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Alexander Zaxarov
Jan 4, 2021

Amsterdam-based artist Diana Scherer investigates the desire for humans to control nature through her series Exercises in Root System Domestication.

For the past few years the Dutch designer has mainly focused on the dynamics of belowground plant parts. Captivated by the root system, with its hidden, underground processes, that are considered to be the plant’s brain by plant neurobiologists. Diana Scherer works with wheat, and specifically its fast-growing root system. By growing the wheat on a subterranean template, she can manipulate the root system to create ‘woven’ patterns. Scherer takes inspiration for these patterns from the geometric structures of cells, snowflakes and shells.

The project combines design, craft, and science to manipulate plants’ subterranean systems into forming mesmerizing interlocking patterns that are unlike what is found organically. To “train” the roots to grow in such complex patterns, Scherer develops underground geometric templates that the roots grow along and merge with as they grow.

“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.” — Diana Scherer

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Alexander Zaxarov
January 4, 2021

Amsterdam-based artist Diana Scherer investigates the desire for humans to control nature through her series Exercises in Root System Domestication.

For the past few years the Dutch designer has mainly focused on the dynamics of belowground plant parts. Captivated by the root system, with its hidden, underground processes, that are considered to be the plant’s brain by plant neurobiologists. Diana Scherer works with wheat, and specifically its fast-growing root system. By growing the wheat on a subterranean template, she can manipulate the root system to create ‘woven’ patterns. Scherer takes inspiration for these patterns from the geometric structures of cells, snowflakes and shells.

The project combines design, craft, and science to manipulate plants’ subterranean systems into forming mesmerizing interlocking patterns that are unlike what is found organically. To “train” the roots to grow in such complex patterns, Scherer develops underground geometric templates that the roots grow along and merge with as they grow.

“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.” — Diana Scherer

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