands and connects all layers of our reality – a delicate web of symbiosis, diversity, and interdependence whose growth and prosperity is influenced by local actions.


Participating artists:

Joanna Hoffmann & Andre Bartetzki, Larys Łubowicki, Paulina Misiak, Piotr Słomczewski, Jadwiga Subczyńska

AR exhibiton/APP: