(In collaboration with John O'Mara)
A seed is a container of pure potential. Though inanimate in its sleepy seed state, its fullest and most realized state is as an animate being in the world. It takes a radical moment for the seed to make its transformation into the living realm, especially in the desert. The seed knows when the conditions are right, and when that time comes it alchemically transforms its identity. The seed breaks open and goes through a tremendous morphological shift, and at this time the seed is no longer a seed. It threshes off its hull and is born into a radicle – the plant embryo. It begins to simultaneously grow upward and downward, reaching both towards the light and towards the darkness.
The piece entitled, Radicle, is made with an accumulation of individual materials that, together, help construct the form of the whole. Each hanging pod contains high desert native wildflowers, fertile soil, and beneficial mycorrhizal fungi spores. The pods are dyed with Chamisa (rabbit brush) that was harvested on site.
The support system for the Radicle, made from cotton rope, represents the woven network in the soil, which is usually invisible to us: the fungi. This woven matrix is a vital resource to the desert as it acts as a highway system for the plants, mining nutrients and water from far away in the soil then distributing this directly to plant roots. In exchange, the plants provide the fungi with carbon. This mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship, supports over 90% of the Earth’s plant ecologies.
Viewers were invited to cut or untie a pod from the woven network to take home and collaborate, as a reminder that we are all a part of the ecosystem. The pod contained all of the nutrients and content needed in order to grow – but those contents need to be spread and gently tended.