We are exploring the capacity of grass to record complex photographic images through the production of chlorophyll. The equivalent of the tonal range in a black-and-white photograph is produced in the yellow and green shades of living grass. Although these organic „photographs” are exhibited in a fresh state for a short time, excessive light or lack of it eventually corrupts the visibility of the image.
Photosynthetic „photograph” on grass
Field Study (Nant yr Eira), źródło fotografii oraz tekst tutaj.
The exhibition at The Mladi Levi Festival in the frame of the network Imagine 2020: Arts and Climate Change.
Our inquiry into how to „fix” these transient images has brought us close involvement with genetics through research with scientists at IGER (Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research) in Wales. These scientists have developed a grass that keeps its green color even under stress. In a naturally occurring variant of grass, they identified a gene for an enzyme that degrades the green pigment chlorophyll, and by modulating the expression of this gene, they were able to alter the grassís aging behavior and even stop it altogether. Through a plant breeding program they have introduced this trait, coined a stay-green, into a rye grass. The application of this grass in our work has subsequently led us to grow photographic canvases and then dry them. While the green blades retain their chlorophyll much more effectively than regular grass, the effects of other processes, such as oxidative bleaching, gradually occur and over time contribute to an irreversible loss of image.
The artistsí participation in this exhibition is made possible by the support of NESTA (National Endowment of Science, Technology and Art, UK).
Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, Dilston Grove, 2003
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