Exercises in root system domestication
‘In my photographic work I explore the relationship man has with his natural environment and his desire to control nature. For the past few years my fascination has mainly been focused on the dynamics of underground plant parts. I’ve been captivated by the root system, with its hidden, underground processes; it is considered to be the brain of the plant by plant neurobiologists.
Charles Darwin was the first to watch the behaviour of plant roots. In his book The Power of Movements of Plants, he describes how roots do not passively grow down, but move and observe. A root navigates, knows what’s up and down, observes gravity and localizes moisture and chemicals. Darwin discovered that plants are a lot more intelligent, than everybody thought. For contemporary botanists, this buried matter is still a wondrous land. There is a global investigation to discover this hidden world. I also want to explore it and apply the ‘intelligence’ of plants in my work.
I approach the root system as if it were yarn. For example, the refined, white root structure of grass reminds me of silk and the powerful, yellowish strands of the daisy I compare to wool. Harvest – Exercises in root system domestication is a continuation of my earlier work on plant roots. This photo series is actually a study of work, a research for the work that I will realize in the coming year. Together with botanist scientists from the Radboud University Nijmegen, I will develop a carpet and textile of roots.’