BioART: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences – Amanda White

Tomato Plants

I am revisiting a mutual relationship that exists between mammals and their food plants. To do this, I incorporate the natural seed dispersal actions of a fruit-eating mammal (or frugivore) into the human process of food crop cultivation.

I am growing plants from the seeds of cherry tomatoes that I first purchased from the grocery store, ate, and which then became deposited in my waste. The seeds were subsequently harvested from my waste by hand and grown into fruiting plants. I am continuing the cycle by eating and growing further generations of the same tomatoes. The first generation of plants were grown in-doors over the fall and winter of 2011-2012.

The process of this project illustrates the process of seed scarification -the way in which seeds travel through the digestive system of an animal in order to be broken down and prepared for germination and growth. This is an important process in ecology, as it allows for seed dispersal and plant diversity.

The use of urine and feces as plant fertilizers and compost materials are also common in our farming practices and yet are seen as the work of animals, not humans. The Frugivore project emphasizes our human bodies as animal bodies, with the potential to perform similar tasks and behave symbiotically with other organisms in our environment.

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