One Degree Celsius — Torolab, 2008

"Molecular Urbanism projects [of which One Degree Celsius is one] are diagnostic and strategic systems of ‘interventions’ in human bodies on both biological and molecular levels and subsequently their environments. For example, let us say you’re either getting thinner or fatter, or perhaps growing or losing hair; these are individually specific phenomena that begin on a molecular-biological level in your body and at first are not visible to the eye.

But as soon as you start changing your patterns of behavior, you change the program of your life, and once that happens, you relate differently to your surroundings, changing your immediate space and consequently the way you relate and interact with ‘others’ and their environment. And if those changes happen, they become the breaking or a tipping point when ‘others’ have those same transformations and when you start seeing shifts on an urban scale.The transformations from an apparently invisible state to a macroscopic scale become what I refer to as Molecular Urbanism. The Torolab team, including myself, not only intends to create diagnostics to these changes and perform exercises of visualization for portraits of molecular urbanism, but we also intend to project and realize interventions at that very biological-molecular level."

From Torolab's interview at the Institute for Research in Art, Florida




One Degree Celsius is part a series of projects created by Torolab, the collective of artists, designers, architects and other changing participants brought together under the direction of founder Raul Cárdenas Osuna. Collaborators are formed according to the demands of each project, giving particular attention to diagnosing location-specific environmental and social problems or challenges. Torolab states as their aim to improve the lives of individuals and their approach borrows from community activism the articulation of a social network of stakeholders to bring the projects to fruition.

The project is a continuation of the series entitled Molecular Urbanism that study the relationship between the human body, urban context, and biological conditions such as diet and climate. Conceived as a network of green interventions into the urban topography, the One Degree Celsius aims to decrease the city of Tampa’s temperature by one degree Celsius by rebalancing the percentage of green space to the city’s cement footprint and in this way improve daily human interactions at the scale of the neighborhood.



One Degree Celsius was commissioned by the University of Southern Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, and involved the participation of biologists and environmental data analysts at the University and elsewhere. Expressed as a theoretical model within the exhibition space, the project consisted of a functional green unit and irrigation system, drawings of proposed interventions throughout the city in the form of green billboards, bridges, and walls. Digital data analysis diagrams and interviews with environmentalists and scientists at the University completed the project, which transformed the exhibition space into a laboratory of ideas.


Pdf of exhibition catalogue, The Institute for Research in ArtPdf of exhibition catalogue, The Institute for Research in Art