Lab 1: 3.12.18 – 3.23.18
in collaboration with Jordan Chesnut, and Kelly Bouma’s University of Montana dance course, and Gerard Sapés
Student Gallery, University of Montana, Missoula MT, Spring 2018
40 2-year-old Ponderosa pine seedlings from UM’s Sala plant physiology lab subjected to varying levels of drought and rewatering, color coded, regularly watered during the first half of the exhibition and then allowed to die; MIDIsprout galvanometer sensor and synthesizer sonifying electromagnetic stimuli in seedlings within the space; real-time Skype call with the seedlings projected in the same room on the opposite wall; continuous play of “Secret Life of Plants” record by Stevie Wonder; small reading room and library of books about plant physiology; seed-planting station; movement performance
One of a series of art-science collaborations focusing on drought in Ponderosa pines, Lab plays on the similarities between science and studio investigations and questions assumptions about objectivity and subjectivity in methods of inquiry. The galvanometer sensor, which appears not unlike a medical gadget and attaches to the plant with EEG pads, collects objective data–but that data contains too many variables to parse, and the only way to experience it is through subjective sonification decisions. A Skype call seems to put the seedlings in an absurd conversation with themselves, or with the space, as viewers occasionally insert themselves into the dialogue–raising questions about the role of observation and the gaze in the studio and the lab.