terrarium with cement, selaginella, LED grow light, empathy
In order to better think about empathy and my relationship to nature and the future of our environment, I embedded a terrarium in cement (a kind of Schrödinger's cat meets Tamagotchi pet meets Hans Haacke's 1965 sealed system: Condensation Cube) with an LED grow light that is activated by pushing down a tiny button on top of the cement cylinder. My relationship to the plant becomes habitual and ritualistic. A normal house plant is unshrouded and visibly present in a room - it is easy to see when it needs care, but in the case of this shrouded tiny selaginella fern, I can't see when it needs light. When the button is depressed and the light is activated in the cement, a kind of circuit is completed: not simply the electrical circuit, or the circuit of the respiratory cycle for the fern that closes in photosynthesis, but also a relational circuit of intersubjectivity between myself and the plant; we need each other and we give something to each other.
Uncommon Senses 2, Montreal