Growth Pattern

Allison Kudla


A light box array of Petri dishes containing agar, nutrients, hormones, die-cut leaves Production: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón. Acknowledgements: Universidad de Washington, Seattle; Escuela Srishti de Arte, Diseño y Tecnología, Bangalore; Centro Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, India; Área de Fisiología Vegetal del Departamento B.O.S. de la Universidad de Oviedo; Invernaderos Balbín SL, Luanco. Creation of this work was made possible in part by Artist Trust Grants for Artist Projects (GAP)

In this piece, a living natural system takes on the form of a manufactured pattern. Leaves are intricately cut into a bilaterally symmetrical pattern and suspended in tiling square Petri dishes that contain the nutrients necessary to promote new leaf growth. Here the cultured leaves are provided with the hormones that cause the cells to produce new leaf tissue. Since the cells of the plant have the capacity to differentiate into any organ in the plant, the newly growing leaves are extending the form of the traditionally inspired botanical motif. However, as with any experiment, it is possible for contamination to occur. In some, the tissue may die; in others, parasites may take over and grow faster than the leaves.