A New Phytopia - Visualising the structures of life.
That title may have read as a rather grand statement but put simply without plants, life as we know it would not exist. From food, to fibre, to the air we breathe we are quite dependent on plants. The unique photos above are the babies of many different plants AKA seeds. This work has been created by academic/artist Rob Kesseler in partnership with the Kew Gardens Millenium Seed Bank.
Phytopia reveals a hidden world lying beyond the scope of the human eye. Working in the liminal territory between Art and Science. Rob K
There are many ways this work is special. First is the location, these seeds are live specimens forming a genetic bank of sorts within the Kew Millennium Seed Bank it’s quite a similar initiative to the Svalbard seed bank. Here these seeds remain protected, stocked in numbers to potentially restore plant populations if required.
Second is due to the way they are photographed by using a scanning electron microscope. Which basically uses a beam of electrons instead of light, giving the extremely fine details we can see above. These images then have layers of colour, specific to their mother plant, added to them. Rob describes this artistic process akin to how plants attract insects to attracting an audience.
Finally is the individual characteristics the photos highlight. Each seed has been honed through hundreds of years of evolution, adapting each one to succeed in a particular strategy of dispersal and growth. This brings home the fact that these plant babies are alive and individual as you or me.
Plants babies under microscope = eye & brain candy.
Rob K. Kew MSB. Logikblok on FB.