‘In my work I explore the relationship man has with his natural environment and his desire to control nature. For the past few years my fascination has mainly been focused on the dynamics of underground plant parts. I’ve been captivated by the root system, with its hidden, underground processes; considered to be the brain of the plant by plant neurobiologists.
Charles Darwin was the first to watch the behavior of plant roots. In his book The Power of Movements of Plants, he describes how roots do not passively grow down, but move and observe. A root navigates, knows what’s up and down, observes gravity and localizes moisture and chemicals. Darwin discovered that plants are a lot more intelligent, than everybody thought. For contemporary botanists, this buried matter is still a wondrous land. There is a global investigation to discover this hidden world. I also want to explore it and apply the ‘intelligence’ of plants in my work.
Harvest - Exercises in root system domestication is a continuation of my earlier work on plant roots. I approach the root system as if it were yarn. For example, the refined, white root structure of grass reminds me of silk and the powerful, yellowish strands of the daisy I compare to wool.
Using subterranean templates as moulds, the root systems of plants are channeled, forming a textile- like material. During the growth process the roots conform to the patterns and the root material weaves or braids itself. For my research, I am collaborating with biologists and ecologists of the Radboud University and University of Wageningen.’
Interwoven has been honored by the New Material Award Fellow 2016