A story by Suzan Stemerdink, who asks: How to pay attention to the plant root system?

Part of Living Matters non-exhibition

24 June 2020

In her investigation on plants as a resource, Suzan looked at their roots to think of possibilities to work with: “I wondered if I could make such a plant by means of a small experiment, where the actual plant is for consuming, and its incredible root system for a different purpose.” She thus started to experiment with directing root system of plants to grow them into a certain shape and form. In her meticulous study and observations, considering different plants and their vegetative capacities and needs, she tested the best ground, gravity and water system for the roots’ growth. Through this experiment of control and mastery, she learned, however, how difficult it is to navigate that which is alive, how rather than imposing your own ideas, you need to work with the complex and embedded relationality of alien agency that is a plant:

“The underlying idea of my research was that I believe we have to reconnect/engage ourselves with our environment again. Not only when we are alive, but also when we die. With toxicities everywhere around us, we have to be aware of our own burden on the planet.