Primordium

California Institute of Technology Pasadena CA Following an interview with the genetecist Elliot M. Meyerowitz that sought to clarify the possibility of a primordial root or common basis to genetic matter, I proposed this installation which explored the possibilities of plant "memory," if such a thing exists. The installation consisted of a cactus that became "active" when touched by passers-by. The technology used was a proxy sensor that detected changes in the surrounding electro-magnetic field. Dishes focussed the sound back onto anyone close to the cactus, forming a complicity between person and plant. The sounds that were played back were based on pre-recordings of people's earliest recollection of a plant. The live performance at the opening of the installation involved a live hypnotic regression of volunteers to the earliest memory of a plant.
Curious and long-forgotten memories surfaced. This installation received a grant from the Durfee foundation. Thanks to Joe Santarromana and those who participated in the performance. Thanks to Jennifer Demello for helping with the installation.