“To play is to be in the world. It is to be open to surprise, contingency, and improvisation—a critical skill for our combined future.“ – Christina Agapakis

The Floating Kīpuka play kit aims to blend knowledge across time and cultures to create playful spaces for more voices in the discussion of just biofutures. It invites people to imagine new types of playful spaces of trust for collaboratively dreaming with biology with a focus on agricultural futures. The custom assembly pieces blend lab tools, organisms at scales, cultural legends, rituals of gratitude, and agricultural labor stories to bring culture and ethics directly into early bioengineering and sustainability design journeys. It is a space where questions can be asked, knowledge is multi-directionally shared, valued, and collaboratively grown.

The table and inclusion of local materials ground the kit into an imagined landscape, turning the structure into a centerpiece that can be customized to location and culture. It is a suspended assembly space enabling the snapping of components above and below the build plane, encouraging people to think of systems that cycle in blended spaces above and below land, in soil, sea, sky, and self. The snap-on play pieces represent a range of earthlings, including people, bacteria, fauna and flora at the same size scale – as they are interconnected and equally important in ecosystems.

Learn more about the project here.

What is a Kīpuka? The table developed for this project represents a kīpuka, a Hawaiian word for an isolated patch of vegetation surrounded by lava flows. It is a natural seed bank, holding life to propagate into the future. Kīpuka is also poetically used to mean a place where life or culture endures, regardless of any surrounding turbulence and injustices. Similarly, this modular assembly is meant to create a suspended safe space to hold ideas and dream future cartographies of abundance.

This work was commissioned by Montalvo Arts Center and developed in the Lucas Artists Program.


View the instructions on how you can interact with the Floating Kīpuka table by clicking the button below.

Participants can share their designs and accompanying stories by taking a photo and posting them to Instagram using the hashtag #dreambiofutures.


This work will be located in the Charmaine’s Garden Terrace for the opening festival on Friday, July 21. Thereafter you can find it in the lower portion of the Italianate Garden past the Love Temple.