EMPATHY MACHINE 2017.jpg

EMPATHY MACHINE

 
 

EMPATHY MACHINE

2016

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. 

HISTORY

Seen / Unseen / Not Seen

Uncommon Senses 2, Montreal