Of Natural and Hidden Things
Art Index, Newark, NJ
immersive installation | hydrosol | participatory performance
Healthy soil is essential — for everything from food systems to forest ecology. Roots are the vigor of a plant; responding to environmental conditions of a specific place, they feed on microbes in the soil for nourishment. These root networks communicate with both the underworld and the outer world to survive. Natural and Hidden Things was presented as part of the exhibition POST EARTH, creating the rare opportunity to witness these complex cellular networks above ground.
The immersive sculpture depicted an underworld in which healthy soil and plant roots have turned to gold. The piece’s imagery incorporated the hexagram — the molecular symbol of carbon, which plays a consistent role in soil health. The hexagram also suggests the honeycomb — made by the bees, our pollinators. As viewers approached the installation they were invited to become part of this living system.
During the exhibition’s opening, a performance incorporated scent to further immerse the audience into the network of root systems. Four performers approached the audience who was seated in chairs, misting them with a bees wax hydrosol or aromatic water. On a dark cold winter night, the aromatic waters expressed the nectars of the sun.