Commanding a space between inanimate object and animal, plants live in the realm beyond consciousness. Inspired by an exploration of Bonsai keeping as an expression of psychological conditions, the work draws a symmetry between the plant and the mind. Looking at a plant as a metaphor for the psyche – the visible (behavioural) expression and the invisible (subconscious) root system.
Considering the potential roles of engineered plants, psychobehavioural functions can be accentuated by bespoke specimens created with synthetic biology. Plants become an attachment object which demands physical proximity in exchange for codependency, they automatically change their colour in reenactment of predictable seasons, they construct a visceral monument of grafted scents.
Plants have a remarkable ability for chemical synthesis, these stationary chemical factories operate on a different time scale to animal time, reminiscent of early photographic processes. These portraits are thus printed in plant time, over weeks of exposing plant solution on paper to UV light inside a specially made exposure box.
> Commissioned for Blueprints For The Unknown exhibition by Studiolab, Royal College of Art
> Thanks to Ben Ditzen, Hefin Jones and Megan Rodger.