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Rob Carter - Plant Writing (excerpt)

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2019, Digital 4K, 5.1 sound
Total running time: 8 minutes

This video documents the growth and movement of two soybean plants over the course of several days. Time-lapse photography also captures the actions of the artist, seen entering the space every 15 minutes to chart movement using an analogue methodology first employed by Charles Darwin in the 1870s. This approximation of movement is rendered digitally, showing the results from three angles and forming lines as if drawn by the plants themselves.

The apparatus houses a pseudo-scientific experiment, since the two soybean plants come from very different seeds – one cultivated organic, and the other genetically modified and patented. Could this form of ‘plant writing’ reveal possible differences between the two specimens? Soybeans (Glycine Max) are the most valuable agricultural export of the United States; but, like many processed crops, our relationship to the plant is often remote. This video charts the constant dance between plants and humans, one that we like to think we understand and control.

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